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Top Schools and Older Nontrads

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by LastSamurai, May 3, 2007.

  1. LastSamurai

    LastSamurai 2+ Year Member

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    Do the 'elite' medical schools -- Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, to mention but a few --accept older non-traditional applicants?

    For example, someone who's 40+ but who has otherwise a competitve academic record and credentials?

    Just curious if there's anyone out there who fits this profile or has been accepted/is attending one of the top schools...

    Thank you.
     
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  3. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I know nontrads at some of those, but not over 40. Doesn't mean they wouldn't take an exceptional applicant of that age though.

    Interesting choice of "elites" though (you listed places currently ranked #1, 7 and 15) -- I probably would have listed 1,2,3...
     
  4. 1Path

    1Path Banned Banned

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    Here's my take on the top school/non trad debate.

    Most of these schools have NEVER had a matriculant over age 35. Now is it more likely that there are no "stars" over age 35 who applied or that they simply found "some reason" not to accept them. I tend to think it's the former.
     
  5. postbacker

    postbacker Banned Banned

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    My guess is that most older non-trads are far less fixated on the USNews top ranked schools and probably don't apply to them as much as the younger applicants.

    Also - one anecdote I can draw upon from SDN - I think I saw on a post by njbmd (the 50+ yr old surgery resident who mentors here) that she applied to 5 med schools - her in-states and a couple of border state schools - now I would be hesitant to apply to just 5 schools under any circumstances, but the point is that I think what she did is probably more typical for older applicants with families, working spouses, and geographic limitations (older parents to look after), etc...

    I hope I got her story right, and if not, she will correct it, I am sure...
     
  6. st0w

    st0w plasticperineum syndrome 10+ Year Member

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    I don't even think one needs to be an 'older' non-trad. I'm 27 now, and as opposed to five years ago, I could not care less about the "ranking" of a school. You're still a doctor after graduating from any of them, and how well you do on your boards and what you do while in med school that matters most. To me, what I'm most looking for is a place that's a good fit that I'll feel comfortable in. I think that does tend to come with a few years' experience.
     
  7. Snake

    Snake Just climbin' the staff 2+ Year Member

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    As a 47 year old starting first year in August, I also only applied to five schools, 3 in state and two in a border state. The choice was not status driven but logistic. I have a wife who will be the sole source of income while I'm in school and two very young children. The considerations of staying close to home where a support system of extended family was nearby were the most inportant - not school rank.
     
  8. postbacker

    postbacker Banned Banned

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    I agree totally about the rankings. I do not care one bit. I look at the rankings for one purpose - to gauge how competitive the applicant pool is and to make sure I do not go overboard applying to the top 20 if not the top 50 schools. I feel a huge disconnect with the "kids" on this forum on the issue of rankings and prestige (and particularly what it matters to one's career, residencies, etc).

    As an older applicant, I also have zero interest in attending medical school in a big city: NYC, Boston, DC, LA, SF. Chicago is more liveable than any of those, but still not on my hit parade. The "kids" on SDN are overly romantic about life in the big city - I don't want anything to do with it - the expense, the stress, the rude people, etc. BTW, I have lived in Boston and DC, and yes, they are "great" cities, but they are very difficult places to live, starting with the kinds of housing one can reasonably afford. Riding the subways as a visitor is interesting and fun, but having to schlep back and forth to work or school on subways and busses in the big cities is a total drag. Did I mention rude, unhappy, stressed out people you encounter in the big cities? Just not my bag...
     
  9. 1Path

    1Path Banned Banned

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    As a resident of Metro DC, I'll have to vehemently disagree!:laugh:

    Maybe my perspective is influenced by the fact that I'm originally from Cali (San Fran), but even with that, comparing DC THE original Chocolate City with Boston is like comparing South Central with Debuke Iowa.

    Personally I LOVE riding the metro since I use that time to review notes, read papers, ect and I HATE driving, which is a must is a city without much public transportation. You're right about how rude people are but unlike living in the South which I've done for most of life, at least you don't have to guess where people are coming from.
     
