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Too old for medical school?

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luckyely91


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I'm a nontraditional student about to start medical school this year. Sometimes I get down because I didn't start medical school right away; other times, I'm content because I think I've matured over the years. I worked at a hospital for over three years in clinical research, and I got published. However, I noticed a lot of my future classmates are in their early 20s - I think I stand out like a sore thumb. Thoughts?

Please note that I've read previous threads on here, but there haven't been many recent ones and I just want to get more opinions and thoughts. Thanks.
 

mc_bio19

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If anything I think starting later is only going to benefit you. I'm sure there are differing opinions, but as someone else who is going to apply at an "older" age, I feel it's only going to help. I've been working full-time in the medical diagnostic industry since graduating college and I feel it's really helped me mature and solidify the fact that medicine is for me. If medicine is what you're truly passionate about too, I don't think age should be a factor whatsoever. I wish you the best of luck!
 
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bigindian4891

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You could be 51 years old, or you could be 51 and be a doctor. You're going to be 51 either way.
 
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njtrimed

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I'm a nontraditional student about to start medical school this year. Sometimes I get down because I didn't start medical school right away; other times, I'm content because I think I've matured over the years. I worked at a hospital for over three years in clinical research, and I got published. However, I noticed a lot of my future classmates are in their early 20s - I think I stand out like a sore thumb. Thoughts?

Please note that I've read previous threads on here, but there haven't been many recent ones and I just want to get more opinions and thoughts. Thanks.
You didn't mention your age, but you sound like you're a lot younger than I am if you only took a few years off before applying to med school. And I don't feel old.
 
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Robotfishbrain

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Non-trad here who matriculates this year. I'm 30 and from the one school sponsored event I went to it seems like the average age of my class is around 25. Everyone is really chill. Just don't act like a holier-than-thou douche and I think you'll be alright =).
 
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runnerbrah4

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:cool::cool:As was already stated, you probably have a better grasp on the decision of whether or not this is what you want to do. Who cares what age you are? If medicine is your passion, you're going to regret not going through with it further down the road.

on a separate and slightly selfish note...first post. Nailed it.
 
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starri

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Started at 35, finished this year at 39, and I wasn't even the oldest person in my class.

One of my mother's neighbors is a student at LUCOM, and I believe she's in her 50s.
 
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Carbon090

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Absolutely not. IMO if you enjoy it and this is what you want to do, just do it.

You have "real world" applications, in addition, you know research well and will have an easier time doing so in medical school if you wish to do so.

You're good!
 
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AlbinoHawk DO

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I hope the 91 is not your birth year because then it's quite a joke to think you're too old at 26
 
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MrMammal

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I'm 32, and about to start school in the fall. I don't feel too old. Even though my pre-med class was way younger than me, I find it that I managed to keep up with grades and the application process. I feel medical school will not be different. If anything, I was able to demostrate I had a clearer purpose than many of my college counterparts. I also feel like I know what I want in regards to my future as a doctor vs that 14-year-old self that just came up with the idea of "some day" becoming a doctor.
 
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luckyely91

You didn't mention your age, but you sound like you're a lot younger than I am if you only took a few years off before applying to med school. And I don't feel old.

Sorry, I'm 26. When I applied, I was 25.
 
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Bill Brasky

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I'm really not trying to pick apart your premise here, but...how on earth does a 26 year old "stick out like a sore thumb" with 22 and 23 year olds? That's really not enough of a gap to have a big difference in behavior, interests, or social group formation. Did you do a couple tours in 'Nam or something?

I started at 25, I didn't even know most of my classmates' ages because we were all the same peer group. Also, especially in DO schools which tend to have more nontrads, your class's average age will be older than you think.
 
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luckyely91

I'm really not trying to pick apart your premise here, but...how on earth does a 26 year old "stick out like a sore thumb" with 22 and 23 year olds? That's really not enough of a gap to have a big difference in behavior, interests, or social group formation. Did you do a couple tours in 'Nam or something?

I started at 25, I didn't even know most of my classmates' ages because we were all the same peer group. Also, especially in DO schools which tend to have more nontrads, your class's average age will be older than you think.

Thanks for your input, as well as everyone else's! That's what I needed to hear.
 

