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How Does it Look to Adcoms as a 50 Year Old Applying?

Session 61

Session 61

Our question this week comes directly from OldPreMeds forums. Our poster wants to know how adcoms will view his or her application as a 50-year-old.

OldPreMeds Question of the Week:

“I am 50+ years old and I have a deep desire to apply to medical school. Although I majored in biology and acquired a Master’s in biology over 20 years ago, I have done so to pursue clinical research and biotechnology. However, I recently completed a Master’s in Health Technology and the new medical initiatives in reform of Medical Care through the ACA has really sparked my interest to serve as a physician, making healthcare accessible to all. Is it practical for one over 50 to apply to medical school? How favorable does the admissions committee look at older medical applicants?”

Here are my insights:

[01:45] Health Care Access to All

Making healthcare accessible to all is a great desire but a physician has a small part in that. It’s good for a policy maker like getting involved through an MPH in making policy and figuring out how to better help the community access healthcare.

A physician, however, has a very small role in making healthcare accessible to all. You can actually make it accessible to a small percentage of patients you see. While you may be serving those underserved, it is still a small portion of the total population.

Think about your desires and what it is that you truly want to do.Figure out if it really is being a physician that will make that difference. Being a physician, you only get to take care of one patient at a time so making health care “accessible to all” doesn’t really fit into that. If you truly want to be a physician then great but I would question your motives to be a physician if your desire is to make healthcare accessible to all. Think through that.

[03:22] Health Care Reform

This post was posted on December 2016 after Donald Trump had won the election before he had taken the oath and became President and had signed the Executive Orders to start dismantling the Affordable Care Act. If you’re interested in medicine because of what the ACA has done, realize that it’s going to look totally different by the time you become a doctor.

I have to warn you based on your current ideas and thoughts because if you’re applying because you love the ACA and you want to make healthcare accessible to all, medicine is going to look completely different by the time you apply to medical school as well as by the time you get out and start practicing and go through residency and so on.

You really have to do this for the right reason, which is usually to take care of patients one at a time regardless of how the healthcare system looks.

[04:50] Question on Age

Your age is going to raise some yellow flags, which means people are going to question your desires because they want to make sure you’re doing this for the right reasons. Some medical schools will be biased and would not want to accept you due to your age. Why give a spot to a 50 years old when they can give it to a 20+ years old that’s going to have 30 years more work than you may have? So there will be this kind of thoughts out there. But every year, we hear stories of 50-year-old’s or even 60-year-old’s starting medical school. So it is possible.

Go back and listen to The Premed Years Podcast Session 11, where I interviewed Kate, a 56-year-old third year medical student so she started medical school at 53.

[06:15] My Final Thoughts

I encourage you to continue on exploring why you want to go through this and if this is what you really want then push full steam ahead. Some school might frown upon it, other schools are going to look highly upon it. But it only takes one school to say yes. So keep digging and keep pushing forward if that is what you’re really interested in.

[07:07] MCAT Prep Help

If you need help with MCAT prep, I highly recommend Next Step Test Prep. They are known for their one-on-one tutoring, which is what I would have gone through for MCAT prep if I had to do it all over again. With basically the same price as an in-person Kaplan or Princeton review, Next Step can give you a one-on-one tutor to help you figure out how to take the MCAT. Use the code MSHQ to save some money on their tutoring, full-length practice tests, and their new online course. Plus you get live office hours with the people that wrote that test.

Links:

OldPreMeds

Next Step Test Prep (Use the code MSHQ to save money)

The Premed Years Podcast Session 11: Interview with a 56-Year-Old Medical Student

Affordable Care Act

The Premed Years Podcast

The MCAT Podcast

Specialty Stories Podcast

MedEd Media Network

[email protected]

Transcript

Introduction

Dr. Ryan Gray: The Old Premeds Podcast, session number 61.

You’re a nontraditional student entering the medical field on your terms. You may have had some hiccups along the way, but now you’re now ready to change course and go back and serve others as a physician. This podcast is here to help answer your questions and help educate you on your nontraditional journey to becoming a physician.

Welcome to the Old Premeds Podcast, my name is Dr. Ryan Gray and I am the host of this podcast as well as The Premed Years, The MCAT Podcast, and Specialty Stories. You can find out about all of the podcasts that we do at www.MedEdMedia.com. That’s www.MedEdMedia.com. We take questions directly from the www.OldPremeds.org forums and answer them here on the podcast, and this one is an interesting one about being fifty plus years old and applying to medical school.

A Question from a Poster

This poster said, ‘Hello. I am fifty plus years old, and I have a deep desire to apply to medical school. Although I majored in biology and acquired a Master’s in biology over twenty years ago, I have done so to pursue clinical research in biotechnology. However, I recently completed a Master’s in health technology and the new medical initiatives and reform of medical care through the ACA has really sparked my interest to serve as a physician, making healthcare accessible to all. Is it practical for one over fifty to apply to medical school? How favorable does the admissions committee look at older medical applicants?’

