New plan: Taking a break from classes versus delayed application ("aging out")?

I am an older premed that because of my age (mid 50s), family and friends (and even I) are worried that I will “age out” of being accepted to medical school. I also worry that being older will limit my choices for a medical residency. In order to rush my application, I have been taking a heavier post-bacc course load but taking too many classes at once, volunteering, and working has made my GPA suffer. While most of my post-bacc grades have been A’s, I got some B’s. My original plan was to finsih my post-bacc next Fall, take the MCAT then, and apply for schools in June 2020. But because of these B grades and some other issues, I would like to delay my application by two years, and do the following:

  1. Take a break from post-bacc after this quarter ends in March.
  2. Cut back on my volunteering; I already have lots of health care experience (see below).
  3. Work full-time again until Fall to pare down some post-bacc-related debt (my program is expensive and there is no financial aid)
  4. Finish my post-bacc by retaking those pre-requisite courses in which I got B’s (I want to get A’s in all the AAMC pre-requisites; yes, I know that all grades are reported and averaged).
  5. Finish the AAMC-required courses and then take more upper division science classes to further improve my GPA.
  6. Finish studying for and take the MCAT. Maybe I can do this by Fall, so if I have to re-take the MCAT again, I can do so in the Spring 2020.
  7. If I do well on the MCAT but still have a borderline GPA, apply for an SMP at a university with a medical school. This will allow me to take classes alongside medical students to show to that I can do well in medical-school classes.

I expect this plan to take 3 more years, which means that I will be in my late 50’s when I apply to medical school. Can I still get in at that age?

Already, in presenting my case to medical schools and premed advisors at premed conferences, I have gotten mixed advice. Some premed advisors have told me that being over 50 already made me too old and to not bother applying, especially because my academic record is very convoluted with some marginal grades and some W’s. One medical school told me to not to apply to them. But others, including some medical students, did not see any issue with me being older but I was in my early 50’s at that time. Furthermore, health care is not new to me. I already have significant health care experience working in health care and volunteering, including nearly 3 decades of continual health care volunteer work with the medically underserved.

Can anyone offer advice on this plan and whether delaying my application is risky or not worth it in terms of making myself even older when I apply versus having a higher more competitive GPA?

It has been more than a week since I posted this, but have received no replies. Before the change in ownership of OPM, one could get lots of responses to questions, but since the changeover the level of activity on OPM has dropped considerably. I’ll have to try SDN instead.

Hi Satori! I wanted to let you know that Dr. Gray is going to cover your question on the podcast near the end of April! He will read your question and then provide a response! Also, I wasn’t sure if you had listened to our podcast where Dr. Gray interviewed a 56-year-old medical student! I provided the link in case you wanted to give it a listen.

Thank you,

Thank you, MSHQ and Dr. Gray, for taking on this issue. I have not had the time to listen to this particular episode of the podcast, but I did read the “transcript summary” posted above.

Hi Satori,

Dr. Gray covered your question during Session 175! We hope this helps! Thank you for posting and being involved in our forums!

Thank you,

Do a quick Google search for Dr Renee Ridley. She just graduated from medical school and was in her 50s when she started too. Best of luck!