28 yr old engineer looking for advice

Hi all,

My name is Matt. I am seriously considering pre-med and would love to here some advice from those of you non-traditional students who have, or are in the process of embarking on this journey. Let me provide some background info, and then I have three big questions that have been on my mind recently.

I graduated with a BS in electrical engineering in 2003. I am 28 years old. Since I have gotten this bug, I have read multiple books about medschool/intern life (or lack thereof). I also started taking classes towards my post bacc.

I have made it through biology and A&P at a community college, putting forth a moderate effort for A&P and receiving high A’s in all these classes. I feel confident that I still have it in me to go back to school. I have always loved it.

My questions are:

  1. Will my decade old physics and chemistry stil satisfy the application requirements? I was a tutor for physics and spent the last 7 years in a technical career.

  2. My BSEE GPA is 3.38, not counting my postbacc work. Should I be worried?

  3. I plan to take O-chem next. From reading forums, I am starting to be concerned about the stigma of community college. Should I transfer to a 4 year school for O-chem? And due to the <3.5 GPA, should I consider taking other relevant classes to buff up my application? I was thinking microbiology and biochem. Any other suggestions?

    Thank you all, and I wish everyone the best of luck.


It looks like I am on the same boat as you. I am a 32 yr old engineer and this semester I am taking Biology and 2 physics labs (all with high A’s). My GPA as undergraduate was 3.39, and 3.59 as graduate engineering. I am wondering some of the same things you are… Should I take additional courses other than minimum requirements to beef up my resume? If just take the basic requirements I could apply for 2012 admission, if I take additional courses that will delay me an extra year. Any advice is appreciated…

Matt, I think both your ideas are good ones. It’s definitely a good idea to transfer for o-chem. Also be sure to brush up on your gen. chem before you take it, because o-chem is a killer. Microbiology, biochemistry, and genetics are all helpful to polish your science GPA and lay some extra groundwork for med school. Any of those three will make two or three weeks of med school a little easier than they otherwise would be.

But your GPA is not awful by any means. My undergrad GPA was 3.337 or something like that, and it wasn’t even in something hard like engineering.

Also be sure to have a well-rounded application–volunteer in the community, spend time shadowing a doctor or working with sick people in some way so you can demonstrate you know what you’re getting into. I think you’re definitely on the right track.

Thanks Karolyn. That makes me a little less worried.

I have been volunteering for over 2 years at an urgent care clinic. Does anyone have any advice on research? I have no idea how to even get my foot in the door.

Also, with regards to MCAT’s…

My current plan in to complete O-chem, then take the next available MCAT. Will I be missing out due no not taking micro/biochem/genetics?

Or should physics/chem/ochem be enough to get me through?

I have a meeting with a premed advisor today. Any other questions I should ask him/her?

Thanks again everyone!

Oops on the Karolyn, should have credited samenewme. Purely a rookie mistake. Anyways…

Had a meeting with an adivsor of a 4 yr school today. He was very helpful, however, he has a, and I will quote him “which med school is the best med school? The one that accepts you” attitude. I, however, would like to shoot for higher. His opinion was to take o chem and other classes at community college (get all A’s) and I should at least get into one med school. I am going to follow “same”'s advice and apply to the 4 year for o-chem and beyond. I’m starting to look at MCAT review too. I will probably post in another section for those questions.

In my area O-chem was not available at community college or I would have done it –

things may have changed but my school had no problem w grades much older than yours…

It would be wise to talk to a couple of schools you are interested in and find if they ave a policy on this

During my advising session, the advisor pulled out a guide, supposedly distributed to all pre-med advisors. It was a complete listing of all med schools and their requirements ( or what they find unacceptible). Does anyone know of anything similar online? It was not until recent that I started to believe my plan could come into fruition. I have not been able to reseach specific schools. I only have 2 months to make the call on which class to take and I doubt I could do the appropriate med school research in time.


Would you mind sharing some more on your position?


This is probably what you’re looking for:


  • picks99 Said:
He was very helpful, however, he has a, and I will quote him "which med school is the best med school? The one that accepts you" attitude. I, however, would like to shoot for higher. His opinion was to take o chem and other classes at community college (get all A's) and I should at least get into one med school.

So I agree with the advisor on the first point - and by the time you get through the process of applying to med school, you probably will to. The best med school IS the one that accepts you. However, I strongly disagree with his attitude regarding CC credits in a couple of ways. First of all, his assumption that A's would be easier to get at a CC is erroneous and insulting. Second, his attitude that it's the grade that matters rather than what you learn is short-sighted and not helpful. You need to actually KNOW the stuff; he seems to think you just need the A. Third, unfortunately med schools sometimes do have an attitude about CCs (similar to his!), which is why you are wisely choosing to go to a four-year university if you can. Good luck!


Thanks for that, Mary! Again, you put it all into perspective. I was among the camp that discounted the importance of pre-med classes, particularly organic chem, even after I succeeded in them. I’m finally finishing my bachelor’s degree in pharmacology, and I’d be in serious trouble now without a great foundation in orgo. I know of one student in my (very small) program who is an undergraduate TA for orgo, and realizes that he never really understood the subject that well, despite his ability to beat the curve on multiple-choice exams.

Pre-med students should focus on internalizing every bit of knowledge they can. You will never be tested on Gringard reagents on the USMLEs, but your general understanding of how electrons flow, and how acid-base chemistry works, and GCPRs and ligand-gated channels will be ever-present throughout your career in medicine. Learn them now, and review the basic science concepts, so that they’re intuitive to you throughout med school. I plan to spend my year off before med school re-reading old notes from pharmacology, physiology, and biochem…