Rich is the go-to guy for nontraditional students, which I know comprise a large majority of you listening right now. In this episode, Rich talks about what’s going in the nontraditional premed world and health care in general. He shares his advice to those who might want to pursue the medical path as a nontraditional student, how to start, and where to find advisors.
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
Nontraditional as the “New” Traditional Medical Student
- Society as a whole has evolved.
- There are a growing number of nontraditional premeds.
[Related episode: Interview with OldPreMeds Publisher Richard Levy.]
Change in the Makeup of Matriculating Medical Students
- The average age of first-year medical students is approaching 24 years old.
- 5% of medical school applicants/matriculants are 30 years old or older.
Factors for the Change in Medical Student Demographics
- There has been an expansion in the number of medical students.
- Since 2005, nearly 20 new MD schools or MD programs opening up
- DO expansion (number of schools and seats alike)
- Close to 25,000 people a year are matriculating into medical school.
A big driving force in this expansion has been the American Medical Association’s push for new GME spots and spots in medical school. We have a looming physician shortage estimated at 130,000 physicians in 15-20 years.We have a looming physician shortage estimated at 130,000 physicians in 15-20 years.Click To Tweet
Hurdles in Addressing the Physician Shortage
- The pinch point in the production of new physicians is actually a shortage of residency slots right now.
- The situation may be ending up like law schools where law student can’t find a job.
- 2 years ago, 528 U.S.-based MD graduates were not able to find a residency slot at all.
What to Do If You’re Discouraged from Medical School as an Older Premed
- Take a breath.
- It’s a long and difficult process.
- The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
[Related episode: Interview with a 56-year-old Medical Student.]
Older Premed Students Trying to Find Advising
- If you’re currently in a program, seek out the advisor.
- I offer premed advising, mock interviews, and more.
- Alumni organizations offer services like advising and a premedical committee
- The AAMC (American Association of Medical Colleges) runs the application service for medical colleges, and they have a ton of information on their website.
- Look at the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) for information on MD schools. Look at the The College Information Book (CIB) for information on DO schools.
- The National Organization of Academic Health Advisors and Health Professions (NAAHP) has volunteer advisors on their site.
- Nontraditional Premed Forum (formerly at OldPreMeds.org).
- Premed Hangout Facebook Group
- Student Doctor Network (SDN)
Being Professional as a Nontraditional Student
- Cases of students being denied their medical diploma
- Civilian hospitals weeding out applicants who have issues
- Seeing it as a lifestyle
On Life Getting in the Way for Nontraditional Students
Most traditional premed students don’t deal with as many big events outside of school, but older students deal more with marriages, mortgages, kids, etc.
[Related episode: How to Provide for Your Family as a Premed.]
The Money Issue with Medical School
- Medical school costs a lot of money.
- Going to medical school means you will have no income for those four years. You won’t be able to add to retirement savings or make mortgage payments for those years.
- Even in residency (minimum of 3 years), you will receive below-minimum-wage income—no retirement savings then, either.
[Related episode: How to Pay Back Your Medical School Loans.]
Nontraditional Students Taking Formal Postbacs
- They think it’s going to improve their chances.
- They’re paranoid due to the competitive nature of medical school admissions.
- Applying to medical school comes off as mythically impossible due to posts on the internet.
- Which is more competitive to get into, MD schools or DO schools?
Some Pieces of Advice for Premed Students
- Figure out where to start.
- Get on the phone with an admissions committee and ask them what they think of your individual situation.
[Related episode: Should I Meet with Admissions Committees Before I Apply?]
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: Introduction to the OldPreMeds Podcast.
- Related episode: How to Get Letters of Recommendation as a Nontrad.
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