Starting the Journey to Med School at 38, Taking the First Steps

Session 77

Session 77

In today’s episode, Ryan talks with Ben Abney, a true nontraditional medical student who 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, with the hope to help other people who may also find themselves in a similar situation.

Listen closely to this episode and learn first-hand about Ben’s journey, 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!

Here are the highlights of the conversation with Ben:

Ben’s path 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

Figuring out the next steps: Which resources did he tap into?

  • Local medical schools – admissions committees
  • Personal physician friends
  • Medical school forums
  • Conference

Ways to reach out to the schools:

  1. Go to the site and familiarize yourself about the basic information about the school.
  2. Email the admissions office and do a quick summary.
  3. Just show up and meet faces.

During the application process:

  • Applying as soon as the AMCAS application cycle opened
  • Writing the personal statement and just briefly mentioning the highlights
  • Getting his schools to get all of his transcripts to AMCAS as very challenging

Note: Asking for letters of recommendation past April is too late

  • Applying to around 15 MD schools
  • Got into 7-8 interviews

Some pieces of advice for premed students:

  1. There is no such thing as safety schools. You can’t only apply to schools that meet numbers.
  1. Apply early. Apply broadly.
  1. Dream 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:

Old Premeds Conference

MSHQ 074 – Interview with Carrie

Session 17: Step Up Your MCAT Prep With the Princeton Review

The Princeton Review – MCAT Ultimate Classroom or Live Online Course

If you need any help with the medical school interview, go to Sign up and you will receive parts of the book so you can help shape the future of the book. This book will include over 500 questions that may be asked during interview day as well as real-life questions, answers, and feedback from all of the mock interviews Ryan has been doing with students.

Are you a nontraditional student? Go check out

For more great content, check out for more of the shows produced by the Medical School Headquarters including the OldPremeds Podcast and watch out for more shows in the future!

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