In today’s episode, I talk with Ben Abney, a true nontraditional medical student. Ben sent in a 4,000-word email titled “How a 38-Year Old Active Duty Applicant with a Family and Average Scores Got into Medical School.” His hope is to help other people who may find themselves in a similar situation.
Tune in to hear about Ben’s journey to medical school, the things he learned, and his recommendations that might help you in your premed and medical school journey. It’s all about taking that first step!
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
Ben’s life prior to medical school:
- Joining the navy after graduation and becoming a nuclear power instructor
- Money as a barrier, growing up in a very poor family
[For advice on the nontraditional journey to medical school, check out OldPreMeds Podcast.]
Figuring out the next steps: Which resources did he tap into?
- Admissions committees at local medical schools
- Personal physician friends
- Medical school forums
- The OldPreMeds.org Conference
Ways to reach out to medical schools:
- Go to the medical school’s website and familiarize yourself with the basic information.
- Email the admissions office with a quick summary of your story.
- Just show up and meet people so they can put your face with your name.
[Related episode: Should I Meet with Admissions Committees Before I Apply?]
Ben’s experience applying to medical school:
- Applying as soon as the AMCAS application cycle opened
- Writing the personal statement
- Challenges with getting all of his transcripts to AMCAS
- When to ask for letters of recommendation (past April is too late)
- Applying to around 15 MD schools
- Getting 7-8 medical school interviews
Some pieces of advice for premed students:
- There is no such thing as a safety school. Don’t put too much emphasis on the stats listed for a school.
- Apply early. Apply broadly.
- Dreams don’t come true, but plans do. So put a plan out there. Take that first step, and see if it’s something you like or dread. Start looking at your dream, and make it a plan.
Links and Other Resources
- Check out my Premed Playbook series of books (available on Amazon), with installments on the personal statement, the medical school interview, and the MCAT.
- Related episode: First Year of Medical School for a Nontraditional Premed.
- Related episode: Overcoming 12 Withdrawals and 5 F’s as a Premed.
- Need MCAT Prep? Save on tutoring, classes, and full-length practice tests by using promo code “MSHQ” at Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)!