Liberal Arts senior. Please Help!

I entered college during the fall of 2005 at the age of 19. I came knowing that I wanted to be a doctor, but at the time, the idea of that much schooling seemed daunting. I decided to enter the liberal arts cirriculum because I love writing, history, the arts, and studying foreign languages. I have never been entirely happy with my decision to pursue a BA degree in Communication Studies and Spanish, but I guess I’ve been too afraid to change it…even when I’ve felt sad watching residents walk in and out of the hospital by campus and my friends struggle with their O-Chem courses. Being a semester ahead because some of my high school AP courses allowed me to skip a few generals, I decided to go to Nicaragua not only improve my Spanish but also to gain some life experience so as to maybe help me decide what I really want in life. I’m glad I took the time off as it helped me to rethink what is really important to me. I am standing here near the end of my college career knowing that I won’t be happy entering the working world. It would be great to begin to pay off my $40,000 in loans, but I know that I wouldn’t be happy with my career. I want to be a doctor, and I finally feel brave enough to say that.

Now what to do? Should I graduate first and then return as a non-degree seeking student? Could I still receive private loans doing that? I lean towards that because I have a 3.95 GPA, and taking science and math courses would definitely bring that GPA down. What if I don’t make it into med school? At least I would still have my near-perfect GPA to fall back on.

I really don’t want to think about the possiblity of not making it in though. I am already in debt, and it would cost me a good $20,000 to finish these pre-requites. If I work very, very, very hard, could I get in? I took AP Chem in high school and got an A. My teacher at the time said that I have a knack for it. I’m not too great at math though. I got an A in high school physics because I worked my tail off. Keep in mind that I’d be starting completely over with pre-calc and general chem so that I get the highest grades possible.

I could also delay graduation, but again, that would lower my gpa, and what if something were to happen in the next couple years? What if something happened to prevent me from graduating?

Also, I want to get married and have children. If I get into med school, it won’t be until I’m 25 or 26. I wouldn’t be a full-fledged doctor until my early to mid 30s.

I am so confused. Visiting this site makes me realize that many people become doctors much later in life than I, but it’s still scary thinking that I won’t have a real career until I’m in my 30s. I’ll have piled on debt, etc.

Am I very far behind???

I guess I just want to know if I am really far behind and how I should go about this. Also, will I really be putting a huge chunk of my life on hold?


Welcome to the site.

I think you should know that starting med school at 25 or 26 will put you only a little bit over the average age of your class. I think the average age in my class when starting M1 was 24. Many people who end up going to medical school decide to take some time off after their undergrad to ‘try some adult life’ and to figure out what they want to do. Others are definite career switchers; there is also a huge group of people who weren’t science majors, and it simply took them longer to finish their prerequisites. That being said, most of your classmates is going to be in the same stage of their careers in their early to mid 30s as you. Some of them might have kids while in school, some of them might start with established families, many of them will have children after.

I’m not sure why you assume that taking science classes now will significantly lower your GPA. You want to get As in all your classes! Couple of accidental Bs are not going to influence the whole process a lot, but still - YOUR AIM IS TO GET As! And for GPA purposes (as seen by admission committees) it really doesn’t matter if the classes were taken as a part of a degree program or not! They are all valued the same. I had multiple undergrad degrees from multiple institutions as well as some odd classes here and there, and they were all counted the same! So GPA problem shouldn’t really be a factor in determining how to you want to go about taking your prerequisites.

Hope it helps,


Thanks for the response! Oh, yes, I plan on working my tail off. I’m pretty obsessive about my grades, especially when I am trying to reach a goal. I’m just worried that my hard work won’t pay off, and I’ll be stuck with my liberal arts degree. I’m afraid that I won’t be as good with science classes as I once thought I was (even though I LOVED chemistry and bio in high school). I feel that my current gpa gives me an advantage over other liberal arts majors entering the work world, and it may go down when I begin my pre med classes if I get some Bs or something. At the same time though, I can’t see myself being happy with my liberal arts degree anyway, so I’ll end up pursuing something else that is meaningful to me even if I don’t make it into med school. I guess I’m also wondering how spectacular my grades need to be and how spectacular at science and math I need be. I am not saying that I won’t try my hardest. I WILL!!! I am an extremely hard worker.

I’m just a confused mess… haha.

The average age in my starting Med school class at UNECOM was 27. The class included a costume designer for theater, a publisher and PhD in Egyptian art not to mention a stray Geologist … (se moi!) Add the necessary pre-med requirements and you are well on your way.

I cannot tell you exactly how you should proceed … only that it is very possible to do so. Is it a path without risk? hardly… but then few things worth doing do not involve risk.

GPA wise you have a bit of buffer I think – not all med students are 4.0 undergrad valedictorians - my GPA was considerably lower. Schools will look at your entire package, not just GPA so don’t worry too much if it shrinks a smidge with O-chem etc.

good luck – - remember a quote from Tolkien / Lord of the Rings : “Its a dangerous business stepping out onto the road… if you don’t keep your feet there is no telling where you will be swept off to”


First - welcome to OldPreMeds! Second - TAKE A DEEP BREATH & RELAX! From the info you have provided, you are great shape with nothing to fear but knocking out those pre-reqs & kicking the MCAT in the ass. Many of my med school classmates were liberal arts folks: 2 of them had music/performance degrees from NYU - we had a great class band! In fact, those 2 & several other musically-gifted classmates earned money on the side by performing at a local bar & school events. They were damned good!

Here’s a factoid that should make you feel better. What major has historically scored the highest on ALL subsections of the MCAT except for the physicial sciences (comprised of Gen Chem & Physics)? Answer – liberal arts majors! LA grads historically outscore even bio majors in the bio-scoring. Why? Because the MCAT is a CRITICAL reading, comprehension & interpretation exam - PRECISELY what LA-majors are taught to do & NOT how we science-majors are taught to read. Oh…and the PS subsection, if I correctly recall, LA-majors were like in 2nd or 3rd place in scoring…not too shabby!

Regarding “life experience” - a/k/a: your trip to Nicaragua (sp?), expressed well in your personal statement, your story of how you came to choose medicine could be an excellent framework for crafting a catching & convincing personal statement.

Your age - not even close to an issue…

So again…please tell where & how you are hosed? I peronsally think you are in an enviable position. You simply need to think this through to make sure it is the right choice for you. Then you need to extensively educate yourself on the system, how it works, where you fit into it & how to maximize your chances for success. Take those pre-reqs & MCAT - do’em up right! Apply to med school.

Lastly, I will not pretend to be able to tell you specifics on your path because I do not know you or your situation sufficiently well. However, fom what you have provided, I would personally graduate & pursue my pre-reqs as a post-bacc.

Best of luck & success to you! And, again, RELAX and enjoy the ride!

I concur w/OldManDave.

My Rule 1 is Take a Breath. You are well off and positioned to successfully apply to medical school. You are however, suffering badly from “FUD” Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. You need sit done,evaluate what you have, what you need, and plan in detail the path to get to where you are going.

All I have to say to you is to read the posts from other members, because there are many members that are MUCH older than you. Take it one step at a time, and you will do just fine! Good luck!