  10. postbacker

    postbacker Banned Banned

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    Having lived in both Boston and DC in recent years, they have far more in common than perhaps you realize in terms of cost of living, apartments, commutes, and "friendliness." I will grant you that the Metro is a much nicer subway system than the "T."

    I am a life long southerner, so that perspective definitely colors my judgment of northern cities (and DC is definitely a northern city by any measure today).

    In Boston, I lived in a renovated and fairly clean 2BR/1 bath brownstone condo with no central ac or heat (no heat actually was illegal under renter housing laws, but that's another story). My share of the rent was $1100 + utilities (i.e., this was a $2200/mo apartment). It was located near the Pru, in the Symphony area, a convenient location to New England Med Ctr, BU dental and med, and HMS. Across the street from my condo was a subsidized housing project, and crime/safety was definitely an issue. I originally looked at studios, but the typical studio in Boston is a dump - old, no elevators, no a/c, balky radiator heat, sub standard plumbing, fixtures, and kitchen (these studios don't really have kitchens, just a corner of the apartment with space for a tiny dorm refrig, maybe a single burner, no oven, no dishwasher, no place for a microwave, no cabinets). And forget about having a washer/dryer inside your apt - that is a luxury item.

    And for that studio privilege in Boston, $1000+ is the going rate (you will see listings at $875, etc., but those are few and far between, and they are miserable - realtors use them as a "bait and switch" to move you up in to the higher priced units, and it works).

    To me, life in the expensive northern and west coast cities is too expensive, and you are forced to have roommates and cram too many people into a small apartment - there is no privacy. Just not interested in that bohemian lifestyle anymore...been there and done it.

    Sorry if I have hijacked the thread, but I think it ties into the OP's original question indirectly...
     
  11. new_doc

    new_doc 2+ Year Member

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    I can answer that question from recent personal experience. I'm 42. I applied to 7 schools, 3 of them in the top 10. I got 3 acceptances, including two of the top 10-ers. This might be thought of as borderline miraculous, except that I have a PhD and am coming to med school from a career in research.

    Now comes the hard part : picking a school. This is where the other folks' comments about relative priorities kick in. When you're 30+, you're often balancing your own wants/needs/career goals with those of your partner and/or child. Moving entails a whole lot of sacrifice from everyone, as does living apart. How much does that big name count for in residency matching and career opportunity? Is that advantage worth the cost? Only you can answer those questions and the answers will determine whether you take the position Big Name Med has offered.

    It's tough. Great to have choices, but tough.
     
  12. postbacker

    postbacker Banned Banned

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    Looking at your posts, it looks like your choices are Wash U, Duke, and GW? Nice set of choices.

    I am very familiar with St. Louis - I have family and friends there - very nice medium sized town, similar to Cincy and Pittsburgh for comparison - very affordable housing (possible to buy a nice 2BR condo in a safe area for under $200k). Friendly city. And some of the NW suburbs are very nice for families.

    Durham would be my top choice, but I am a southerner...just have to avoid the dodgy neighborhoods, but that is not too hard to do.

    Good luck.
     
  13. dewdrinker23

    dewdrinker23 Banned Banned

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    A lot of young people fall for the trap of wanting to live in the big city. The big cities are expensive, lots of traffic, you are rushed even when you are not in a rush yourself, the people are rude, you have little privacy, you don’t have as many relaxing spots to study at and read. I look at this way. I would rather live in a city of less than 1 million people and have the chance to afford a house, have a nice park to read and study at, be able to afford parking at the hospital/clinic (I live in a city of 250k people and you have to pay 400 dollars a month for a parking spot at the hospital…so I don’t work there right now as a non-traditional student). I would rather go and visit the big cities then have to live there day after day after day.
     
  14. new_doc

    new_doc 2+ Year Member

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    The search function is a scary thing, sometimes. I think I'll go back to lurking now. :)

    Weighing the options can make a person crazy after a while. I just keep telling myself that, among them, there are no bad choices.

