View Full Version : Age and Med school
12-12-2001, 11:13 PM
Hi everyone I am in the process of completing my degree and will be finished when I am approx 32 or 33. Is this too old for med school? I have the marks/ mcat/volunteer/published research etc etc but I am afraid the adcoms will feel I am too old now. I am also concerned that they may hold it against me that I didn't go to university right away but rather worked as a chef and eventually opened my own restaurant. Are there any other older applicants with different backgrounds who have had success with applying?
I was also wondering how I could put a positive spin on my culinary experience and its relationship to medicine? It seems for most older applicants there is a natural progression to medicine because their previous careers involved health care (ie nursing, medical technology, research etc). In my case they may thnk I am crazy!
Thanks to everyone and good luck
By the way this board is awsome!
12-12-2001, 11:40 PM
In answer to your question, I don't think you'll be too old for med school at 33, especially since you mention the pre-reqs, research, pubs - schools look very favourably on the last two.
I also don't think you're crazy for wanting to do medicine even though your first career was in the culinary industry. You are allowed to have diversified interests you know ;) . I think you don't need to "put a positive spin" on it as it is not negative in itself. What I mean is that you very likely gained some very valuable insights and skills through that experience. It is a great advantage to be business savvy in medicine - you assuredly have been able to gain this knowledge through managing your restaurant business. Your initiative to open your own business and pursue a passion also show committment to self-development and strong leadership skills.
So if you think medicine is for you. Stop over-analyzing and go for it. You have nothing to loose and a great deal to gain by simply applying. Good luck.
12-13-2001, 12:12 AM
Thanks a lot for the encouragment! I'm going to go for it
I was wondering if the interviewers are high pressure where they might grill me on why I want to do medicine why now and why not before when I was a chef. I heard the people who have the most success in getting accepted are those that volunteered etc since they were 16! In other words they want people who were focused on being doctors from day 1 o their lives. Is this true?
Thanks again for the reply
12-13-2001, 02:05 AM
No. If you've got the academic and personal qualifications to make it past the screening hoops, and the interviewers believe that you'll be a positive asset to the school and your classmates, you've got as good a chance as any.
UBC, Med 3
12-13-2001, 11:07 AM
For sure, don't be discouraged from applying to medicine. 32-33 is not too old. I am 27 and will be 28 when I (hopefully) go to medical school next year. Sometimes, even I feel old compared to the "kids" who go to med school at the age of 23 or 24. No offense meant to those people, of course.
Although I admit that I am biased, I see many advantaged to older students in medicine, such as more maturity and life experience. Let me tell you, I feel much more able to understand others since I've been living on my own, then married, then working a real job, then becoming a dad.
One thing I would advise, however, is that you consider your career plans within medicine carefully. If you enter med school at 33, you will be finished at 37. Even with a 2-yr residency in family, you will begin practicing medicine at 39. So unless you want to start your life at 45, I would suggest not entering an MD/PhD program and becoming a neurosurgeon. If you do, my son will be a doctor before you! 8)
I know there are others on this board who are in the 30s and wishing to pursue extended training, such as MD/PhD, or who wish to enter specialties with long residency periods. I don't wish to discourage these people. Rather, I wish them luck. Personally, however, I made the decision a while ago that my age and other circumstances were decision-making factors in my career choices within medicine. Others may not have the same "redlines" that I do.
Good Luck, Chris!
In my first year class at Queens the oldest is 35(with a couple others in their 30's) and the yougest is 20. It's a broad range!
12-28-2001, 04:48 PM
I don't think you are too old to apply to med school and I think your experiences should only enhance your application. I am 38 and have just applied to med school this year. Ever since I can remember I have wanted to get into medicine but after highschool I took "a year" off which turned into 18 years. I have been a banker for 18 years - during this time I have learned a great deal about life, pursued my non-academic interests and saved enough money to be financially stable enough to walk away from a very lucrative banking career and pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a physician. I am hoping that my experiences, my unwaivering determination, (& of course my recently acquired undergraduate pursuits) will bode well for me.
