How do I get started ?

Hello everyone,

I’ve been browsing this site for years, but never had the courage to post anything. Like everyone here I also dream of someday attending medical school and becoming a doctor.

Medical school has been on the back of my mind since I was in my late teens and that dream has never left me. I think about medical school every day and what a privilege it would be to help heal people. I was never good with numbers and all math classes caused me a great deal of anxiety. I found science fascinating, but figured If I’m not good at math then for sure I’m not smart enough to major in the sciences. As a result I got a bachelors in Sociology and Anthropology [from a top 50 school] and ended with a sad 3.09 GPA. I then decided to attend grad school so I applied to a Masters program in social work, because again I felt I wasn’t smart enough to take the science classes needed for med school and at least as a social worker I would also be able to help people.

Currently I am in my last two semester of the MSW program at a high ranking top 20 University with a 3.945 GPA and will likely graduate with deans recognition. I’m doing my internship at a psychiatric clinic, but I know deep down this isn’t what I want to do for the rest of my life. The though of settling makes me very sad. All I can think of is the fact that I can’t wait to finish this program so I can start taking the med school pre-reqs.

I am 32 years old with no children. I have no science background except for a intro to biology class I took 9 years ago at a community college and in which I got a “D”. I took a calculus class in college, but the professor graded on a curve and somehow I ended up getting an “A” without really deserving one as I feel completely incompetent in this subject.

I am fortunate enough to have a good amount of financial freedom so taking on student loans is not a big issue. My plan is to finish my MSW degree and hopefully get a somewhat decent paying job [although this career doesn’t pay much] and save as much money as I can so I can then take time off and focus on the pre -reqs, or work and take one class at a time.

Given my age and academic background should I just forget about med school and focus on my current career?

If not how do I get started? Do you recommend a postbac program or a DIY where I take all intro classes at a community college and then some advance ones at a university?

What would be the best course of action given my situation? Please advise.


  • placebolaura Said:
Given my age and academic background should I just forget about med school and focus on my current career?

Definitely not. You've got a lot going for you. It's not going to be easy, but nothing worth doing is.

My suggestion on how to proceed is as follows. First, do some research on med schools that you're interested in, and see what kind of prerequisites they require. It's fairly standard, but some may have an extra course or two that others don't.

Second, find some way to get involved in a clinical medicine scenario, be it shadowing, volunteering, or some paid employment (scribe, EMT, CNA, PCT, etc.) to see if this is really what you want.

I'd then suggest working on a DIY postbacch at your local university or community college. Test the waters first. Take one course and see how you do, and if you enjoy it. You'll likely have to do some work at university level at some point, because few CCs offer OChem, Genetics and Biochem. If you have to do the full set, it will require about 2 years (5-6 semesters) of full-time classwork. Otherwise, you may be able to take courses in the evening as your schedule allows.

What Bennard said only difference:

take courses at BEST 4-year, land-granting university you can (PhD granting school) … NOT community college.

If CC is the only thing available, just know that they are not as favored as a more rigorous institution.