Alvaro Mendez graduated from Duquesne University in 2010 with a major in history and biology but without the grades to get into medical school. Now a student in the Elms College post-baccalaureate pre-medical program, he has his sights set on a career orthopedics.

Postbacc Pre-med Student Makes the Most of Second Chance

As a student in the post-baccalaureate pre-medical program, Alvaro Mendez has several classes with undergraduate students that remind him of his own days as an undergrad.

“Two months into the class, you notice a difference in stamina,” he said. Like Alvaro, members of the post-baccalaureate pre-medical program possess a restlessness for excellence, a restlessness he didn't have or even know he needed as an undergraduate student.

Alvaro graduated from Duquesne University in 2010 with a major in history and biology but without the grades to get into medical school. He always knew he wanted to be a physician; he just didn’t know it would be so hard.

Not ready to give up on his dream, Alvaro contacted admissions counselors at several colleges who advised him to look for a postbaccalaureate pre-medical program, which led him to Elms College.

When he met with the faculty, they told him what courses he would need to take to improve his transcript and increase his chances of getting into medical school. Alvaro is in the one-year track and will graduate in May.

“I understand that I chose medicine, which is highly competitive. There’s a lot of people applying to a few spots so you have to really be on your A game every day,” he said.

The difference between an A and an A- can mean the difference between acceptance or rejection from a medical school, so Alvaro isn’t letting his focus and stamina slip for even a minute.

“I know what it feels like to fail. This time I’m not going to mess up,” he said.

The hard work is paying off for Alvaro, who currently has a 3.91 grade point average. He wants to specialize in orthopedics and be an attending surgeon so he can teach the next generation of physicians and make sure their focus and stamina never falters either.