This is a new series I am kicking off because I am getting tons of emails every day and I think other people might have some similar questions. Thanks to Raushanah for this email.
Hi I am so non-traditional! I am 33, 3 kids, married and want to go to medical school. I have a b.s. in biology, but I received it almost 12 years ago. From time to time every year I do review my sciences, but I have not extensively studied. I tried to get into medical school 12 years ago. Well not tried, i took the mcat and scored horribly after taking the princeton review, so i never applied to medical school. I am ready to go at it again, what do you recommend? Do you think reviewing using exam crackers on my own will help me to get better scores and get in? I just don’t want to re-take any of my pre-reqs.
There are a couple of things to pay attention to when answering this question. What have you done since graduation, and how does this make you a fantastic applicant (why now)?
Obviously medical school admission committees are always looking for great applicants with great answers. Raising kids is not a bad reason for taking off – it is honorable and understandable. However, you will have to tell them why raising your kids made you a better applicant, person and a better student. Every question should be answered with the intention to illuminate who you are and what you bring to the table. It is an opportunity for you to tell them why you will be a great medical student.
Make sure you use real life examples to show what you are saying. For example, saying “I have become extremely goal-oriented” is not enough, you need an example of how this strength is evident in your own life. I think these two essential questions are important for every applicant, but even more important for you!
I personally know first-year students in my class who are in their early 30s or mid-30s. Some had their own businesses or other non-medical careers. Fact is, medical schools really like mature students because they are reliable and know what they want.
Concerning your last question, you might have to retake pre-reqs depending on your level of knowledge. It would be important to know your GPA because it should be somewhere above 3.5 otherwise I would recommend you to apply to osteopathic medical schools, which is a fantastic option – unless your GPA is below 3.3, then I would not recommend applying to medical school altogether, unless you retake classes and boost your GPA. These classes will and do help you get through the first couple years of medical school; it’d be hard to go through medical lectures without liking the pre-reqs you took in undergrad. Your MCAT score will also be extremely important, because it will be the only recent measure of your academic and scientific performance.
Examkrackers are definitely great books, but I would also suggest you to get The Princeton Review books or The Berkeley Review books. Feel free to refer to my MCAT Study Guide.
Also, make sure you take a lot of full-length practice tests because they will show you, on average, if you are ready.
Feel free to submit questions to Naomi (at) get-into-medicalschool.com. I try to answer most of my emails but it’s not always possible.