    Good luck to everyone, whether you're just starting, in the middle, or nearing the end of your application adventures.
     
  15. postbacker

    postbacker Banned Banned

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    Something many people don't think about is the NOISE in the big cities - the more rent you can pay, the less noise you have to put up with...but if you have no a/c and live part of the year with an open window, LOCATION of your building and your particular unit is critical...the higher up in a building, the better, but I saw 6 story walk ups in Boston - sorry, not gonna do it...
     
  16. efex101

    efex101 attending Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I personally know a non-trad over 35 that received acceptance into Harvard. I was 38 when I started and received interviews and acceptances at top ranked schools.

    Age has nothing to do with it for most medical schools. It is all about how competitive YOU are compared to the rest of the pool.
     
  17. LastSamurai

    LastSamurai 2+ Year Member

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    Thanks for your perspective, New_Doc, and to others as well.

    Your case may a statistical outlier since you have a PhD and the elite medical schools seem to prioritize or value research over clinical aspects. Neverthelss, I take comfort in the fact that you won admission to two top-10 schools.

    Many others argue that it doesn't matter what medical school one attends as far as rankings. Alll things being equal, however, it does matter. Especially, for example, if one aspires to a career in academic medicine (clinical research and teaching). At the end of the day, there is at least a perceived quality associated with Harvard or Stanford versus 'Solid State Med School'. Contrary to the myth that no one asks a doctor where he went to medical school, the 'brand' still influences many hiring decisions from residency to administration and academic positions.

    In any case, is the consensus then that top schools just don't want students over age 35 or so, or just that nontrads are generally too intimidated to even apply to the higher-ranked institutions to begin with? Legally, they cannot turn anyone down solely on age or the implications of age, right? So, how do they get away with it?

    Thanks again to everyone for their feeback.

    Last Samurai
     
  18. 1Path

    1Path Banned Banned

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    I'll grant you that I've never lived in Boston but I think it's important to note that my "impression" of Boston is GREATLY influenced by me being a URM and the racial polarization I hear that exists there. Having said that, I'll again reiterate that the Boston area is NOTHING like DC IF cost of living isn't an issue.

    As for Duke, its a great school until you realize that you'll be in Durham, and as a Carolina alum, I wouldn't live in Durham with a family (probably the worst schools system I've ever seen) if I had to. Again, being a URM colors my "taste" for anything southern.

    And when I hear of someone over 35 getting into a top school the first thing I ask myself is what personal factors do you have going for yourself that extra attention to your app? Are you the child of an Alum and/or physician, a URM, a person with a PhD who plans to go into academia, a former Olympic athlete?

    Finally, I've had a few med schols make comments about my age in relationship to my goals (MD/PhD) so this idea about what's legal pretty much goes right out the window. It appears to me that schools do pretty much whatever they want because they have what we want: A spot in a med school class. Still I'd rather be a SUPER not trad applying from the US than anywhere else. :thumbup:
     
  19. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Why not let those wacky young kids have their wacky young kids priorities (you know, liking the city and all) without being condescending about their choices. IMO, there's nothing sadder than a 22-year-old who thinks like she's 40 and wants to be all "practical" about everything. I'm writing this as a older student (30) who lives in the most "practical" place ever but personally thinks it's hell.
     
  20. new_doc

    new_doc 2+ Year Member

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    My perception is that there used to be a bias against older applicants (older being 30+) but that it is decreasing at med schools in all tiers as cumulative positive experience with the outliers has accrued. Every place I interviewed - every one - had at least two people in this category, and most had one or more per class. Students entering after 35 were somewhat rarer, but by no means eyebrow-raising. As another poster noted, many of the non-trads have something beside their age that makes them stand out from the bulk of the applicants. Q of Quimica, njbmd, or other senior members may have a better understanding of what the traditional non-trad looks like than I do.

