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How old is too old?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by kmmath, Jun 28, 2000.

  1. Would you say that there is a certain..cutoff age for applying to medical school? I just turned 30 (gasp, choke!!) but am considering holding off on applying until I am about 38 so that I can spend as much time as possible with my children during their childhood...any thoughts?

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  3. Billie

    Billie An Oldie but a Goodie... 10+ Year Member

    Nov 30, 1998
    Cleveland, OH

    I started med school at 33. I am in my third year and will turn 36 this fall. I have a classmate that started at 48. She turned 50 during her second year.

  4. Dr JPH

    Dr JPH Banned Banned 10+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2000
    Here is how you figure out whether or not you are too old to go to medical school.

    First calculate your life expectancy:

    Subtract your current age.
    Subtract the number of years you have to spend in school if you do indeed need to do undergraduate work.
    Subtract 4 years for med school. We should consider level of difficulty and there should be a stress coefficient. Here, we will use a 135% stress coefficient as to remain fair to all schools.
    Subtract the number of years you plan on for residency.

    Now, read the number. If it is greater than 1, you should go to med school. If it is zero or a negative number, you may want to consider something else.


    (Life Expectancy) - (Current Age) - (Undergrad Years) - (Medical School Years x 1.35) - (Expected Residency Years) = _____

    Hmm..Let's see if I should go to medical school....

    (75.69) - (19) - (2) - (4x1.35) - (5) = 44.29

    I should go to medical school.

    Admissions folks, take notice.

    Have a good night.

    Joshua Paul Hazelton, CNA, EMT-B
    [email protected]
    University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (2002)
    "D.O. Wannabe"

    [This message has been edited by JPHazelton (edited 06-28-2000).]
  5. Dr. FS

    Dr. FS Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 28, 2000
    New York City
    Nice equation, where did you find it?

    I don't want to make it more difficult, but it is say that we should add a 20% of extra time to accomplish everything our plans. So you should consider to add the following:
    Undergraduate...5 years
    Med-School......5 years
    Residence.......if it takes 4 years, think it will take 5 years to accomplish.

    Dr. FS
  6. Sheiila

    Sheiila Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 11, 2000
    Boston, MA USA
    You're the right age for med school if: (1) You want it for all the right reasons, and badly, and (2) you get in.

    Formulas! Geesh!

    How old are your kids? I am applying at 35 because I waited for my kids to get older. Won't see me sniveling when I have to stay up all night and work all the next day... I have lots of experience with that!
  7. RYSA

    RYSA Member 10+ Year Member

    May 18, 2000
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    I have never heard anything so ridiculous in my life...where do you guys get this stuff?!

  8. mj

    mj Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2000

    It was a JOKE people! I thought it was hysterical Josh. Do you think they missed that if your number is below 1 YOU ARE DEAD? Well, I guess you could still get in as your MCAT is good for 3 years, but the interview might be a little hard.
  9. dwstranger

    dwstranger Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 14, 2000
    Bethlehem, PA
    You're never too old! Well...

    I started at 34, just finished my first year. Put it off, then when I decided I wanted to go (that it was the right thing to do), I couldn't get accepted. Was part of it age? Probably. Regardless, I went "foreign."

    One of my classmates is about to turn 60, which means he'll finish at 63, then have to do residency. He realizes that the number of fields open to him will be limited, so he's choosing Psych as a specialty.

    So when I said, "you're never too old," you need to think long and hard. You can do it, your determination may be great, but what about your physical self? My friend realized that ER or neurosurgery (because of the physical demands and/or the length of the residency) wouldn't be the place to apply himself. You have to consider your own limitations and determination when deciding whether to go or not to go.

    Another thing I just thought of... My mother sent me an article from the NY Times about a guy who graduated from Albert Einstein Med at 55. One of the things he pointed out in the article was that when a patient sees him, gray hair and all, they ASSUME he's more experienced than his classmates (who are 24-25). I suppose this would be beneficial in trying to get the patient to comply with treatment...

