A return to pre-med?

Greetings to all – I am new to this site and the discussions here have been incredibly helpful to me. I am once again considering pursuing an MD or DO. I am 54 years old and I have two BS degrees from a top 25 US public university, majoring first in Bio and then in Acct. At that time, I took all the required pre-reqs, in addition to earning 39 upper level credits in Bio/Pathology, which included 6 credits at the grad level. I also spent a semester volunteering full-time in a research lab. Believing that that my low gpa had put med school out of reach for me, I moved on to pursue Acct. Over the past 30 years, I have worked as a CPA for a top accounting firm (I was a non-traditional hire there in spite of my low gpa) and have held senior level positions, including CFO, at private and public companies. I currently work as a financial consultant.

It would be helpful for me to get a reality check. I make a good living as a financial consultant, but I don’t mind forgoing those earnings for a year or 2, or so (or nine years, or so, if end up in med school). Based upon what I’ve read here, it’s clear that a relatively high score on the MCATs is a must for me. I also believe that I’ll need to optimize my gpa and demonstrate an ability to handle the rigors of a tough academic schedule, which I did not do as an undergrad. I worked quite a few hours back then financing my education, which I won’t have to do now. In terms of optimizing my overall and science gpas, it’s going to require one mighty lift. As an undergrad I earned 186 credits, which includes 60 credits related to Acct. I have read here that DO schools replace grades for retaken classes as opposed to averaging them, so perhaps DO schools may be the best or only possible option open to me.

My current thoughts on how I would proceed at this point are as follows:

1). Get a reality check (a very frank assessment) - Is med school a realistic pursuit considering my age, low gpa 30+ years ago, etc.? Is it possible that some schools might place a significantly greater emphasis on my MCATs and current academic record, while significantly discounting my 30+ year old academic record?

2). If it makes sense to move forward, I would focus full-time on the MCATs for the next 4.5 months and self study until I start the Kaplan course this summer. Perhaps, I’ve retained more knowledge than I realize.

3). Take a full course load at UC Berkeley extension in the fall and spring. I would plan to retake the prereqs, together with other courses. As long as I’m achieving a gpa of 3.7– 4.0, I continue.

4). Retake the Kaplan course in the summer of 2011 and take the MCATs.

5). Continue at UC Berkeley extension in the fall 2011 and spring 2012 with a full course load.

At some point in the above sequence, I would apply to med school.

Thanks in advance for any advice/feedback you can provide.

I think that only you can decide if it’s worth your time, money and effort. There are stories of people getting into med school in their 50’s and 60’s. If this is what you want, there is no harm in going for it. What’s the worst that could happen? If you spend the time, money and effort and don’t get in - You’re out some money, you took some classes and learned some new things. Then, you could say that you took the chance. If you don’t try, well you will be another x-number of years older and still don’t know if you could have done it. I went through UC Berkeley Extension - finished my prereqs and got into Touro COM DO program and I’m 40. My wife said that I had better do it or I would be 50 saying that I should have done it at 40 because I’m 40 now and saying that I should have done at 30… If you’ve got the bug, it’s hard to shake. So, at least give it a try. Time spent learning isn’t wasted, in my opinion. Good luck - Keep us posted.

Oh - and yes, schools will look closer at your recent GPA and MCAT that something that happened 30 years ago. Be prepared to answer “why now”?

Thanks for the feedback! I did go to TouroCOM’s website and was inspired by the school’s mission statement.

Don’t forget, med schools are going to want to know why the career change, and will be looking for an obvious motivation for medicine based on ongoing volunteering into a medical environment and community serve with vulnerable populations.