Is 50 too old for a US med school these days?


I am finishing my pre-reqs, have a BAS, and take the MCAT May 31st. I turn 50 in August. I have been sailing along fine, very optimistically, until I ran into an old neuroradiologist acquaintance who stated I would have a hard time getting into an allopathic school. I really do not want to go the DO route. I have a strong medical background, former professional athlete, lots of volunteer work, president of local AMSA, etc., and A/B average science, overall 3.3, 4.0 in my BAS. I realize this is a common post scenario on this forum. I just need a reality check and perhaps advice.


Hello aquablue8,

Reality check? Coming from which perspective? The one that shuns everyone over 24 years old as “old”? Or the one that really does not draw a line at all?

Granted, medical school admissions’ situation is dominated by prejudices and selectivity based on those prejudices. But IMHO getting into medical school is more about demonstrating you are a fit to a particular institution rather than spurious vanities of age and group belonging.

As a former professional athlete you must be aware that your mental states are determinant to failure or success. Regarding medical school, in which mental state are you now?

I invite you to reflect upon your goals.

Do you want to practice medicine?

If your answer is yes, then either path, DO or MD will take you there. If else, you will have to seriously revise your plan.

Finally, why would a person with your stellar background and accomplishments be doubtful, even for a moment, of certain success. Go rock that MCAT and go for it! I say.

Please keep us posted as you move forward.

  • Cesar Said:
Go rock that MCAT and go for it! I say.

I agree 100%... Good luck on your journey.

BTW, some members on this forum are living proof that 50 is not too old. Perhaps they will pitch in.


Agreed on all counts!

Just out of curiousity, do you mind explaining why you aren’t interested in the DO route? If it’s fundamental philosophy, that’s one thing… but if it’s fear of future employment, I can tell you that about 1 out of every 3 doctors hired by my company are DO’s. I didn’t even know what one was 8 years ago when I started here… but now, a DO is almost as common as an MD (and that’s across all specialties, too, with maybe a few more in primary care). (I deal in new physician contracts, so I see many doctors getting recruited all over the country.)

Just food for thought–either way, I don’t think your age should hinder you given the info you provided. Just go for it!

I had a favorable reception at University of Kentucky, and at Albert Einstein Medical School at Yeshiva University. Also, Case Western Reserve University is very non-trad friendly and has recruited older students. I don’t think 50 is too old for any of those allopathic schools. I expect that perceptions will vary across schools. I chose the DO route, but did find some allopathic acceptance at 53.


To add to Kate429 comments, the oldest graduate at Einstein Medical school was 53 y/o, and the AAMC reports about dozen students on average in the first year cohort of US allopathic schools over 50 years of age. While I was looking for the reference for that last comment, I just came across this

  • SUNY Upstate Medical University Website FAQ Said:
Non-Traditional Applicants:

How many students are over 30?

Each year the class has about 5–8 students in their 30's. The average age of the class is 23, and approximately half the class does not come to medical school directly after graduation. The oldest student we have accepted was 63 and we have had a handful of students in their 40's.

Link to SUNY Upstate Medical University Website FAQ

You’ve come this far, the worst thing you can do is not try.

I have been doing this since 2009 when I was 45.

At almost 48, I’m thinking of postponing my app for another year just to be sure I’m prepared for the MCAT and get my app in the door on June 1.

If I try to get my app in this year it will be a flurry of activity, pressure, and I will not be able to submit until August 8th at the earliest due to July 6th MCAT score release, but I will be 47.

IF I wait, I will be 49 at application (only allopathic) and 50 at matriculation if accepted 1st round; 60 at end of fellowship.

One of the great things about pre meds who aren’t fetuses is that they are driven, and are out there breaking the rules and defying the odds. Medicine is a profession that attracts the kind of people who are tenacious, who never give up. It is almost like the training we receive is boot camp for people who hated PE. My point is, as an old premed, you have to ask yourself how important medicine is to you. I am convinced that some adcoms do not care what your demographic situation is, but that you have the perseverance to become a great doctor. That is a question only you can answer. Forget your age and focus on being driven. No adcom in its right mind would stop a passionate apllicant just because of the time they have already been on the planet. Good Luck!

Thanks Cesar!

You’re right! I guess I just needed that “coach voice in my ear” to get my focus in the right direction. Thank you, I see the finish line!

Thank you!

Hi Carrieliz,

One of the reasons I want the MD is so that I can do international mission/work. It is my understanding that DO’s are not recognized everywhere. Have you heard differently?