I know I am not a typical applicant and some days I worry terribly that I am "too old" or not "scientific" enough for med school. Most days though I feel confident that at least my application will stand out from the pack - I only hope the adcoms feel that it warrants an interview! The one thing that I do know for sure is that after many years of soul-searching and experiencing the good and bad that life throws at us, I have never waivered in my dream of becoming a doctor.
I have changed ideas about what areas that I think I would like to specialize in - from ob/gyn, to pediatrics to GP. I understand that many med students change their minds about these sorts of things throughout their training so I am keeping an open mind. In addition, I have a young daughter so with family commitments and my age as factors I am likely to go into family practice. I had always thought that that would be somewhat boring, but after shadowing a local GP (in the ER), I have come to realize that it offers a very varied and interesting practice. I will worry about these things when (if) I get in - for now I just patiently wait/hope for an interview invitation.
All the best in your application process Chris. Remember that we are all very different and you bring a very unique set of experiences to the process. Try to think about all of the things that you have learned through your experiences (like dealing with all sorts of people as a chef, and the business lessons you have learned by owning your own restaurant) - they have all been lessons for you in some way. Focus on the benefits that age (& hopefully maturity :) ) bring with it!!! Good luck.
12-28-2001, 05:16 PM
thank you for your encouragement it really means alot!!!
I was curious how you got started in banking and what position you are leaving from and how much money(salary) you will leave behind. That is great that you were able to get a great career without university. I remember trying to supplement my income when I first opened my restaurant and it was really hard to find a solid place of employment without the appropriate credentials. I guess hats off to the banks for giving people a chance and allowing them the chance to get educated on the job.
Good luck with your application
Hope to hear from you soon!!!
Thanks again for the kind words
12-28-2001, 10:17 PM
I started in the bank as a teller and worked my way up through all of the branch positions and then transferred into the "operations" area. When I left the bank 3 years ago (went on mat leave and then started my undergrad) I was in a fairly high management position, responsible for analyzing the retail services of branches and then designing manual procedures and computer system enhancements to streamline workflow. I would rather not say how much I was making, but it was certainly a very comfortable salary. In the bank, there are two ways to move ahead - either by walking in with a university degree and going through an internal training program, or by climbing the ladder one position/level at a time (which is what I had done).
Although I spent 18 years in the bank, I have never considered myself a "banker" - my heart was always set on returning to school but family and financial commitments made that impossible until a few years ago. I am now very excited to be an official med school applicant and some days I still have to pinch myself to make sure it is all really happening. The last few years of preparing myself academically for applying to med school has gone by so quickly but my life as a banker seems so long gone - I do carry with me many experiences though that I hope will be put to good use as a medical student and then physician. If I don't get in this year then I will reapply next year - I hope to get in before I am 40 though! :)
Thank you for your well wishes and all the best to you.
01-02-2002, 07:36 PM
If become a MD is what you really want for you future, then go for it. From my perspective, your age doesn't matter that much for selection.
I'm 34 and I hold a PhD. I'm been working as research assistant and then post-doc in plant molecular biology. Now I want to go back to what has always been my "vocation", medicine.
A part from the amount of stuff to study, that may make it a bit challenging to me, especially as I have two young children, there is nothing frightufl in the program. As long as you are motivated and hard worker, I'm pretty sure you'll succeed.
Just a question to you all, I live in Montreal, and I was wondering if there is any prep classe or resouces for MCAT around here.
Thank you for your kind help.
not rex morgan
01-02-2002, 09:51 PM
Babar. I'm not sure about prep courses in your area, but Kaplan is a big name in prep courses. You may want to check that out. As a global suggestion, the verbal reasoning component requires some speed reading. Read the Economist. It's reading level is about the same as the MCAT.
