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Starting medical school at 40.....with a Ph.D.

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by sekt88, May 7, 2007.

  1. sekt88

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    Hi,

    I would like to hear from those with experience, or actual admissions counselors, what if any special requirements or considerations someone in my position needs to be aware of whilst planning a career in medicine.

    I am 40 and have a Ph.D. in Biology. I have been actively doing research for the last 15 years. With the full support of my wife and children, I have decided to enter a medical program either here in Europe of back in NYC from where I originate. I wish to become a Sports Cardiologist.

    Is their anyone here with a similar starting point that can give some feedback.

    Thanks in advance,

    Sekt88,
     
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  3. MtnGntx

    MtnGntx New Member
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    Just finishing up a PhD in medical genetics with a focus in cardiology. Have to make a decision in the immediate future regarding deferrals to start and location to attend (was accepted at 2 schools). I am 39. If I deferr to start, I'll be 40 when I matriculate. I guess you could say I am in the same boat as you.

    With respect to applying and interviewing, you just need to be clear in your focus and articulate in response to questions.

    Good luck.:thumbup:
     
  4. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Hi there!

    Age will be a less of an issue than you might anticipate. As long as you have a reasonably competitive undergraduate GPA and MCAT score, coupled with the necessary prerequisite courses (chemistry, biology, physics, organic chemistry), you should be fine. If you have a decent GPA and MCAT, you hit the ground running, but I can tell you from experience that wonderful extracurricular activities, publications etc. contribute less if you have average numbers. Obtaining experience around physicians (either paid of voluntary) will be essential and it will pretty much jettison your application if you don't have that.

    The oldest student in my class was 50 at the time of enrollment. He has a Ph.D. I also have a Ph.D. I'm also from Europe originally. I'm a little younger than you, but I came into this after a research career, too, and also with a family. Your family's support will be pretty much essential if you're to make it. It's 4 years of medical school, then at LEAST 3 years of residency. You can do a lot with that time.

    I found that research-oriented medical school took me a little more seriously and, indeed, your application much look like a logical extension of your past endeavors rather than an applicant who is 'jumping ship'. Even if that's not the case, you will be amazed at how much some people might read into your AMCAS essay if you're not careful.

    Pick up a copy of MSAR and apply to schools where your undergraduate GPA and MCAT fall within the acceptable range. Apply to all your state schools, a few private schools, and also to some 'reach' schools.

    Lastly, decide early on where you intend to practice medicine. You will find it infinitely harder to gain admission to medical school or to secure a residency position in a country where your education was not completed. Sometimes the faster solution is not the best for everyone (including family) in the long run. Just something to consider.

    There's no reason why you can't make a go of this if you are determined enough.

    Good luck!
     
  5. new_doc

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    Sekt88, try the 'secrets of nontrad success' thread. Within that thread is a post by Q of Quimica that you can take as gospel. I wish I'd found it last summer.

    From my own experience (42, PhD, career researcher who'll be MS1 this fall), I'll suggest the following: take the MCAT prep seriously, edit and re-edit your personal statement, and apply early and broadly to programs that fit your needs. Good Luck!
     
  6. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Entered medical school at age 45 with Ph.D in Biochemistry. Now a General Surgeon headed for vascular fellowship. PM me if you have questions. Also sit on 2 admissions committees.
     
  7. sekt88

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    Thanks for the info.! Let me absorb deeper what was written by all of you and I shall ask some more ?´s. My first impression is that the essay is alot more serious than I originally thought.
     
  8. sekt88

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    I am not jumping ship, but following the evolution of my intellect. In the most basic way, I am fascinated by the human body and through a personal transmogrification of my own body from the border of severe illness to the border of a master, elite endurance athlete, I found myself with a strong urge to help others do the same. The pile of cardiology textbooks and papers on cardiovascular training sitting on my desk dwarfs the papers and texts from my field of current research. It was only natural to sit back and ask myself, "Where am I going with all this?"
     
  9. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I didn't say that you were jumping ship. I just said to be very careful how you word your application essay and how you present your past, specialized endeavors at interviews. I and a few others on SDN underestimated the degree to which Ph.D. applicants are treated with suspicion by some medical school admissions committees. It's even harder if you land a Ph.D. interviewer.

    Where in Europe were you considering enrolling in medical school?
     
  10. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it
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    Welcome on our little PhD before med school boat;). Everything that can be said has been said. Given that you have to some extent clearly enjoyed research all this time, getting into med school will be cake:). Good luck!
     
  11. sekt88

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    it´s cool, I just wanted to state I wasn´t jumping ship. If I decide to stay in germany, then I will enroll in germany, which will probably be much more difficult as the german system, in almost every field, is very biased towards youth when starting careers. Noone switches careers at 40 here in Germany, which is absurd.
     
  12. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Same thing in the U.K., but that is slowly changing. Perhaps die Deutsche will follow next.
     

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