Is a BSN a good or a bad thing to get before med school?

I’ve been considering a career in healthcare for some time. I’m 30 now and have three kids. I don’t have a degree, but do have a couple years’ worth of college credits from my early 20s - with maybe not the greatest GPA (towards the end, I was working a full-time job, freelance writing on the side, and pregnant with my first child. My head was definitely not in the game school-wise, and I ended up letting it go by the wayside.)

Even when I was 25 and thinking of med school, I was overwhelmed and thought that I was “too old” - which seems like a ridiculous notion to me now, because I don’t think that 25 is “too old” for anything.

I’ll get to the point, though. Even though I have been considering applying to a BSN program, I am still very interested in the idea of med school. I don’t want to plan for failure, but I know that med schools are very competitive and given that I have 3 kids and a mortgage, a lot could get in the way of me being accepted to and successfully completing med school. I know that things happen. People lose jobs. Spouses die unexpectedly. It could just plain not work out as far as my family life goes. If any of those things happen, I would still like to know that I could work in the healthcare field as a nurse.

I’m not sure what med school applications committees are looking for in applicants, but something tells me they would frown upon my having gotten a BSN to “fall back on” - nor do I think the talented people who educate me to be a nurse would be amused with my plan to skip right over a nursing career and go right into med school.

Here are my options, as I see them. I could go for a traditional biology-type undergraduate degree, which may be good to get into med school, but I don’t know what I’d do with it if I didn’t get into med school. Or I could get a BSN, which would give me the option of working as a nurse if anything gets in the way of me completing med school. Or I could get a degree in something like English, which I feel would be much easier for me to obtain - I love English - but not especially helpful for a career in the healthcare field.

Is it insane to think about going to med school at my age, with all the responsibilities that I have?

I’m glad I found this forum. I can’t wait to dig in and read all the information here.


In general, I don’t think admissions committees frown on planning an alternative. It demonstrates to many people exactly what you have described…that life is complicated, and planning for the unexpected is responsible. On the other hand, the benefit of seeking a degree in biology or biomedical science allows you to apply your pre-med coursework toward your degree. That is to say, most BSN programs don’t require 2 semesters of physics and 2 semesters of organic chemistry.

Look around this site, and you are likely to find few who would confirm that you are insane for considering medical school at your age or under your circumstances. On the contrary, most or all of us have asked that question of ourselves.

Your question is very similar to the following post:…

You also have to realize that pre-nursing and nursing coursework have very little overlap with premedical coursework (usually the only overlaps are English and, maybe, first semester chemistry and first semester biology depending on the nursing program). So you’ll need to factor in another year or two on top of your BSN coursework to complete your premedical requirements.

Have you considered respiratory therapy? Going for your Bachelors vs. your associates, you’ll take care of the need for the bachelors degree and you’ll also have a viable career. Plus, many prerequisites for the RT is also a prerequisite for med school. One program that I had looked into included more advanced sciences classes like anatomy and physiology (more indepth than a lower level A&P) and biochemistry.

I work in a hospital where the RTs have an opportunity to work in many different areas, from the general floors to intensive care units, including the NICU, and the emergency room. Some also go on hospital to hospital transports when an RT is required.