I think it's a great idea for you to consider medicine at this age. Many university looks for maturity and knowledge that expand outside of the classroom. Considering you've own your own restaurant and have done all the prerequesite activities, I think you will be fairly competitive for the position. Some school, such as McMaster actually accept student who did not go on to study university right after highschool or those who did not orginally persue medicine. And after all I dont' think it's ever too old to do anything, I've known people who have gone back to school in their forties to complete a masters, phd etc, so all the best to you.
01-08-2002, 08:53 AM
I too am applying next year - I am 36 and have 3 kids (also an ex-banker). I worried that I had missed my chance and am now too old, then someone said to me "so, if you are not studying medicine at 40, what else would you rather be doing?...". My thought is: there is nothing else I would rather be doing. I don't believe that by entering medicine I am putting my life on hold - this IS my life. I would rather be studying something I love, than making big bucks doing something I don't love. The journey is as important for me as the end result. Does anyone else feel this way?
01-08-2002, 04:36 PM
Couldn't agree with you more! I have also said "I'm going to be 40 anyway so would I rather be stuck in a job that I didn't like ("security" "big-bucks" "great benefits" - so everyone kept telling me!!!), or pursuing a lifelong goal?" Back to school it was. I don't think that my life is on hold either - it is hard to think that when you are chasing around a young child and studying all "spare" moments that I am given- this IS my life!
All the best on your application - maybe we will meet in class in the fall. (here's hoping :) )
01-09-2002, 03:23 PM
You're never too old to consider applying! I'm 34 and making my first attempt at med school, and am even considering specializing should I be fortunate enough to get in, so I'd be looking at 42 or 43 to start practising!
If you think about it, someone starting at age 24, doing a 3 or 4 year med programme, then a specialty residency of 5 years, will be in their mid 30's before they start their full careers. By that point, what's the difference?
01-09-2002, 07:24 PM
BTW... I still FEEL like I'm 18 yo. Whose wrinkles are these? How did they get here? This isn't MY minivan... Whose life is this anyway...? lol
01-09-2002, 08:03 PM
[doing best Homer Simpson impression]
02-07-2002, 10:31 PM
I am 29 yrs old, I hold a PhD and I am presently doing a post-doc in the States. Although I do like research it is not completely fulfilling. I now realize that I have wanted to be a doctor for a long time but never admitted it because I had chosen another path: graduate school and research.
I am applying to French Med schools in Quebec so we will not have the chance to meet. But good luck everyone. I think that some people expressed a fair thought: If you start medicine later in life and you go for a shorter residency, it's pretty much the same than starting early and going for neonatal neurosurgery! Still I want to go for a 5 year residency because I would feel like I am wasting my background in neuroscience if I don't go into Neurology.
And please don't be fooled by the age factor. In the States, it is quite normal to start Med school at around 30. It is so competitive that you need loads of volunteering and research experience to be competitive.
Good luck to all of you
02-08-2002, 08:51 AM
The topic of age really does pop up a lot.
It is hard to define an age that is too old to begin a career in medicine.
McMaster has a student in first year that is in his 50's. His work history includes farming and teaching (high school). He isn't having any problems with the curriculum or with his classmates.
I am a 33 yr old 1st year student with a prior career in Computers. I suspect by time I am done I'll be 40 yrs old. This still gives me a minimum of 25 yrs in the profession. I haven't started a family yet and I assume when I do it will be financially difficult. When I start residency (2004) I will get paid so that should help. My wife is supportive of my goal and I am enjoying the journey.
To achieve your dream you just need to really want it, set goals and work hard.
02-09-2002, 08:38 PM
Don't feel old
I started my undergrad just before my 29th birthday and finished before my 32nd.
I have an interview for Queens so age wasn't a problem for getting the interview.
Check out the mac site. There was a message about someone who had a political science background and a man who had been a farmer and was now at Mac and 55 years young
02-13-2002, 10:56 PM
Just curious did you complete a 3 year degree? Was that all you needed for an interview. Also what did you do prior to university? and finally what kind of activities did you get involved in that helped your application?
Thanks MAR sorry for all the questions, good luck with everything! just a suggestion, Mac maybe quite receptive to your interesting life experiences!
good luck Dude!
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