    Many non-trads self-select against schools that they feel may not be welcoming. The MSAR profiles are used by many to target their applications, so the existing age profile differences among them propagate. As I said, this was my perception and I'd be interested if anyone has relevant data to share.

    If a school interests you, go for it. You can't get in unless you apply.
     
  21. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator 10+ Year Member

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    If new_doc wanted to mention which ones they are, s/he would've listed them. No need to "out" the guy...
     
  22. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator 10+ Year Member

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    Agreed. I think assuming that any "bias" against non-trads is way overstated. If you judge non-trads on the same playing field as traditional students, I feel we actually have an advantage.

    The trick is the playing field. Many non-trads were not premeds when younger and have spottier academic records. Some are recent converts to the idea of becoming a doctor and have five or ten years of non-applicable work experience.

    But if you have the same MCAT and GPA of a younger applicant, combined with the maturity, perspective, and life experience of an older applicant? It's hard to beat. I was lucky enough to get an interview at UCSF and there's no way that would have happened to a 22 year old bio major with my stats.
     
  23. postbacker

    postbacker Banned Banned

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    It is a public forum - new doc left a trail a blind man could follow - hardly see how I "outed" him...

    But thanks for playing!
     
  24. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    There aren't any 40+ year olds at Harvard as far as I know, and I didn't apply to Stanford or Cornell, so I can't tell you much about them. But U Mich currently has at least one student over age FIFTY, and Case Western has also accepted older non-trads. If you have awesome stats, you might check either or both of them out.
     
  25. tbo

    tbo MS-4 10+ Year Member

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    I've lived in 3 big cities in the last 10 years of my life and I have to say it's not necessarily the sex-appeal of big cities, but there are other reasons for going to a med school there -- breadth of clinical exposure. My old roommate was telling me the power of SEEING someone with HIV talk about their medical experience versus HEARING a lecture about HIV symptoms and treatment are two entirely different things. Big cities have a far greater range of patients, diseases, and patient backgrounds.

    I'm a non-trad and am very much interested in going to school in a big city. I am also sick and tired of the ridiculousness of NYC, but that won't deter me from going to school there.
     
  26. LastSamurai

    LastSamurai 2+ Year Member

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    Thank you to New_Doc, Q of Quimica (a fellow Spanish-speaker, que bien...), and everyone else for the commentaries. I tend to agree about the "self-selection" eliminating many nontrads, especially older applicants, from the candidate pool at the elite schools.

    Will any current (older) nontrad applicants be applying to, say, top-25 ranked (USNews) research-focused medical schools (or for that matter to the flagship public medical school in your state)? If so, would you care to list the schools and how you will be differentiating/marketing yourself?

    I understand the controversy implicit in the USNews rankings, but I am also (40+) old enough to realize that such rankings are a fact of life in academia and the profession at large, notwithstanding all the lip service to contrary. Therefore, I do not mean to imply that such schools are absolutely the best for each and every applicant, so please let's avoid that debate for the sake of this discussion.

    Thank you again for your perspectives.

    LastSamurai

    Thank you.
     
  27. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    In the first year class from 1-2 years ago at UCSF, there was a 40 year old. In a year prior to that class, there was a 38 year old. There may be more, I don't know. Age is really not that big of an issue for the school. Its probably a bigger issue for the applicant--that is if you feel up to it or not. If you got the drive, then great!

    UC's tend to be pretty good towards non-trads. We had an MSII from UCSF talk to us about life as a med student there, and the application process (he was an adcom) back in 2001. He was about 36-37, had a wife and kid. UC Davis (where I'm at now), there's a variety of non-trads. I never asked for their age, but some are definitely >30 y/o. I'm sure someone mentioned this already in the previous replies. Really I think that there reason why we don't see may 40+ y/o's is because most people don't want to put in the time and prepare for med school. Its kinda like asking why aren't there many PhDs in med schools. Its not because med schools discriminate against them, but the PhD has traditionally been a terminal degree, and people don't go beyond that since...well 4-6 years of grad school is enough torture!:laugh:

    Although I'm not an "older" non-trad, I am a non-trad;). However I plan on applying to my own state's schools--which is of course the University of California med schools. I'll also include USC and Stanford. So there's 7 top tier schools;). I'm still 1-2 years away from actually applying though so the thought of how to "market" myself is still in its prototypical stage. For the most part, I'm just going to sell myself off as a future clinician-scientist:). My PhD will probably help me at SOME school...somewhere in the US..haha.
     
