Is there anyone out there like me?

I am 30 married with 4 kids (11 and under). I work at a hospital (10 yrs) now part time (in the lab). I am thinking about med school, and have been for a few years. I would be starting over as far as school is concerned. I have only taken about 5 classes almost 10 yrs ago. It seems as though a lot of people here on this site have a degree or two. Would it be possible for me to begin on the road to med school? Is there anyone in a similar situation as me? I would probably need to start off at a CC, then transfer to a univ (due to financial reasons). My math skills are not that great any more and I have not taken any science. Does anyone have any suggestions on where I should start? I would be greatful for any advice.


Ok, to start out with, at 30 you are still a youngster. Of course it can be done. What about math skills? Like most things, math can be a little harder or a little easier based on you inate abilities. But, for everyone, math is a LEARNED SKILL. If you want to go into any technical discipline, you simply learn it. How are your chemistry (or physics, etc) skills? The point is, you will have to learn lots of skills – but isn’t that the point?

Anyway, you are probably a little further away than most on this site but you are also younger than most. I suggest that you start with one class (I’d take either math or chem 1) to see how you like it. Hopefully, you’ll love it and crave more. If so, keep going. Best.

yes… and no …

Yes - there are others who have ventured into the world of medicine well past the traditional route. That is what this site is about. Many are younger than you, many are older.

No… In some ways of course your situation presents its own problems as does each of ours. But I don’t see anything in your limited description that sounds insurmountable. Starting into school with classes at the local CC is a good way to begin and see how you handle the joys of academia again. My own career shift began with Anatomy and Physiology in the local CC nursing program. Good luck!

even though im not in med school (i am 1 1/2 to 2 years away) i am in a similar boat as you… however, emergency, richard, and others (sorry i forgot your names) have given the same advice many times…

if at all possible, take courses at a 4 year institution… community college would be fine to get a fix on whether or not you’d like to actually get into this long road… but really, i thought about it this way:

medical school is very competitive to get into.

so here you and person X are applying to the same seat in the school - you have a 4.0 in your sciences from your community college and person X has a 4.0 (or even a 3.8) from, let’s say, Rutgers… also, our MCAT score is exactly the same… if the spot is going to be awarded to one of us - which one gets it?

even though your CC sciences could’ve been REALLY hard and just the same as person X’s, person X will likely get the spot because admissions will more than likely assume that the credits earned at Rutgers were harder, and therefore more robust, than the ones taken at the CC…

but there are people on here that made it in with CC credits… nonetheless, if you have the option - the 4 year school is going to be best for you.

Every doctor began without any degrees. I look at the fact that you have not started college until now as an advantage: the slate is clean and you can avoid blemishing your transcript with half-hearted, uncertain efforts. I think its ok to dream about medical school, but you need to do well right away in order to prove to yourself that is a real possibility. I would suggest taking biology and anatomy and physiology as soon as possible to see if these things inspire you, and if you do well - A’s - then consider the pre-med track and take it one step at a time. It really does take a special kind of person to pull this off, but I suppose none of us will really know if we got what it takes until were wearing our MD badges.

Search the threads for opinions about CC’s - lots of info out there. It may be the only choice for many (including me), but you HAVE to get a 4.o (or close) at both the CC and your transfer university. Also, you have to be better than your competition in other ways: volunteering, personal statement, leadership roles, letters of rec. - all have to be top notch. You have to make yourself a quality applicant that can’t be overlooked. To accomplish all this takes a HUGE commitment and is itself a major achievement. But a doctor should be able to do it - i guess thats the point.

I started originally as a long haul TRUCKER!

Yes, I did start out for medical school with a “degree”, an associated degree in nursing earned as a 30 year old, three kids, house cars two jobs etc)

It seems to me, I am being square here, based on the tone of your post, heck even your handle “nochance30” speaks volumes more than you can hear. It seems to me that you do not “pack the gear” for this in any form… at present. You have pretty much decided the issue already and have proclaimed that you have beaten yourself.

There is nobody on this forum who has the ability to help you at this point. Since the only place you are gonna find the tools needed to even start are in your heart and between your ears!

My suggestion is this, step back and ask yourself, what underlying attitude or feelings for myself make me think and automatically conclude, I could NOT do this at [WHATEVER… age, kids etc.] Hint: I am willing to bet some lunch money here that the answer is right beside the part that made you pick “nochance30” for a handle.

After, the attitude adjustment, come back (heck I woudl make a new profile with a “NEW” handle), you will find everybody rooting for you!


Well if it makes you feel better I’m 35 and have finally decided to take the plunge. I’ve been doing the CC thing for a few semesters and now I’m at a crossroads. I came to this site to hopefully find some wisdom and advise. I’m actually working as a program manager for a software project but it’s never been a dream of mine. So I’m sure you can do it!

I have a question for the family type guys and girls out there. Let’s say at age 30-something, you’ve done what it takes to get in. You’ve studied while working, your “new grades” show your aptitude better than your old undergraduate grades and you’ve done well on the MCAT…and your get in!!! Nice work…I don’t want to get too personal, but how does one support the family for 4 years of no pay…and at three years of little pay after that? This my roadblock and my strategy right now and would love to hear any perspectives.

Then you and/or you family do not want it bad enough to do whatever it takes


Richard, I’ve truly admired your posts and was actually hoping that you would respond, although I was slightly disappointed by your response. Perhaps, I should re-phrase my question: What methods are there available for a family to overcome the obstacles of finances during the four years while I would be in school?

