How old is too old...

This may have been discussed elsewhere, but I didn’t see it at first glance…in other words, sorry if this is a repeat!

Okay, here’s the story: I’m 43 years old, and I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was in Junior High. But it took me to this point to learn the lessons I needed to learn to really, honestly think I could do this. However, I have all of my pre-reqs to do, which means two years of chem, physics, bio, and organic chem. Then there’s the MCAT and the actual applying. I figure I’m at least three years away from actually being in position to start medical school, and that puts me at 46 years old.

So…is this too old to be doing this? We’re looking at age 50 before I get out of medical school, and then I’d be in my early- to mid-50s before getting out of a residency. I want to work until I die, but still, starting a NEW career in medicine in my 50s, although it’s what I truly want, seems a bit…loony. I don’t even dare tell anybody but this group that I’m even considering it.

Am I crazy, or does this sort of thing really happen?

Hello Southpawknuckler!

You are absolutely positively not to old! We all have dreams, and whats a dream if you do nothing to try to accomplish it. You said yourself that you’ve wanted to be a doctor since you were little. And there were things that were holding you back. Seems to me those things are gone now and you are in a position to go for what you want. So what you’ll be in your 50’s. What do you have to lose. I’ll tell you what someone once told me. You can let 3 years pass you by and still thinking what if?..or three-four years from now you can be applying to medical school, and a few months later reading your acceptance letter! Which one do you pick? Good luck to you! follow ur dreams!

When I first joined this forum a few years ago, Linda Wilson had just been admitted to med school at the age of 50+. She’s graduating in a year! You’re not too old.

I relate to you. I’ll be 42 when I go back for prereqs, etc. I have a math deficit to address (some of which I am doing on my own), and, since I only need the science and math, and the courses have to be taken in sequence, it will be three years for me as a premed. I’m looking at graduating med school at the same time you would be. I plan to work until I die, too!

I figure that the time will pass no matter what, so why not do what your heart desires?

I read, on an MD school website, that the oldest student they have accepted has been 63(!).

Take heart!


Take heart dear friend, things can happen!

I started my pre-reqs at 50.

Two weeks ago, now 53, I finished my first year in med school.

I wish you the best.


Presse: You’re an inspiration to me, and, hopefully, to the OP!

Just when I’m feeling low, you guys have lifted my spirits. I’m going to keep plugging along–and I hope to stay in contact with you all the way through graduation!


I have been lurking for many months, haven’t yet introduced myself, but your post stuck a cord with me. I am 49 and if I decide to walk down this road I will begin at the age of 50 as well. I gave up on this road for good (or so I thought) when I was 37. But the calling is back, loud and clear.

After finding this site, and attending the conference, I know it is possible. I know that I would rather move forward in this direction (even if I fail), then move in any other direction and succeed.

Can you tell me if you had a defining moment that made it possible to do this?


Hello Mimosa and welcome to the forum.

I’m not sure that I’m able to isolate any specific ‘defining moment’ as such. But I do recall on several occasions thinking to myself - wow, interesting, another step in the right direction, …

For example:

  • realzing that med schools do not (cannot) descriminate based on age

  • meeting an advisor

  • receiving acceptance at a local university to start my prereqs

  • attending my first bio lab (!)

  • getting an A

  • getting to register into a physiology course (which was truely so awesome)

  • breaking the news to my family

  • finishing the pre-reqs and lauching applications

  • being called for interview(s)

  • attending ‘open-house’ events

  • my first class in medicine

    As I’m drawing out this list, one thought comes to my mind. Completing the pre-reqs requires effort and time - 3 semesters it was in my case. This period of time was peppered with a series of challenges and deceptions, but also with the attainment of several key milestones.

    As you are contemplating engaging upon this project, it is natural to be pondering about a defining moment. But as you move on, you too may come to experience the ‘several moments’ comprising this journey.

    Once again, welcome, and I wish you the best!