Making Healthcare Accessible to All

Alright so the true definition of an old premed; fifty plus years old and interested in going to medical school. So let’s talk about some of these things. So making healthcare accessible to all is a great desire, but a physician has a small part in that. Making healthcare accessible to all is good for a policy maker if you want to get involved maybe through an MPH, and get involved in making policy, and figuring out how to better help the community access healthcare. A physician has a very small role in making healthcare accessible to all. You can only make healthcare accessible to the small percentage of patients that you can see. And while you may be serving those that might be underserved, it’s a very small percentage of the total population. So I would think about your desires and what it is that you truly want to do, and figure out if it really is being a physician that will make that difference. Being a physician, you take care of one patient at a time, and making healthcare accessible to all doesn’t really fit that. It sounds good but think about it, think through it. I want you to be happy on the other end. If you truly need to be a physician, want to be a physician, then great, I’m going to support you through it. But your desire to make healthcare accessible to all, I question those motives to be a physician. I don’t question the motives overall, I question it to be a physician and why that’s driving you to be a physician. So think through that.

You mentioned the Affordable Care Act. Obviously this original post, this post was posted in December of 2016 after Donald Trump had won the election but before he had taken the oath and became President, and had signed the executive orders to start dismantling the Affordable Care Act. So if you’re interested in medicine because of what the ACA has done, by the time you become a doctor it’s going to look totally different. So again, I warn you based on your current ideas and thoughts because if you’re doing this because you love the ACA, and you want to make healthcare accessible to all, medicine is going to look completely different by the time you apply to medical school, and by the time you get out and start practicing, and go through your residency and everything else. So you need to do it for the right reasons, and it’s usually taking care of patients one at a time, usually, and how the healthcare world, the policies and everything else, how the healthcare system works outside of that may be completely different, but that’s okay because your desire was to treat patients and help families going through their struggles. So how the healthcare system looks doesn’t matter for that desire.

Entering Medical School at Fifty Years Old

So being fifty years old is obviously going to raise a lot of- I don’t want to say red flags, but some yellow flags. People are going to question your desires, they’re going to make sure that you’re entering this for the right reasons. Some medical schools will definitely be biased and not want to accept you because of your age. There is some thought out there that why give a spot to a fifty plus year old when we can give it to a twenty plus year old that’s going to have thirty years more work than you will have, or may have. So there will definitely be those thoughts out there, but every year we hear new stories of fifty plus year olds, even sixty plus year olds starting medical school, so it is possible. And if you go back and listen to- I released it on the Old Premeds Podcast, it was originally on The Premed Years Podcast, I interviewed Kate back in session 6 I believe- actually no it was session 11. So if you go to www.MedicalSchoolHQ.net/11 you can listen to an interview that I did with Kate, who was 56 years old when I interviewed her as a third year medical student, so she started medical school at 53. You can hear all about that discussion.

So I want to encourage you to continuing your exploration of why you want to go in this, and if this is what you want, then push full steam ahead. And some schools are going to frown upon it, some schools are going to look highly upon it, and it only takes one school to say yes. So keep digging, and keep pushing forward if that is what you are interested in.

Final Thoughts

Alright I hope that helped. I hope you got a lot of great information out of this podcast today. You can check out everything that we do here at the Medical School Headquarters at www.MedEdMedia.com. That’s www.MedEdMedia.com. We have The Premed Years Podcast, we have The MCAT Podcast, we have Specialty Stories, and we have this podcast, the Old Premeds Podcast. Go check it all out and if you’re interested in MCAT prep, I highly recommend Next Step Test Prep. You can check out everything they offer at www.NextStepTestPrep.com. They are known for their one-on-one tutoring which is the way I would have gone through MCAT prep if I had to do it all over again. For basically the same price as an in-person Kaplan or Princeton Review, I’m getting a tutor one-on-one to help me figure out how to take the MCAT. I don’t need a teacher going over material and re-teaching me the content. I can do that on my own, I should’ve done that going through college the first time and doing well in my classes. So if that’s you, then you need somebody to help you actually take the test, and that’s where a Next Step tutor comes in. You can use the code MSHQ to save some money on their tutoring, on their full length practice test, as well as their new course that they offer. So it’s an online course that you take, and it has more information, more data out there than the Kaplan and Princeton Reviews, and it’s cheaper, and you get live office hours with the people that wrote the test. So go check it out, www.NextStepTestPrep.com and use the code MSHQ.

Alright that is it for this week. If you enjoyed it, I would love a rating and review in iTunes. If you didn’t enjoy it, then just shoot me an email, let me know why. [email protected] Have a great week, stay motivated, stay encouraged, stay focused on your goal, and join us next week here at the Old Premeds Podcast.

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