Oldest medical student

This topic contains 32 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by moosescape May 28, 2019 at 5:45 pm.

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  • #187276
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    vsrogers
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    I have been doing some research the past few years with various medical schools across the country. And while they all say that there is no age discrimination and all the ones I have checked do have at least one student in their 40s or 50s, practically speaking, what is the oldest student a medical school will consider accepting?

    #231227
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    whuds
    Participant

    somewhere around 60 seems to be the breaking point

    understandably there are about 40% that get accepted out of the 100% that apply ( some schools have like 5 to 6000 apply each year and admit 100 to 200 of these so you can do the math) the schools then have to choose who will be the best student and future Doctor. Honestly you have to sit in their shoes and and see what you would do when you have 200 seats and 5000 or 6000 with at least 90% are qualified for the spots, how do you choose? Age may not be the main factor either way but I gotta tell you it must cross the ADCOM mind when looking at 30 year olds and younger who are in the top and then a 60 year old, the 28 year old will have a much longer career and giving back to society potential as will the 60 year old will if both work as Physicians till 70 ( retirement age now),

    At 60 they will graduate at 64 or 65 with 6 or 5 years potential, really less since they will be out of residency earliest 67 or 68 ( 3yr) so 3 or 2 years?

    At 30 they could practice 30 years out of residency

    At 45 ( what I will be when I graduate next year) I will have a 3 year residency so I will be out by 48 and practice ( God willing ) 22 years till age 70.

    Honestly a 60 year old does have this counting against them legal or not.

    #231228
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    vsrogers
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    Thanks for the input. I really do not have any interest in a formal practice. I have traveled all over the world and would either go back to the remote spots of the US where I have lived (and where the medical care is limited at best) and/or go back overseas and work with some of the orphanages or groups I’ve come to know over the past 40 years. The children are all out of the house. My husband is retired and will go just about anyplace I want to go, as long as he doesn’t have to shovel snow (lol). Money at this point is not an object. And all of the women in my immediate familial past have lived independently into their mid-90s.

    So, I really have no plans of retiring, whether I am able to pursue my life-long dream of medicine or not.

    Vicki

    #231229
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    ihopetobeado2
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    I totally disagree with allowing the above type of thinking from holding you or anyone of us down.

    As an example, I just saw on ABC news a surgeon who practiced till he was nearly 90 and I read of a family practioner who practiced till he was 96. On the other hand, I know of a Harvard medical school graduate who graduated at the traditional age of 26, but decided to quit medicine and become a history professor before she reached the age of 30. Similarly, Michael Crichton of “Jurassic Park” and “ER” fame, graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1969 at the tender age of 26. He decided during his fourth year of medical school that he hated medicine. He never completed a residency and has never practiced medicine.

    #231230
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    swy55
    Participant

    reading the above made me realize that what you are discussing is a very common thought process that anyone in this business for long must laern to deal with: The individual vs the statistical whole.

    for example statistically most sinus infections go away in aweek plus or minus weather you treat them with antibiotics or not. For that reason we are taught not to automatically perscribe antibiotics for sinus infections? no – of course not. each case needs to be decided indivdually – hence the art of medicine.

    Is there ans absolute age limit? no probably not. though different Medical schools may vary in how carefully they look at the potential of any individual — and yes — sometimes they are wrong both ways.

    It is ov course true that someone starting this career at 45 will have on average a shorter career span than someone starting at 25. that does not mean individulas may not have a very satisfactory long career.

    Part of the reason I took this path was that in what I was doing I could only see my self counting down the days until I could retire rather than counting the ways I could think of to keep going past retirement.

    Maybe the medical school applications should have a question “How Old where/are your parents and grand parents?” as that is still the best predictor of longevity —

    any way – I am rambling — it is 3 am and I’m a bit foggy but always have trouble sleeping when on call — still maybe I should try –

    Steve — 3rd year FP resident currently on next to last call night on OB — EVER!! ( I hope)

    #231231
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    vsrogers
    Participant

    It’s true about there being a special group of doctors who practice long into what is perceived as being “old age”. Their minds are sharp and they’re in good health. They have a great deal of knowlege and wisdom to offer their patients. I would like to be one of them.

    I, too, have seen a number of doctors-to-be fall by the wayside. My business partner, for one, was finishing up his residency when involved in an accident that left him a quadriplegic for the next 24 years of his life. There was a young woman several years ago working on her residency when she was diagnosed with RA. The governing staff over the residents made her withdraw from the program. More than one of my professors at Berkeley urged me not to go into medicine. They counseled that I would be bored. Each of them had pursued an MD with advanced and specialized training. These found dealing with sick people and the day-to-day “office politics” and the business end of medicine unbearable. They both dropped out of medicine and returned to research and teaching. A number of obstetricians dropped out of medicine altogether because of very real business issues with insurance.

