Dear Mentor:

Should I go to med-school, mid-career?

I am 39, graduated college in 1985 with business degree. What are my next steps to becoming a doctor or getting into medical school? I have owned several businesses, and I am looking to better my family and myself. What is your view on people starting this late in life? I am a lot more disciplined than I was the last time I was in College. Help! I can go to medical school in California or Texas, doesn't matter. Thank you.

No Moderation, California, USA

Dear No Moderation:

We are indeed impressed by your success and ambitions! Your email address of "nomoderation" sums you up rather well. You seem to be a model for the old adage: success comes to those who dare to achieve it. More power to you!

We would never say to you or anyone else that it is too late. Because it is never too late to follow a dream, ambition, or goal. However, it gets later if one puts it off until tomorrow. As we all know, motivation, desire, and focus are half the battle. In that sense, you are almost there, but you must hold on for a long ride - more like an 8-year long ride - to become a licensed physician.

As you have learned in business, we are sure, having a gameplan and executing it are the key. You need a bachelor's degree in any field and meet certain course requirements in mathematics and physical sciences (biology, chemistry and physics). If you do not meet the math and science requirements, you can begin doing these courses. Just visit the website of any medical college of interest to learn about the typical academic requirements. You can find the List of Medical Colleges in the US in the iMahal Education Channel. You can look at the colleges in alphabetical order or by state.

You would be required to take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), a standardized entrance exam. You should complete the math and science requirements before taking the MCAT, because your performance on MCAT depends on these courses. You can find Information on Entrance Exams in the iMahal Education Channel. You can play around with the iMahal College Finder to see the level of performance you need on the MCAT to enter various colleges.

Admission into a med school is based on: your academic performance, performance on the MCAT, letters of recommendation, personal statement(s) of purpose, and your involvement in extra-curricular activities and/or beyond education endeavors. You would benefit from involvement in volunteer and social activities. Your active participation in leadership positions would be even better.

We do not need to tell you that admission into medical programs is extremely competitive. You must perform very well on all indicators.

Upon completing the formal education in a medical program, you would be required to pursue a residency program of 3 to 4 years in duration. This is more like an on-the-job training, except that it is enormously demanding.

Having completed the residency, you would have to take a national exam to become a licensed physician. Other than that, it is a synch.

We wish you the very best!

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