IslandStyle808

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Sorry, I'm 26. When I applied, I was 25.

I kind of expected that you were around this age. You don't feel the age gap until you are in your 30s and even then it doesn't matter to a lot of your classmate (saying this a 32 year old).
 
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luckyely91

I kind of expected that you were around this age. You don't feel the age gap until you are in your 30s and even then it doesn't matter to a lot of your classmate (saying this a 32 year old).

Thanks! Again, I was skeptical initially, but these comments have made me more grounded.
 

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I started med school at 39 yo finished IM residency at 46 I'm 64 still practicing. In my state MD school (where I went) there were about 15 1st year students > 30 yo. Although there are days that are very challenging and frustrating going to med school was the best thing I ever did. I have absolutely no regrets and would do it again.
 
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IsWhat

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The better question is, "am I ready for medical school?" Go to medical school when you are ready to go. Some people are ready at 22-23, others at 50+, and every age in-between.
 
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BorntobeDO?

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Sorry, I'm 26. When I applied, I was 25.
You won't stick out at all. I am at the old end of my class at the low 30's, and I don't feel particularly out of place. I notice the maturity difference but other than that your all in the same boat.
 
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myinitialsR_DR

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I'm encouraged by the responses here. I'm starting in the fall at 32 also.

OP, if you think working 3 years in Clinical research makes you old, that make me ANCIENT... I have 10 years in the clinical research game LOL. Do I wish I'd have gone to med school earlier? Absolutely. But I'm positive that our previous career and life experience will do nothing but serve us well. All the best to you and all of us old-heads starting this fall!
:highfive:
 
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starri

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I have 10 years in the clinical research game LOL. Do I wish I'd have gone to med school earlier? Absolutely.
My experience is somewhat different. I wish I'd figured out that this was what I wanted to do maybe five years earlier, but there's no way in hell I'd have been mature enough to handle everything if I'd gone straight out of college.
 
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NontradCA

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Edit, nvm. Just read your OP. You'll fit right in. GL!
 
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Drrrrrr. Celty

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Can we make a rule that you're not non-traditional unless you're done with your 20s?

Seriously, too old for medical school at 26. Probably over half of my school started at over 24.
 
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mavric1298

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The average age in last years class was 26.88 where's I'll be attending - I think it's funny that this is such a common thread; then we find out they are still babies, born in the 90's. Makes me feel even older than I really am.


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CajunMedic

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Nah, not too old. I started at 37 and will turn the big 4-0 while on an EM Audition rotation at the start of my OMS-4 year. I'm the 3rd oldest in my class.
 
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deleted244469

The better question is, "am I ready for medical school?" Go to medical school when you are ready to go. Some people are ready at 22-23, others at 50+, and every age in-between.
Exactly. I'm about 75% sure I wouldn't have made it through if I started fresh out of undergrad. I was not academically mature enough.
 
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Drrrrrr. Celty

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Exactly. I'm about 75% sure I wouldn't have made it through if I started fresh out of undergrad. I was not academically mature enough.

I'm going to get **** for this, but I don't think anyone should go from college to medical school and I disagree with 6 or 7 BS/MD/DO programs. When you're training to be a doctor you need to have a foundation in actual human experience and life to better relate to the people you're working with, but also to be a developed and healthy individual yourself.

There's no rushing growing up and people who are fresh out of college most of the time haven't grown up yet. My two gap years in between university and medical school were very important for my development and they really made me more driven to be a better doctor.
 
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SurgDoc95

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I'm going to get **** for this, but I don't think anyone should go from college to medical school and I disagree with 6 or 7 BS/MD/DO programs. When you're training to be a doctor you need to have a foundation in actual human experience and life to better relate to the people you're working with, but also to be a developed and healthy individual yourself.

There's no rushing growing up and people who are fresh out of college most of the time haven't grown up yet. My two gap years in between university and medical school were very important for my development and they really made me more driven to be a better doctor.

I think being mature enough is entirely subjective, but can understand your point!
 
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bigindian4891

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I'm going to get **** for this, but I don't think anyone should go from college to medical school and I disagree with 6 or 7 BS/MD/DO programs. When you're training to be a doctor you need to have a foundation in actual human experience and life to better relate to the people you're working with, but also to be a developed and healthy individual yourself.

