Where to begin?

Hello Everyone,

I am very happy to have come across this website. I am 31 years old and I currently work in finance. Becoming an MD has been a dream of mine for most of the last decade. However, after graduating from college I moved to NYC and I have been working in finance ever since. Lately, I have come across some stories (per your website) of individuals, somewhat like myself, gaining acceptance to medical school and then going on to become successful physicians. Reading their stories has given me some hope that maybe I could realize my dream as well. My problem is that I am lost right now. I really don’t know where to begin. Should I take a class at a local college? Should I volunteer? I graduated in 2000 with a low GPA (3.0). Do I even have a chance? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you- Rick

Hi Rick,

Welcome! You’ll find this forum quite supportable. I, too, am looking to go to medical school in a few years and I’ll be 45. You’ll see that there are many posters who are over 30 and are at different stages of this pursuit.

Have you had any exposure to the medical field? There are many pre-meds that glorify it, and I can tell you, it can be tough to deal with at times. I would actually suggest that you do some research and volunteer and if you know of any physicians, talk directly with them face to face.

If it is something that you still want to pursue, you’ll probably want to look into a post-bacc (doesn’t have to be formal). How long was it since you graduated? If it has been a while, you might want to look into another bachelors in biology perhaps?, but that isn’t required…You’ll need to take the prerequisite sciences - General Chem I/II w/labs, Organic Chem I/II w/labs, Biology I/II w/labs and Physics I/II w/labs. Even though you may not be able to increase your overall GPA that much, if you work hard at these classes you can have a competitive BCPM GPA which consists of the sciences.

As a resident of New York, I would recommend CUNY Hunter College. They do have night classes if you need to go part-time.

Another thing that you will need to do once you finish your prerequisites is to take the MCAT. You’ll want to do really well with this, so don’t rush to take the test…be prepared.

Best of luck!


volunteering can be a useful (and humbling) experience. I would give it a try, see how deep your commitment and desire run, and consider taking a night course to see whether school floats your boat. You can raise your gpa if you select appropriate courses and work hard at them. I’d recommend something relatively easy to start, like pre-chemistry (I’m assuming you’ve got plenty of math) just to rebuild your study habits, then if all goes well plunge in and go for it.

Thank you for the reply. Well, I graduated in 2000 with a degree in Economics and a minor in Biology. I used to intern for a surgeon during my college years and I did some volunteer work as well. However, that was many years ago. I was thinking about volunteering at my local hospital to see if I still had interest. Also I was thinking of taking a night class. Given the time that has passed, do you think I will have to retake all my pre-req courses? I did take everything but organic chem in college. Again, thank you so much for taking the time to reply.


I forgot to mention that I am living in Southern California. Do you think UCLA or USC would be good places to start with a night class? Say in Bio?

Whether or not you should retake your pre-reqs has no good answer, unfortunately. Many schools prefer/require that your pre-reqs be less than ten years old. However, most of them seem to be willing to waive that if you have strong recent course work and a strong MCAT. If you did mediocre or poorly in any of the pre-reqs the first time around, you should definitely retake them. If you think your knowledge is rusty, you may want to retake them, just to refresh your memory before moving on to the MCAT or organic. If you feel like you can brush up on them on your own, it may not be necessary.

You should probably consider taking a few upper level science courses whether you repeat the pre-reqs or not, so you have some recent coursework to show the adcoms.

A biology class might not be a bad place to start. Biology has seen quite a few changes. You might want to leaf through some inorganic chemistry to see how rusty you are on those concepts prior to taking organic.

I’m sorry Rick, I thought you were still in NY. Definitely consider those two schools. I would definitely advise you to speak with someone at one of the schools. I see that a couple of the kind folks here have given you some good starting spots…best of luck!