Newbie: How to pay for the pre-reqs

I am in the beginning stages of thinking about this, and just starting to investigate.

I am 40, and already have student loans. I am currently finishing an unrelated graduate degree (writing).

I need (I think) two semesters of bio, chem, orgo calc, stats, physics. These are all 100-level classes at my university.

I might be able to sneak in one or two science classes as electives while I am finishing my writing grad degree, but being 100-level, they won’t count for anything, and I’d be paying graduate tuition fees for them! Regardless, I can’t take all my pre-reqs this way–someone would start to notice I am no longer a writer.

I’ve considering a second undergrad in a science field, but it doesn’t really make sense (to me) to go back and do this now in order to obtain these pre-reqs, does it? But how else will I get all the classes, and more importantly, pay for it? A second undergrad would offer me Stafford Loans at minimum, but living on the undergrad max of $6250 per semester–for tuition, living and health insurance–barely seems feasible anyway. I am single, no spouse or family support to cut costs. Private loans are not an option. I have some health constraints that keep me from going balls out and working insane hours while taking bunches of classes at this point in my life. I can do it, I just need to move a little more slowly than I used to.

I don’t really know how the postbac works, or how funding goes for that…

Are there assistantships available? My grades are average or better but I’ve never been able to get a scholarship as an adult student…

So I have no idea how to fund these pre-reqs.

I might just decide to do a PhD in Neuroscience instead (probably less stressful considering my health situation), but I would still need all these science pre-reqs to even be able to apply for that program, and I just can’t figure out how to fund them.

I am wondering if I could do a postbac to get the science basics and then apply for a neuroscience program… But that doesn’t do anything for my financially, does it? It just put all the science pre-reqs into a nice bundle called postbac, and hopefully allows me to be in classes with some older returning students similar to me instead of 18-year old freshmen, right?

That’s another thing…I don’t know if I can handle being the only 40-yr in ALL these classes. I am at a large uni, with a non-existent commuting population, so 99% of the undergrads are traditional. I found this out in the one bio class I took–it was pretty rough. Please don’t be offended, but I don’t want to spend the next two-three years with kids half my age. I could change uni’s… but I’m here now, and changing would be hassle. Are there foundation classes for adults? Are there graduate-level classes that cover the basic bio/chem/phy by chance?

What options do I have for somehow completing these pre-reqs?

Thanks for your insights!

One option, if finances are a concern, is to find a job that gives tuition reimbursement benefits.

It’s slower - I only took one course per term - but this is how I have paid for all of my post-bacc courses. I paid the tuition up front, then was reimbursed on successful completion of the course.

Best of luck figuring out the best option for yourself - MD or otherwise. A PhD in Neuroscience sounds interesting.

How about this… Stop making stupid decisions! Who gets a masters in writing with this economy? A total waste of time and a subtle excuse to stay away from the real working world while continuing as a student if you ask me. You are 40 years old for god’s sake, it’s about time you figure out that life is much more than watching scrubs and dreaming about getting a title to somehow change your situation for the better. Now go back out there and be a productive man of society, if you really want to pursue your dreams that bad then earn it by saving on the side and figure it out.

Everyone was thinking it, I just write it.

You don’t know anything about me.

Why don’t you go fuck yourself?

(Everyone else was thinking it, I just wrote it.)

And I’m a woman, not a man, by the way. But you are obviously the type of person to make assumptions without logic. I fear for any patient that may come into contact with your delusioned, narcisstic, egotistical self.


Here’s what little I know. You can borrow 12,500 Stafford money for 1 year of postbac (as a preprofessional program). That’s it. I took it at UVA, took JUSt the science prereqs (and an extra US health care system seminar they included), for $16,000 tuition + my cost of living …which I funded with the above loan plus a home equity loan. I planned to work teaching childbirth classes to make about $600/2 months, but realized even that was too much working for me to excel in the classes.

