I had never posted to any forum until I found this one. So here goes…
I will be starting med school this fall, and as far as I can tell I will be the oldest “freshman” in the class. Why are we still freshman? Shouldn’t we be first year med students or at least MSI?
I ski patrolled for 15 years and always wanted to go to med school, so I am very excited that I am finally realizing my dream!
After working in a family practice office as an EMT and X-ray Tech for two years, I took my pre-reqs and applied to one school and got accepted!!! I am truly looking forward to starting in the fall, and am taking the summer off to be with my husband and to play in the mountains.
I am psyched I found this site as I can already tell there is a ton of fantastic information contained within!
I had never posted to any forum until I found this one. So here goes…
Welcome Lena. And 40 is still young! I was 52 when I first started med school. Due to several setbacks, I will be 58 when I graduate next year. And there have been several students older than me.
Please tell us more about your experience; where you’re going to be going; how the application process seemed for you; and, of course, tell us about your experiences as you navigate through med school itself.
Welcome aboard! It’s a difficult, and fun, trip!!
I was accepted to the Univ. of Utah. After living in Colorado and Utah for ski patrolling, I decided on the U of U due to lifestyle considerations: proximity to mountains, affordability, job connections, etc. Some people couldn’t believe I made my decision based on that rather than on ranking of schools. But being the older student, I wanted to make sure I would have my favorite diversions easily accessible to me to keep me sane.
I would describe the application process as jumping through a bunch of hoops that you don’t really want to, but must in order to achieve your goal!
I applied a year earlier than I expected to upon the advice of the dean at the U of U SOM, so I felt very harried by trying to apply, study for the MCAT, and take all the pre-reqs. I ended up taking the MCAT without having had genetics, cell bio, O Chem, or physiology, and being in the middle of physics, with my gen. chem. being 8 years old. Yikes. Luckily, it worked out. As it turned out, I would gladly take the MCAT again and go through the interview process again if I didn’t ever have to fill out the AMCAS application and secondary materials again. I found the MCAT and interview to be the easiest process, while the actual application was tedious; however, I did enjoy writing my personal statements.
I am amazed at your staying power!!! What residency are you going into?
Thank you for your welcome!
Congratulations! I will be a 46 year old Freshman in August. I was also accepted at U of Utah, but decided the UW (WWAMI) program better fit my lifestyle. I am sad though that I will miss getting to know another 40-something on this adventure. Isn’t it a kick?
I am sorry to hear you won’t be in my class!! But good luck at WAMI!! You will have to let me know what your class is like.
I was 40 when I started also. Believe me, you are about to have some of the best times of your life. I cannot believe, as much as I whine, how much fun I’m having…
OMD, Linda, Mary, Emergency, DrFP and the rest of the crew are really nice and helpful people…
Keep us advised of how it’s goin’ and sing out if you need help…
Thank you soooooo much. I love hearing other people doing this at our age!!! This site is just wonderful in that it makes you realize how many others have done it, are doing it, and hoping to do it! Right now I am having fun reading all the other posts and filing away a little information here and there, and occasionally I respond to a few of the posts when I feel like I can contribute some decent advice.
I am wondering about this list of pre-reqs. The college I’m applying to in Colorado requires math, chem, org. chem, physics, bio, and English. I doubt I’ll be able to do the others you’ve mentioned, like cellular bio and physiology. Is that going to be a problem in the application process or when taking the MCAT?
- southpawknuckler Said:
Answering your question in reverse order:
1) It won't be an issue on the MCAT. All the Bio is from General/Freshman Biology. Some students have suggested to me that advanced courses may help in reinforcing the freshman bio material but so would a good MCAT prep course.
2) Some students premed advisors, and admissions officer do make the argument that, since non-trads typically have been out of school for some time, advanced courses do show at least some ability to handle upper level work and would be a plus on an application
3) The Bio requirement is a year of freshman/general bio with lab and a year of additional bio with lab. You could certainly take Biochem, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Neurobiology, Micro, etc, as part of that second year, thus covering the requirement and the getting in the suggested advanced courses. Many med students say that Biochem in med school is a killer course so having at least some background could be considered helpful. Some med schools will now accept Biochem in lieu of a second semester of Organic, however, need to check school by school.
4) Additional suggestion. It is helpful to show that you can handle at least one semester of full time school (ie 12 credits or more). Most schools, once you have full time status, you pay a fixed/flat tuition. For post-bacc on the cheap, if you can do it, take an extra course or two as it costs nothing additional. Most people seem to find Bio courses easier than say Chem or Physics. So perhaps an advanced "extra" bio course might fit in here. Of course, it all depends on schedule, work load, job, etc. However, NEVER risk bad grades by taking too many courses.
Pre-reqs vary slightly from school to school, and it looks like you checked into what CU-Denver requires. Personally, I thought the MCAT had a ton of Cell Biology on it. When I then took the course after the MCAT, I couldn’t believe how much it would have helped me. But I also have never had an intro. Bio course like the one the other respondant suggested. Physiology don’t worry about at all. Hardly any on it that I can remember. My anatomy fulfilled a biology course with a lab, and you might need a lab class as “gonnif” suggested. Also be careful about whether English or Writing is required. There is a difference at some schools. I had to take a writing class to meet the pre-req of two writing classes. Only one of my old English classes satisfied their requirement.
