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Non-Traditional Pre-Medical Students

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

by Brittany N

According to the Association of American Medical College, the number of medical school applicants are ages 29 plus and older. Non-traditional pre-medical students are students who do not follow the path directly from high school, to college, to medical school. Instead, advisers like to describe them as anyone who took more than three years off after undergraduate. Personally, I like to classify them into two categories, the late-boomers, also known as science majors or career changers.

In general, late-boomers for any given reason are pre-medical students. The late-boomers are very ascertained and have such inspirational stories. For a myriad of reasons, it takes them a few extra years to start medical school. This includes deepening research skills, academically improving their scores and getting more clinical and volunteer experience.

From my own perspective, I consider myself a late-boomer due to numerous reasons and muddled with self-doubt. I have always experienced intermittent financial hardship and I wanted to gain more clinical and volunteer hours. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 2016. I had an outstanding balance left on my account therefore, I could not obtain my degree or transcript. I could not find a job, my grades at the time did not live up the expectations as a competitive premedical student. As the first of five girls in my family to graduate in college with a stem degree gives me the motivation to do well for myself. Life was not easy for me. I currently work as a Special Ed Classroom Assistant at a public school. Having a job and having a calling are two different things. A job is something you do every day just to get by on a day-today basis. It is like getting on the bus every day, sitting at your desk, back on the bus, go home and sleep. Despite all the hardships I went through in life, I managed to continue the path as a non-traditional pre-medical student. As a late-boomer we do not see ourselves doing anything else except going to medical school. It is like having a calling, something that gives you a reason to wake up to. It is like a having a job with glowing heart that sings while you are at it.

Furthermore, you have the career changers. I like the career-changers because they are audacious, fearless and make a lot of sacrifices. Many of them have families, are married, and have successful careers. Yet, they take a risk to attend medical schools. Their passion and drive to succeed is beyond astonishing.

With inspiration from the words of Angela Duckworth, a renowned academic, psychologist, and author, a career aspiration is not just to have a job but to have a calling. Regardless, if you are a late-boomer or career changer, use this path as a strengthening. We are nontraditional, well-rounded and use our experiences and personal stories to stand out to medical school's admission committees. I would consider this pathway as an advantage rather than liability.

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