What a lot of folks do is

a. Take them at a CC while working a fairly near full-time job. This takes a couple of years.

b. Sign up for a second bachelors, but don’t complete it. Get the courses you need, using the student loan system, and get out.You have to take at least 12 credits a semester, so this means not working much. Not sure how living expenses would work with that.

You can’t take the prereqs as graduate courses - you need them as undergraduate credits.

Hope this suggests some alternatives to you.Best of luck! Always glad to see another woman non-trad, even such a young one as yourself


Just wanted to stop by and touch on your comment about being the only 40+ person in your classes. I just recently started working on my Associates at a junior college and i am the oldest person in 1/2 my classes and second oldest in the other half at 34 years old.

I wear this like a badge of honor. Be proud of your age, the life-experience you bring to the table makes you a huge asset to your peers. Already i am experiencing this at my school with tutoring some of my classmates especially in math. Twice already my psych professor has specifically questioned me about medications we were talking about. While i have no doubts that this is not the norm, it is pretty cool anyways.

All in all, its been my experience that everyone one of my professors has taken me very seriously, more so than my classmates.

I think it boils down to this: they realize someone 34 years old who wants to spend the better part of a decade in school to become a doctor isnt messing around.

Be proud of who you are!


blackhawk_pilot and ragingtulip… By your number of posts, 4 and 2 respectively at this moment, you are what I’d call “New to OPM.”

We are a community of friends. If you have the opportunity to join us at the annual convention you will meet people who will become very close to you, who’s support will mean ALL THE WORLD TO YOU as you struggle with the path you have chosen.

We are are also OLD, and supposedly mature. This is not SDN. We disagree (99% of the time), but we do it with respect, carefully choosing our words and acting as the professionals we will someday be. We are polite to each other.

In the future, consider this: would a TV doctor write this? If yes, delete everything and go have a time-out. More seriously, write your posts and then leave the window open until the next day. If you still like it, go ahead and post. And finally, realize that you are not actually anonymous on this board - your writing style and the crumbs of information you give are enough to reveal who you are to clever Adcoms. And they are all quite clever.

(Likely no one was thinking of posting it, because we’re all in school FREAKING OUT and studying, but someone had to, because OPM is Awesome and should remain so)

Good luck, stay positive and post often!


  • PixieSanders Said:
write your posts and then leave the window open until the next day

Trolls don't care about all this stuff.

Look I just call it like it is. If you are lame and have wasted most of your entire adult live to then wake up one morning and realize that your old ass wants to become a doctor, but the reasons or requests for help don’t actually make mature sense… Then I’m sorry but it is what it is. Some times people just need to hear the truth instead of just someone behind a screen giving false hopes and motivation.

A little tact can go a long way.

Thanks, Pixie - well said!

Wanted to address it but lacked time to formulate this excellent orientation.


Obvious troll is Obvious

  • BaileyPup Said:
Obvious troll is Obvious

Everyone was thinking it, you just wrote it.


  • BaileyPup Said:
Obvious troll is Obvious

You are my favorite.

(Shhhhhhh, don't tell anyone)

I don’t like reading mean posts, this isn’t a place for that.

I agree with everyone above regarding the need to be positive. I dismissed going to med school until I found this forum. Do not let one negative comment dissuade you.

On a more positive note - I am just starting and I had the same questions. The answer to them is really what best suits you. It’s a purely personal decision.

I couldn’t handle the possibility that I could take out 20-30k in loans and maybe not get in. It was such an issue that it prevented me from even trying this path - that wasn’t acceptable to me either! In the end I settled on the community college after work route. I can pay cash and focus on my studies without worrying about the financial “what if’s.” I might be taking a chance with ADCOMS, but it’s the path that was best for me.

The other choices have their upsides too. Weigh out your options; think about what’s most important to you and pick the best route. Most importantly, if you really want this - find a way to do it! You have a 100 percent chance of not getting in if you don’t try!

RE: “If you are lame and have wasted most of your entire adult live to then wake up one morning and realize that your old ass wants to become a doctor, …”

then you’re the type of person that this forum is meant for.

(hey, we’re all thinking it. I just said it…)