Older Applicants

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by [email protected], Feb 13, 2001.

  1. RL@UT

    [email protected] Junior Member

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    Reading a few of these post has gotten my gears going: Has anyone ever experieced or heard about age discrimination in the MD application process?

    Let's hear from some of you older applicants:
    Additionally, how do you think that you applied the oft-mentioned "meaningful life experiences" and maturity to the process?

    BTW I myself am a 35-year old would-be MD applicant with a bachelor's degree in the social sciences and several years in academic/medical research.

    ------------------
    ----It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive.

    RL Stevenson
     
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  3. fiatslug

    fiatslug Senior Member
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    Hey there. I'm a 31 year old MS 1 at an allopathic med school, and I too come from a non-science background: BA & MA in Literature/Creative Writing. I have to say that when I started talking about going to medical school (I worked at a county hospital at the time, with residents who were very encouraging), everyone told me how much they would love my non-traditional background: "you're just who they are looking for!"

    What I've come to realize is that while medical schools (particularly allopathic) talk the talk of wanting mature applicants, in reality their idea of the ideal non-traditional applicant is 24 instead of 22, a biology major and guitar player who took two years off to start a free clinic in the foothills of El Salvador. Which to my mind is another way in which the medical school application process screens for the children of the wealthy; earning a living, paying the rent, "school of hard knocks" time doesn't really impress them that much.

    I went into the process thinking I'd do really well (and maybe if I'd managed to pull more than a 31 on the MCAT, and if I weren't from California, I would have done better), but the actual process--along with the age composition of most first year classes--taught me that my very interesting "life on paper" was not nearly the sure thing my friends in the medical profession made it out to be.

    Age discrimination is alive and well in medical school admissions; osteopathic schools are much more likely to view experience as an actual bonus. My boyfriend is a 39 year old African American UC Berkeley grad with a 35 MCAT, and he's applying for a second time with no interviews yet (not even Howard or Meharry!). At 35, I'd include a healthy dose of osteopathic schools into the application mix if I were you. It's all the same job at the end of the day, and the difference in the letters after your name really matter more to obnoxious premeds than they do out in the real medical world.
     
  4. FourthTime

    FourthTime Member

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    Add me to the "non-trad" list. When I graduated from college in '96, I thought I'd go right into med school. After the rejections came in, I pursued a graduate degree in biochemistry at GW and did research at the USDA. It was SOOOOOOO BORING! I decided I could not be a PhD. I went on to the mental health field working as a counselor for Schizophrenics for the next 3 years. So challenging and rewarding. In the midst of it all, I went through 2 more rounds of applications to medical schools (unsuccessfully). I finally moved out of state for a change of pace and have been working in public health for the past 2 years. It's interesting to see the differenct between population-based medicine and individual-based medicine. It's also been a good opportunity to see how powerful money is when it comes to changing health outcomes. Anyway, I finally applied again and was greeted with success-I'll be going to UTMB (Galveston) in the fall!! Good luck to all!!!

    [This message has been edited by FourthTime (edited 02-13-2001).]
     
  5. arch

    arch Member

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    I?m 29 and amidst the application process. I?ve talked to a couple admissions officers at some of the medical schools regarding my older applicant status. I was told that what the adcoms question is my ability to ?survive? med school. They said that successful older applicants typically demonstrate their survival skills through enrolling in a post-bac. or Master degree program and doing well. In my case I?m financially limited and I need to work fulltime in my present occupation to support myself and my application expenses. I thought that working fulltime in the demanding profession of architecture in New York City, studying for the mcat, and volunteering would suffice. I have an architecture degree from Berkeley with a 3.5 gpa and I achieved mcat scores that were with in the range of those accepted to MD schools ?.but so far no interviews.

    The bottom line is that if you can afford a to enroll as a fulltime student in an academic situation that mimics med school I strongly recommend it. You will dispel any discriminatory suspicions based on age that the adcoms taint your application with. Also taking science courses will help you on the MCAT and getting very good scores will help overshadow your age.


    However, on positive note, I?ve been accepted to a D.O. program in Northern California. ?And yes They do embrace the older ones more than the M.D. programs. I won?t be saving money on tuition by going to a public MD program like I wanted ?but I?ll finally get to be a doctor and I'll be studying close to my hometown. : )

    Take care and Good Luck!
     
  6. cshelz

    cshelz Member

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    Well, I am a little nervous after this post. I will not be ready to apply to any Medical Schools for about 4 years or so, I am just in the begining stage. This will put me at 34 or 35 years old. I live in California and can only apply to 6 schools in my area. I have to go to school around my hometown. So hopefully I will get lucky somehow. Just wanted to get that off my chest.
     
  7. gower

    gower 1K Member

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    Age enters into admissions decisions in the same way that grades, MCAT scores, difficulty of curriculum, interview skills, experience, maturity, etc. do.

    Applicants in all the age brackets up to about 60 years old have been admitted to medical schools for many years.

    Admission decisions never rest on single qualities alone, including age. Indeed, the maturity of many older applicants compared to younger applicants is often seen as a plus.

    The greater representation of younger applicants (ca. 21-24) in entering classes is due to their much greater representation in the applicant pool.
     
  8. MCAT?2000

    MCAT?2000 New Member

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    To balance things out , I would like to say that I am not yet convinced that there is a general tendency to age discrimination in Med school admissions .

    Although , I do not deny the veracity of your testimonies , I do , however , believe they are anecdotal . That is , your account reflects your own experience and not necessarily a conduct norm or attitude on behalf of the admission committees throughout the country .

    In the same manner , I suspect there is a good* number of more positive anecdotes from non-trad students that on the other hand fared quite well or even better than the traditional counterparts . For example , log on to the "Allopathic" forum and you will find a relatively recent post on the subject . The name of the post is "Too many Choices! Non trad w/ family" (Not to be confused with a more recent one named "Older Medical Students") . In this post a premed student goes on to describe his quite successful round with the admission committees , being this student a non-traditional premed . I hope that by considering his anecdotal experience as well we can bring more light to the topic and gather a more accurate concensus about the issue of discrimination in medical school admissions .

    Wooof! so much for my english 102 practice online...sorry for the long post [​IMG]
     

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