Any non-trads w/o Bachelors who did/are doing premed?

Hi. I am an almost 34 yr old single mom back in school since Spring 2010. I have various credits under my belt from my 20’s and from spring, summer and fall(thus far) semesters this year but no undergrad degree. My passion is medicine. I can see that now and have really known it along and I’ve started to explore the premed option. I am working well uphill not even having a Bachelor’s but I’m sure it can be done. I’m holding a 3.99 gpa right now. This semester I’ve had the rare undergrad opportunity of cadaver dissection in my anatomy class that has only cemented my feelings about wanting to go to med school.

I went back to school in Spring during a tough separation from my ex, taking care of a toddler basically on my own while working 40 hrs a week and still got a 4.0 (took 6 credits then). So, academically I know I have it in me. Financially, I have no clue. I think I will have to get into loan debt for sure to make it through before my daughter is ready for college! Initially, I figured I’d get my BSN, but I’ve known forever (since childhood) that being a Dr. is what I really want. Everyone and their brother (except, interestingly one of my own dr’s) seems to be discouraging me from getting my BSN and then applying to med school and I get that. I understand that there is a major shortage of nurses and it can be unnerving for someone to get trained as a nurse only to not even enter (or at least not stay) in the field.

However, I am honestly not sure how feasible it will be for me to choose any other Bachelors program. It will seem arbitrary at best. I know I may tick others off by saying this, but if I get my BSN, I can at least get a very good job in healthcare and still have opportunities for graduate nursing education if I don’t get into or just don’t decide to go the med school route.

Any advice out there? There are so many discussion about post-Bacc work, but I still need to get my Bachelor’s and I don’t know if seeking a Bio degree at this point is a good option or even something I want. If I don’t get in to med school, then what? I have a daughter to support. I need a plan for all scenarios. I still have to work about 30-32 hrs a week for all of 2011 so I can only continue to do part time school right now. It’s not by choice, though. I’d do anything to be in school full time, but as a single mom, I’m not there just yet, but I will be. I just need another year before I can do school full time.

I have an appt with the premed advisor in about 2 weeks and will be meeting w/ my nursing advisor soon, too. However, my nursing advisor is not aware of my premed focus and I don’t plan to tell her just now.

Any advice from anyone who started with a nearly clean slate would be great. Please, though, I respectfully ask for others to not tell me that if I want to be a doctor, I will not be happy becoming a nurse, etc, etc. I have heard many debates and soap box comments on the dr. vs nurse conversation and nurse becoming doctor argument. I understand this can be an emotionally charged topic with many opinions but I would love to just hear from anyone who started premed work as a non-trad w/o a Bachelor’s. How did you do it? What was your eventual major? Did you have any credits from previous work (I have about 40 plus)? Age? Parenthood? Any other advice?

Sorry for being long winded-it’s an affliction!

Thanks in advance for any helpful thoughts!

I have a few thoughts you can take or leave… I know you can choose any Bach degree you want for med school, however I think Bio or Chem might be the shortest route to a degree since they have most of the pre med pre reqs already incorporated.

If you want to be in school full time you can live off student loans ( what’s a few thousand vs med school debt). Live in student housing (married with children housing) best price for rent, plus other people who are going through the same thing (even if not same outcome/major) great support.

Most schools have daycare programs that are subsidized for students children, making them very affordable almost free if you have no income. You will have to check with your school. We have 4 children (10, 8, 4, 1) and my wife stays home with them. We live in the married student housing and really like it. We are probably the oldest and have the most kids but are adjusting very well. Everyone is nice and super supportive of our situation. I do not work I attend school full time and then some so we can get it done asap. We live off what we get from loans/grants and a little gov. help which I have found is very common in the student world. I am very grateful for this, I get to pursue my dreams at any age with 4 kids and a very supportive wife. Quite humbling to live in country that gives second chances.

I am 37 doing my undergrad, taking the MCAT May 21st. Hoping to enter med school in Fall 2012. Majoring in Chemistry, falling back on a PHD in Chemistry if Med School does not work out. Currently a 4.0 student and keeping my head afloat. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

Good Luck with your decisions, I’m sure you will make the right ones for you and yours.


Thank you so much for the reply, Scott. I have been really thinking about seeking a Bio degree afterall. I’m just so nervous and have so much on the line, like everyone here does, that the decisions don’t come as easily as they did when I was in my 20’s with time on my side and no one else depending on me. I have thought about living on loans, too and making the necessary sacrifices now to have the future I really want.

You give me much encouragement, Scott! While I am recently divorced, my ex and I are on good terms enough that I would consider living w/ him again to allow for some sharing of child care duties and expenses. Government assistance could be an option, too. Right now, I’m not eligible for anything because I make just too much. Unfortunately, I don’t make quite enough either, if you get my drift. I am really about ready to go for broke, suck it up, live off loans and pursue my dream.

I have a decent job and work with good people who have been extraordinarily flexible with me thus far, but I am bored there and conflicted. It’s not where I want to be.

