Is applying for Medicine aged 30+ pointless?

(20 Posts)
SofiaF1508 Fri 29-May-20 22:31:13

I posted this on a different thread a few weeks back and some of the ladies kindly suggested that this may be a better board to post on. I’m not sure if this is allowed so apologies, in advance, if not.

I had wanted to study medicine ever since I was a child. I applied for Medicine back when I was 17 (I’m now 29). At the time, I had the required grades (4 A Levels - AAAB), relevant work experience, extracurricular activities etc. I got no interviews and was unsuccessful. I tried again, aged 20 (whilst working and volunteering), yet got no interviews and was unsuccessful again.

I accepted a Biomedical Sciences course, with the hope to transfer onto Medicine during of after, but ended up having to leave the course due to illness which then became a long term illness (which meant I wouldn’t be able to complete the course within the required five years). In the time since I had time off due to the illness and had a part time position within a university and had my first child (who is now two and a half) and I’m now a full time SAHM.

I had always hoped and planned to return to education (or start on my way to that as my A Levels were now obtained too long okay to use in any applications) when my daughter starts nursery at three. I cannot shake this long term dream and any other course or career path that I look into just doesn’t feel me with the same level of excitement.

Am I being unrealistic? Does anyone know of anyone who has applied to and studied Medicine this late? If so, how did they go about it? Im struggling to find any information (other than the generic university email replies) or anybody else that has been in this situation to ask or offer mentorship.

OP’s posts: |
Monkey2001 Sat 30-May-20 01:24:41

No, it is not pointless, although training to be a doctor with a small child would not be easy unless you have very good support. Your experience will probably make you very good at interviews, but you need to check out whether your A levels are too old. There are other people 30+ applying for medicine, most of those are grads but you obviously have reasons for where you are. Go through this in detail and it is worth posting on The Student Room.

Good luck.

Monkey2001 Sat 30-May-20 01:31:25

Actually, just looked at that MSC entry requirements guide and it does not say much about A levels taken 10 years ago. Tagging @GANFYD as the source of wisdom for medicine applications. smile

LunaTheCat Sat 30-May-20 01:31:54

This is long held dream - go for it.
You life and mothering experience would make you a great dr.
It would be hard work as a single Mum - early Post grad years would also be hard- what supports do you have?

Thepigeonsarecoming Sat 30-May-20 01:38:13

Why not just apply, worse case scenario you’ll be rejected but at least you’ll have known you tried. Best case you’ll be qualified at the age of 35. That’s 35 years you still have (at least) to practice medicine

lymphopenia Sat 30-May-20 01:50:40

Not too old at all, no. I know someone who qualified last year at 43 with a 17 year old DS at home smile nothing ventured nothing gained

SimplySteveRedux Sat 30-May-20 02:07:53

There's a GP in training at my surgery, she's 32, go for it!


Kisskiss Sat 30-May-20 02:19:59

My friend started applying when she was 30/31.. she’s a 2nd year junior doctor now. She got rejected by a bunch of schools and got into the one she went with when someone rejected their place... so it’s tough to get in but not impossible! Tbh it’s quite a tough career path. She loves it but finds the lack of control over where you get posted quite tough... ie you might not get a placement in a convenient location for your family...London placements for example are uber competitive and she had to move to a city where she knew nobody except her coursemates ( who are all 23/24)

ladybirdsarelovely33 Sat 30-May-20 02:26:54

My friend qualified recently aged 39. No children though. So go for it but think carefully about flexible childcare

CherryMaple Sat 30-May-20 02:58:50

I know someone aged 30 who has a place for medicine starting this August. He already has a different degree. As others have said, still plenty of career left after he qualifies. Could you speak to an admissions tutor to find out what they would be looking for or what would strengthen your application? You could apply for medicine once and then move on the next year if unsuccessful. Are there any professions allied to
Medicine that you would consider?

mrnimmanimma Sat 30-May-20 03:23:54

Have a loook at Brighton - they are very welcoming of mature applicants for medicine.

SirTobyBelch Sat 30-May-20 11:18:13

We regularly have students on our medicine course in their thirties and forties. We also have several medicine students at any time with young children, and quite a few have babies while on the course.