  28. RxnMan

    RxnMan Who, me? A doctor? Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    More than anything, the rate-limiting step is getting in, not getting into a specific tier of schools.

    Try PM'ing MeowMix (usually in the OB forum) who is an older med student, and got accepted to a "good" school. Ask her about her experiences.

    Something else to consider. I've seen plenty of older students with previous careers going into medicine. While they're some of the best students in my class, they've already received some discrimination from the specialities who don't want to invest in a person who'll practice fewer years than a 23 y/o.
     
  29. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    LS, honestly, the best advice I can give to you is to make your app as strong as you can, and apply broadly. If you have stellar stats, your app will get a look. I do think that some discrimination against older applicants probably occurs, and it can be for surprising reasons. But the whole application process is incredibly subjective anyway, especially when the school is choosing between Applicant A with incredible stats and Applicant B with stellar stats. The schools will want a diverse, balanced class. Whether they think you help them accomplish that goal is impossible to predict ahead of time.

    I sent the same application everywhere last year. The schools' reactions ran the gamut from rejecting me presecondary to accepting me with a full scholarship. I'm the same applicant at every school, but not every school wanted a student like me. If it's important to you to attend a highly ranked school, make sure you apply to a lot of them, and make sure your app is competitive for the top schools. You need to have excellent grades, MCAT scores, ECs, and LORs, just like a trad applicant.

    Buena suerte. :)
     
  30. Dr.Detroit

    Dr.Detroit Boogie Member Physician 7+ Year Member

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    Which specialties are those?
     
  31. RxnMan

    RxnMan Who, me? A doctor? Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    General surgery, the surgical sub-specialities.

    In the surgeons' defense, med school, surgical residency and fellowships are a long haul: 4 + 5 + 2/3 = long time to train one person. The whole process is grueling, and practice can be just as hard, especially if you're starting school at 40. You'll be in your mid-50s before you start paying back your 200K+ of loan debt. Something to consider.

    People should be able to make their own decisions, and apply for whatever specialty they want. Informed decisions.
     
  32. 1Path

    1Path Banned Banned

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    I've heard that the majority of folks over a certain age who apply for surgical resident positions ALWAYS have to scramble. If that's true, then this is about the most overt form of age discrimination I've ever heard of.:mad:

    OTOH, why do people in these positons assume that age = ability to make a contribution to medicine? So what is if the training takes a while, it certainly doesn't preclude a person from saving a life DURING their training.:thumbup:
     
  33. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I agree with what your statement, but playing devil's advocate, the burnout rate may be higher. I wonder if anyone did a study on that? Heck the burnout rate could be less for older non-trads?
     
  34. CATallergy

    CATallergy 2+ Year Member

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    also, if someone (like me) takes very good care of themself (diet, exercise, yoga, whatever) and never wants to retire, their age may be a very poor indicator of their relative potential post-training contribution.
     
  35. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Agreed. Actuaries will tell you that someone who makes it to middle age in good health is going to be predicted to live longer than average. The jury is still out on folks starting their first career in their 20s, particularly those who smoke. Perhaps residencies should use this kind of analysis as chronological age is not the best determinant for how long one can practice.
     
  36. old_boy

    old_boy Contrarian 10+ Year Member

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    LS-
    Three schools that I came across that like non-trads:

    - University of Pittsburgh is a relatively top-ranked school (15 I think US news, 7 in NIH funding) that seems to love non-trads. I'm a younger non-trad (still in my 20s), but at the second look there were a few people in their 30s (I think one person was in her 40s). Throughout the interview, second look and financial aid processes I heard from both staff and faculty that they really like non-trads and try to do everything they can to get them, as they feel it really adds to the diversity of their class. I'd suggest you take a look there if you can handle Pittsburgh.