I am right there with you. I am 40, and I have worked in the medical field for 9+ years. I have recently changed my focus from nursing to medicine. I am hoping that I won’t have that problem of age holding me back either. I have talked to physicians at the facility where I currently work, and they have all be 100% supportive. I think you will do fine, and I hope that I will. I also have the problem of a lower GPA that I am currently working to pull up. I am starting the biology program at my school, and I am signed up for research this fall. I hope I am on the right track.

I have seen quite a few residents that are in their fifties so I think we will be fine.

So what kind of GPA does or does not get a person into med. school? I have a 3.79 undergrad GPA and a 3.78 GPA in grad school (in English; I’m currently a college English professor). Will I need a GPA around this level in my bio/chem/physics courses to have a chance for admittance?

Well, here’s the thing: when you decide, after substantial other life experience and perhaps academic experience, that you want to go BACK to school and you are very sure that you are going back to school in order to gain admission to med school, your new science coursework is being judged far differently from that of the 18 y/o taking freshman chemistry.

So the short answer to your question is: um, just about. Maybe not a 3.8 but close. You should go into courses now with the determination and expectation that you will come out with an A. This is your way of putting your money where your mouth is: anyone can SAY that they want to go back and go to med school, but getting those grades shows that you mean it. There really isn’t any other way to look at it.

I know, I know, there are lots of folks out there who did not get a 4.0 post-bacc and still got into med school. My point is that you should be aiming for the 4.0 and going into your work with that as your goal.


wow, you guys are my heroes. i am 35 and still working on my pre-reqs. i feel encouraged thinking about those of you that have started later than me and are now in med school.

You are only too old when they pull the sheet over your head & slide your butt into the cooler.

Time invested in educating yourself is NEVER wasted time. The reality is, you may not get into med school - more than half of applicants never do. However, having done your damnest to get there & failed is always better than the nagging question of “what if I had tried?” At the worst case - not getting in - you will still have advanced your education & tested your metal by pushing your envelope. That, in & of itself, is immensely gratifying.

And, (to quote a trusted & dear friend) even more to the point, if you do not try, they can never say YES!

Well said, Dave.


Go for it. I started medical school at 57 and finished my residency at 65 and am now 4 months into my own private practice and loving it. Those of us who have been on the planet for a while have much to offer patients in the way of understanding and compassion that our younger associates lack. You will probably live to be 85 anyway, why not fulfill your dreams along the way? Good luck.

I do not think that your age should keep you from accomplishing your dreams. If this is what you want to do then DO IT!. I was a “young pup” when I started med school 30, but there were 4 people over the age of 40 that attended my medical school. The only thing that I regret is going to a private school and the $160k I had in loans (my peers had $200k). Thankfully I was able to work as an RN during school to keep costs down. I also got married during residency to another physician (who has been out for awhile w/o loans) that allowed me to start paying off my loans during residency.

Good luck following your dreams

Rachel!!! Long time no hear! It’s so nice to see what you’re doing these days… congrats on getting married and do keep in touch when you can.


I just found this site, today, and can not put into words, how happy I am that I did. I am 28 years old with a Bachelors and now I am going back to work my pre-reqs. I have about 3 more years ahead of me before I will be able to apply to medical school. I always feared my age would be a problem, I feel extremely young but that’s me. I worried other’s would view my age as a negative. To hear of others that are older than I, that have not only made it into medical school, but survived the long nights of studying, is extremely inspirational. I just want to thank everyone who has posted, your stories and thoughts are greatly appreciated.


Wow - thanks for sharing that, Presse! I started my prereqs in June at 51. Have 1 year then glide year and should start at 53. I have been telling others that I’m at the old end of the old premeds web site, but as I read later, we’re not even the upper limit. I appreciate you sharing that med schools can’t turn you down because of age…because I just realized this after starting the postbac premed. In fact, I thought the premed WOULD turn me down because of my age. But I’m in, and doing well!