My question’s goals is to gather information in order to form an effective strategy.

Nothing will make it easy, DLC. But, there are numerous student loans available which help a lot. AND, if your spouse can work, even part-time while you are in school and residency, it will be much easier.

I think you have to remember during school that this is a time things will be tight. . . no doubt about it. But, if you want it bad enough, and your family supports your decision to go to med school, then you will make it. And, after you finish. . . well, then you can live ‘like a doctor’. (Although that doesn’t mean live like a rich person!)

As Linda pointed out, you are able to borrow some money for living expenses. I know more than a few med students who have taken advantage of food stamps and WIC to help support their families. You will earn a salary during residency that is currently in the $40000 - $50000 range.

If possible, you want to pay off as much debt as possible prior to med school (car loans, credit cards, etc). Then, sit down with a med school budget (most schools make them available on their websites) and your budget. What is your bare bones budget and can you make it work with financial aid and maybe your wife working some?

It’s also possible to find some jobs that will help out during med 1 and med 2. There are more than a few jobs out there that will allow you to study while getting paid - i.e. library monitor and things like that.

Hope that helps some.

Let me redirect

TOUCHDOWN!.. OK, I feel a weensy bit guilty and a touch bad… ok ashamed, just a flash

Let me apologize for my “experiment” at your expense (without getting permission for this ‘human subject’ experiment)… You are right, it was much shorter that my standard… I set out (on purpose) to SHOCK you, to accomplish in only a few words that which normally takes hundreds…

I wanted to re-focus the discussion more to the “conventional” reality based focus, remember my core philosophy is that you CAN do it… however YOU MUST get to a place with the correct attitudes to GO the distance (that especially includes accepting that you must adapt to them and not the other way around).

YOU can do it, sell your HIGH dollar place, move, have you wife work… Here in Kansas it was comparatively easy, I took the KMS program, in return for agreeing to practice in rural Kansas for 4 years, medical school was FREE including $2000/mo to live on for the duration! (but of course I had to do ALL of the bending, move to Kansas, sell the house in Bon Air VA etc)

There are solutions to help you, but the onus is unwaverably on YOU for flexibility, NEVER EVER on them!

YOU too can do this if (and only if) you DO it RIGHT, that is WHY I am here. As I tell ALL others… my real e-mail address is published, so my committment to your success IS real. Never hesitate to contact me if you need me


Kathy and I have 6 kids ranging in age from 8 to 23, when I started in 2000 it was six kids with a range from 3 weeks to 15 years.


Richard (or anyone else): I’d like your opinion on a financial issue. Specifically, I’ve worked under the assumption that if I ever get to med school I wouldn’t work at all. However, I occasionally hear posters (as in this thread) refer to working some limited hours during school. I’m curious because I have a gig where I can work from my house 4 hours one evening each week and make about $5k per month. Is it impossible to consider trying to do this? I assume that it is, but I thought that I’d ask. Thanks.

I am like you. I have 3 kids at home (11 & under) and 1 in college. Im 36 and single. I am just starting on Chem 1, so Im really early in the game. I will not give up. Maybe we can be a support system and do a contract not to allow the other to give up!

Check out this site too:

Im living off scholarships that are just for women, mothers and single mothers over 25.

  • Crazyman Said:
I occasionally hear posters (as in this thread) refer to working some limited hours during school. I'm curious because I have a gig where I can work from my house 4 hours one evening each week and make about $5k per month. Is it impossible to consider trying to do this? I assume that it is, but I thought that I'd ask. Thanks.

That is the sort of thing that you probably could continue to do - nice work if you can get it! At least during the first two years, medical school is pretty predictable. You'll know your hours and your exam dates. Just know that, unlike (ahem) some of us in undergrad, noting exam dates and figuring you'll get all your studying done the weekend before, does NOT work in med school. You need to budget your time wisely.

So if these are four hours a month where you can decide when they're done, you almost certainly could do that during the first two years. You probably could even occasionally do it during third year - not every clinical rotation is killer. But there would be months where you truly wouldn't have four hours free, or if you did, you would need them to sleep or recreate, not work on something else.

Note you also do have several weeks off between first and second year of med school; lots of students get summer research or medical mission gigs but others work or take time off.

The people who can work in med school generally are able to work very flexible hours that they control, and get paid very well for doing it. It would NOT be worth the schedule hassles or the money to try and do a job that doesn't give you flexibility and mad money.


I was exactly wondering if there would be someone LIKE ME! I am 34 y.o. and I have a Bachelor’s in Occupational Therapy - earned in Brazil in 1996! Besides being non-traditional because of age, I am also a foreigner and I am not at all used to the American College system. I just recently applied to GA State college as a post-baccalaureate student. So… what classes should I choose first? I was thinking about starting with two classes at nights and weekends (I have a full time job and still am going to pray that I will be able to afford this). I would love to have some suggestions and some light shed my way since NOBODY at any university seems helpful. Thank you very much.

Dear Mary Renard, LOVE your life story. Now I know it is possible! I heard a lot of people tell me that in the US they would not accept you in Med school if you are over 35… and I am 34. I just applied for a post-bac and was afraid it wasn’t going to be good enough somehow. I am so happy to read your post!!! Inspiration is badly needed since even the MDs I work with tell me that I shouldn’t do this, it takes to long, etc, etc… Thank you, thank you :slight_smile: Sincerely.