Any MD or DO programs with good reputations for non-traditional students?

Hi All-

So I’ve been doing all of my homework through the AAMC website, and all schools say that they’re amenable to non-traditional students. I’m wondering if, among this community, there is a stronger sense of which schools are truly amenable to non-trads? Are there any schools out there that go out of their way to assist non-trads? Is it better to be looking at D.O. programs than M.D. programs when you’re a non-trad? (Side note: I live in the Midwest and would love to stick around here, but I think my family is open to all possibilities.)


this is a very personal question, the reason is that while each school in the county has accepted non traditional students, you need to determine which school is the best fit for you. My alma mater was very non traditional friendly and they go out of their way to show this. however, it may not be the best fit for you. it does not matter if it is do or md, they both do a good job. you have to figure out what you want.

I can only speak form the interviews I have completed this cycle as I have not yet started classes. The two DO programs I interviewed at were very interested in me as a non-trad student and by looking at the student body appeared to have a large percentage of non-trad students. Those were Rocky Vista University, and Midwestern in AZ. I also interviewed and UND (MD program) and they appeared non-trad friendly but the student body appeared younger so I don’t know. USUHS also appears to be non-trad friendly if you are interested in joining the military.

It might help you figure out if a school is “non-trad friendly” if they have class statistics available somewhere. For example, the average age of my class is 24, which is I think around the national average. Oldest person is 41, and I’m 5th oldest at 33. We have a handful of people hovering around 30, some upper-20s. To balance that, we also have a ton of people either fresh out of college or one year removed. I think our youngest turned 22 in December or something. Stats can’t lie…, right?

Looking around at interviews I don’t think gives too much of an accurate perception of the class as a whole. From what I could tell, I was by far the oldest person at all of my interviews. Interviewee pools were between like 6 and 30+ people. All of the people who gave tours and whatnot were all young as well.

Any school that accepts you will do whatever they can to keep you in school and assist you in being successful. Be it through tutoring, financial planning, support groups, etc. It’s in the schools best interest to keep you in school and moving along the path to graduation. My school seems pretty non-trad friendly. There’s a fair number of people older than me, and many classmates with families. Our average age is either 26 or 28. Dr. Lerman gave you the best advice, find the best fit for you. This is important when looking at any type of schooling: post-bac, med school, grad programs, and residencies. It’s easier to succeed when you feel comfortable and not like you are fighting against a culture that doesn’t promote your best.

Good luck to you on your journey!

Thanks, all! Dr. Lerman, you seem to be on a path that I may be interested in (IM and CCM), but who knows. For those of you in D.O. programs, did you ever feel at a disadvantage for residency match? (And please don’t take that question to sound condescending. As an academic, I’m well aware of the many false pissing matches that go on in academia, and I tend to see the D.O. vs. M.D. matches as one of them.)

So maybe this is a better question. When one interviews, is it appropriate to ask questions about residency placement for their program’s graduates and fellowship placement for their students who go on to pursue them? (Do medical schools continue to keep track of their graduates through their GME, so that they can say something to the effect of: “Yes, and of the X number of students we send on to do a residency in IM, we see this percentage of them going on to do fellowships” or something along those lines?).

It is a relevant question. The schools very much keep track of where their students go. It is a way for people to guage the success of the program. Medical schools that have a large number of students match into very competitive programs use those as selling points to their school. I have not had an issue with feeling like I am disadvantaged. There has been no problems for me.

Thanks, Dr. Lerman. It’s comforting to know that.

After asking this question and doing my due diligence, I have come to the conclusion that it’s not easy to find an answer to this question. The school I will be attending this fall makes no effort to advertise its “non-trad friendliness,” and I was not even that interested in the school until I started asking more questions. It helped that I work with physicians who graduated from this school in the past few decades, and I was surprised to learn that some of their classmates were in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s when they attended. I would never have known that the closest state allopathic institution to me admitted more “older, non-trad” students than the osteopathic schools at the top of my list.

My advice is to talk to the deans before applying. You’ll get a strong sense of whether or not you’ll be a good fit for a school that way.

@njtrimed wrote:

My advice is to talk to the deans before applying. You’ll get a strong sense of whether or not you’ll be a good fit for a school that way.

No matter who you are , and how old you are, this is something every one should do: “get in touch with your top choice”. Always. That said, and while I understand that it is important to gauge the non-trad friendliness of schools, in my opinion, it has very little value (not to be judgemental, as I once remember my situation, and I was trying to answer the same question). At the end of the day, you should just apply as wisely (meaning don’t just apply to Harvard, Yale and Stanford), and broadly (meaning apply to every school where you would potentially go, I personally hate cold winter, so I didn’t even apply to Boston University or Harvard). Do not discount (or include) any school for the purpose of non-trad friendliness. Apply where you want to go, and see what comes back.

I wish you the best of luck.

DO/MD makes no difference. Boards scores matter (Comlex or USMLE). Residencies are interested in how well you performed on boards especially for the more competitive residencies such as ortho, derm, anesthesia, radiology.

I was applying at 52 (started at 53). can tell you that Case Western Reserve University actively recruits non-trad students. Albert Einstein SOM at Yeshiva University in the Bronx is also non-trad friendly. From my niece who was at Univ of Md. Med school and in the admissions office, they were also pretty non-trad friendly. At 53, I did get wait-listed at EVMS (Eastern Virginia Medical School), and offered the chance to apply for a special rural public health program within the med school at Univ. of Kentucky. UVA (Univ. of Virginia) tends NOT to take many older students, for whatever reason, so can’t bet on any particular public university. Those are the ones I am familiar with. I’ve heard Tulane is also pretty non-trad friendly.

Almost all the DO schools I applied at seemed to regard my life experience as a positive, and got accepted at a number of them.