    But at this point, the admissions committee would know for a certainty that I would not be one of those statistics. Maybe another statistic. But not one of those (LOL).

    #231232
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    whuds
    Participant
    • ihopetobeado2 Said:
    I totally disagree with allowing the above type of thinking from holding you or anyone of us down.

    As an example, I just saw on ABC news a surgeon who practiced till he was nearly 90 and I read of a family practioner who practiced till he was 96. On the other hand, I know of a Harvard medical school graduate who graduated at the traditional age of 26, but decided to quit medicine and become a history professor before she reached the age of 30. Similarly, Michael Crichton of “Jurassic Park” and “ER” fame, graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1969 at the tender age of 26. He decided during his fourth year of medical school that he hated medicine. He never completed a residency and has never practiced medicine.

    Well I understand but I have to say

    Because you want something does not mean you will get it, Because you desire something and have a passion does not mean you will succeed.

    Going to medical school and making a Doctor costs the students Thousands and society thousands in resources.

    ADCOMs are the gate keepers and no matter what is fair or the belief that it is discrimination, people over 60 will have a hard time getting accepted, there is no needed excuse, as I said 40% or less get accepted out of 100% of the qualified applicants and they do not get excuses just rejected or wait listed each year.

    I’m not here to “Cheerlead” that does not one any good. Reality is Life is not fair.

    I highly suggest for much older people to consider the Caribbean schools since they will not turn down a qualified candidate , if you get turned down.

    Good Luck.

    #231233
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    ttraub
    Participant

    I say follow your dreams and don’t let a little detail like age hold you back. as DRFP points out, there are no guarantees so just do your very best, package yourself as the best qualified candidate that you can possibly be, and know that there are alternatives to the mainland schools if need be.

    Obviously if you incur $300,000 in debts for 7-8 years of training and then are only able to practice for 3 or 4 years you may want to think this through–are there shorter paths to the same goal, for instance PA or NP or RN? It’s worth going through this thought process because, you know, admissions people might ask you this same question and you should have a credible response–I really want the broad, deep science training that medicine provides (that’s my reason) as well as the autonomy that the terminal medical degree (MD/DO) affords so that I can truly contribute at my highest level (my other reason), and so forth.

    Best of luck and know that others have gone before you. I would agree that the maximum age, as someone above put it, is the age when you are in a coffin six feet under. Until that time, live life to the fullest and if you need to be a trail blazer, well blaze that trail and make the world a better place! Best of luck,

    #231234
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    vsrogers
    Participant

    I appreciate the input. And though cheerleading certainly does have its place, so does a reality check. Here’s part of the deal, though. In the early ’70s, I was turned down for admission to med school. Why? “You are married and have a child. DO NOT submit your application. It WILL be thrown in the waste basket.” This is almost verbatim, face to face, with the woman who screened all the applications that went before the admissions committee of UCSF. In the ’80s, as a single mom with six small kids, if I’d had the money, I could have gotten in. I wouldn’t have been able to STAY in, taking care of the kids and trying to earn a living, but the admissions committee would not have kept me out based on marital status and number of children. My point here is, WHO KNOWS what the committee will be looking for two years from now, 3 years from now. They may give special dispensation to people who promise to practice geriatrics for the next ten years. Who knows!

    On to a new thread with this, one of you mentioned the Caribbean schools. Can anyone tell me about them? What are they like? Are they REALLY reputable? Can you get an internship and residency in the States when you finish there?

    #231235
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    whuds
    Participant
    • vsrogers Said:

    On to a new thread with this, one of you mentioned the Caribbean schools. Can anyone tell me about them? What are they like? Are they REALLY reputable? Can you get an internship and residency in the States when you finish there?

    Yes thousands have including my friend and I ( we have prematched into Family practice).

    The way this is worded is funny, but I understand it. Some people think that the Caribbean is a joke and Diploma Mill, Its far from that.

    There are a few that I know that are the head of residency programs that are caribbean grads, an Attending at Harvard, on Caribbean grad recently was the head of the Emory pain clinic in Atlanta, To name a few.

    The best Caribbean Schools are:

    AUC, ROSS, SGU and SABA, these can give you all 50 states for Licensure

    The rest of the legit schools can give you 45 to 48 states For Licensure.

    You spend 1.5 to 2 years in the Caribbean and then 2 years in the USA doing years 3 and 4.

    I can tell you more just ask.

    Good Luck.

    #231236
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    gonnif
    Participant

    two comments on this thread:

    First, perhaps a better way to view this is that you can’t possibly lose. You aren’t in medical school now and therefore you can’t be “less” than that. If you try and do not get accepted you will simply be exactly where you are. But if you do try, you might get accepted. Therefore you can’t lose.

