Thursday, September 27, 2007

How old is old?

They say that you're only as young as you feel. Well, considering my recent experiences with inadvertent agism, a back injury, and now e-mails landing in my inbox regarding my upcoming 20-year college class reunion, I'm starting to feel a little, shall we say, experienced. Or at least in comparison to the twentysomething colleagues and fellow students with whom I share my daily challenges, bless their youthful hearts.

And, as it turns out, I can put some hard numbers on how old I really am in terms of being a medical student. When I was interviewing at medical schools I would always ask if there were any students significantly older than the mean age. And the answer was surprisingly consistent: "Oh, yeah, there's this person in our class who's 43/used to be a lawyer/has kids in high school." Now, there's no official cutoff age for being accepted to med school, but I had the chance to see the admission numbers for the several years immediately preceding my application in 2002. The med school admission curve peaked with 23- and 24-year-olds. There was a slow but steady decline as applicants approached 30. But there was an inflection point at age 32 -- admissions of people older than 32 quickly dropped off to almost nothing. In fact, in the entering class of 2002 (about 16,000 people) only 142 people older than 32 were admitted to medical school nationwide (that is, less than 1% of the total). Since there were, at the time, 125 medical schools in the US, this works out to slightly more than one person older than 32 per med school class per year. Hence the surprisingly consistent answer to my question.

Since I was comfortably older than 32 myself when I applied, I guess I'm just as glad that I wasn't aware of these slightly daunting statistics at the outset. (Applying to medical school can be daunting enough, anyway.)

3 Comments:

At September 27, 2007 at 1:58 PM , Anonymous jodi w., formerly of decorah said...

sorry to tell ya, it's your 25th reunion coming up...

I'm younger than you and went to my 20th last year...

I bunked with your senior high prom date in a bed made from a fishing boat at the hunting lodge where the reunion took place!

 
At September 27, 2007 at 4:35 PM , Blogger Scott J. said...

So, you could say you're already the 'Senior resident'.

sorry...

 
At September 30, 2007 at 3:23 AM , Blogger Melinda June said...

Think of it this way. You're a minority that helps their demographic. Sell them on the cool points of having a non-traditional student in their numbers. It's a VRIN resource, baby.

 

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