Hi Kate,

That’s good to know, thanks! I will apply at all those schools. : )

Wow! 63! God Bless em!! I’m inspired…thanks so much!!

Agreed, thanks!!

Thanks Artman! Point taken! Everything in my life has been a series of events that will enrich my years as a physician. It’s been a wonderful culmination of ups and downs that will be valuable to my field. I had a few moments of doubt that brought me to this forum and thanks to all of you, I’m encouraged once more! I’m so grateful that OPMDS is here and that members like yourself and the others have patience with us doubting Thomas’s!!

Regarding the DO degree not being recognized everywhere. This is true in some places, but would not affect you much if you were planning to do short term medical mission work. If you contact the AOA (American Osteopathic Association) and ask about this, they can tell you the status of DO privileges anywhere in the world. Many countries do recognize your license, and the professional organization is constantly working to expand the number. One of the professors at my school is currently in South Africa, becoming the first DO licensed in South Africa and helping them draft their regulations for DO licensure.

Those countries that will not give a DO a license to live in the country and practice medicine will generally still issue a temporary license for medical relief workers/short term medical personnel. This was something I called the AOA about before I accepted admission to a DO school, as I have similar interests.


Excellent! I was hoping one of our DO’s would chime in on that! Good to know, Kate…

Do I dare speak the truth in an allopathic room? You betcha.

Why not consider Naturopathic Medicine? Why put yourself through 4 years of med school to graduate, attend a 3 year residency only to be able to write a prescription on a pad to treat a SYMPTOM!? You go to school for all those years for that? Where is the medicine?

The fact is medicine was hijacked a little over a century ago. Centuries and centuries of medicine all of a sudden became worthless. I find it ironic that when Big Pharma entered the picture how things changed. Medicine IS Big Pharma.

I worked in Allopathy for 13 years and know the game. I’ve treated patients and wrote the scripts. To think you can cure someone by trying to cure and treat a symptoms is beyond insane, it’s plain stupid. Not only that, allopathy violates the Hippocratic Oath of doing no harm by it’s very nature of practice.

The only thin allopathy is good for is emergent situations, and thank God we have it. But it has no business entering the realm of preventative medicine, as well as problems short of emergent, which is probably about 80% of medicine.

What I love is how mainstream medicine calls colloidal silver quackery medicine, along with all of it for that matter, BUT…they use it on catheter tips to prevent infection during procedures, not to mention all the other uses. BUT, when you touch one of the cash cows of Big Pharma, then all of a sudden, a medicine such as silver which hasn’t changed at all…being it’s freaking element is now quackery? LOL Ok. Oh, and not to forget about the idiots who believe the stories of the blueman syndrome without doing any research into it. These people added salt to the water which reacts with the silver causing the bluish discoloration. However, they always conveniently leave out that part. Typical media spin with the sheep right behind.

Do you research wisely. If you truly want to be an asset in medicine, don’t give your life to an art of medicine where you only give synthetic drugs, which ALL have side effects, which then produce more, and you wind up with a patient who is more sick then ever. You can’t just block an alpha 1 or 2, or B1/2 receptor in one place and then not expect to cause issues elsewhere.

Go shadow a naturopath and get your information first hand. Watch the magic of using tools that come from the same origin you and I did. Doesn’t that make much more sense than trying to create something in a lab to treat something that came from nature? Good Luck.

  • emerson24 Said:

Do you research wisely. If you truly want to be an asset in medicine, don't give your life to an art of medicine where you only give synthetic drugs, which ALL have side effects, which then produce more, and you wind up with a patient who is more sick then ever. You can't just block an alpha 1 or 2, or B1/2 receptor in one place and then not expect to cause issues elsewhere.

This implies that "natural" medicines do not have side effects. As a CNM, I'm familiar with and have utilized herbal medicines, but two things should be kept in mind. One is that if an herb is strong enough to cause a drug-like effect, it is strong enough to cause drug-like side effects. Also, many plant extracts have several compounds which may have several effects. This can be beneficial (as, for example, alfalfa concentrate which not only contains iron but also substances that enhance the absorption of iron, and precursors to vitamin K). Or, can be deleterious - pokeweed is useful for lymphatic drainage but mature plants contain a poisonous alkaloid.

Not dissing naturapathy. Homeopathic remedies tend to NOT have side effects as the dose is not enough to cause a drug-like effect or side effect (action thought to be by activating the body's response to restore function). Just wanted to point out that natural does not = safe in all cases.