Applying to medical school as a former chiropractor

Hi, all.

I thought the general theme of this site would really be right for posing my question. My route to potential entry to medical school is most certainly “nontraditional.” To be frank, I have been pretty lost with regard to where I am and what my prospects would be, and it’s become pretty depressing. I am certain, however, that I’m not the only person who gets to wondering whether or not (s)he’s “missed their chance” in life.

I graduated from college in 1993 with a B.S. in Biology, ending up with a 3.15 GPA. I know, nothing to write home about. I had applied to medical schools afterward, and decided after some time to “cut my losses” and look for alternate means of being of help to people.

In 1999, I matriculated at Life University College of Chiropractic, and finished the curriculum in 2003, with a 3.88 GPA. I obtained licenses in four states, and practiced for some time – deciding to leave practice at the end of 2008. My reason for leaving was mainly the fact that I felt like a “bastard stepchild”/“used car salesperson” of the health care industry, and I had an increasingly difficult time practicing with what I could consider “ethics.” The cognitive dissonance involved in chiropractic practice was really too much for me.

In the time since, I have taken to teaching. I have been teaching in local career colleges for students getting involved in the health professions. Subjects such as anatomy & physiology, pathophysiology, myology & kinesiology, and other such areas.

I really want to apply to medical school again, and I am certain that there will be additional steps involved (I’ve spoken to one or two of the local schools about this, so I have a fairly good idea about it), but I have a couple of questions that I hope anyone else here with, perhaps, experience similar to mine might be able to help me with…

(1) With my academic profile, is it worth making the application? I know I’d likely have to slay the MCAT, and am preparing to review for it. Review strategies would also be of help, for those inclined to tackle that corollary question.

(2) I still do have outstanding student loans from undergrad and chiropractic – my principal balance is in the area of $140K. One of my most obvious issues is the prospect for financing this endeavor.

I know there are people with multiple professional degrees, so while I know it can be done, I am completely in the dark as to how it can feasibly be done.

I hope that taking some time to help me with this isn’t too much trouble.

Thank you all in advance.


JL - you might not be too old to go the military service route which would take care of your financing, although not sure about your current debt. If much of that is federal student loan money you could get a deferment while in school. If it isn’t, I really don’t know how you could make payments on it while in school.

I AM too old for the military service route so I applied for National Health Service Corps. Currently in year 3 and didn’t get it the first 2 years - applied again this year but won’t hear until September. Failing that, since I want to do rural primary care anyway, will try to find a Loan Repayment site to practice at after I get out: either with the NHSC or with a state program.

I would not write off your chances of admittance. You likely have the science background and could be a competitive applicant.

If I couuld be new-agey a minute, way will open.


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Rock the MCAT and get some great letters. If medical school is what you want, then go for it!

The financial side is a major question mark. The HPSP scholarship is a great opportunity. Doing the math on your age, it looks like you might be too old to apply, although it never hurts to look into it. I recently had some interaction with another military doc who was also a prior chiropractor.

If you don’t get a scholarship, then you’ll be coming out of school with approx 300-350k in debt. That’s a TON and you’ll be working to pay it off. Is that indebtedness worth it? That’s only for you to decide.

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I certainly appreciate what feedback you’ve thus far provided.

So to prevent anyone needing to conjecture with math, I have no problem stating for the record that I am 41 years old.

Speaking of letters of recommendation, I may be able to procure some letters from some former professors of mine (the last they’ve actively heard of me was in 2003), but would anyone have any suggestions regarding viable sources aside from these? I have a colleague or two who would likely be willing to help in that regard.

Thanks again!

Regarding HPSP -

I looked into this quite a bit and the final word I heard on Navy (I think) was that you have to be able to finish your service obligation, after med school and residency, by 62. Think you could manage that.



Have you contacted poster Jaysun0373? He is about the same age as you and is a chiropractor. As I remember, he is in his first year of medical school right now and won a HPSP scholarship.


Do you know why you were rejected from the NHSC?

I am considering applying for something similar.

datsa -

After applying for NHSC the first year of med school, I happened to talk with a NHSC representative at “hospital day” and told her some of my background. She told me that in that year (2010), it had been announced that there was increased funding for NHSC (ended up being 23 more slots) and that the number of applications was about 10 times normal (thousands). As their web site states, they give first priority to students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. She stated that with the large increase in applications, ALL the scholarships went to students with economically disadvantaged backgrounds. She also said that is is unlikely that my application was reviewed at all, as it was in a lower priority category. Her only suggestion was a joking “try to be poorer next year”.

This is difficult for a non-trad student who has been supporting thenmselves for years. Were my parents below the federal poverty line? When I was in elementary school, almost certainly. Not after that (my father was self-educated and became a safety engineer). Yes, I can support myself when I’m not in school. But didn’t have to file taxes this year as my income was zero.

Don’t really know that I have any better chances this year but if I didn’t apply I’d have no chance at all so “once more into the breach!”.

Loan repayment AFTER school is quite a bit less competitive to get so placing my hopes on that.


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Hi all. I’m in a similar situation as discgolfDC and wanted to inquire about the HPSP from some of you who have much more knowledge about it than I do.

I graduated undergrad with a BS in Biology and a 3.23 gpa. Graduated DC school with a 3.34 gpa.

I haven’t taken the MCAT yet, but have every intentions of devoting the time and effort to pull out a high score.

I graduated DC school about a year and a half ago. I already had doubts about my career choice creeping in my head towards the end of the program but stuck it out after a “Rah Rah” speech from one of my instructors. Here I am 1.5 years later just as unfulfilled. I want more from being a doctor than this.

I love helping my patients, but financially this isn’t proving to be a worthwhile endeavor as insurance reimbursement continues to decrease and I refuse to throw a bunch of pseudo-science at patients to trick them into long treatment plans and lifelong care.

I’m looking into options for going back to school and the HPSP has caught my eye, plus I’ve always considered military service so this would be a win-win in my mind. With my undergrad and DC gpa’s, would a respectable MCAT score deem me a “competitive” applicant or should I be focusing on the DO route and take advantage of grade replacement opportunities?

Hi discgolfdc,
I was reading your post from 2012. I am also a DC, graduated in 1993. I practiced in the 1990’s and pursued a career in education; first the public school sector teaching high school science, then college teaching anatomy/ physiology. I am now interested in pursuing medical school. I took the MCAT’s in 2017, but will retake it this year. I anticipate beginning school in 2023. Did you end up attending medical school? Please reach out to me. Thanks.

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