    - Brown Med - not top 25, but close and moving up. About 60% of their class comes straight through as part of their joint undergrad program, so they fill the rest of the slots with a high % of non-trad. My experience with them was very positive as well. Didn't go to the second look, but on my interview day there were some older folks. One women had been in the business world for a while and had an MBA.

    - Northwestern (Feinberg) seems to like non-trads as well, for similar reasons as Brown. They also have a joint-undergrad program (about 40% of class I think) and have some older students.

    In terms of marketing, I think it's important to try to tie in skills that you've learned in your past career that will help you be a better doctor. I don't mean the nuts and bolts, but big picture stuff, like communication, handling responsibility, dealing with deadlines and difficult clients, and teamwork (I was in finance). I also think it's important to show a strong-track record of service and medical activities (shadowing, volunteering, research, big brother/sister, etc.). I woud think 2 years min., preferably 3. At the very top schools, I'd think research experience is a must if you're a non-trad. Even at the 3 listed above, research came up in all of my inverviews.
     
  37. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    All schools like non-trads if their stats are good. It is a mistake to lock in on one or two supposedly "non-trad-friendly" schools. Lots of nontrads do this each year and compete themselves out of spots with other nontrads. Apply widely and broadly.
     
  38. CATallergy

    CATallergy 2+ Year Member

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    how big of a positive is success in a non-science career? can it offset something like minimal research experience?
     
  39. old_boy

    old_boy Contrarian 10+ Year Member

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    I agree and disagree. Agree that you should apply broadly and that most schools liker top non-trads. But some schools are more flexible than others, and therefore IMO specifically seek out more non-trads. I think it is good to be aware of this going in, not just in a "which school will take me?" way, but also in a "where will I be happy?" way. Some questions to ask:
    - Will the school look at me independently from my parents for financial aid? (Some schools want your parents info even if you are in your 30s)
    - What is the cost of living / living options?
    - How accomodating is the school to students with families, particularly young kids (which may require flexible scheduling and missing class sometimes)
    - Will i have classmates my age?
    - What is the overall "feel" of the school towards older students?

    LastSamurai asked for specific schools, and that's what I'm giving based on my experience. While I never felt discriminated against, I definitly felt the most "courted" at these three schools over the other schools where I inverviewed (a dozen or so interviews total). I don't know your history, but I'd be curious to hear your experience interviewing as a non-trad, and if you got any "feel" about non-trad friendliness throughout the process.
     
  40. old_boy

    old_boy Contrarian 10+ Year Member

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    I have no clue -- it's all relative, i.e. being a successful business person who has legitimate reasons for wanting to go to med school is more important than a failure in life that has some crappy research assistant job. But at a top school (top 10 NIH or US News), research is very imortant, even if you ran your own company or did something equally as cool. I can't comment on absolutes. If this process has taught me anything, it's that this whole med school application thing is one big crapshoot. For example, my state school didn't even offer me an interview, but I got into several top 20-ranked schools, so go figure.

    It's hard to get research experience as a non-trad, because we don't have the advantage that undergrads have of taking classes with those that do research most of the time, and our schedules aren't as condusive to it. Plus, it can be awkard to be older than our bosses. But if you *really* want to go to a top top school (the merits of which are endlessly debated on this forum, with the consensus being it's not that big a deal in the long run), then you may need to do some.
     
  41. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Admissions and QOL are two very different questions. As for admissions, again all med schools will look at a qualified nontrad. Thus the schools that supposedly "seek out more non-trads" actually get more nontrad applications, but aren't likely to take all of the qualified ones, meaning nontrads bump each other out. Such schools see taking a handful of nontrads as diversity, but a bigger percentage of the class would be a very bold experiment no med school is ready for. Thus nontrads often shoot themselves in the foot applying to the same half dozen schools everyone keeps citing on these threads, when another 90 would actually be much more receptive because they don't see that many applications from qualified older applicants. Somebody described my argument here in a different thread as trying to get heard over the white noise of the other nontrad applicants, and I think it's an apt description.

