Amazed Confused

Wow! I had no idea any site like this would even exist yet alone any “older” people would actually pursue medicine! I’m thrilled!

At this point I’m a little confused by the process and am looking for any advice I can get. Here’s my story;

14 years ago (I’m 38) I left StonyBrook University’s Honors College with a 3.75 GPA and straight A’s in Organic Chem and other sciences (some of which I took at a community college). I was a really good student and absolutely loved science. I left to start a family and become a full time mommy. Three kids later, I realize I’m not getting any younger and the desire to practice medicine isn’t getting any weaker.

So, I’m wondering what would be the best options at this point in terms of completing my Bs.How important is it to go to the best school I can get into to complete my BS. How would I refresh myself in the science classes I took so long ago inorder to be up to date and prepare for the MCATs? And please, any other advice you all think would be helpful please send it a long.

In the meantime, I’m so glad to have found this site!


I think before debating on whether one college or university is more prestigious over another, you should ask the following:

Can I complete my bachelor’s degree at this college or university? Can I schedule classes around my work schedule and/or home schedule at this college or university?

Does this college or university offer upper division premedical courses?

Can I afford this college or university?

Can I achieve at this college or university? (Actually, this might be the first question you should ask.)

Then, after answering the above, should you ask about the prestige, or more properly put, the familiarity medical schools have of the college’s or university’s premedical program.

There are some on this site who advocate retaking premedical coursework you’ve already done well in after a certain time period has elapsed. There are others, like myself, who advocate not doing this because in addtion to the unnecessary costs, it’s kind of assumed that you’ll get an easy “A” retaking remedial coursework. Regardless of whichever route you take, you should take upper-level premedical coursework (like biochemistry, neuroanatomy, molecular biology, etc.) that build upon lower-division premedical coursework. Achieving in these courses not only proves that you’ve mastered the lower-level premedical coursework, but also helps to prove that you can handle similar, graduate-level medical school coursework. Additionally, there a few medical schools (I’m thinking of Wake Forest, in particular) who won’t accept premedical courses from a community college unless they have been followed-up with upper-level courses.

If you’ve already completed the premedical prerequisites, then start studying for the MCAT right now. This will also help you review for the the upper-level courses.

While working on the above, you should also try to find a physician who’d be willing to let you shadow him or her. Not only will you get an idea on what being a physician is really like, but this would also give you a chance to ask questions on the challenges of becoming a physician (medical school workload, time demands, residency hell, etc.) and hopefully gain some good advice.

I think there’s actually more than two schools of thought regarding retaking prerequisites: specifically, if your BIOLOGY credits are old then you would be well-advised to take those credits over, not because it’ll be an easy A but because cell biology, in particular, has changed so much. Gen-chem, O-chem and physics are pretty much the same topics but biology is practically reinvented every few years.

I agree with others - don’t worry too much about the presige of the school - the purely practical side of getting this done while still managing family matters takes precidence.

I had my BS done - but did refresher courses at the local tech (they had Anatomy and Physiology - microbio etc as part of their nursing program) because it was available.

Now doing it that way may not have got me into the top ranked most competitive school, but It did get me in. I suspect what is available in your local area may have a lot to do with what you choose to do. I had to do courses in the evening to coordiante with work at that time which limited choices, as it may with you.

good lucK! and ith that GPA you are off to a good start!

Thanks for the replys!

I’ve been reading everything I can find about non-traditional students and have begun contacting local schools as well as the bigger universities in Chicago just to get a feel for the process.

The feeling I’m getting so far is that what matters most in completing my BS is not so much the school or the degree but rather that I enjoy it and do very, very well. Yeah?

As for re-taking pre-reqs, I’m kind of leaning toward the idea of re-taking all of them. I just don’t think I can re-teach myself o chem in prep for the MCATS (when I’m at that point).

I realize time isn’t exactly on my side but I’d hate to rush the process. Besides there is nothing like the feeling of being really prepared for a test, taking it and walking out of the room smiling.

I’ve got a meeting with an advisor at Northwestern University’s School of Continuing studies tomorrow so I’ll see what they have to offer in terms of BS programs and what I’ll need to do to graduate and prepare for the next steps.

Thanks you all,


Sounds like you’ve got the right approach, Jenny. I especially agree with “what matters most in completing my BS is not so much the school or the degree but rather that I enjoy it and do very, very well. Yeah?” And you’re absolutely right that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. One thing, though: I don’t know that anybody walks out of the MCAT smiling