Here's my PLAN - need advice!

Hi all,

I’m 33, just finishing my bachelor’s in psychology and trying to convince myself that this dream of med school is feasible. Here is the way I am thinking of trying to make this work. I will be working full-time and feel fairly confident I can keep A’s with this schedule. I have some questions below and would really appreciate some input!

Spring ’09: Biology I & G. Chem I

Summer ’09: Biology II

Fall ’09: G. Chem II & Physics I

Spring ’10: Physics II, Organic Chem I (this will be a bad semester)

Summer ’10: science elective (Immunology, biochemistry, genetics, etc)

Fall ’10 Organic Chem II, science elective

Spring ’11 prepare for MCAT (three to four months) and volunteer

March/April ’11 take MCAT

Late Spring ’11 apply to med schools

Summer ’11, Fall ’11, & Spring ’12 take more science electives while waiting for application processing.

Fall ’12 enter med school


Is this chronology feasible with the MCAT testing calendar ( edule.htm) and med school application deadlines?

Will I be pushing the application too late for Fall 2012 med school entry if I take the MCAT at the end of March or April 2011? Perhaps I should only spend six weeks practicing/studying, and take the MCAT at the end of January 2011?

Will I have a chance at med school with only two extra science courses beyond the minimum pre-reqs, or can I report the elective classes that are in progress when the applications go in?

Thanks for any help!


I think your plan looks doable! Just make sure that all these classes are offered during the semesters you want them to take (many colleges only offer intro classes like: Chem I, Physics I, Orgo I etc. in the fall, and the continuation in the spring semester). And yes!!! - you’re right Physics II and Organic I sound rough, especially if you’re going to work full time! But it’s not impossible. See how our classes are going once you start, and if necessary, you can always adjust your schedule.

Now, MCAT! Do not shorten your MCAT preparation to 6 weeks. 4-3 months sounds more reasonable! + April is the perfect time to take the exam. When MCAT was paper-based, it was only offered in April and August and it took much longer to report the scores back. I would assume that by the time you can submit your application, you’ll know your scores.

And finally: do you need any more science classes? It depends on your undergrad GPA and how well you’ll do your prerequisites. I know plenty of people in my class who only took the basic requirements, didn’t have any science background, and not only ended up getting into med school, but also are getting decent grades!

Hope it helps.


I like your plan! I am actually looking at how I can emulate it, if not integrate some additional courses to enhance my gpa (undergad not that great), and also increase my marketability with genetics,micro, etc. etc. I will be a new mom, and hopefully stay at home, so I too understand the balance of school,work, family. Go for it!

Kasia and Shayla,

Thanks for the reply. I’m actually pretty discouraged about it, realizing it will take four years from now to get in, and having to wait almost two years from completion of pre-reqs until I actually start med school. I just turned 33, so that would make me 37 at entry, 41 at completion and then 45 after residency. On top of that, the closest university is 80 miles round trip, so besides dealing with age discrimination, I would be trying to overcome adcom objections to community college pre-reqs (the community college is four miles away). I could handle the mileage, but the class schedules would require me to miss too much work and eat up too much study and volunteer time.

I’ve read a lot of the threads here, and talked to a couple of my target schools admissions departments (LECOM-Bradenton and NSU-Miami), and think maybe there’s a slim chance. I guess my biggest concern is how to handle the risk that I could spend the next several years doing pre-reqs and applying, and then facing failure.

In a similar boat. If I get in first try, I will be 37 when I start. Every now and then I have a boo hoo to my mom, saying “What if, after all this, I don’t get in?” I’m trying anyway. It would be worse not to give it a shot, but doing the prereqs on faith does feel a bit like being on a trapeze without a net. I have a concrete plan A, plan B, and a decent plan C. That helps. Good luck to you (PS I have loved our local junior college and took a lot of pre-reqs there-- the basic math and science, as well as A&P. Maybe yours will serve you well?).

‘Obstacles are what you see when you take your eye off of the goal’ -not sure who said that

I’m glad to hear there are other people out there in my situation- 33y/o, starting pre-reqs, nearest SOM 80+miles r/t, 45y/o when residency is done…and having the same type of concerns. It can be very discouraging if I let it. But, then I think, ‘I’ve wanted this for 15 years and each time I start getting serious about it I let the obstacles derail me!’ This isn’t going to happen this time. I’m not going to turn my back on my dream today to return to it again next year, a year older and with a whole new set of obstacles.

My only encouragement to you, my friend, is to stay the course. Keep your dream alive and be BOLD. You can do it.

OPM has been an absolutely valuable source of motivation and inspiration for me. Someday I hope to be in the position to offer my inspiration story to someone who needs a boost.

Take care, good luck, and stay focused on your goal!

I am bumping this as I need it to refer to in like 2 minutes.

ok yes since I cant edit right now I am also trying to figure out how to interpolate psych, statistics, alegbra, genetics,and microbio into all that also. Ironically my home/dream school CU SOM requires the most classes. I definitely need more of a science showing on my transcripts and would love the chance to heighten my gpa also at the same time;while using summers to volunteer, and potentially rest my brain.


If I have read your posts correctly, you are 27, due with a little person in November and have SLE? Reading your post above, you need to:

“figure out how to interpolate psych, statistics, alegbra, genetics,and microbio into all that also.”

Please use caution, while I do not know you at this point, it seems like an awfully full plate! Do not fall into one of the biggest pitfalls out there: that is to get in a hurry and overload your schedule and then do poorly academically or let something else outside the classroom trip you up. Unfortunately, I have seen it more times than I care to count…

NO medical school ANYWHERE grants any sort of accommodation for “speed” or a “heavy course load”, a 4.0 with 12 hours will ALWAYS beat a 3.0 with 18 hours… PERIOD!

This is a LONG race and not a sprint. No matter how many classes you enroll in it is impossible to be a physician in 18 months.

The best course of action is to sit down with a competent adviser and build an organized, step-wise and flexible WRITTEN plan and then get started one step at a time.


Thank you for that! I just read it as my little person is here now and I was desperately looking for this thread so I can refer to a potential schedule. I assure you I am in for the turtle walk in this, but now I can actually enact the plan, safely and with much caution.