    As for QOL, Q and I debate on this periodically. My view is that every med school is nontrad friendly because there is nothing wrong with being the class elder and so long as you get invited to every happy hour and class event (which you will), the school is adequately nontrad "friendly". That you perhaps won't choose to go to events doesn't mean you won't be included. There is no law that says you need to be friends with people your age, a lot of younger classmates will find career changers intriguing (even if for morbid curiosity reasons), and these days a lot of the traditional students are showing up to school with spouses, kids, houses, so it's possible some nontrads will have more in common with them than each other anyhow. If you want to throw down some beers with classmates, be in a study group, or join in on a pick-up basketball game, the opportunity will be there for nontrads at every school, nontrad "friendly" or not. As for finaid, you get the guaranteed loan stuff anyway and from what I've heard on SDN a lot of nontrads have gotten pretty decent awards from places you wouldn't describe as nontrad friendly. So the only real question in my mind is whether you feel the need to have peers who look as weathered as you are.
     
  42. 1Path

    1Path Banned Banned

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    I'd argue that the burnout rate is FAR less for non trads than trads. Why?

    1) We ALREADY know life isn't "fair" and are more likely to have developed suitable coping mechanisms (especially if you had a high pressure career) that don't involve drugs or alcohol.

    2) I'd bet that most of us are in pretty good shape being "children" of the exercise fad of the 80's. (Does anyone still have their leg warmers?:laugh: ). Because of the Mickey D generation, I'm guessing that in 10-15 years, the nontrad going to med school thing will have long sense hit it's peak 'cause these young folks not only have poor diets but they smoke too. In other words, they have no choice but to go to med school in their 20's.:laugh:
     
  43. 1Path

    1Path Banned Banned

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    At age 40 and having recently experienced 2 research projects prospects that diappeared like a fart in the wind, I don't know if I agree with this or not. In my VERY recent experience, it's difficult for ANYONE to get a research position thanks to G-dubya's war in Iraq.:mad:

    Having said that, I will agree that my schedule was flexible enough to allow me the time to meet with upteen PI's in search of a project. But like trads, you have to be willing to beg and sweat indefinitely, a prospect that may not be appealing to the Nontrad who makes more money than the PI she's interviewing with.
     
  44. Dr.Detroit

    Dr.Detroit Boogie Member Physician 7+ Year Member

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    Law2Doc, were you the object of some girl's "morbid curiosity"? We want to know the details...
     
  45. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Actually, I think that its pretty even in terms of trad vs. non-trad getting research experience. I never had a class with my PI. Mainly because he's med school faculty..haha. Other undergrads probably barely know their professors given the size of many classrooms these days. In terms of PI age, thats variable. My PI is in his 60's, so thats not really an issue. There are many post-docs that are in their 30's and 40's so that reasoning that it is awkward to be older, as old as, or close to being old as our "bosses" is moot. Seniority in a research setting should be based on experience, not age.

    Being a graduate student myself, I know full well that labs are always looking for cheap labor (usually free labor). So finding research "experience" is easy for everyone. The more important question is if the experience is actually meaningful or not. Getting paid is another issue, and as 1Path pointed out, funding has become a bit more scarce.

    Finding a suitable lab to work in is more about finding what you are interested in, selling yourself, and finding the right PI who is sympathetic to your goals. One, highly motivated/inexperienced researcher is worth more to me than 100 unmotivated motivated undergrads. Undergrads are a dime a dozen. I've had....about 10-12 undergrads working for me during the past 2 years. Only 4 have stood out, and gained the lab's trust enough to be put on the payroll at some point. If you're a hardworking motivated person, then there is no reason why a lab would not hire you.

    Finding a PI isn't all that hard either. Email, telephone, and the faculty directory can be a good thing;).

