am i nuts?

Hi everyone, I am 37, a web developer, and have a burning desire to become a physician. I have previously taken a course in medical anthropology and have done counselling of battered women. I also was a member of Geekcorps, a technology Peace Corps-type of organization, where I volunteered in Ghana. I did well at university and graduated summa cum laude with English and Soviet Studies majors. As I research post-bacc programs, I see a statistic that only around 20% of over 38-yr-olds get into medical school. What can I do to maximize my chances? Am I nuts? Please advise. P.S. My father is still a practicing anesthesiologist and has brought me to surgeries since I was 10, so I know a little of what being a doctor entails.

You are SO not nuts!

Poke around on the forums here to get your bearings. Some of the things you can do to maximize your chances of acceptance:

Get good grades (sounds like that won’t be a problem).

Study and take many practice exams to prepare for the MCAT.

Apply early in the application cycle–you should submit your online application to AMCAS (allopathic) and/or AACOMAS (osteopathic) by early to mid July at the latest. Finish secondary applications from med schools as soon as you possibly can.

Spend some time doing volunteer work in a clinical setting so you have some up-front patient exposure.

Really, one of the reasons older students may have trouble getting accepted is that they may have older, bad grades to overcome, don’t get the experience they need before applying, don’t test as well, don’t have a clear, compelling story to tell why medicine, and the burning question for us non-traditional students: why NOW?

I think you have a lot going for you in terms of grades, background, volunteer experience, etc. You may be able to do an informal, “roll-your-own” post-bacc where you take classes at the university of your choice when you can fit them into your schedule. If you have ongoing financial obligations, an informal program can postpone the time when you have to quit your job and take out those big loans.

Good luck, and welcome aboard!

Oh, and take a look at this thread , discussing ages of various old premeds.

You are not nuts. We are all perfectly sane at OPM.
What do you need to do in addition to what you have already done, which is quite impressive and will help you get noticed by the adcoms…
1. Take all your required course (1 yr English, 1 yr general biology with labs for both semesters, 1 yr gen chemistry with labs, 1 yr physics with labs, 1 yr organic chemistry with labs, 1 yr math)
2. Study and take the MCAT (the beast)
3. get maybe one more EC (extracurricular), in a clinical setting such as a free health clinic or as a hospital volunteer. Somewhere that allows direct patient contact.
4. get great LORs (letter’s of referrence) from profs and from places where you have volunteered
5. Write a great personal essay
6. Apply to medical school
7. Get secondaries
8. Go on interviews
9. Get acceptances
10. Go to medical school
I wish you luck as you start your journey. It is a long one but you can do it, if it is what you really want to do.
Welcome to OPM
Glad you’ve joined us.
Amy B

Thanks for the list of “too do’s” Sometimes it helps for someone to outline/make a list of things to think about and accomplish. I know for me this whole journey is like, “What do I do now, what will I have to do later, what should I be preparing for, what the hack does that mean”? Etc. When preparing to become a physician it seems as though you need to plan for things you don’t even know exists! I guess I’m feeling overwhelmed with some of the terminology involved in the process of applying? Maybe you can help clarify some terms, and explain these acronyms. Thanks~Jen

Ask about any terms you may not know about. Hey, when I started I had no idea what LOR or ECs stood for. I felt foolish asking what “adcoms” meant. I didn’t know it stood for admissions committees. We do all start to talk in abbrevations and to those who are new it can sound like so secret code.
We all were newbies to this process so don’t feel bad. You are not alone. That is why OPM is so great.

"As I research post-bacc programs, I see a statistic that only around 20% of over 38-yr-olds get into medical school"
As Mark Twain said, “There are lies, there are damn lies, and then there Statistics!” I am well into my 40’s and wonder what those statisics really say? Is the sample every 38 year old who applied? How many are first time applicants who are summa cum laude and served in the Geek Corps? How many with a strong motivation and desire to achieve much more than the already successful life they have? If the odds are enough to dissuade, what will the many challenges that you face on the path to medicine be like? And the most important question, what will your life, your heart, your soul, be like if you don’t try?
Sometimes you have to start small
climbing the tiniest wall
maybe you’re going to fall
but its better than not starting at all
(“Everybody Says Don’t” from the musical "Anyone Can Whistle, by Stephen Sondheim)
(be thankful that there isn’t voice or else you would have heard me belting out a chorus; though my cat seemed to appreciate it.)