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Being Older = Better Chance of Acceptance?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by FutureDrB, Jul 23, 2011.

  1. FutureDrB

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    So, I have a THEORY and I wanted to get other people's thoughts. I'm not sure I actually believe my own theory, :laugh: but again, just wanted to see what y’all thought.

    Us older, non-traditional students often worry about our age impacting the application process. But, what if being older actually meant we had a better chance of being accepted? I don't know the exact numbers, but let's assume 750 people apply to School A. Now we assume the majority (let’s say 600) were of average applicant age of >25 years old.

    While schools probably don't admit it or publicize it, I would assume that they have requirements as to the number of older students they must accept in order to come up with an average class age. Basically, what I'm saying is the way I'm looking at it, I'm not competing with the 600 "normal" applicants, I'm just competing for one of the spots given to the non-traditional students over the age of 25, thus resulting in a better chance of being accepted.

    Again, just a theory…
     
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  3. drdan83

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    I believe that our age is definitely an advantage. I think there are at least a few schools out there that look at the life experiences of a non-trad as a plus.

    But to add my perspective, I think certain ages carry more weight than others. I think 28-35 is the perfect non-trad age.

    Beyond that, I have the feeling the adcoms might start thinking that you might be too old by the time you graduate.

    To add my .02, I actually think 18 and 21 year old's are too young to know if medicine is right for them. Not saying they can't handle studying medicine but most people that age don't have the experiences to decide if they will be happy with the career in the long run; I mean unless you were a lifetime patient, where would all the needed clinical/life experiences come from? We non-trads had a lot of time to think the process over.
     
  4. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    No, using quotas is illegal as well as unethical, and we don't use them. All applicants of all ages are competing against one another. Nontrads tend to have lower stats than trads on average, which makes their acceptance rate lower in many cases. However, nontrads with excellent stats tend to be highly desirable candidates.

    There's no point in dwelling on your age, since it isn't something that you can change anyway. Instead, focus on making your entire app as strong as possible. Adcoms want the whole package, not people who are lopsidedly strong in certain areas but supbar in others.
     
  5. FutureDrB

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    Totally agree with each of your points. Good thing too that I'll just be making that 35-year old non-trad age you suggested too. :D
     
  6. Northwesterly

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    I wish I could agree, but based on folks (medical students, mostly) I've talked to, it's a slight disadvantage if anything. Sure, a more mature nontrad might beat out an immature traditional applicant, but all things being equal a more mature applicant will almost always win. And I don't think that Adcoms hand out acceptances with one eye on the "average matriculant age" cell of the spreadsheet.

    [edited to add: in response to OP]
     
  7. drdan83

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    Then why do you say it's a disadvantage to be a non-trad?
     
  8. mauberley

    mauberley radiating prestige
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    The bolded.

    I think I'm a better person for having made the decisions I've made in my life to reach this point, but I don't think those same decisions led to me being a stronger applicant.
     
  9. Northwesterly

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    Because most people, Adcoms included, have an expectation that med school applicants will be in the 21-26 age range. I don't think there's anything so dramatic as age discrimination, but at the margins it probably doesn't help.
     
  10. yankswin2011

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    In general, I would imagine that a non-traditional would present themselves better during the interview because they have, hopefully, more interesting things to talk about, more disciplined in their responses, less nervous, etc.

    However, it's a balance because as people get older, from a financial standpoint -- given the years of lost income, it's not worth it, unless you're independently wealthy. Being 40 with little assets, no retirement savings, and in $200K debt is not a good idea. And yes, we as adults should be more prudent with our finances. Heck, our country, in general, needs to be more prudent on finances -- all this pursue your "dreams" at a reckless financial cost has, directly or indirectly, put our country in a trillion dollar debt crisis, anyway that's a story for another thread.
     
  11. qwirkz

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    I think these "dreamers" you speak of should be the least of your worries. :p
     
  12. SisterDisco08

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    I was 20 when I applied last cycle (young for my grade, and finished undergrad in three years), and it worked against me in big ways. Personally, I disagree with you completely. I may not have the "life experience" that the older end of the non-trad spectrum has, but I have never faltered in my decision of pursuing medicine--it's the only career path I have EVER considered, since childhood. What about that makes me a "worse" candidate than someone who tried something else on for size, didn't like it, and came around to medicine as a second choice? (Not saying that that's how all older non-trads end up choosing medicine, but some do) Nothing.

    But, most AdComs do think along the same lines as you guys apparently do, and seem to prefer applicants with more "life experience."
     
  13. ghostman

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    This can be said of a lot of nontrad's original careers. That's where the life experience comes in.
     
  14. Law2Doc

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    well, if you've tried other things on for size, you can make a more informed decision. You are far more likely to be thinking the grass is greener having never been on the other side of the fence. But more importantly the practice of medicine isn't a career in a vacuum. Most other fields have oodles of transferable skills that would be helpful in med school. If you bring a skill set, maturity and focus to the table, honed at another career, that the typical traditional premed doesn't, you provide a big benefit. Med school isn't yet another year of college and other than the test taking skills most of what you need to succeed in med school doesn't come from college.

    I would suggest however that being older in and of itself doesn't make you a better applicant. You can't just say I am older so I must have more life experiences. These need to be objectively demonstrated to the adcoms or it's a nonstarter. I also would suggest that while no schools are going to use quotas as Q suggested, most adcoms will have a mental picture of class composition that they consider desirable, and in most cases it includes a handful of older folks for diversity, but not a sizable chunk of the class. So yes you are competing with other nontrads to give that seasoning, but no you aren't competing with nontrads for all the spots, just enough to give diversity. Most places want some nontrads. No places want mostly nontrads because the bulk of the applicant pool is the under 25 crowd and you do yourself a disservice if you don't make them the real focus.
     
  15. RNwantDO

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    I would hazard a guess, that it might be positive if your academics were on the same level as the traditionals. I would bet it is more along the lines of icing on the cake, than any substantial advantage. I just don't think older equates to a higher likely hood of completing med school.
     
  16. Law2Doc

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    95% of US allo attendees complete med school. This is true across all age groups. The concern is less about completing and more about getting in in the first place.
     
  17. RNwantDO

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    Correct, but I would guess the number one concern of ADCOM's is if this person will complete med school. Hence, the number one concern of an applicant is being able to show that you can complete med school in four years. Currently this is achieved by getting a high GPA/MCAT, solid EC's, and research. Once a person gets an interview, age may play factor. However, I would guess that the adversity an older individual may have endured would be the advantage, and not their actual age.
     

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