I only took the basics before medical school and that was enough for the MCAT, IMHO. I had more than 10 years earlier taken an anantomy & micro class for nursing. When I was in medical school I felt like I would have been better prepared for physio, biochem…if I had taken them at one time. My classmates thought, that it was nice to have it, but everything that they had spent a semester on in college, was covered in the 1st week or not covered at all. And they did not feel that they were at an advantage by taking it beforehand. The only people that had an advantage were the people that majored in those subjects. We had a guy that taught anatomy in our class. Couldn’t believe they wouldn’t let him out of that
Rachel Yealy, DO
- lenagirlski Said:
I applied a year earlier than I expected to upon the advice of the dean at the U of U SOM, so I felt very harried by trying to apply, study for the MCAT, and take all the pre-reqs. I ended up taking the MCAT without having had genetics, cell bio, O Chem, or physiology, and being in the middle of physics, with my gen. chem. being 8 years old. Yikes. Luckily, it worked out. As it turned out, I would gladly take the MCAT again and go through the interview process again if I didn't ever have to fill out the AMCAS application and secondary materials again. I found the MCAT and interview to be the easiest process...
Hi lenagirlski - (...and hello to all the other OPMers...I have been quite for a few months)
I think this is truly amazing and inspirational what you have accomplished.
However, a consistent theme that I have heard on this forum, and in speaking with others who have applied to med school, is to really not expect a good MCAT score without first finishing BIO, Physics and OChem.
Did you study on your own, or maybe you took a prep course?
It sounds like you applied without having a number of the pre-requisites and some of the recommended science courses.
Were you admitted without having had completed some of the required science courses? Or maybe you earned a conditional admission from Utah pending completion of them?
After this semester I will have both OChem remaining. I am now considering how likely ADCOMs would accept someone that had a very solid MCAT score, with an early applications in June, pending completion of the two OChem (or BioChem).
I have heard of people being accepted with one missing OChem, but not the BIO and OChem that it seems you did not have when you applied.
This sounds like your story, but please correct me if I have misread any of this...
Do you, or anyone else on the forum, think this plan of mine stands a chance?
Thanks for any additional insight you could provide.
As in Utah, we here in Arizona only have one instate school, so I'd like to apply in June with a great MCAT score, and finish the 2 Ochem classes before matriculation. I also plan to apply early and broadly to another 7-15 schools across the country.
Does anyone know of any schools where I would have a decent chance with this type of plan?
Thanks again lenagirlski, btw...love the name, my daughter's name is Lena
I am not sure why you are planning on taking the MCAT without Ochem…You want every advantage to ace your MCAT…and in my opinion, you are not going to learn o-chem in a review class if you have no previous o-chem experience.
I am not sure if a medical school would take you if you had not completed all of your classes, but I do not know. In my experience, they wanted to see all of your completed grades and your MCAT scores and then decide if they would grant you an interview.
Rachel Yealy, DO
Hi, Sorry I have been away for awhile. First two blocks of med school. Yikes! But it is so much fun.
To answer your questions, if you check back since it has been forever. Anyway, I knew I was not applying based on the strength of my MCAT score, so I was not worried if it was sub-par, which it was close to being, I suppose. As for not having finished all those pre-reqs, I was not under a “conditional” acceptance, merely, I would not have been allowed to matriculate if I had not finished them and passed them. So really, I was not worried about that either. However, a very wonderful professor offered to write a letter to the admissions committee indicating that I was his number one student and would have no problem finishing O chem. As it turns out, I was accepted before that was necessary.
I do want to say that you do NOT need all the courses for the MCAT. I have now met a few students in my class that also took the approach I did and met with success. The MCAT is not just about content; it really tests whether you can read a passage and then answer questions and not be confounded by their tricks. I hope that helps!
As I said when I took the MCAT, I was in the middle of Physics, and had not yet had Cell Bio, Physiology, Genetics or O Chem. The only thing did have was a General Chemistry from 10 years ago! I may be missing a few more things but I can’t think right now.
Additionally, I read what someone else said about pre-reqs and I am totally on the fence about it. Being underprepared did not really do me any favors I would say. For so many students a lot of this year has been review. But I also agree too, that sometimes the undergraduate portion was covered very quickly and early on in the course. I think having a foundation makes things easier. I am glad that I had not had Genetics, as our Medical Genetics course had very little to do with the undergrad course by all accounts. And I have heard that is a bear! I wish that I had had Anatomy and Biochem. I guess that is it.
Hopefully this helps a little.
- lenagirlski Said:
I think Rachels' point isn't about whether or not one can succeed without the prereqs but about it not being the smartest or best way to approach the competitive nature of med schools admissions.
What I've frequently found is that in many cases where people seemed to have "lacked" the credentials of other "competitve" applicants, other, sometimes rarely spoken of advantages such as Physican parents, personal connections with adcom through networking/familial relationshps, or being a URM, often come into play.
I do agree however that taking the MCAT is more about how you take the MCAT than how much you know in termsof the tipics being tested.
I don’t think you are implying I had connections. I did not know anyone at the med school or have any “ins.” I was lucky in that I applied to a school that looked at other qualifications besides GPA and MCAT scores. What is a URM?
- lenagirlski Said:
I'm not trying to be combative, but I'd consider being advised by the Dean of the medical school which subseqently accepted you to be a pretty significant "in".
My point was simply that there are many, many factors like having a relationship with the Dean of a med school which can play heavily into who gets accepted to med school beyond MCATS and GPA. I also think this type of networking is essential to success for nontrads as I have close relationships myself with several adcoms/Deans at several medical schools.
Networking/connections simply makes an otherwise qualified applicant stand out from the premed crowd and that's a good thing, especially for nontrads.