1. The SDN iPhone App is back and free through November! Get it today and please post a review on the App Store!
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice

Interview Feedback: Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

Interviewing Masterclass: Free masterclass on interviewing from SDN and Medical College of Georgia

Non-trad (age) Unfriendly schools

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by benkahuna, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. benkahuna

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    13
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Hello all,

    I did the responsible thing that the cute, little, intro video suggested about netiquette and searched (and read, and repeated the process) prior to asking this question. I found some threads that discuss my specific issue, but they didn't provide a lot of detail and they were older, between 6 and 8 years old. So, please forgive me for not finding another thread with the same information that I request here. I tried. If you know the location of the perfect link for this information, I will gladly click it.

    What schools look unfavorably at us older applicants? I've heard that Tufts, George Washington, BU and Loma Linda all make this list.

    I ask because, while competitive in other ways, I suspect that I have reached the age where some schools might be trying *not* to take me.

    I just turned 39. My recent MCAT (July 24th, 2014) was 35. My undergraduate GPA was around 3.2 with a 2.8 science GPA at Cal as a double major in molecular and cell bio and ISF (you make your own major). I moved to Nevada and have not gotten an A- since retaking prereqs and adding some other courses. At the same time, I've worked at least 30 hours per week (for 3 semesters and 2 summers thus far). I've got medical volunteering, shadowing, research (though it's been a while) and I'm set up to do some non-medical volunteering. My most recent work has been in home health care for 1 1/2 years, pharmacy tech (last 3 years) and medical scribing (just recently, but I'm not sure if I will continue).

    I'm fairly convinced that I will get into an MD medical school in the United States, but not Puerto Rico (in part because I haven't met their mandatory Spanish requirement).

    I'm looking to cast a fairly wide net in my applications (so I have choices). I only want to do the process once. I want to avoid schools likely to rule me out due to my age and am hoping this community can help.

    I plan to pay it back by posting here about my experiences as a non-trad applicant! :)

    I am a late applicant to the 2015 cycle. I will be sending out my first group of applications within a few days and the last group within 1-2 weeks.
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. BlastedHeath

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2014
    Messages:
    343
    Likes Received:
    393
    Status:
    Medical Student
    I'm not in your age range so I haven't sought out information for applicants 30+, but Tufts and BU are commonly listed as schools that value reinvention, so I wouldn't think they were older applicant unfriendly. Here's a chart of the age distribution of the last 4 years of BU acceptances, there are older people there.

    You've got a good MCAT, and it sounds like your ECs are in line, what is your overall GPA when you add in your postbacc work?

    I would think that if you apply broadly, target schools that value reinvention, are in line with your stats, and you can clearly articulate why medicine and why medicine at 39, you will have a shot at getting in somewhere. Applying late is just another strike against you, in addition to the age and low undergrad GPA, but it seems like you understand that. Older applicants and low GPA applicants are a risk for schools to accept, even if they are outwardly friendly towards nontraditional applicants, you've got to be able to make a good case for yourself.

    Someone more knowledgeable than me can chime in for a clearer answer, but here's a list from Goro of schools that value reinvention that I have referenced a few times.
     
    Goro and HinduHammer like this.
  4. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
    Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Messages:
    18,893
    Likes Received:
    4,109
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field], Attending Physician
    If you've already read through the forum, then you already know that your age won't ever enter into the equation at any school, because your low GPAs and your late app submission are both going to dwarf your age so massively as reasons to reject you.
     
  5. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Messages:
    7,509
    Likes Received:
    2,597
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Age discrimination isn't a real thing. There are students over 40 at most US MD schools. "Age discrimination" is what people hide behind and blame when they don't get accepted.

    I distinctly remember what it feels like to presume some "logic" in the med school admissions process that doesn't exist. I was 41 during my first app cycle. I had a solid MCAT. I was a super high achiever in my prior career. My essays and LORs were perfect. My clinical and non-clinical experiences were interesting and extensive. Dudes, I interview great.

    And I got rejected at all 36 MD schools I applied to. Got one "mercy" in-state interview. Why? Low GPA. Late app.

    Deadlines are not relevant to those with GPA damage. Age has nothing to do with it. It's too late to apply this year.

    I needed to spend a ton of money and do a ton of work after that app cycle to get a US MD acceptance. OP: that probably isn't your situation, but you would be wise to look at the next 9 months' worth of opportunities and how they could help your app.

