Blatant aegist remarks made, what to do?

Thought I would throw this out there to a field of experts. Had an interview at my state uni, top school, known to be non-trad friendly, liberal policies, diverse student body. Just to lay the field - I have a very good application. My scores/GPA are all above average for matriculants, healthcare professional, international travel, all that stuff. I was 48 at the time of the interview, mind you, I look about 35 and I’m kinda lanky and high energy so I come across much younger. the interviewer says to me:

“So we ask this of all applicants, but especially someone like you, we have to wonder if you have really given this some thought, the fact that you may not have that many years to practice, why should we invest in you and give you a seat here at this med school given the fact that you may have limited years to practice.? Somebody younger would be a better gamble for us don’t you think? And why haven’t you considered DO schools?”

I’m not really interested in DO, and don’t need to (good scores) for any other reason than… what? my age?" And what an insult to DO schools in general - what are they, the school for broken dolls? The place where the MD rejects get sent? We all know this is changing, but how dare she infer that DO schools are for “people like me?” Is that not like asking a black applicant if they haven’t tried the schools “where the black people go?” I don’t see any difference at all, and we all know what would happen if the latter were uttered by any, and rightly so.

I know this is the classic aegist comment, question med schools have for non-trad’s but come on! I know I look like I’m going to drop dead right there I’m so decrepit, and it’s true I can’t do math too good so I didn’t think about the short time I have left on earth and how that figures into the four years I’ll be in med school… plus 4 in residency… Damn! (pardon my sarcasm but it was FUNNY that she asked me this stuff, it has to be, I mean how ridiculous is that? Of course I considered everything why the heck was I sitting there looking at her?)

I realize that they need to “challenge” applicants but I felt this was far, far over the line. The interviewer also made numerous disparaging remarks about my having gone into nursing initially to be a NP, as though it was the most ridiculous thing in the world to have conceived of… she interrupted me repeatedly, was generally rude and really “pushed my buttons” which I realize is what a challenge style interview is, but I believe firmly that she crossed the line.

I was afraid to complain at the time of my interview, although I have heard of people complaining after interviews and being assigned another interviewer. But this lady is am emeritus med school, retired professor who sits on the ADCOM. My other interviewer was way cool just like I perceived the med school to be in general. I am also not naive and realize that these folks are out there and I WILL run into them along the way, all through life and my medical career. Everyone has certain biases and we are all human I know the song. But there should be some kind of boundary set.

In any case, I was not initially offered a place, and I am currently waiting to hear if I am waitlisted or unsuccessful. It was hinted to me by the sec’y that I am WL. But I want to tell someone about this.

Any advice or should I just let it go? I’m looking at re-applying more wisely this coming year. This time I only applied to 2 schools in state. I plan on applying to 20 this time, but still not sure if I will re-apply to this same school.

Also, I have heard many applicants who complain about age discrimination, that they didn’t get in cause they were 35 or 45, then reveal they have a 28 MCAT… That is far from the case with me. My scores and experience, EC;s rival any applicants. And this school is, and I know it, more open than most to the diverse card. I think if they knew what she said to me they might be rather disappointed and even embarassed.

I am thinking to wait and see if I get WL, go to the exit interview and get the actual reasons I didn’t get in if that’s the case, then take it to the dean of admissions (who I know to be basically a cool guy, plus the head administrator for the med school admissions office knows me personally, so I would have no problem running this by her without my being suspect of “sour grapes.”) Part of my motivation is truly that I don’t want anyone else to be subjected to this crap in the future, even if it doesn’t gain me a seat.

Muchas gracias hombres.


I am also just curious if and how many others have had this thrown at them. I was really surprised that an actual interviewer had the cohones or lack of insight to say it outloud to someone…

Does this still go on and how often? I thought med schools were pretty open to anyone, at least under 60, as long as you were a competitive applicant…?

This is very surprising indeed as I though age was not a factor.

Perhaps it would be valuable to know where this is because I want to make sure not to apply to that particular school. It seems a waste of time.

On the other hand one interviewer is not a school, so let us what you find out.

Could you please let us know what school this is? If you worry about your privacy then could you PM me?

thank you

I don’t mind saying - UNC-CH. Like I said, great school, was very surprised at this interviewer.

What I EXPECTED would be relevant to my application was the fact that I re-took my MCAT on their suggestion and raised my score 7 points. But according to this woman my “advanced” age eclipsed this accomplishment. My MCAT was not even mentioned although I reminded her at one point. She said “oh I don’t care about that, that’s fine.”

She also wanted to know what I had been doing in "all those years before I mentioned on my application. And “why didn’t you apply when you were younger?” It was like being hit over the head with a bat again and again, almost like she was trying to get a rise out of me, or get me pissed off or challenge me under pressure when she pushed a potentially sensitive trigger. It was just wrong in so many ways…

Looking forward to hearing about other people’s experiences and comments.


it looks like you had a terrible experience. Apparently this person didn’t want to know anything about you. She was strongly biased against you. I don’t think she was challenging you. IMHO (= In my humble opinion), she just didn’t like you and that happens.

