Puerto Rico schools vs. nontraditionals

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has an opinion
15+ Year Member
Oct 31, 2006
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I've recently developed a huge crush on Ponce and UCC, because of the loveliness of the idea of perfecting my Spanish, while training for primary care, in close proximity to a warm sunny beach. And the class sizes are small. And the whole LCME thing. What's not to love?

Any of you who are or were in med school in PR, I'd love your opinion on whether I'd fit in. I'm 40, female, very white, and I have a background in software engineering. I'm doing a 2nd bachelors in microbiology as a premed program, and my extra-curriculars are pages long. I've never lived anywhere but the Pacific coast, although I've traveled a lot, especially Mexico and Central America. My Spanish is pathetic, but I'm doing 2.5 months of immersion this summer, and a then a full year of Spanish back at school. (My mother is fluent, and she says my pronunciation is great, but my vocabulary stinks.) I love working with urban immigrant populations and migrant worker families, and I hope to do family med in the US. I'll be applying this June.

Are there med students over the age of 30 at Ponce or UCC? Over 40? Am I just too weird if I show up with red hair and blue eyes and try to be part of the student body? (I'm already weird on the west coast.) Am I vastly underqualified in terms of Spanish proficiency? Several mainland schools are enthusiastic about nontraditional candidates like me, but I know nothing about Ponce and UCC in this regard.

I'm picking this forum to ask PR questions because the hostility level appears to be fairly low, in the spirit of the "Ponce class of 2011" thread.

Thanks in advance for any insights you can provide.


Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 21, 2001
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I graduated from Ponce last year at age 34. There is a guy a year below me who is 36. I haven't heard of anyone 40+ recently but I think it would only be a problem if you let it be. If you are friendly and open, people will respond in kind. Once you get to the hospital in 3rd and 4th year age will cease to be a liability, it will probably help as everyone will assume you are an attending or at least a resident and will be nicer to you. Your Spanish will improve rapidly here, although the last several classes have had so many mainland students that you hear more English than Spanish at the school. Try to practice as much as possible before you come down. Really the only people that I have seen rejected have been Americans with obnoxious, competitive, complaining personalities. If you are cool you won't have any problems.

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Good luck!