What age is too old for Med school?

I’m a 47 year old female, seriously contemplating going back to Med school. I’m currently practicing as a Family Nurse Practitioner. My desire is really strong, but I don’t want to put in all the effort if my age is going to be a major factor in the admission process. I am looking at attending an Osteopathic School of Medicine. Does any one know of any person in Med school remotely close to my age. Am I crazy?

I can’t say how old is too old, but we do have a member who is 58 (?) and in her internship. I believe she started out in nursing as well.



How old is too old to attend medical school? When you have decided that you eithe no longer want to go to medical school nor be a physician, or the age that you have given up. The questions you may ask yourself are, “How badly do I want this?” and “What am I willing to give up to get it?”

If you really want to attend medical school, and, by correlation, work to become a physician, age should not matter much. I personally have known and worked with two women who started in U.S. medical schools in their 50’s. One of them is now an assistnat professor of pediatrics at a major U.S. allopathic medical school. (I don’t know what happened to the other woman.) Osteopathic medical schools and Caribbean medical schools are more lenient in terms of the age. Of course, you will find plenty of people (incluidng physicians and medical students) who will try to pursuade you to NOT apply to medical school due to your age. Whether you follow their advice is up to you.

What age is too old? I would suppose whatever age C3/C4/C5 cease to provide innervation to the diaphragm sufficient to sustain cognitive thought may be considered too old. Remember though – this is a marathon – the importance of being in good shape, especially as we age, cannot be overstated in this undertaking called medical school.

I’m in my late 40s and starting med school this summer. I felt (this is just my opinion) at some schools I was not very welcomed but other schools appreciated my life and professional experience. As I decided which school to attend, how much a school appreciated me as an older/nontraditional student was an important factor.

A couple of years ago, I also wondered if I was too old to apply, and spoke with a director of admissions of DO school who came to the Oldpremed conference. She assured me I was not too old and they had accepted students in their 50s.

Good luck with pursuing your dream and finding your match.

Who said too old?? NEVER TOO OLD!!!

Hi! Welcome to OPM! I’m the previously alluded to 58 yr old just finishing my internship year. Started in a postbacc premed that was one year long (to do it quicker), then a glide year, 4 years of med school.

Osteopathic medical schools are very non-trad friendly, and particularly tend to value ones previous experience. There are many MD schools that also are non-trad friendly but the age would probably be an issue at schools that are more research focused, as it is difficult to have a good career in research without many years to devote to it.

In the admission process, your age will only be a barrier if you let it. My advice is NOT to talk yourself out of it before you ever start! I was a CNM and taught nursing for a number of years before plunging in and I am VERY happy being an osteopathic physician. For me DO school was the goal to begin with because the philosophy of care seemed very compatable with where I was coming from.

Let me know if I can answer any questions for you along the way!


Moved to the general discussion.

Chiming in as another voice of encouragement!

I started working on a Bachelor’s degree at the age of fifty. I just graduated, and will turn 55 one month after I start medical school.

Seconding what Kate said about some schools being adverse to older people matriculating, while others seemed to actually be biased in my favor! I ended up laughing and joking with interviewers about one thing or another! We were just two mature people enjoying each others’ company! Twenty-one year old me would have been frozen with intimidation!

My interviews were with allopathic, so I can only speak to experiences with those. So between Kate’s experiences with D.O. and my experiences with M.D. --both in our fifties-- we can confidently say that you can start this at 47, OP :wink: !!

I’m 48 planning to be in med school in my 50’s, so you’re in good company around here! :smiley:

I’m sure that there is always going to be SOME bias against non-trads, especially those who are considered on the older range. That said, I don’t think that should discourage you from applying, only to change your strategy to applying broadly. Personally, I’m 27, and I’m always appreciative of the wisdom of older students and people who see their callings later in life. You have a whole rich history of experiences that you could use to make a killer application! Good luck on your journey!

Too Old? Dead…correct answer.

Sgaffin -

Hear, hear!!! :slight_smile:



You guys rock.

Im 39 and been asking myself am I ready to give up my comfortable life to pursue a life of service and debt.

I’ve been calculating the cost but it’s a lot. So I would start by saying life is taken as one day at a time.

If I calculate all the problems of a med student and a doctor, i might be pushing myself to the cliff,

However, come to think of it if I pursue this dream at least I live my life towards a chance of actually being there rather than just a dream that I will always wonder.

I am preparing for GRE and it’s just a start to get into the post bacc program.

I intend to enroll in Spring next Year.


@sgaffin wrote:

Too Old? Dead…correct answer.

Love that quote!

In all seriousness, only you can decide if you’re up for it or not. But where there’s a will there’s a way!

Good Luck to you!

This is super inspiring! I might be 40 by the time I have my grades at a place that makes me competitive, so seeing it’s not going to be a game stopper is reassuring.

I just love seeing posts from “old” folks like me who are going for it. I’m 54, M1 at IUHS, and love love love LOVE everything about it. Took about ten years of applications, tons of crazy life-stuff, trying desperately to do anything BUT medicine, and then finding the absolutely perfect fit for me. One essential piece was calculating the cost, then finding a med school that would allow me to get my MD and graduate debt free. I think the 20-somethings have a much different view of the debit load. I have an older sis who has been practicing for more than 20 years, STILL paying off those loans. I didn’t realize there was another option for so long. But, so SO grateful fo it!

Here’s to living dreams wildly in life’s second half!!

Ronaejull: so what option did you take to be able to graduate debt free? Is it through military, navy and national peace corp?

At 44 years old I have thought about this long and hard but from what I can see here there are others who have entered at a later age. Perhaps it less about age and more about youth. Good luck.