Input Needed

Me:48 year old RN with 20+ years experience.

PA or NP an option that employer would pay for. Not really enthusiastic about taking the mid-level practitioner route. I am unable to outright afford the $317.00/credit at the state school for post-bacc

Input Needed:

  1. What chance do I have of being successful going to Med School at this age.

  2. Have the Med school science classes changed in lieu of the new MCAT coming soon.

  3. What are the first 2 classes that I should take to get used to going back to school.

  4. Have any of you heard of a successful MD that did community college post-bacc studies.

  5. Any other helpful info is appreciated



Welcome! I think you have some great experience backing you up. Really just some course work standing between you and application.

With regards to your specific questions:

  1. You definitely have a chance. I was 45 when I started med school and Kate (nursing background) just graduated and is in her 50s.

  2. No idea on that one.

  3. If you haven’t been to school in a while, I would start by taking something that you will enjoy, and is on the path you will be taking. For me that was Biology.

  4. I think some Community College courses are OK but you need to take some at “university”. Maybe start at Community College and then take some upper level courses at the other school.

  5. You’ve obviously got oodles of clinical experience, but make sure you get some volunteer work in there too, if you haven’t already. In your case, it doesn’t have to be medically related because your clinicals are so strong. Make sure it is something you are interested in and you can speak about enthusiastically if asked during an interview.

    Hope that helps a bit. Keep posting!


Welcome! I agree with what Linda said. Also, I don’t think med schools are changing their courses, but some might change their prereqs in view of the new MCAT.

Regarding first courses,if you are retaking chemistry to refresh it,you might start with that because organic chem requires gen chem as prerequisite. But less fun than bio so if time freme is not as crucial then bio would be good first class. Definitely would suggest taking bio I and II with labs- it has changed a lot in last 10 years, and more the longer since you’ve been out,

Best of luck!!


Thanks Kate,

What do you think about science classes at a community college at least to start with? What did you do?


Thanks Lynda for feedback!

I think starting there is fine. I took out a home equity loan to pay for a formal postbacc which would get me all my courses in a year of not working, because I was in a hurry!

Age does matter because you’ll be going up against younglings who have a very competitive streak, but it doesn’t matter as much as you might be thinking—as long as you present yourself as a serious student. Your maturity and experience can actually work in your favor. Use them!

I’m still working on prerequisites but its a slow go for me because I’m still in NP school. I got a bit lazy and went the mid-level route, now I regret it but I have to finish because I’m too close to the end. You made the right decision to not pursue NP. In retrospect, the time and expense associated with NP school are not worth it. And if being a doctor is what you really want, then being an NP will never do.

I would start with gen chem and gen bio. Regarding the option to take them at a community college…that depends a lot on the medical schools you plan to apply to. Some of them will not take community college math and science credits in fulfillment of the prerequisites.

I personally wouldn’t take any CC classes now than I am in the VERY old applicant category at age 47 ( though I did take a few preqs at the CC over 20 years ago).

I just don’t think it’s wise to give adcoms ANY reason to reject you because it would be too easy to package a “you’re too old”

rejection into a “you didn’t take your pre classes at a competitive school” rejection.

In other words, don’t give them ANY reason to reject you if you’re already an oldpremed.

Hi all! I’m new. It’s interesting that so many are saying no to community college as a way to meet prerequisites. I have called a few medical schools and they all say that they don’t care where the credits come from. Be it community college or university.

I think the argument against CC comes from a few points.

  1. Some (many?) schools don’t accept CC credits, and going to a CC can limit where you can apply. The system favors those who can apply broadly.

  2. Arguably you get a better education from a 4-yr college, which can help you with the MCAT.

  3. In the hyper competitive environment of med school applicants, why put yourself in a situation that can make your app be viewed as weaker than the next person.

    All that being said, as long as you do your research and understand what you’re doing and how it can affect you, by all means do what your given situation allows. The same arguments above can be used against online courses as well, but I ended up taking 4 online classes because it was my only feasible option given my situation. It limited where I could apply but really only prevented me from applying to one school that I actually wanted to attend (USUHS).

    No one in any of my interviews scoffed at my online credits, though having them hypothetically prevented me from getting other interviews.

    Bottom line is to follow the most competitive path you can. If it involves CC, then so be it. You’ll limit yourself somewhat but it is not the kiss of death.

Some schools expressly prohibit CC, online or both–check out MSAR and school website.

I have also queried a few schools that don’t prohibit and their standard answer was that as long as the school is accredited, they would accept the pre-req regardless of modality.

Hi Kate,

This is what happened last week. Any thoughts?

Adviser at local school suggested that I choose the NP route because it will take 4 years to complete the recommended course plan. I am not eligible to take any science classes this semester because I have not met the Math requirement. Psychology and Sociology are an option. I will not be able to start classes until the Spring semester if the Math prerequisite is met. The school only recommends 2 classes per semester. There is a 2 year program but the adviser says it will not properly prepare me for the MCAT. 1 year Glide. If accepted 4 years of med school then minimum 3 years of residency. Total 12 years at which time I’ll be 60 and nearly eligible for Social Security! I’m devastated. Any thoughts?


If you’re taking the same courses compressed into the 2 year program, why would you be less prepared for the mcat? If it really is an issue, consider doing a commercial self study program in parallel with your school work so you can learn all the material but focus on what is mcat relevant.

Does your academic plan include the courses which some schools may add to the prereqs? I haven’t checked, but with the new MCAT including sociology/psych and biochem, it wouldn’t surprise me if those become required by some schools.

Have you considered any formal post bacc programs with ties to med schools? I know a guy who got picked up by one associated with Louisville. Gets all the prereqs (I think must have a Bach degree of some sort) and seemingly lower requirements, numbers wise, for admission to the med school. I want to say his is a full time 2yr program.

How well does this advisor know you and what type do relationship do you have with him/her? If it’s superficial, I would take the advice with a grain of salt.

Have you thought seriously about PA? It’s another option that I believe is a 2 year program at most places. In my case, though, I would had to take a lot more prereqs and get a TON of direct patient contact.