There's no rushing growing up and people who are fresh out of college most of the time haven't grown up yet. My two gap years in between university and medical school were very important for my development and they really made me more driven to be a better doctor.

Nah I totally agree. I took a fifth year in undergrad, then a gap year, then two years for a master's and now I'm matriculating in fall. This is the best version of me, thanks to all the time I took to introspect and the life experiences I had. I think everyone should take a gap year before applying. And like @kovalchuk71 , I was simply not academically mature right out of undergrad. Even responsibility wise, I wasn't that great.

For future applicants reading this, there's more to life than just being in medical school.
 
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I started medical school at 27 and have never felt like I stand out for being "old." There's a chance it helps that I barely look 21, but that's another story. Most of my classmates started at 24ish, so I wasn't too far out of the ordinary, and I don't think most of my classmates who started in their early 30s feel out of place, either.

Every once in a while somebody mentions something that makes me remember I'm older (like being old enough to remember chicken pox parties and having seen the first Toy Story in the theaters) but it's never been an issue.
 
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SurgDoc95

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I completely agree and shared a very similar experience. I wish they could make the path similar to an MBA, where you need job experience for 3-4 years before applying.



Of course. Personally, I was a very mature individual. Academically? No way. My study habits needed a lot of work, as I was accustomed to cramming the night before for an exam and doing well. That wouldn't have flown in Med school and I would have been screwed.

Like I said it's completely subjective. For myself, I didn't see any benefit to a gap year and I think it would've driven me nuts knowing I could've started a year earlier. Then again, I feel about as prepared as I could be so we'll have to see!
 
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postbacpremed87

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upload_2017-6-23_17-4-44.jpeg


Too old. Yes too old to begin the training....

Sorry it was perfect.
 
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Ollivander

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I'm going to get **** for this, but I don't think anyone should go from college to medical school and I disagree with 6 or 7 BS/MD/DO programs. When you're training to be a doctor you need to have a foundation in actual human experience and life to better relate to the people you're working with, but also to be a developed and healthy individual yourself.

There's no rushing growing up and people who are fresh out of college most of the time haven't grown up yet. My two gap years in between university and medical school were very important for my development and they really made me more driven to be a better doctor.
It blows my mind that most countries test straight from high school to medical school/dental school/veterinary school/etc. It happens in Australia, UK, the Middle East. I just can't fathom how 18 or 19 year old me could have handled the burden and commitment it takes to do well while studying the sciences and to stick with it. That's too much to put on someone that age. It's stressful, it can cause depression, and you're still figuring out what you want in your late teens and early 20's. You're not mature enough to make that big of a decision IMO.
 
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MrMammal

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It blows my mind that most countries test straight from high school to medical school/dental school/veterinary school/etc. It happens in Australia, UK, the Middle East. I just can't fathom how 18 or 19 year old me could have handled the burden and commitment it takes to do well while studying the sciences and to stick with it. That's too much to put on someone that age. It's stressful, it can cause depression, and you're still figuring out what you want in your late teens and early 20's. You're not mature enough to make that big of a decision IMO.

Most kids are treated like miniature adults in other countries. From my experience - i grew up outside of the US, then came back - a lot was expected. I had a life plan after highschool already, haha. That's mainly the reason I found a job right out of high school to help my immediate family.

Med school is different outside of the US also. There is a sort of light bachelors degree coupled to high school - at least in latin america - so when the basic sciences begin on the frist two years of a 6 year med school program, none of that seems new, just more. Everything builds on everyting else. I had to take calculus, physics, bio and chem in HS - not optional either, everyone had to. Not that any of that helped by the time I started college in the US almost 10 years later. Couldn't remember a thing, hahaha. Except photons, kinematics in one direction and DNA. That had been covered thoroughly enough in HS that I could remember it. Oh, and balancing chemical equations. HS was tough in [incert latin american country].
 

MrMammal

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By the way, before graduating HS, my final Bio project was on cardiopatias congenitas (congenital heart defects). Now, is it that hard for the spanish equilvalent to use normal language, come on!

