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Mar 4, 2012
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Just wondering what are the chances of a nontraditional student getting accepted in a M.D. medical school? Lets say you have a competitive gpa and mcat score, would you still be in a disadvantage?


Full Member
Apr 19, 2012
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First of all, if you really want to do something, you'll find a way. It's possible. As non-trad myself, let me also say that there are tons of others out there like us: http://www.oldpremeds.org/ is a veritable goldmine of optimism and practical info.

Lots of competitive MD programs accept non-trads, I saw a documentary the other day featuring a 35 year old first year at HMS. Obviously it depends where you get in your pre-reqs, assuming you didn't take them in undergrad (or, if you did, how long ago?), and other factors, like academic research, having shadowed a doctor, etc.

I'm not going to lie and say there is NO age bias (different programs differ in this regard), but know that sometimes it works in your favor. Older candidates have a lot more to lose by taking themselves out of the work force for X years --at least 5-- than trads who go straight to undergrad, with no family concerns, etc. So the committee knows, at the very least, that you want it really badly. If you're capable is another question, one that MCAT/GPA can help answer.

Finally, playing devil's advocate, med school is very different than B-school or law school, in which the ranking of the school basically dictates earning potential afterwards and the ROI of the degree itself. With med school, however, you can go to pretty much any school (Caribbean ones excluded, perhaps-- although I know of one lady who got a residency at H-bomb afterwards) and be a competent doctor with as much earning potential as the next guy (specialities and academic performance held constant). The better med schools WILL help with residency placement, but yeah, that's that.

I'm not an expert, but these are my thoughts based on the research I've done. Good luck to you.


On My Way 2 the Big Dance
10+ Year Member
Jan 18, 2009
Blue Ridge Mountains
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  1. Medical Student
10% of my class is 35 years or older. The class under me has a student in their mid-50s and a class ahead of me had one in their mid-50s. As I am one of those non-traditional students, you have to realize that you may have more to juggle so that in itself makes studying harder.
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7+ Year Member
Aug 1, 2007
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I don't think there should be much issue at all. We have tons of older students in my class, and people who did all sorts of things before settling on med school. Honestly, schools these days are looking for "diversity" in more than just minority status. If all your affairs are in order, it shouldnt be an issue.


5K+ Member
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10+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2004
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  1. Attending Physician
This exact question has been asked on the nontrad board. There is no disadvantage if your numbers are competitive. Probably actually a big advantage if you have a careers worth of interesting life experiences on top of competitive numbers.
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