wondering at 42

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    I was a SAHM for years and now am a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern working in a medical clinic. A psychiatrist I work with suggested I could go to med school, and I’m starting to like the idea a lot–I’m tired of wishing the psychiatrists would do something different with my clients!

    I was a biology major so I have the coursework–but I’d have to dust it all off to prepare for the MCAT. I’d want to start in 2005 when my youngest starts college (there are no medical schools near where I live).

    If I can do well on the MCAT, is it at all possible that med schools would look at me? Am I too old?

    I love working with mentally ill people and I think I could do so more effectively as a psychiatrist.

    I typed “over 40 medical school” into google and found this amazing site! Thanks to all of you!

    My freshman roommate from college, who is a doctor, told me I’m crazy and I will wreck my life.


    Hi Bette!
    I don’t know how it will affect your life. Only you can determine what is good for you. I’m 38 and I have all my prereqs to work on.
    I do suggest you also visit http://www.oldpremeds.org
    I’m finding quite a few premeds are your age or older and more ‘non-trad friendly’ med schools. I’ve found very successful non-trad med students and one of the residents at oldpremeds turned 50 yrs young days after graduating med school. According to her posts, life as a surgeon is very rewarding.
    In my research of specialties, I’ve also read that there is a shortage of med students pursuing psychiatry so there’s a great possibly you could have your pick of residencies….


    Wow, thanks, bzmom4, that ama link was super helpful and made me think that a Psychiatry residency would be very doable once I got through med school.

    Does anybody know: would the average med school simply refuse to consider the application of an otherwise qualified person who would be 45 when she started?

    Another question: is there anyone out there who’s done med school at an older age, and how bad was it to go without sleep in the 3rd and 4th years?



    Bette, it is harder to get into med school if you’re over 40, but it’s not impossible. Some schools are more receptive to older students than others. My school has a reputation of being friendly to non-traditional students and in my class of 60, we have a 43-year-old and a 50-year-old, as well as at least 10 of us in our 30’s.
    However, I’ll be honest with you- the older you get, the harder it is to get in. Still, if this is what you want to do, you will never know unless you try.
    Do everything you can to maximize your chances. Consider that you may need to retake some of your basic science classes and/or take additional upper-level science classes, especially if it’s been a long time since your science coursework. Make sure your science grades are top-notch and your MCAT’s solid. Your clinical background sounds impressive and that will work in your favor. Try to spend some time working with practicing physicians so you can really get a feel for what it’s like and have something to discuss at your interviews. The most important thing is to have a cogent, convincing argument for WHY you want to jump tracks and become a doctor later in life.
    If all else fails, there are always the Caribbean med schools. Here’s a truly inspirational story of a 57-year-old grandmother who ended up taking this route, since no US school would take her:
    Hope this helps and good luck!

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