Fork in the Road

This is my first time on the forum and I’m hoping for a little guidance. I’m 37 with a B.A. in Spanish and a M.A. in Education. I love teaching and find it rewarding (though not financially) but many events in the last year have pushed me away from education and towards medicine. I have spent many hours each night in the past few months researching all of my options and so far am leaning towards working to become a FNP. I’ve learned that in 2015 FNP’s will need a doctorate and so I’m considering the Md option.

To pursue a Md I would need to take 32 hours of pre-reqs ( 16 chem., 8 biology, 8 physics) plus the MCAT, etc. The school I want to go to accepts 165 students per year, and probably 5 times this many apply.

Part of me feels that this too big of a gamble. I’m married with two young children and though I’m not too old to do this, I am too old to spend the cash and time and then plan poorly and fail. I know that there are no guarantees in life, but how should I plan the next two to three years so that I have a good chance of getting accepted?

The FNP option is also appealing and seems a lot less risky. It would require only 12 to 18 hours of pre-reqs and the admission process to the program is not as competitive. I just spoke with a FNP the other day though and she said that with the time it would take to complete the program because of the 2015 requirements, I should consider med school.

I’m not sure where the information that it would take only 12 to 18 hours of prereqs comes from. Generally for an FNP program you have to have a Bachelor’s degree in nursing first, plus at least 1 year of clinical experience (some places require more) prior to enrolling in the FNP program which is generally 2 years but, as you say, now that it is going to doctorate level, will probably be 3-4 years.

You do not need to redo your bachelor’s degree for medical school although you will need the prerequisites as you indicated. You mention “the school that I am interested in”. Is relocating possible for you? Generally one does not “pick” one’s residency location. At that point, you apply to the programs you are interested in, interview at the one’s which want to interview you, rank them in order of the one’s you would like to go to, they rank the students they want, and you “match” - finding out where you will spend the next 3 or more years (3 years for family practice residency). Since you may need to be flexible about where you live for residency, are you able to have that same flexibility for medical school. Staying in a particular region limits your choice of schools somewhat…staying in a particular state even more so. 20 or more applications is common - I believe 20 is average. I applied to only 12 programs, staying in the Md, Va, WV area mainly and including 5 programs in states other than those three.

You can certainly plan your prep years to have a good chance of being accepted, but applying widely is important to have that good chance.

This is just my opinion…I do know folks on here who targetted only 1 or 2 programs and were successful. A good place to start is contacting the admissions office of the school you are interested in and asking an admissions officer what suggestions they could offer to prepare to be a competitive applicant.