I am 29 years old, married and expecting our first child anytime this week. I received my undergrad degree from the Univ. of Washington with a 3.5 in Finance and International Business. I currently work for a highly respected NY based corporate finance/restructuring firm and am extremely well compensated. In spite of my modest success so far I am strongly considering abandoning the job and going back to fulfill the prereqs for medical school. My wife is currently pursuing her masters in social work and wont be done for another year and a half. This is where my problem starts.
I understand that to start in August of 2006 than I must take either the April or August 2005 MCAT. With this realization I have developed the following plan:
I will continue to work at my current job and finish Inorganic Chemistry and the first half of Biology by the end of the year through any possible venue (distance education, night and weekend classes from community colleges). In January, I will then quit and enroll at the Univ. of Houston taking Second part of Biology, First Physics, First Organic Chem, and an Anatomy class. (tough semester). In the Summer I plan to take the second half of Organic and then enroll in the Robert Johnson course while preparing for the August MCAT. Take the MCAT in August, and hopefully do well enough to get interviews and accepted, while finishing the rest of the prereqs that fall.
Does this proposed schedule sound realistic to anyone? Can I take the MCAT in Aug. and still get accepted by Dec. of the same year? I am esentially limiting myself to one chance at the MCAT for the 2006 freshman classs but do not believe that i will be anywhere close to prepared by April. I am also wondering if being 30 when I apply will be a disadvantage. I would like to stay in Texas for school due to the very gracious veteran benefits but the schools seem to be very competitive.
I think I can and I want to do this. I am just wondering if anyone thinks that I am setting myself up for failure or if I am missing a variable in this equation?
Ooooo boy! Your finance background is so obvious! Your syntax and even your scheduling tells it all. I ought to know - I’ve been in accounting for 25 years.
First, don’t let age worry you. I know that from your perspective, 30 is really pushing it, but it’s not. Heck, I’m 48 and just BEGINNING my prereqs. Also, don’t try to tie yourself to a rigid timetable. THAT will set you up for failure. Planning and scheduling is great, but be certain allow for flexibility. Have other routes roughed in to get you to your goal in case you get sidelined, like your MCAT scores are too low or you get wait-listed, for example. Taking the MCAT before you’ve completed your prereqs can be iffy, particularly since you’re not coming from a science background (neither am I - I majored in voice and minored in piano.) If you know which schools you want to apply to, contact them to find out how to make yourself more competitive. Each school is different in how they weight the MCAT, your GPA, your volunteering record, your personal statement, etc. Make sure you allow time in your scheduling for volunteering, shadowing, etc. Getting into med school requires more than good MCAT scores and a good GPA. Keep good records of your volunteering (not just where and when, but what you did, what you learned, how you helped, etc.). Use your shadowing experiences to not only learn about the procedures side of medicine, but to see how doctors relate to their patients. While much of your business experience will help tremendously, meeting with a patient is not like a business meeting. It is much more PERSONAL, so your language, your demeanor has to be so, as well. Notice the body language, the nuances. Notice which doctors put their patients at ease and which ones don’t. A doctor has to be able to engender confidence and trust and, while this won’t be a social visit, a patient with a friendly doctor will be much more likely to be open and honest with him. And that will make the doctor’s job of diagnosing, treating, and seeing to the general health of the patient easier. And as several people here have said, becoming a doctor is an endurance race, not a sprint.
Best wishes in your journey! By the way, I’ve heard LOTS of great things about the schools in Texas. I grew up there and still have family there. For me, though, I’ll only be applying to one school…Okla State Univ Coll of Osteo Med…it’s right here in town, and there’s no way we could move elsewhere. The only other one I would consider is Univ of Okla in Norman, but I’d prefer not to commute that far. At any rate, I know a lot of great doctors out of OSU COM, my own family doc included.
As someone else on this board says: Never give up! Never surrender!
To be honest I think that you are rushing into this. Non-trads have the tendency to do this due to age to their detriment in some cases. If you are not a science major and have not been in school for some time TAKE IT SLOW. You do not want to “assume” that you can handle organic, physics, biology, etc…all at once.
Many, if not most, medical schools don’t like to see distance education classes, particularly in your prerequisite courses. I think you should add another year to your plan. Take a deep breath, slow down, and do it right the first time. This gives you the chance to knock that MCAT out of the park and go into the application process prepared and looking like a hot prospect. To paraphrase Mary Renard (now Dr. Mary Renard), the admissions committees won’t notice the subtle difference between 40 and 41. Thirty and thirty-one? Even less of an issue.
