Admissions Advisor meeting did not go well

Hi all,

I’m a nurse looking to become a physician. I’m also 39 years old. I’ve spoken with admissions advisors at a few different universities - some of whom were super encouraging, but some of whom were really, really not. Today was one that did not go well. With a smile and a perky af attitude, she said the words “you know we obviously do not take age into consideration with our applicants, but a lot of potential applicants over 30 decide that it’s not worth their time to go through all this training.” I didn’t ask that. I didn’t even allude to that. I just wanted to know if they had support systems in place for non-trads. She also said that while I’m working full-time, I have to take a full-time load of pre-reqs and get a 4.0, shadow physicians, and volunteer. I realize that that is normal for traditional medical students (minus the working full-time part), but it is not doable for me. Other admissions counselors I’ve spoken with have said that taking one class at a time, as long as I do well, while I’m working full-time as a nurse who sees and interacts with physicians all the time is sufficient. But now I’m discouraged and doubting my decision yet again. I’m just so tired.

Ultimately, you should ask yourself – Why do you want to be a physician? What can it offer you that nursing cannot. Have you considered working towards a NP? Why not be a NP? All these questions will be asked of you during your interview. In addition, ask yourself – Can you continue with your career as a nurse and not regret the decision of not going down this path? If in the end you have appropriate answers to these questions, then I would continue forward.

If that is the director’s of admissions mindset, I wouldn’t bother applying to their school. If not, then I may consider still applying. I already accepted the fact there will be bias because I am an older candidate. I also know that I have more to offer than someone right out of undergrad with limited experiences. I would prefer to go to a school that realizes that fact.

We non-trads have a lot of crap to overcome - including friends, family, and friends-that-are-physicians saying not to make the switch - to pursue this dream.

You can’t let a lone (or handful of) dissenting voice(s) take you off the path. You have to want this and make it happen. If you have a handful of schools that understand where you’re coming from and how can go about this, just keep talking to them: build the plan that you get in writing that they’ll respect, and then execute.

It’s a dumb saying but it holds here

ignore the haters

One final thing

I hear you. It’s exhausting to face regular, piercing discouragement, especially from the gatekeepers. @randomusername makes a good point about the questions you have to answer for a medical school interview board.
I got really tired of not finding anyone who had tried the non-traditional move that I’m making, finished rather than bailing out early (or finding something new to love in their current work), and could counsel with me about how to take those steps. And then I realized that I get to blaze this trail.
I’ll be the first doctor in my family. Not immediately. Not in the next two years (if I, say, dropped everything, lived off loans, and did all the prerequisites / a post-bacc). Not in six years. But I won’t make it off this earth before I’ve given my best to become a physician.

Find your “why” and don’t let it go. I wish you the best and would love to talk more, if need be.
Be well.

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In my opinion, sounds like a bad school. Not in the academics sense, that’s probably fine. In the sense of supporting their students through what is universally recognized as one of the most difficult undertakings we can pursue. If they get offensive when asked about their support systems, it’s because that’s their weak spot, which is their problem not yours. A psychologist once told me about some research he read about how an institution is a much greater factor in wellbeing than the actual program (or something like that; my big takeaway was just that if they are good at making students depressed or suicidal, avoid). When someone wants to shut a gate in your face, jet-pack to a better place, I say.