    Thats an interesting point, and I can actually see that happening. Don't forget this is now the Mickey D + video game generation. Sedentary life has become a norm. Conversely though, you can argue that the newer generation which is highly networked with all these new gadgets may be better at integrating into the digital future. I'm about 90-95% up to speed with this technology, but I cannot imagine what the world will look like 10-20 years from now. Our med and vet students here are already using Tablet PC's (required). Everyone sports a Smartphone, which downloads their daily course schedules via the PDA function on our websites. All the classes are podcasted...god......they have it so easy now;). Remember that thing called the library and the Dewey Decimal System? (sp?)...haha.

    I guess there will be something that evens out in the end. The greater motivation of non-trads vs. the tech-savvy trads of the current generation. Only the strong will survive;). :D
     
  46. 1Path

    1Path Banned Banned

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    Do I? Man, I remember those late nights at the library, going from shelf to shelf, to get those 80lb compacted journals to copy articles. Now, school is a relative breeze.

    Now that I think about, because the over 35 crowd is old enough to remember the dinosar days of attending college, we're in a better position to really appreciate, and take advantage of all the new gadgets/advances in technology. My personal fav, is the PSP - games, movies, MP3 player, AND internet???? Whooo hooooo!!!!! ????:banana:

    Opps, I guess that doesn't have anything to do with school!:oops:
     
  47. njbmd

    njbmd Guest Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    9,050
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    May 30, 2001
    Gone Walkabout!

    I guess all general surgery residencies do not discriminate at least the 26 that offered me interviews (including Hopkins). Graduated at age 49 (turned 50 three weeks later) and headed for general surgery residency. Now completing residency and headed for 2 years of fellowship in vascular surgery. Owe $40k in loans which will most likely be paid off when I sign work contract as I have already had four job offers that included loan repayment as signing bonus. Looks like I won't be paying back debt in my mid 50s or early 60s.

    Guess I was too naive to realize that I was to old to do general surgery or one of the surgical specialties.
     
  48. postbacker

    postbacker Banned Banned

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    Hey njbmd, you are forgetting that this SDN crowd thinks that anecdotes of the n=1 variety are meaningless (no matter how many such examples are provided)...they demand "facts" (which they have somehow confused with nothing more than often uninformed opinions), panning nuggets of fools gold through dissections of the USNews rankings and by divining the inner meaning of match lists...

    And to njbmd: I would be interested in your opinion on the massive amounts of debt that some of these students "choose" to take on - and I do mean "choose" - when they turn down, say, their state school(s) or a "lesser ranked" private med school offering scholarships for a higher ranked OOS public or private school. Some of the real life examples on SDN blow my mind, involving added debt over 4 years exceeding $100k, in some cases pushing total student loan debts (including UG) over $300k...
     
  49. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Some of us don't have a choice because we were either rejected by our state school or we don't have a state school. For me, my one state school rejected me, and their instate tuition was $30k/year anyway. Personally I think it'd be a bit depressing to jump into the whole why we're all morons to borrow that much. :rolleyes: Also, it's a new subject, so start a new thread if you're interested or check out the financial aid forum for more info.
     
  50. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

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    Not enough time to read this long-ass thread, but my guess is that the older applicant probably has less time/expendable cash/desire to participate in the interviewing carousel of the northeast. He/she is likely also more likely to understand the fact that these "rankings" don't matter.
     
  51. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    18,894
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    Florida/Fellowship
    Doh! Let's not do this again! :smuggrin: Not all of us want our social lives to revolve around keg stands and happy hours. Though I must confess that it's somewhat amusing to hear about the aftermath on Mondays, I'm glad that no one has been arrested so far....

    I didn't apply to Northwestern or Brown, but I have to agree with old_doc about Pitt. They even have an Old Farts Club, but FYI the F doesn't actually stand for "farts." :smuggrin:

    Oh, and L2D, I want to hear about the trad girls' morbid curiosity about you too. It sounds like a great story. :love: ;)
     

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