    Best of luck to you.
     
    meander, Prettywoman0172 and Goro like this.
  6. jl lin

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,077
    Likes Received:
    1,249
    I agree with the sage advice from the Q and Dr. M above. . .nonetheless, yup. There is still something called ageism. It may not be spoken or given as a reason; but it exists. It exists, even if you look like a kid and then people peek at your birth date on some random piece of documentation. It exists from people that have claimed to sit on adcoms here on this site, believe it or not. They rationalize this or that about how long one will practice and the cost of training residents--which comes down to slave wages anyway. Is there much you can do about it? Probably not. All you can do is to put out the best application you can and go from there. I think there is much truth in the GPA and late application points made by Dr. M. and Q. It's all about optimizing what you have.
     
    RespectTheChemistry19 likes this.
  7. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
    Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Messages:
    18,893
    Likes Received:
    4,109
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field], Attending Physician
    Agree that age discrimination is a fact of life, and the OP may indeed encounter it. Even applicants in their early 30s may encounter it when faced with ex-traditional student adcoms who are age peers and already assistant professors. FWIW, the same possibility of age discrimination also holds true for applicants who are younger than traditional age. However, the OP is like a guy who is running around the deck of the Titanic trying to rearrange the deck furniture to be as well-balanced as possible while the water's rushing in below. If you have major structural flaws in your hull design, along with major damage to your hull integrity, then the placement of your deck furniture ceases to be the deciding factor in the outcome of whether that ship's gonna sink.
     
    Prettywoman0172 and Goro like this.
  8. Goro

    Faculty 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    46,401
    Likes Received:
    65,272
    Status:
    Non-Student
    Some of my all-time best students have been in their 30s and 40s. I just graduated one at 50.

    Did you mean to say that you hadn't gotten anything lower than an A- since moving to NV?

    What is your post-bac GPA?

    Try calculating your GPAs via AACOMAS criteria, remembering that any science course repeated for a higher grade counts only the higher grade.

    It's still not too late for DO schools, so find a DO to shadow and start applying! Drive down to Henderson and chat up the folks at TUNCOM.

     
  9. DocWinter

    Physician Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,131
    Likes Received:
    1,207
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    There are mature/older students at every school. Being "welcoming of all types", and "nondiscriminatory" is alive and well. There are at least 5 students age 40 or older in my class of 160+

    There are far fewer of your age applying, and that is represented in the schools. However, as mentioned above, a 2.8 cGPA is the whale of your problems. You'll go nowhere with that, regardless of how many candles on your cake. Get that to a respectable 3.x, hopefully a 3.2 or 3.3 minimum, and your high MCAT should offset any questions about your application.
     
  10. FutureD0C17

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2014
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    33
    While ageism likely plays some role in the admissions process, isn't it more likely that "older" people simply aren't applying? They are set in their respective careers and a good % of them have families that they need to support. Think about the effort that these non-trads have to put in to simply taking the prereqs!Forget about anything else, the prereqs alone will immediately put a halt to the vast majority and their pipe dreams. Then of course the good ole MCAT. This is no joke, it's a crazy long and mentally taxing process just to arrive at the point where they can apply. Add in the uncertain future of healthcare, the cost to attend, and the 7+ years of training and you're going to be very hard pressed to find these hardcore chargers. You would need determination of the highest magnitude to fight this fight, which is why I'm not at all surprised to see Goro say that some of the best students were in their 30's & 40's. I respect the hard work of everyone who's gone through the process, but the older crew around here who were strong enough to fight this battle have my utmost respect.
     
    #9 FutureD0C17, Sep 8, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
  11. benkahuna

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    13
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Thank you all for the thoughtful and informational replies.

    My post-bac GPA has been a 4.0.
    2010 I took a 6 unit EMT-Intermediate class
    2013 Spring I took 15 community college units, micro, A&P (both semesters in 1, 8 units), and statistics
    2013 Summer I took 6 units of anthropology and sociology, 1/2 at CC, half at UNR
    2013 Fall I took 16 units including ochem 1, biochem, genetics, epigenetics and immunology at UNR
    2014 Spring I took 18 units including ochem 2, ochem lab, genchem 1 with lab, genchem 2 with lab and TA'd genetics at UNR and physics 2 with lab (physics was at CC)at a community college
    2014 Summer I took an MCAT course and worked 38 hours a week.
    I did the 2013-14 stuff while working a minimum of 30 hours in a pharmacy as a tech.
    This semester I am taking 14 units with metabolic regulation, physics 1 with lab, parasitology, microbial pathogenesis and TAing genetics again. I was going to take a neuroeffector physiology course that an instructor promised I could attend, but she reneged on her e-mail agreement from the summer prior to classes. I started work as a scribe, but may not continue with it. I will volunteer at a local non-medical charity. I passed their interview.