The spanish term for liver failure is more akin to hepatic insuficiency (insuficiencia hepatica). There is no "falla del igado". Literaly, liver failure.
 

astrostellar

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I'm 26 now and I can't apply until I'm at least 31. I'll still be hot, so it will be okay.

I'm kidding. A little.

If I'd applied to med school at 21, 22 like these kids... god, I would have been wrecked.
 
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Mad Jack

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I'm a nontraditional student about to start medical school this year. Sometimes I get down because I didn't start medical school right away; other times, I'm content because I think I've matured over the years. I worked at a hospital for over three years in clinical research, and I got published. However, I noticed a lot of my future classmates are in their early 20s - I think I stand out like a sore thumb. Thoughts?

Please note that I've read previous threads on here, but there haven't been many recent ones and I just want to get more opinions and thoughts. Thanks.
It's all in your head- three years isn't a huge block of time, especially in DO school where the average age of matriculation is around 25-26. I started at an older age than you and it's been fine, only about half my classmates were traditional students, and even the ones that were traditional I mostly get along with.
 
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Chromatic543

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A guy came in (45 years old) to do a lab follow up at the clinic I am currently working at, and he is about to start his residency. I don't think age should be a factor if it's truly what you are passionate about.
 
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Redpancreas

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Haha yep, it's my birth year. I can't help but feel "old" when 90% of my classmates are 20-23.

Bump that up to 90% of matriculants are 22-25 and you still wouldn't be accurate. Taking post August birthdays out of the equation, anything 19&under would be local news worthy. 20 would mean they skipped grades/graduating early/BSMD'ed at select few schools to make up for 2 years which is still rare. 21 would still be uncommon, but I'm sure every school has a few. 22 is right out of college which where the bell curve starts to slope up, and I'm guessing 23-24 (1-2 gap years) is the mode and 25 (3 gap years) as the average with a right skew. You're way over-exaggerating your age difference. When I was actually in school, I definitely felt outnumbered at 21 by the number of 24-26 yos which probably make up a good 30-40% of students.
 
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mavric1298

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Like I said it's completely subjective. For myself, I didn't see any benefit to a gap year and I think it would've driven me nuts knowing I could've started a year earlier. Then again, I feel about as prepared as I could be so we'll have to see!

Don't take this the wrong way; but current "you" isn't very good at judging ones own maturity. (Not saying anything about you in particular, just bringing up this overarching point) It's one of those whole perception problems - where if you don't know the scale extends (your current understanding is only part of the possible spectrum), you can only judge it by what you know, so you'll always think your at peak maturity at any given point. Ask any 25 year old if they are mature, and 1000/1001 will say they are.

Trust me, when you get older, you'll look back and have plenty of "what was I thinking" moments, and see thinks in a different light. We know that our brains aren't even fully developed from childhood to adults until mid twenties.

"Consider the lobes at the front of the brain. The nerve circuitry here ties together inputs from other parts of the brain, said Dr. Jay Giedd of the National Institute of Mental Health.

This circuitry weighs how much priority to give incoming messages like "Do this now" versus "Wait! What about the consequences?" In short, the frontal lobes are key for making good decisions and controlling impulses.

Brain scans show that the frontal lobes don't mature until age 25, and their connections to other parts of the brain continue to improve to at least that age, Giedd said."


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Goro

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I'm a nontraditional student about to start medical school this year. Sometimes I get down because I didn't start medical school right away; other times, I'm content because I think I've matured over the years. I worked at a hospital for over three years in clinical research, and I got published. However, I noticed a lot of my future classmates are in their early 20s - I think I stand out like a sore thumb. Thoughts?

Please note that I've read previous threads on here, but there haven't been many recent ones and I just want to get more opinions and thoughts. Thanks.
Some of my all-time best students have been in their 30s and 40s. I graduated a stellar one at 50 three years ago. She's a resident in Southern CA right now.
 
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DrCaffeinated

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Matriculating at 38 over here. I don't have time to worry about what everyone else thinks. I'll find my people and it will all be good.
 
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medstar11

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My classes average age is 26 so I think you are fine. I personally was 23 when I matriculated and felt like I was a little younger than most people in my class.


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