Schools that are looking for older students

I am a 29 year old witha BS in Zoology and a minor in Anthropolgy. I graduated with very medicore grades back in 98. I cuurently am working a full time job, volunteering at three places, and going to school (7 hours a semster). My pre medical review advisor suggested I retake some classes to show that I can do the work- I have an A average for the last year. I am taking the MCATS in August 2004. I am trying to decide which schools to apply to and am wondering if anyone has heard about schools that put emphasis on older students? Or students who have not done well when they were younger, but are doing well now that they are older?
Any advice on this or suggestions on how to narrow down the schools I am applying to would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Marcia

Hi and welcome to OPM.
Since you haven’t taken the MCAT it is harder to tell you what schools you should apply to. I have found the DO schools to be more open to older students, but that is just my experience.
I would suggest looking at the med school web sites under student stats and seeing what the average age is.
For MD schools -
For DO schools -
It is great that you are retaking the classes and earning A’s. That will help show adcoms you have improved since the last time you took them. Take some upper level science courses as well such as Physiology which can help you on the MCAT, genetics, micro just to name a few.
Good luck

I applied to 32 schools on AMCAS and received secondaries from all the schools. I submitted secondaries to 29 of those schools and ended up with 25 interviews. I went on 11 interviews and so far have 9 acceptances with some full tuition scholarships offered. I am 37 years old and turn 38 in April. Age did not come up in any negative way at any of the schools that I interviewed at. Schools will look past your age if you have proved via recent coursework that you can a tackle rigorous academic curriculum , that you are involved in meaningful activities that “give back in some way” to your community, that you can take standardized exams aka the MCAT and do well, and that you are mature and caring individual. It really does not matter to which medical schools you apply to as long as you would be happy going there if it was the only one to accept you, and that you would thrive in that environment. Apply to a broad range of schools and you should be fine if all else is in place. No, you do not have to apply to so many schools as I did but there was a reason for my madness…and it all played out rather nicely.

Hi there,
Medical schools are looking for students of any age that show promise of being able to complete a challenging curriculum successfully. There are no specific schools that are “looking for older (or younger) students” but all schools are looking for members of the freshman class that demonstrate that they are ready to study medicine. Plenty of people get into medical school who have not had the best undergraduate grades but somehow overcome their academic difficulties and demonstrate that they are able to handle medical school.
Finish doing your “damage control”, take MCAT and then see how you compare with applicants and matriculants at schools that interest you. As others have mentioned, looking at the average age will give you some idea of the number of older students but average ages listed are at least two years old and classes change from year to year.
Do you best and apply or not apply. You really cannot let age be a factor in searching for a medical school. Let location, quality of teaching, philosopy of teaching and interest in students’ professional development guide you.
Good luck!

Ummm… OK. If you could just go ahead and describe in great detail exactly how you prepared for the med school apps, that would be greaaaaaaaaaat. I’ll wait right here… Please–take your time.

A couple of the highlights from preparing my application was to:
- write my personal statement to address the journey of how I got from leaving college because I couldn’t afford to go, to the military, to medicine. To me, this went a long way in answering the “why medicine” and why now question.
- Throughout my application, I turned negatives into positives, essentially trying to sell myself. I wasn’t old, I had the benefit of a breadth of experiences that would help me relate to my patients better. I didn’t dislike my previous career (voice and data communications), I discovered in myself a love of problem solving but an unfulfilled need to make a difference with people and not just machines, etc, etc.
- I did not apologize for my past in my application. The path, no matter how rough sometimes, has made me the strong person I am today and I wouldn’t allow self-doubt into the equation.
Like the previous posters said, age never came up in my interviews. They were far more interested in talking about the great experiences that I had in the military (deployments to Kuwait and Bosnia seemed to be their favorite topics). And they only knew about these because that was a selling point that I emphasized. We each have these type of unique experiences in our lives, even if they may not seem like it to us. You have a lot of control in picking the areas of your life and showing how they brought you to medicine and why they make you a strong candidate.
Hope this helps in some way,

Thanks to everyone who responded!
I decided to apply to medical school after attending a Kaplan free admissions event. It has always been a dream of mine and after the class I didn’t feel like it was out my reach. I talked with the pre-medical review advisor at my alma mater school. She told me my grades were not competitive for medical school from my earned degree but suggested that I retake certain classes and get the competitive grades. She also reccomended volunteering to get some experience. That was almost 1.5 years ago. Since then I have readmitted myself into NCSU in the Psychology program (being my backup plan), retaken the first year of Chemistry and finishing up retaking O-chem, plus other classes. I started volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters (we have been matched for a year now), am volunteering in the Emergency room of a local hospital on Saturday nights, and have created a volunteer database for a local organization called the Alliance Medical Ministry. Alliance is for working adults in Wake County, NC who either cannot afford insurance or who can’t get insurance from their place of employment. There are only about 4 paid staff. The rest of the resources are volunteeers and donations from various churches, synagouges, and private individuals. They typically see between 25-40 people a day in their clinic for basic medical care! The patients pay a co-payment based on their income typically around 10 dollars. I also help out there during their Saturday clinics.
So hopefully that answers the questions of how I have been preparing to be a more competitive applicant.
I am mostly concerned that the grades from when I was younger will prevent me from getting accepted even though now I am getting competitive grades.
I appreciated the advice on focusing the essays and applications to my strengths and the journey I have been on to get to this point.
Thank you everyone for being so supportive!