Student Doc Forum

MCAT Forum | USMLE Forum

For applicants who have been out of school for a few years, or are planning to have a family in medical school, or have other non-traditional qualities.

is 47 too old to go to medical school?

Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:57 am

I'd like to begin by saying this first; I'm a 47 year old African American female who always wanted to become a Doctor for a very long time despite server attempts without success mainly because of low self confidence and poor study skills. I've always had a passion for science and have done fairly Well when my confidence and motivation were high. Since these past failures I had decided to put this issue behind me but for some reason it keeps coming back and wearing on my mind. So with that happening I'm not sure what to do.
Secondly, I have yet to finish my bachelor degree which I complete August 2016 in health information management. I also, have to complete and update my premed science prerequisites which will be complete by the time I graduate. So with all that said please someone give me honest advise to see if this passion of mine is doable. I appreciate all comments.

Re: is 47 too old to go to medical school?

Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:58 am

Technically speaking, no, there isn't any "too old", no specific age.

The oldest admitted medical school student at my university was 40. She was a nurse who decided that she would rather be MD than RN so she somehow did the prerequisites and MCAT and got in.

That having been said, it is unusual, and you have to meet the same basic requirements as all other applicants, you don't get special consideration because of age.

So some things to consider:

- Whether your application will be generally competitive - GPA, MCAT, volunteering, experience with medical setting work, etc.

- You would be about 55 years old when you finish med school/residency (assuming that you apply next year and get in). 48 + 4 years med school + 3 years residency = age 55 before you can practice medicine on your own. Does it really make sense to do that?

- Money. You won't be making any significant money during that period if you are a medical student. Average medical student would be about $200,000 in debt by that time

I would say there are still plenty of things you could do in some kind of health-care job, but not sure if MD is one of them

Re: is 47 too old to go to medical school?

Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:35 am

Thanks for your advise, but I'm still considering and giving this a lot of thought.

Re: is 47 too old to go to medical school?

Sat Jul 26, 2014 5:13 pm

Hi sb01,

If you seriously have considered and researched the challenges of not only the training but the eventual discipline of medicine, and you are physically healthy and capable, then I say, go for it.

Personally I would not want to have any regrets on my deathbed for not trying to do something that I was passionate to do. If it's any encouragement to you, I'm applying to med school now, and I'm 39. I've already had a successful career in a completely different field, but it wasn't what I wanted. I returned to college as a nontraditional student to do pre-reqs and during the same time did a fair amount of shadowing. I know I'm on the right path.

Good luck to you!

Re: is 47 too old to go to medical school?

Tue Jul 29, 2014 3:11 pm

I went back to do a residency in my 40s; it hasn't been bad, except the financial hardship. I'm getting paid a resident's salary which isn't enough to support a middle-class family. My path is 4-5 years shorter than what you are proposing and I started residency at a younger age than you will be starting med school.

Being an older physician-in-training I would put a word of warning on your path. What is your goal? To treat patients in an outpatient setting for 10 years? If you have to take loans to go to med school you will retire in debt, never having recouped your investment. I would also make sure that lending agencies would lend to you since you would be at a higher risk of defaulting than younger students.

If you are independently wealthy and want to do this as a retirement career, go for it!