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Advice needed on embarking on med school at 38 with a disqualifying undergrad degree from 2004 :)

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Hi there, I am looking for some guidance on my next steps for applying to med school as a mature and non-traditional applicant. Here are the facts - would love to hear from those of you with some experience and knowledge (and I know you are out there!!) on what my best next steps are and honest feedback about my chances. Here are my specs:

- I'm 38 years old based in Ontario, financially secure, and funding med school won't be an issue

- I have about 15 years of experience as a senior business executive/leader for a global consulting / professional services firm (non-healthcare related role)

- I graduated from U of T in 2004 with an Honours B.A., however with very low cGPA and aGPA grades that on their own won't qualify me for any programs now

- Have not taken the MCAT yet and do not have any Bio-med or Life Sciences prerequisites completed at the undergraduate level

- I recently relocated from Toronto to a rural community and have a huge desire to practise medicine in the rural community I am based in - there are very few family doctors here 

So essentially a mature student with a disqualifying undergrad from over 15 years ago. 

I assume I need to do a full second  undergraduate degree with the rightLife Sciences/Bio Med pre-requisite courses to even have a shot? 

Also need to take the MCAT I presume for many / most schools.

Which schools are likely to consider me in Canada with this background? Can I get in anywhere despite my terrible first undergrad performance? 

Also wondering if there are preferred schools where I should be doing this second degree at, or if there are schools with some online courses (like Athabasca) that will be considered? 

I plan to work at this is as slowly or as quickly it will take, and hopefully fulfilling much of the pre-med school work while still working full-time. 

Does anyone know what kind of benefits/guidance is available to someone like me who would like to practise in a rural area?

Any and all guidance or resources would be greatly appreciated!!



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I think it's great that you're interested in a medical career and serving a rural population.  You have a lot of life experience and have achieved a high degree of success, but unfortunately most medical schools will judge you predominantly by your GPA.  Without a strong to stellar GPA, you simply generally won't even be considered.

 You would have to become a full-time student and achieve at least two years of excellent GPA to even stand the slimmest of chances for the few schools that consider your most recent performance.  But even then, you'd have to additionally do well on the MCAT and become involved with premed ECs to some extent.   Additionally, since you're from Ontario, you're going to be faced with the most competition.

 And, since it seems you're originally from the GTA, then you won't have any realistic chance at a school like NOSM whose mission is more oriented towards rural populations.  

I don't mean to discourage you.  I think all your strengths and interest in rural medicine are a big plus, but unfortunately adcoms don't work like that.  Before embarking on a very lengthy and costly journey, I'd simply suggest considering all your options.  Perhaps another area of health-care practice would be also be of interest - like nurse practitioner, especially in a rural setting?

Good luck with whatever you decide.    


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  • 3 weeks later...

Totally fine not starting until my 50's, in fact quite excited to have a different career path later in life. I am fine with the cost and journey, I do intend to study fulltime for 2 years and see how it goes. I think I may have a chance at NOSM as I am now based in a rural community full-time and I am registered for the Queen's Bsc so will see how it goes for the next few terms. Thanks for your thoughts! 

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Hi! When you say very low cGPA/aGPA do you not meet the cutoff or do you just feel like it's not competitive? I'm 38 and applied in September to UBC and received an interview invite. I graduated from SFU in 2003 with an arts degree and an ok gpa - not competitive but good enough to apply. I self-studied for the MCAT starting two years ago and wrote it last July. I am pretty sure all of my life experience is what got me an interview as UBC scores non-academic qualities. I know as an out-of-province UBC is probably not an option if your GPA is not great, but if you could get a great CARS score on MCAT then McMaster could be a good option and their program is only 3 years. If I don't get in to UBC this year I will apply again and apply to McMaster as I scored 131 in CARS. Good luck!

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Well the good news, OP, is that prerequisites have fallen out of favour at most (almost all?) Canadian medical schools. So you won't need to do a bunch of bio or life science courses if you don't want to. All you need to do show you've learned some basics in reading comprehension, physical sciences, and psychology, by achieving an acceptable MCAT score.  How you go about learning those basics is up to you. 

As for your GPA, I think the only school in Canada which will never let you escape the grades from your first degree no matter how long ago it was or how much you've achieved academically since, is MUN. All the others are attainable I think, with varying amounts of work to make yourself a competitive applicant for each.

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