    My GPA is still likely to hurt me some, especially for more literally-minded schools. Improvement/Reinvention will obviously help me if schools are open to the concept. My improvement trend is obviously very strong as is how much I've managed during each semester, basically working full time and attending school full time. I'm told by quite a few people that a coefficient greater than 1 is typically applied to Cal and it should be. It's a far more difficult school than UNR and, from what I hear, even UCLA. I've also heard that coefficient less than 1 is applied to UNR GPAs. UNR is not a cake school like say Cal State Northridge or Cal State Dominguez Hills. However, it's significantly easier than Cal, but partly because I'm just a much better student than I was back then. I'm not specifically trying to disrespect Cal State Northridge. There was a grad student in chemistry at Cal from Cal State Northridge so obviously they still have some strong students that do well. Cal has historically been the best graduate school in chemistry in the world.

    I have zero interest in any additional time before entering med school. I've been working extremely hard and been extremely productive, making quite a few sacrifices for almost 2 years. I will be happy to do DO if I must. I will take any acceptance that I can get in the US.

    I do think it's safe to assume that some schools likely have a bias against older students. Medical education is a long process and they want people to have long careers after finishing. Obviously, if you're quite a bit older, you're not going to be able to practice as long. It's statistics. I think it's more than a little naive to assume that there is no age discrimination in medical education. That doesn't jibe all at with my own real world experiences or what would make sense. Strong, well-liked applicants will always have other weaknesses overlooked.

    I'm happy to own up to other weaknesses in my application. I will not blame a lack of admission on my age. Scout's honor. I'm sure that if I my GPA were perfect, my MCAT was a 41 and I'd had a long-standing professional career to worthy of bragging that any med school might take me, but I'm a little more mortal than that so I need to pick my battles a little more conscientiously.

    There's some more meat for the aggressive, possibly hypercritical, forum community to dissect. I wasn't trying to go into the entire existential nature of me and my application. I really just wanted some help wasting time and money applying to schools where I likely have one major strike against me. For those that don't just dismiss the idea outright I would greatly appreciate your input. The rest of you are welcome to provide your input, but I would be more appreciative if you tried to address my topic more directly. In return I promise that I will take full responsibility for my past sins.

    Thank you all or reading and providing your input. It's helpful.

    benkahuna
     
    Midwestnon-trad likes this.
  12. benkahuna

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    13
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Oh and to clarify, by a late applicant, I mean I'm applying in September as opposed to applying after any school's deadline. It would obviously have been better to apply earlier in the cycle.
     
  13. benkahuna

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    13
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Yes, I did mean that I've gotten As and no A- grades since moving to NV. I need to calculate my GPA via AACOMAS criteria. I've heard that DOs schools do grade replacement. That being the case means that my GPA is suddenly pretty good. Henderson is a 7 hour drive. Perhaps I will e-mail them. I will have numbers soon.
     
  14. Goro

    Faculty 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    46,401
    Likes Received:
    65,272
    Status:
    Non-Student
    AACOMAS' grade replacement policy does indeed do wonders for the old GPA. If you're around Reno, then TUCOM-CA is about, what, 3-4 hours away?

     
  15. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
    Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Messages:
    18,893
    Likes Received:
    4,109
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field], Attending Physician
    Your time and money are yours to spend as you wish. However, if you want useful input from the SDN community, it would be helpful to give us all the relevant details (like your postbac coursework) from the getgo. Garbage in, garbage out, as the saying goes.

    With that postbac performance, you would be a very viable candidate for DO schools because of the AACOMAS grade replacement policy, and the lateness of the app season would not be as much of an issue either since their app season runs longer than the allo app season. A round of DO apps this year is definitely reasonable. Applying to allo schools is much less likely to be fruitful for you with a sub-3.0 GPA and a September AMCAS submission, especially with you coming from one of the more competitive regions of the country.

    The answer that your age will not be the major factor for which you will be rejected by any med school continues to hold. Apply to a good selection of schools where you meet their mission, would be willing to attend, and have stats in their range. There is no school in the country that has a policy of refusing to consider well-qualified nontrads.
     
  16. benkahuna

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    13
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    It's about 3 hours, but less the way I drive.
     
