A bit of history, and a school question

Hello… I am an ASCP certified cytotechnologist, as well as a microbiology med-tech. I have spent the last 5 years as a research scientist working in a BSL-3 laboratory at a university… and I’m 40. I am in the final stages of prepping for medical school application season (my MCAT is April 23rd). I graduated with a BS in Microbiology GPA 3.67 in 1996. I am a first generation college graduate.

I am also the “human subjects guy” at my university, so I have quite a bit of ‘patient’ contact (so far just phlebotomy).

I sat down with the Pre-med advisor, where I work, and he told me that age discrimination is alive and well at US medical schools. He suggested that I apply to Creighton, Case Western Reserve, and DO schools because they have a history of taking “older students.”

So… I am going to apply to Creighton and Case Western Reserve (as advised), as well as the DO schools in Fort Worth, TX and Yakima, WA (based on my familiarity with their locations). I should apply to more than just four schools… are there any other allopathic medical schools that are friendly to older students? Are there any schools (allopathic or DO) that have bad reputations, or that I should avoid?

I plan on going into Family Practice, and I would honestly prefer to be a rural doc.

My institution, Univ. at Buffalo, is very encouraging of older applicants. I think that 10% of my 3d year med school class is now over 30!

My advice is to apply to a wide range of schools where you would be interested in attending and try not to worry so much about whether or not your age will be a factor. It will be, yes, but it’s very difficult to factually say that your age will keep you out of consideration at certain schools. You might look at ages of accepted students and say “gee, they’ve never accepted a student over 40”. Maybe they’ve never had a student over 40 apply, or the few over 40 who applied weren’t well qualified.

I applied to Ohio State because it was one of my state schools, but I had the impression (false) that Ohio State didn’t really like non-traditionals. I know many non-trads at OSU, and there have certainly been a few accepted over 40.

Yes, Case does have a reputation for being non-trad friendly. I decided not to apply there, though, because of the cost. Case is a private school and the tuition cost is nearly double that of any of the state schools in Ohio.

In Ohio, most of the schools are relatively non-trad friendly. I don’t know if you’re from Ohio or not, but I encourage you to add any/all of the Ohio schools to your list.

Just read your post and I found it interesting. I am also an ASCP MT currently practicing in Hematology. I did my undergraduate in 93, and my MT in 96. With your clinical science backround, what kind of prep did you do for med school apps? I’m curious about post bac classes specifically. Did you take any additional classes to refresh your coursework, or are you just taking the MCAT and letting you cytotech work show your apptitude in the sciences?

I’m gonna put a plug in for my school, University of Iowa, as a place that is interested in non-traditional students. They are also a top ten school for primary care, including rural med, so could be a great fit for you. Drop me a private message if you’d like the contact info for the dean of admissions, who I am sure would be interested in talking with you about the school.

I agree–just apply and don’t worry about the age thing. That being said, my school (Medical College of Wisconsin) likes to feel it is non-trad friendly. I feel very welcome here.

A year ago, I changed my mind about oncology to rural family med. The mind change was due to talking to an admissions dean. I was ecstatic about rural family med, started shadowing, etc etc etc.

Two months ago or so, I visited the school again. A physician on the adcom told me, point blank, with my 3.8 GPA, “Think about the Caribbean. We won’t discriminate against you because of your age, but the Carib takes lots of folks like you.”

ORLY!? What exactly does “like me” mean? I know what it meant. I know what HE meant.

Needless to say, it was easy to take that school off my list of 25 and save myself the $100 app fee

Don’t get discouraged due to ageism… just apply, put your best foot forward, and let the chips fall where they may.