Hello. Is there any advice on this? I am 50 yrs old and want to become a physician. I am starting at the beginning. Only have a BA. Where do I start?
Hello. I’m new here and at the beginning of my journey as well, so take everything here with a grain of salt.
Having said that, from listening to Dr. Gray’s podcasts and learning about the pre-med to medical school to doctor journey, here is what I have learned. The medical school application (which at the beginning seems to be where the focus is) generally focuses on 4 areas:
Shadowing and Clinical Experience - This is SUPER important as it is how you show you’ve considered the “why” behind wanting to be a doctor. As other forums here have discussed quality of experience is more important than quantity. In addition, to showing medical schools that you understand what you’re going into, this is an opportunity understand if you like being around patients and to learn more about yourself. Moreover, understanding your “why” will help you during the more rigorous and grueling moments along the journey. So, if you don’t have any shadowing or clinical hours yet, start here.
Academics - Depending on what your BA is in and how long ago you took the courses, a post-bacc program is likely in your future. This could be a formal program or a DIY approach. I’d recommend some self-reflection and a little research to know which one is better for you. Also, the post-bacc will help with several different tasks. First, if you struggled in you BA, then a post-bacc could help you improve your GPA and demonstrate that you can handle the academic rigor of medical school. Even if you did great in your BA, the post-bacc will help fill any missing pre-reqs and prepare for the MCAT.
MCAT - Dr. Gray seems to frequently hint that he does not like the MCAT. Nevertheless, it is still a hurdle that many of us pre-meds will have to jump. Like the academics above, the MCAT is used to assess ability to succeed in medical school (although it is debatable as to whether or not it achieves this goal). The main take-away from Academics and the MCAT is do as well as possible, but also realize that beyond a certain level, stats matter less and your story matters more towards gaining acceptance into a med school.
Volunteer hours, Letters of Rec, and Your Story - I’ve grouped all of these together because ultimately they are serving a very similar function. They are expressing who you are as a person and presenting your story of how you arrived where you are (which is theoretically applying for med school admissions). When reviewing the application, don’t discount the power of narrative and communicating the story behind your stats. Dr. Gray harps on this over and over in his podcasts, and for good reason… Your story is important.
As I said above, this is just my take on what I’ve learned from Dr. Gray and others. There are forums and other resources at MedSchoolHQ that can help you dive deeper into each area, and any that I may have unintentionally left out. Also, Dr. Gray’s podcasts “The Premed Years” and “OldPreMeds Podcast” have been super helpful for me. I wish you the best of luck on your journey.
52 here and just finishing my premed Post bacc that took me a circuitous 6 years to get though with breaks due to finances, death of spouse (stage 4 prostate cancer) full time caregiving, probate legal battles and a side of mild traumatic brain injury…just for sh*ts and giggles…somehow I’m still at it.
If you’re 50 and want to become a physician now you either have a strong why or you don’t. Let’s assume you do, time to start articulating and documenting the out of this. Volunteer, shadow, what have you (and more), but have a clear purpose and direction to the madness you’re about to undertake because it is a special form of madness, no question about that. Eyes on the prize and hunker down, figure out the money and full steam ahead…for at least a couple of years. Then MCAT and applications…the party never ends, it seems…
IF you don’t have a clear idea why, and aren’t determined and persistent as this might not be the path for you.
That’s my two exhausted cents FWIW.
Go for it! Previous commenters gave great advice. All the best to you.