    Good luck.
  10. md03

    md03 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 24, 2000
    I started med school at 38, just turned 39 and finished my first year. I am the oldest in my class. And I am also near the top, grade wise.

    Go for it. Just be aware that you may need to take some science classes (beyond the basic prereq's) in the year or two prior to when you apply. Part time should be fine for most schools. Time your MCAT so that the scores are new when you apply, just in case you don't get in and have to apply again. (NOthing personal...every year lots of very qualified applicants don't get in for a variety of mysterious reasons.) Most schools don't want MCAT scores less than 2-3 years old.

    When it gets closer to time to apply, call a few med schools and get some input from the admissions office. Many will give advice to prospective applicants.

    Good luck

  11. riverweb

    riverweb Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    NY, NY USA
    I'm 44 and starting this Fall (MD). Yep, it can be done! I applied to 6 schools, got 4 interviews and 4 acceptances. I also have a LONG story about age discrimination. Suffice it to say, some schools care about your age, and others don't. You just might want to research/call schools you're interested in, and see if they admit older students. (They all SAY they do, but in reality...)
  12. Dr JPH

    Dr JPH Banned Banned 10+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2000
    mj..THANK YOU



    If you look at it again, you will see that as I said "if less than zero, dont go to medical school". Well, if that number is less that zero, that means that (presumably) you will dead just as you are finishing your residency.
    Funny, huh?

    Seriously, I dont think you are ever too old to go to medical school. If you are a 65 year old grandfather and can get in, hell, do it. Now, whether or not you would get in, that's not my job. But, I dont think anyone should be denied based on age, or any other criterion for that matter.

    PS: Umm...did any admissions folks read my post? Because, uhhh..., my anser to the equation WAS greater than zero!! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Joshua Paul Hazelton, CNA, EMT-B
    [email protected]
    University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (2002)
    "D.O. Wannabe"
  13. Sheiila

    Sheiila Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 11, 2000
    Boston, MA USA
    If you want a pseudo "cut off age", which in truth does not exist, the stats for who gets in begin to drop sharply at age 35.
  14. surg

    surg 10+ Year Member

    Dec 16, 2001

    The decision to enter med school is a difficult one at any age. You are committing yourself to a minimum of 7 yrs of training. There several issues that you should seriously consider before taking the plunge.

    1)Lifestyle: Are you willing to spend the rest of your "prime" years slaving away in med school? You will have little time to spend with family and friends and will often feel like a prisoner of the hospital. The physical/mental stress of med school & residency will drain you. Younger, more fit, students with less family obligations (i.e children) tend to tolerate these hours better.

    2) Financial: If you are able to pay cash for your tuition then this is less of an issue. However, if you are like the average applicant you could easily go >100K in debt. Add interest to that & you are looking a sizable debt that may take years to pay off, even on an MD's salary. The catch 22: in order to make big bucks you will have to signifigantly extend your residency/fellowship training time which delays your ability to pay off the loans. Obviously, older med students have shorter career spans and thus less time to pay off debt.

    3) High exit barrier: Related to finances. Once in debt, many people feel like they have to stay in medicine to just break even with their debt load. Like any career decision, it is difficult to know if you will truly like your job until you are actually working that that field. By the time you realize that medicine may not be for you, you could be well into your residency (and heavily in debt). There is nothing more depressing than realizing that you have sacrificed enormous amounts of time, money, and energy to work in a field which makes you unhappy. There are many unhappy MD's out there who at the time of applying to med school thought that medicine was the perfect career for them.

    4) The structure of medical training: Many of my older classmates in med school had a very difficult time taking orders from younger residents and staff. In Medicine, rank is completely independent of age.

    Don't get me wrong, Medicine is a wonderful field and can be tremendously rewarding. Despite the sacrifices that I make, I look forward to going to work every day.

    Just make sure you know what you are committing yourself to. Good luck!

    An MD
  15. jmor702

    jmor702 Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 6, 1998
    Sapulpa, OK , USA
    So Josh doesn't feel like there should be any criteria for entering med school?

    I get it, that's another joke,


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