Can People 30 or Older Get Into Medical School?

Can People 30 or Older Get Into Medical School?

There is a myth floating around that you should only apply to medical school right after undergrad. People that are 30 or older are often told not to apply. The truth is that 30-somethings have been getting into medical school and many medical schools actually prefer the experience and life lessons that students 30 or older bring.

Here is an except from a top article on Google that gives a great overview of some of the things that an older prospective Medical school student should consider.

“What attributes help make an excellent applicant?

If you’re over 30 and want to go to medical school, you could still be an excellent candidate.  The following checklist is composed of steps to become a competitive applicant for medical school.

  • Received a good MCAT score
  • Spent time shadowing doctors
  • Having an excellent work ethic
  • Completed all pre-requites courses within the last three to five years
  • Determined why you want to be a physician
  • Received good letters of recommendation
  • Spent time in leadership positions

What else should I consider prior to attending medical school programs at 30, 32, or even 35 and older?

There are several additional items for older prospective students to consider about attending medical school. The first is the financial impacts of going to med school and the possible effects on family, marriage, significant others, and kids. It is vital to ensure everyone in your family is supportive and fully understands the time and money commitments necessary to attend medical school.

If you’re married or have a significant other or a family, it’s essential to make the decision to go to medical school together. Spouses and significant others need to understand that attending a medical university is similar to working a 60+ hour work week. However, it costs an enormous amount of money to attend med school instead of earning money at a normal job. The average debt at the conclusion of four years of medical school is very extensive and it will take many years to recover from the incurred debt. For some individuals, family or significant others can help to pay for the extensive costs of medical school. However, this is not the norm and isn’t always possible for every student.

Additionally, all family members need to realize the prospect of relocating frequently as another sacrifices that may need to be made. Relocating for medical school is only the first step. After school is complete, residency must be completed. The application for residency is an algorithmic process which requires doctors and residency locations to make a rank list. This often means newly graduated doctors will have to move again for residency. After three plus years of residency physicians may have to move another time in order to secure a job.”  Check out the entire article: Is Starting Medical School at 30 or older too late?

If you really feel like medical school isn’t your calling just yet, here are some options:

Option 1: Enroll In A Postbacc Premedical Program

The phrase “postbaccalaureate” refers to programs that start after you have completed your undergrad degree. These programs aim to help you enhance your chances of getting into a specific type of professional school.  The majority of these programs are associated with a professional school, usually an Allopthathic or Osteopathic medical school.  Check out this in-depth article about Premed Post Bac programs.

Option 2: Gain Some Experience

If you are looking into medical school but are concerned with the workload or maturity level required, consider getting some sort of experience in the medical field to see if it is what you really want. Hospitals hire people right out of undergrad all the time for a variety of careers – as administrative assistants, receptionists, technicians, even computer programmers! While these positions may not be your ideal job, think about how much they can help build confidence and determine whether or not you would like a career in medicine. Once you’ve decided that medicine is definitely something you’d like to pursue, you can apply to med school with more confidence in your career path.

Option 3: Apply As You Get Experience

Getting experience in the medical field is great, but not everyone has enough time to do so as work and family obligations can interfere. In that case… apply right now or whenever you’re ready! In the mean time, focus on getting good exam scores (MCAT) and writing a kick-ass personal statement. Make sure your application shines so you can beat out those younger students. Also, make sure to work on any weak spots in your application, but if you feel like your application is good enough, send in your application!

Option 4: Get An Advanced degree.

Getting a masters degree or even a Ph.D./Doctorate is another option that will show admissions specialists that you are academically prepared to attend Medical school.  Many programs prefer applicants who are in their late-20s to early-30s so it is a viable option for those who cannot get into med school right out of undergrad! However, just be prepared for the long haul before getting your M.D. degree – it can take many years (maybe even 10!) to finish all your coursework, clinical rotations, residency and passing all those board examinations.


Hopefully, this article helps shed some light on the subject of older applicants applying to medical school. As you can see, there are plenty of options out there for those who have already been through college and want to go to med school.  Just get all your ducks in a row and complete all your prerequisites. Show medical school admissions specialists your passion for wanting to help people and that you know what it takes to be a good doctor.