Imagine what you can do with that extra year to be more ready: you can take your classes more conventionally. You can get that clinical experience and volunteer work that are so essential to the process. You can save up a bit more money before quitting your job. Your wife can finish school.
I feel like those legendary signs in Oregon that say, “Welcome to Oregon. Now go home.” Because I keep telling people, “Welcome to OldPreMeds! Now slow down.”
Whoa! Slow down. What you are proposing to do would be quite a feat even without work,a spouse and and a newborn. Take the time to investigate all of your options. Does your current employer have tuition reimbursement? Where could you take the courses conventionally? What times are the courses offerred? Working and taking courses can be quite a challenge as far as scheduling goes, unless you have a very flexible position or the courses are offerred at convenient times during the day or evening. You will need top notch science courses with labs. Often distance courses do not have a lab component. Is doing all the courses in such a compact time absolutely essential? If you took the courses over two years the schedule may be more doable, your spouse would have completed MSW,you could do other things such as get health care experience, volunteer etc. And finally, most importantly, enjoy your newborn child (priceless).
I understand your need for speed. Two years ago I gave up my full time position to attend a formal post bacc program, but ultimately decided this was not in my best interest or my family’s. Unfortunately, not before switching my full time position to very part time status. Thus, after deciding not to attend the post bacc program, I spent one year employed very part time and doing volunteer research. Financially, this had a major impact on my family. As OPM, with spoouses, children, and other responsibilities, sometimes we need tolook at the big picture take everything into consideration.
Sorry for the long post. Hopefully others can glean something useful from my experience and make the best decision for himself. Good Luck. Enjoy the journey.
For me, though, I’ll only be applying to one school…Okla State Univ Coll of Osteo Med…it’s right here in town, and there’s no way we could move elsewhere. The only other one I would consider is Univ of Okla in Norman, but I’d prefer not to commute that far.
Just on the subject of schools in Oklahoma, isn’t the OU med school in Okla. City? My dad worked at the OU Health Sciences Center, which is why I ask. I didn’t know the college of medicine was actually in Norman. What town do you live in?
Hi there -
First let me say that you could probably pull it off. But it may not be wise. I think you will have a better idea of what is accomplishable for you after your baby is born. You are in for the ride of your life with #1 and; frankly, being in a “rush” myself, an extra year could make a HUGE quality of life difference and even help your application. But all of this is my personal opinion…I have kids and balancing it all can be hard.
Also, I also attend U of H and have found the labs that go with Organic, for example, are extremely time consuming both in and out of the lab. Something to think about.
Best of luck with your new arrival and decisions…
Terry…you know, I really don’t know which city it’s in. But it doesn’t really matter. I live in a suburb of Tulsa, so Norman and OKC are just about the same distance from me. OSU Stillwater (for my prereqs) is just over an hour away and since they have a shuttle that runs between OSU Tulsa and OSU Stillwater, I only have to drive to the Tulsa campus. And since OSU COM is here in Tulsa, that gives it a HUGE advantage over OU Med regardless of which city it’s in. Moving anywhere is out of the question, so commute time played a large part in my decision. Although, the more I’ve learned about OSU COM, the more I’m certain I’ve made the right choice.
Yup, to quote Denise & Shirl…“slow down.” This isn’t something to race through, and you aren’t all that “old” for a non-traditional applicant. And you won’t believe how much a new baby can upset the most stable applecart.
BTW, most acceptances come AFTER December, not before. So it’s unlikely that you’ll know in any given December if you have a acceptance. (You may know about a rejection letter, but those come earlier and faster.)
Yes, it is feasible - at the expense of your sanity & possibly your grades. My advice? Listen to these wise people: take a deep breath…hell, take 30 of them…and S - L - O - W D - O - W - N. This is a long & arduous journey frought w/ many many hoops & pitfalls. By taking your time, you give yourself the opportunity to know that you are performing at your best - both for GPA & MCAT, which are critically important screening tools for the application process. At 29, you are comparitively a “spring chicken” around here…and there are quite a few of us who already are physicians or well on the way to becoming one…so we speak from the “been there & done that” perspective.
Just as critical - this is your life’s dream that you are pursuing (or it had better be…cause if it is not, then you should really reconsider). Tkae the time to savor the wonderful experiences that you are about to undertake. Becoming a physician is a lifelong task filled with challenges & learning. It is never complete and you must be someone who is not only comfortable with that concept; but also someone who thrives under those circumstances.
Welcome to OPM & we all look forward to more posts from you!