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Very rare. Most of our non-traditional applicants are in their early 30s in my school. The oldest student I've met was in his late 30s.

None of the non-traditional applicants went unmatched in my year, but almost all applied to family medicine. From the career perspective, none of them seem to have major regrets pursuing medicine. The biggest issue is the disruption to family life: you may not end up where you want for medical school, you may not end up where you want for residency, and you may not find a job where you want initially. Imagine moving to a far off province for medical school, moving across Canada again for residency, and despite that, not finding your first job in your ideal location. This has a huge effect on the spouse (who may have to change jobs 1-3x) and the children.

Assuming you pursue family medicine, it's a minimum of 6 years of disruption to your family life. It's doable, but you have to ask yourself why you'd want to do it.

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There are a couple people in my class in their 40s, including late 40s. It's definitely not that common, but if you're really set on it and you're content with family medicine, then I don't think age should be the main deciding factor against pursuing it. If you can really only see yourself in surgery or a medical subspecialty, then I'm not sure it's worth it given the length of training required and the risk of not matching to residency.

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They aren't common, but they fare well enough in medical school. However there are times, especially during clerkship that can be physically stressful, where an older student might struggle more compared to a younger one (e.g., staying up late, waking early, longer recovery from calls etc). As expected, these people usually have more family responsibilities that can potentially interfere with their studies, so prioritization and time management are important.

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We have a couple 40+ students in our school. Mid 30s is more common. As someone else has pointed out, the cost of having built a life before medicine is that you need to find a way to maintain that life within medicine. That's not impossible but make absolutely certain you are willing to give up what you are going to have to give up to make a go of things in medicine.

Medical school and clerkship are tough, but I didn't find they caused a lot of problems for me and my friends. Residency match did. Clerkship is exhausting no matter what age you are, but none of my 35+ medical school friends were unable to meet the demands. The academics of pre clerkship also require work, but it's totally do-able. If you get to the end and get a match in CaRMs that you want then everything is golden. However, if you were to open CaRMs and find out you have to move away from everyone and everything you care about to a city you may or may not be keen on... that can mean very different things to someone in their late 30s/early 40s than it does to someone in their early/mid 20s who doesn't have the same social boat anchors that tend to lock people into living in a certain city. For younger students friend groups are often more fluid and mobile (not all the time, but in general), most will be renting instead of owning a house, most will not have children in the school system, they are less likely to have a partner who has built a longstanding career in their home city etc.

If you (and your partner/children/pets/best friends/etc if applicable) are not prepared to make that kind of sacrifice then think long and hard before you do any of this, especially if you are thinking about matching to a specialty. Refusing/walking away from your match contract and calling medicine a $150,000+ financial misadventure becomes more impactful the older you are (planning for retirement etc.). Similarly, the potential of having to take an extended clerkship year (if you limit your applications to stay in your home city and don't match) may also be more problematic for an older student (financial strain on family etc.). Extended clerkship and non-ideal matches are an important consideration for younger students as well, but in my experience older students are more likely to have families that will also be directly impacted. 

You absolutely CAN do medicine in your 40s, but if you are going to you should really make sure that you are OK with what medicine is going to demand from you. If I was to ask all of the older students I know from different medical schools "would you do this again now that you're at the end" I think most would say yes, but there are some who I suspect would say "maybe not" or "no". Invest the time now to really walk through all the potential outcomes and make sure you are in the yes group. 

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11 hours ago, 1D7 said:

Very rare. Most of our non-traditional applicants are in their early 30s in my school. The oldest student I've met was in his late 30s.

None of the non-traditional applicants went unmatched in my year, but almost all applied to family medicine. From the career perspective, none of them seem to have major regrets pursuing medicine. The biggest issue is the disruption to family life: you may not end up where you want for medical school, you may not end up where you want for residency, and you may not find a job where you want initially. Imagine moving to a far off province for medical school, moving across Canada again for residency, and despite that, not finding your first job in your ideal location. This has a huge effect on the spouse (who may have to change jobs 1-3x) and the children.

Assuming you pursue family medicine, it's a minimum of 6 years of disruption to your family life. It's doable, but you have to ask yourself why you'd want to do it.

right. as a journalist in the last 6 years ive already made very long distance moves for work, and most of my journalist friends are the same. if i was more willing to wait around until i found something where i had more friends and family i might not have made those moves. but the timing was right and id rather keep the momentum going 

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