I have a lot to ponder and I am not making any rash decisions yet, but hearing your thoughts and your story is very encouraging.

Thanks again and best of luck to you, Scott!

I look forward to hearing more about your journey as you post on these boards.


Shannon: My situation is similar to yours, but not quite the same.

I thought I will post this out here as you might be able to use this as well to gain few credits … have you looked into what subjects your school accepts as CLEP credit? If you have read the material related to those subjects previously you might be able to save a little bit of time and money, and focus on the classes that you really want to use in future.

Hope this helps.

Thanks for the thoughts on the CLEP. I will look into it!


Well, I think I fit in that category.

I just turned 39 a couple weeks ago. I went to school back in 89’ and got caught up in the night life. So I left school (read: kicked out) with 21 earned credits and a 1.14 GPA.

After owning several businesses over the last 20 years, and really fighting with myself, I decided I would finish what I started. So I am heading back to school in December.

I have to go to a Community College for a little bit before a University will accept me, and the one her has a “Wintermester” where you can take 3 Credits. It is only a month long, meets 5 days a week for 4 hours. But at the end of the month, I will be back in business. I am taking English for that quick “wintermester”.

Also, being in Texas, we have the Academic Fresh Start program, so I will be going in under that, which means for any “professional” school after undergrad they won’t count my previous debacle against me. Not sure how that would work if I were to say apply to an MD program out of Texas. But at least here, I can start fresh. Which is good, because I checked today, and I could get a 4.0 for the rest of my college career and still barely get a 3.5 GPA.

Oh, and as far as what program I am going for…I am doing a dual major Bio/Business Admin. As I said I have owned several businesses and am really interested in business. I then plan on going for the combined MD/MBA degree. I figure, at this age, what is one more year of school?

I, too, am in a similar situation as I am 41 (okay, so I’m a wee bit older ) and am a first time college student. I’ve only been part-time (6-9 credit hours/semester) since Summer semester of '08.

Hubby and I have four kidlets and the youngest will finally be in school all day (part-time K this year) beginning in the fall of this year, which is when I will dive into the pre-reqs full-time and finish what I need to with my degree. After taking a few gen eds, I finally decided upon Psych as my major. It was very confusing for me to try and decide on a major because I wanted to study everything! I thought about majoring in Chem, Clinical Labs and even Spanish, but once I took a psych class as a gen ed I was hooked!

This degree will leave a door open for a Ph.D in Psych if for some reason I am unable to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. I’ve often thought it would be really nice if there were a “Pre-Medicine” major. Life would be much more simpler for me and many others if there were. This path has been frustrating at times and overwhelming at times, but I’ve never been more certain of my path.

I have to admit that I’ve learned a lot about myself and just how much I really want this dream to become a reality by having to labor so much for it. Honestly, I cannot see myself doing anything else but medicine. I love the field will all my heart and want to work in a rural setting where access to good physicians and medical care tends to be limited. There is such a great need out there…

Something else I’ve learned, too, is that I must trust my own instincts. You know your limits, weaknesses, strengths and how much you can stretch yourself (and when) better than anyone else. Pursue this path in a way that is best for you and your circumstances. I know of a single, divorced mom with four kidlets who is also a PGY3 who inspires me every day. It can be done! Just trust your heart when it comes to planning this path out because the under-grad years are the only times we will have that luxury. Once we enter med school our time will no longer be our own; we will be told what to do, when to do it and for how long. And that will continue into residency.

I hope I addressed what you needed. If not, feel free to contact me and best of luck to you!

Hello. I am a newbie to OPM. I am 40 years old, a wife and mother of 3 (20, 18, and 5). I’m also working on my Bachelors. I returned to college in the 2009-2010 school year, it has been daunting, interesting and quite fulfilling. I too am having a hard time deciding upon a major, leaning towards Psychology.

I’m going the Liberal Arts route and will do Post-Bacc. Personally, I want to keep my 3.83 GPA or get it higher and focus on all science courses later. I really want to do good on the MCAT, I was advised by my Dean to go this route being a non-traditional student. So glad I dropped Bio and followed the advice.

I am a CMA, but my childhood dream and purpose in life has always been to become a Doctor. Oddly my initials spell ADOC.

Hi ADOC! I used to live in GA. Nice to meet another Southerner. We miss that warm, friendly culture. Good luck with your studies!

Hello Mujer, nice to meet you! Been in Georgia all my life. Likewise, best wishes on your studies!!

I had typed out a long response then lost it…bottom line being BSN is not a bad plan. You have a solid career that can keep you engaged for a long time (worked for 13+ years for me, 2 years med surg then 11 critical care). I am now, 13 years in, an “expert” RN…which scares me, because I know how shallow my knowledge is when compared to that of a physician. It is not insubstantial, but there is so much I don’t know…anyway, it would be hard for you to go wrong with a BSN. It is a very flexible way to support your family, and you can stay intellectually engaged in it for a very long time.

Best of luck,