    Second, on the Caribbean schools. With something like 16,000 US med school graduates and 24,000 residency slots a year, those 8,000 other residents have to come from someplace. Also researching the schools carefully, from a business perspective, has turned up some interesting results. Several of the smaller schools have been bought by a capital investment firm (Saba, MUA-Nevis, and St. Matthew). While this would seemingly make these just profits ventures, there is an inherent interest to keep the schools well funded, produce results (ie successful graduates), build bridges to US hospitals/schools for clinicals,etc. My point here is rather than simply a “fly-by-night” operation or diploma mills, these schools are going to be run like an efficient profitable business, where producing succesful graduates and attracting new applicants is good business as as well good for students.

    Also, Ross university (one of the oldest along with St. George’s) is now owned by Devry Institutes. The original Dr. Ross has started a new school, University of Medical and Health Sciences, on St. Kitts. Additionally, the former administration of Ross Univ, who didn’t like the new owners has started a new school on St. Vincent, Trinity. So at least on a surface level, the people running these new schools have been very successful in the past.

    Also, depending on what you really want to do, one of the “alternative to medicine” may be considered. For example, a Physician Assistant is a 2 year program, quicker to get working, less loans, etc. You can also simply get the MD/DO simply because you want to. Consideration of how long you may be able to practice should not stop you getting what you want.

    #231237
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    whuds
    Participant

    I have been saying this for years, the key to getting a residency from the Caribbean is to choose a residency where it goes unfilled, then you should get it, thats what I have done.

    • gonnif Said:
    two comments on this thread:

    First, perhaps a better way to view this is that you can’t possibly lose. You aren’t in medical school now and therefore you can’t be “less” than that. If you try and do not get accepted you will simply be exactly where you are. But if you do try, you might get accepted. Therefore you can’t lose.

    Second, on the Caribbean schools. With something like 16,000 US med school graduates and 24,000 residency slots a year, those 8,000 other residents have to come from someplace. Also researching the schools carefully, from a business perspective, has turned up some interesting results. Several of the smaller schools have been bought by a capital investment firm (Saba, MUA-Nevis, and St. Matthew). While this would seemingly make these just profits ventures, there is an inherent interest to keep the schools well funded, produce results (ie successful graduates), build bridges to US hospitals/schools for clinicals,etc. My point here is rather than simply a “fly-by-night” operation or diploma mills, these schools are going to be run like an efficient profitable business, where producing succesful graduates and attracting new applicants is good business as as well good for students.

    Also, Ross university (one of the oldest along with St. George’s) is now owned by Devry Institutes. The original Dr. Ross has started a new school, University of Medical and Health Sciences, on St. Kitts. Additionally, the former administration of Ross Univ, who didn’t like the new owners has started a new school on St. Vincent, Trinity. So at least on a surface level, the people running these new schools have been very successful in the past.

    Also, depending on what you really want to do, one of the “alternative to medicine” may be considered. For example, a Physician Assistant is a 2 year program, quicker to get working, less loans, etc. You can also simply get the MD/DO simply because you want to. Consideration of how long you may be able to practice should not stop you getting what you want.

    #231238
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    pi1304
    Participant

    Though it is important to note that for many residencies, FMGs often find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. Obviously, this is especially true for the more competitive fields.

    #231239
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    whuds
    Participant
    • pi1304 Said:
    Though it is important to note that for many residencies, FMGs often find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. Obviously, this is especially true for the more competitive fields.

    Yes this can be true but for those who could care less about these, why is it so important? “the competitive disadvantage is not universal, if Caribbean grads are matching into decent residencies ( I know they do) then that means US students did not rank as high with that residency.

    Step scores and then the interview for the residency is important, not just the step score or that yo are a US student in some cases, in fact at some programs Caribbean grads are the directors now or seniors in the program. Don’t rule out the influence decent good Docs from the Caribbean that has continued to change the attitudes of the professionals out there, ( I doubt US students will ever change )

    IM, PEDs, OB, FP, are all primary and I always wanted FP, really I think there are a lot of Us older folk who are not interested in Residency of 7 to 8 years like Surgery. I know the 3 years I will do seems like a cake walk and I will do what I want to do! ( how much you will make has changed drastically I will post what the Orthopedic surgeon has told me about the new changes in reimbursement)

    Research before committing you may be surprised that primary care can be more then you think.

    Here is a link to SGU residency matches 2008

    http://www.sgu.edu/ERD/2008/ResidPost.nsf/BYPGY?Op

    AUC 2008

    http://www.aucmed.edu/alumni/alumres.htm

    ROSS 2008

    http://www.rossu.edu/medical-school/files/ 2008Resi…

    As you can see some really good residency matches and this is the “Big three” similar matches happen from all the schools.

    #231240
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    vsrogers
    Participant

    Sorry for the delay in replying. I have been out of town for the past couple weeks. Thank you very much for the input. I was not aware of the Caribbean situation and had just surmised that it was a diploma mill. It’s nice to hear it’s not.

    You and the others have given me lots to think about. Thank you.

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