  17. Goro

    Faculty 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    46,401
    Likes Received:
    65,272
    Status:
    Non-Student
    If possible, go visit and chat up the DO faculty...my own DO colleagues love it when people do that at our school.

     
    AlteredScale likes this.
  18. benkahuna

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    13
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Your point is taken. My overall GPA from bachelor's degrees is 3.145 and from science is 2.86. With post-bac classes added in, my overall is 3.44 and my science is 3.388 with a very consistent upward trend and going to a super competitive, grade-deflated institution initially. I don't have less than a 3.0 by any metric except for initial bachelor's science GPA.

    I think your characterization might be a tiny bit off, but obviously I still have some grade woes to address. IYO, does it change the reasonableness of applying to MD schools right now?

    I plan to still apply to UNR which is only an eligible pool of 300 or so historically (and 100 being admitted to this next class). The 1,000 or so that apply include a large number that don't read the fine print. You can't get in unless you're from Nevada or a state that gives money to Nevada because it doesn't have its own medical school. UNR has a great faculty:student and very happy med students from what I've seen (and I've been fortunate enough to meet many of them). Teaching is emphasized which is also nice.
     
  19. Goro

    Faculty 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    46,401
    Likes Received:
    65,272
    Status:
    Non-Student
    There are MD schools that reward reinvention. I suggest U NV, Case, Vanderbilt, Tulane, U Miami, BU, Drexel, Tufts, NYMC, Albany and any other new school, or lower-tier schools like Loyola, Jefferson, etc. As mentioned, you're fine for ANY DO program, so start with TUNCOM, or TUCOM-CA.

    For UCR, do you meet the school's mission for the Inland Empire? If you're not from Socal, I suggest ruling them out.

    For visiting a campus, introduce yourself, state why you're there and ask what they think the best things about the school are. Also ask why they came there.
     
  20. benkahuna

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    13
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    I really appreciate the advice Goro! I'm likely to follow it closely.

    benkahuna
     
  21. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
    Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Messages:
    18,893
    Likes Received:
    4,109
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field], Attending Physician
    See, Ben, this is what I'm talking about when I say you're leaving out some very important details. There is a huge freaking difference between applying with a 3.4 GPA versus with a 2.8!

    Now, is that 3.4 your AMCAS GPA (all UG classes averaged in together), or is it your AACOMAS GPA (retakes used to replace old bad grades)? Because if your *AMCAS* GPA is a 3.4, then you're in the ballpark of where allo matriculants average out (which is ~3.6-3.7). In that case, even though you're late, I'd say to go ahead and submit AMCAS as well as AACOMAS. But if your overall AMCAS GPA is still very low (and especially if it's below a 3.0), you're really going to have an uphill battle trying to get into an allo school with a late app. Even if you have a 3.1 AMCAS GPA, if it were June, I'd say, sure, submit AMCAS. You have a stellar post bac and MCAT, both of which work in your favor. But in October or November when your app is finally complete, a guy like you with a 3.1 GPA is more likely to get passed over for an interview invite just because there are a lot fewer interview slots left now than there were a couple months prior. Interview invites are given out on a rolling basis, and so there are fewer invites to go round the longer you wait to apply. Does that make sense?
     
  22. benkahuna

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    13
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    3.4 overall is without grade replacement. I didn't get an AMCAS GPA, I just calculated it myself, but I assume that it ought to be close. I'm looking at the AMCAS application to figure out how to pull a GPA out of the classes submitted.

    Others have told me about the rolling nature of the process. Time is definitely a'wastin. I'm going at it fast and hard. My Kaplan MCAT mentor said to apply right away and wait for verification later. That's the plan, within a couple days.
     
  23. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
    Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Messages:
    18,893
    Likes Received:
    4,109
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field], Attending Physician
    Good. Definitely submit both AMCAS and AACOMAS ASAP, but do AMCAS first, because it's more time-sensitive. Also, start working on your secondary essays now while you wait to be verified. That way you can turn them around in a day or less once you receive them. (Prompts for each school are available in the School-Specific subforums under Preallo and Preosteo.)
     
  24. benkahuna

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    13
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    That's super helpful. Thanks so much! Before this is all over, I suspect that I'm going to be deeply indebted to this forum. That's okay though because I like to help out. :)
     
  25. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
    Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Messages:
    18,893
    Likes Received:
    4,109
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field], Attending Physician
    Don't think I won't hold you to that if you actually stick around. ;)
     

Share This Page