Having started a degree and not finished it is more likely to be an issue for some medical schools. It's worth contacting them directly before applying to check this is okay. Having done A-levels a long time ago is often (but not always) alright, as long as you have some evidence of recent study of some kind. Again, you need to check this with medical schools before applying. Contact the medical school, not the university's admissions department.

GANFYD Sat 30-May-20 13:34:29

I am going to be dreadfully lazy here, and just direct you to a couple of places where medicine as a mature applicant are discussed
Now you are not THAT mature, but it gives you some idea of the difficulties and issues other people have looked at (and a place you can ask more advice, if you would like!).
In terms of actually applying, like everything else, all med schools have different policies about mature, non-grad applicants, so it is a case of trawl round websites, I'm afraid!
eg Exeter and Plymouth will just ask you to sit the GAMSAT and base selection on that.
Southampton have a separate (few) ring-fenced places for mature, non-grads and requirements are A levels: AAA, including Chemistry and Biology. GCSEs: A minimum of grade C/4 in Mathematics, English Language and either biology and chemistry, or additional science and science. If you meet those, they rank on UCAT score and have a different cut off to other applicants (you just compete against your own cohort of mature non-grads)
Liverpool are also keen on MNGs and have quite a high number. They have lower entry requirements, I think.
Leicester just lump you in and score you with all the school leavers, as do many of the others.
Some places do have time limits on how recently A levels must have been sat (or at least some sort of formalised study), but I do not know them all off the top of my head - sorry!
If there are places you are particularly interested in, come back to me and I can tell you what I know.
Otherwise, you could look at an Access to Medicine course to refresh your learning, as some med schools will want recent evidence of this. This is a bit out of date, but gives you the basics
Good luck!

EmbarrassedUser Sat 30-May-20 18:30:04

I know someone who’s just started core training and is 52. You’re young in comparison if you’re in your thirties.

SofiaF1508 Sun 31-May-20 21:39:48

I’m pretty new to posting on Mumsnet so, firstly, I just want to say thank you to you all. I’ve sat and read all of your replies and genuinely appreciate all of your insightful replies. Thank you so much.

In terms of childcare and support, I am incredibly lucky to have a really good support network with my family. I imagine that I would need to have a long, hard think about the practicality of arrangements if I were posted to somewhere isolated.

The expiration of A Levels is of huge concern to me, as I’ve seen that this is the case with most universities (not specific to medicine) so I have looked into Access to Medicine courses. I think that this would help to bridge the gap being out of academia for so long whilst allowing me to strengthen my application further.

@GANFYD Thank you very much for all of the links provided. I’m going to do further reading and research and then I will definitely take up your offer to pick your brains regarding specific Universities.

OP’s posts: |
Bishybarnybee Sun 31-May-20 21:53:50

Reading your post, it sounds like you have never worked full time? Have I got that right? Are your health issues fully resolved now?

It seems to me that medicine is a very competitive slog, probably harder and more all-consuming than most other degrees or careers. I'd think that would be really tough with a young child. I don't think you're too old, but wonder if you will have the stamina and support you need to do it, especially if you haven't actually worked full time before.

I'm also a bit concerned that you talk about it being the only thing that excites you. I doubt that training or working in the health service is at all exciting. I think you need to think about what it that draws you to being a doctor, and whether you can get some of that in a different role. Is it helping people, making a difference, being an authority, having self respect, proving yourself, money, prestige? If you know what you are looking for, you might find a way to achieve that which isn't basically the toughest most competitive job you can think of!

Glitterbubbles Fri 05-Jun-20 15:04:27

I'm a few years post-graduation. There was a lady in my year at med school in her 50s. A few in their late 30s and 40s. Definitely not too old!

Glitterbubbles Fri 05-Jun-20 15:09:45

(I will say, as PP have said, think hard about the fact that the job carries with it a big risk of having to move/having potentially little control over this. It might be tough but definitely potentially doable!)

Leakinglikeacolander Fri 05-Jun-20 15:10:40

52? Christ I'm 52, if I thought there was a hope of training to be a doctor at my age I'd jump at the chance.
At 29 I wouldn't think twice.

Enough4me Fri 05-Jun-20 15:16:01

I work in HE and do not think you are too old.
Have you had experience working within the healthcare sector to know that the environment would suit you when working long shifts?
Have you considered other healthcare degrees?

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