When I started to talk adcoms, last year I met with a rep from my top choice school. The guy was nice but I felt discouraged somehow as I explained that I wanted to tailor my application specifically for that school and didn’t plan to apply anywhere else. I didn’t know much about the application process at the time. The guy answered this is a bad idea. He said even if you application look terrific, you can always hit an interview with someone who is having a bad day. Apparently this woman is either a mean person, or she didn’t get laid or maybe had found that her husband was ditching her for a 48 y old woman that was looking like you and who was applying to Med school as well, who knows. This stuff happens and this is bad luck.

I read somewhere that you can request another interview in such situations. Frankly I don’t know what is best, to report or let go. In any event I truly hope that you are not put off by this happening. It shows that you should broaden the scope of applications to many more schools. And in the end, it is perhaps best not to attend a that school. You never know, she could have been part of more important decision down the road.

Thanks for sharing and really, I wish you all the best.

I think every program has people that they allow to interview just to give them something to do-- some retired professor that keeps an office, that they dust off when the applicants come around :slight_smile: I wouldn’t hold it against the place if she isn’t representative of everyone else you met. I wouldn’t say anything now. Wait until the class starts, as they are taking people off the waitlist every day until classes start.

Also, when I was interviewing for residency, EVERY place I interviewed asked me about whether or not I would be having children. I do not have kids and was 34 when I was interviewing for residency. Programs knew that my biological clock was ticking and if I was going to have kids, it was going to be during my time at their program. For programs with only 2-6 residents, this can be huge when you go down a resident. Well, I’m 39 now, still no kids (by choice) and I have taken no time off for maternity leave (unlike other, younger people in my residency). So much for their misplaced concerns.

I knew it was illegal when they asked me, but I respected the fact that they had to look out for the best interests of their programs. That said, protecting their program from older applicants is not a legitimate concern.

Tara- LOL over the children issue. When I told my OB/GYN that I wanted to go to medical school she said, “at least you have had your kids”. I thought, “what does that have to do with it?” Time off before starting or time off after becoming a doctor is still time away. I guess I won’t truly understand till after I have became a doctor. (Btw, she had two kids after medical school.)

I was visiting with a doctor/SOM professor, who had also done ADCOM and he said that the goal for their school/his committee was to bring up subjects that would make an applicant uncomfortable. Just to see their reaction or thought process. Not sure if this was your case in regards to age…

I actually had a similar confrontational, shockingly offensive admissions interview for an osteopathic medical school, nonetheless. As I understand, these confrontational interviews are to see how well you handle and respond to stressful and critical situations typical in medical education and practice. Additionally, like in the movie “A Few Good Men” and like in some cop shows, confrontational interviewers think that shocked and/or enraged interviewees will respond with honest answers to questions or, at the very least, respond with a readily apparent bad lie. From what you say about your first interviewer’s ageism and snobbery to osteopathic medicine and nursing while your second interviewer was very pleasant to talk to, I tend to think you were put into a “good cop, bad cop” interview scenario. I definitely could be wrong. When you meet with the Dean of Admissions and the medical school’s Admissions administrator you should subtly ask if “Professor Emeritus” has a reputation of being a confrontational and offensive interviewer or if confrontational interviewing is common UNC-Chapel Hill. Let us know what you find out.

Next time if you’re ever confronted with an interviewer that you think is totally out of line with his or her questioning, you should definitely demand another interview.

Great help all, thanks! Next time this happens I will have an idea what is going on… but still I think this sort of “stress” interview can be taken too far. Probably will say something about it when the right time presents itself. I don’t think it was at all necessary. We are applicants to a graduate program, not mental patients. I’m not too hip to using psychological manipulation to “test” a person’s character. Not appropriate in this situation is it. Somebody’s gonna loose an eye.

Asking about pregnancy plans is not necessarily “legal” but it is a fair question in that given situation - and it is very different than using psychological manipulation on potential students. Did they make disparaging remarks about childbearing and imply the ineptitude of women who plan on babies before residency just to test your unguarded reaction? Pressure you into revealing lies and hidden truths…? Probably they were at least respectful enough to ask you directly and allowed and accepted your straight answer.

Not only that, if I was ultra-sensitive and insecure or unable to handle workplace pressures and reacted inappropriately or couldn’t “handle” it, how did I make it far enough to be sitting there in that interview with the kind of resume that I gave them? It’s all so dramatic isn’t it? So silly. Just ask me dude.

I had to laugh at myself though. The whole experience kicked off a chain of weird paranoid ideas about the interview day. I started wondering if they didn’t plant hidden cameras in the “waiting” room to secretly record us interacting, and all kinds of big bro sorts of spy tricks… lol. But not so out there tho - I was an applicant in another field for a professional training program and they did stuff like that, observing people through 2-way mirrors and things as such.

Later hombres.

  • mooshika Said:
I don't mind saying - UNC-CH. Like I said, great school, was very surprised at this interviewer.

I finished grad school at Chapel Hill, am VERY familiar with the med school app process there, and can confirm that the folks there don't "like" older applicants.

And I've dealt with this issue too many times, but at this point, it's like water down a ducks back so to speak. This isn't a "fight" I feel is worth of my time or energy fretting over anymore.
  • In reply to:
Blatant aegist remarks made, what to do?

Once again, Weird Al has all the answers: