Parenting and EC's

Please remember it is my first time on here and I registered 10 min. ago to ask my questions and interact:)

Can being a parent count as an EC? I have 2 daughters who are involved in several activities besides school (2nd and 3rd grade). I provide them with support since I am a single mother & their father lives in a different state, he only sees them on long breaks and part of summer. Their activities limit my time to do other things. I am registered in 24 units (Physics I, Calc II, Ochem II, CSIT 102, International Bus. and Bio II)

The non-science courses are to finish my degree. I also participate in several Veteran related activities ( I am an Army 11-yr-veteran), play soccer, work-out on my own, and go to church. My hours are literally booked. I am currently, taking a small break and finally decided to register here:)

Please share your thoughts.

First off, you are a machine!

My kid wasn’t born until after I submitted my apps, so I can’t speak from total first-hand experience. I did include the fact we were expecting in my PS.

In my opinion, the challenge of parenting is a great piece to the PS, if you want to talk about it and how it shaped you. I think that some of the activities you do with your kids could be good to include in the EC section, if they have motivated you to become a physician or have prepared you better for the career change. I would try to first load the section with activities that you aren’t “obligated” to do by being a parent.

Any app screener worth his pay check should understand that being a single parent can drastically limit all the extra stuff you do that is “expected” (?) of the single college kid applying to school. My EC section was more than 50% military work stuff, and most of the rest of it wasn’t the traditional box-check type stuff. Only one of my interviewers questioned my EC history; the rest realized I was limited due to my work/family responsibilities. It’s all in how you sell yourself.

Looking forward to reading other people’s take on the OP’s question.

Thank you Kennymac- far from a machine, but compliment accepted

The main reason I am in so many units is that some overlap (international bus. started this wk and end s in June & Calc II overlapped too). Also, I really want to push myself and make sure I can do everything-- especially since I saw many hard-core curriculum schedules for medical schools ranging from 23-26 units of all science courses. I want to show myself and the ADCOMs this is manageable and I am applying at the right time:) Now, back to ECs.

What do you mean by more than 50% military stuff?

I just got out of the Army in January. I was questioning how I would add this besides employment.

I was in school “full-time”(at least 12 semester hrs.) 4 semesters but the rest was part-time(sometimes just 1 class); this was usually in anticipation of orders or long work assignments + managing family, of course.

Did you add the extra missions and times out of the country/ assigned duty station as EC?I would really like to hear how you listed work VS EC.

Did you add any family needed time (i.e. appointments) as EC? Did you add the medical aspect & personal experience as clinical?

As far as other ECs. I have recently applied to 2 research positions and that would cut time out of church and the Veteran Organization stuff not my childrens’, lucky for us. :)I really think it is important to spend as much time with them. This is especially my feelings since I will have times without an option to make time—something I learned while in the service. Not unlike, I am anticipating when I enter medical school, go to residency and so forth…

I am interested in any more feedback you and anyone else has. Thanks again for sharing.

For military stuff, I included different positions I held that taught me skills applicable to med school. I used both primary and additional duties. For example, scheduling 120 people for training/operations and the time management/balancing act that it entails. I also included some of the more unique training experiences I had, again providing a description and how it was applicable to me becoming a physician.

Schools seem like they are big on leadership type stuff, and military leadership positions of all levels can help you out if you write it the right way. Show responsibility and personal/professional growth.

As far as time balance goes, you’ll always have the option to adjust your priorities. The good thing is, whatever you decide outside of the military won’t land you in jail for being AWOL. You may want to look into schools that have minimal attendance requirements so you can have a more flexible schedule than the 8am-3pm+ schedule of some schools.

Interesting- looks like I need to start a summary of events for the period I was in and out of school ( there were some semesters I did not enroll). Thank you.

I think I didn’t make my point clear in my previous post. The attendance policy I was referring to is for once you’re a medical student, not a history of your undergrad (though there may be questions on secondary applications asking about gaps in your undergrad). Some med schools have mandatory attendance at all lectures for the first two years, while some only require attendance at labs or other specific lessons.

  • kennymac Said:
I think I didn't make my point clear in my previous post. The attendance policy I was referring to is for once you're a medical student, not a history of your undergrad (though there may be questions on secondary applications asking about gaps in your undergrad). Some med schools have mandatory attendance at all lectures for the first two years, while some only require attendance at labs or other specific lessons.

Yeah, this has been key for me (just finished my second year of med school). Being a parent, a couple of things that I would strongly recommend looking for in schools you apply to would be non-mandatory attendance for lectures, having all lectures available as video downloads online, and a pass-fail grading system. I'm not sure I would have made it this far without these!

As for your original question, I actually didn't list my kid as an EC for the AMCAS application. Mostly because he didn't really play a role in my decision to become a doctor. Instead, I was able to fill up the EC section with a lot of past work experiences -- e.g. for one of my previous jobs, I worked on a number of different projects that contributed to my path to becoming a doctor in different ways, so I listed each one separately. I even went back to a couple of things I had done in college (even though it was roughly a decade ago at that point) that showed my leadership experience. You could also list awards/recognitions in this section as well.

This being said, I think it would be ok to list your kids, especially if they are among the "most meaningful experiences" that led to you med school.

Like kennymac, I did mention kid-related things in my essays.

Good luck!

Is the 8-3 really the worst case scenario for schedule in the first 2 years of med school??

I find that schedule MUCH better than what I have going on right now as a full time undergrad.

The only day I get out before 3 is Tue. The other days are booked with classes & labs. Then, I have study time.

Thank you for the EC feedback.

I am a single parent. My son’s father was never a part of his life (and died a few years ago).

My son has volunteered since he was 5, at activities where I was similarly engaged.

Not only can “I” claim ECs and volunteering, but now at 23 he can as well.

Just saying - being a parent is special but not worthy of being claimed as EC.

Thank you for your feedback Adoc2be.

I see what you mean. I think my situation is different in that you are saying your son went to “your” ECs …so that means “his” time was occupied with “your” activities. In that case, now at 23, would it be wrong to say he cannot put those things as ECs since he was a youngster that “had to” go with his mother?

In my case my daughters’ ECs are overwhelming “my” time …time that is already limited.

I put all the personal pronouns as quotes since time in a parent-child relationship tends to overlap. I relate to kennymac’s point in the fact that it depends on how the time is perceived, explained, and how it affected me as a future Dr.

I do volunteer a lot of my time to the activities aside from the “normal obligation”, whatever that is interpreted as. That is, I am not simply dropping them off at activities and not engaging with them, the organizations they are involved with, and their peers. :)Anymore feedback is appreciated–I think this will help others too:)

Thank you for the insight Gonnif. What you said makes sense.

jkp2117/ adoc2be-- can see where you’re coming from. Did not mean any offense to you.

I am not a PTA mom but I do know that all the moms on my children’s PTA and PTO go way over their “obligations” ----those types of organizations are meant for the community and to bridge the info from the administration and parents…so I can see how that would be placed on an application as EC. The roles in PTA and PTO are also voluntary.

I think you and I are like minded in that I also don’t do things to mark on an application but the matter here is that we are suppose to make sure to put whatever we were doing outside of school and “extra curricular” items over the course of our time in school. I have also worked and volunteered…but these last 2 semesters have been all about my children’s dance teams, sport leagues and musical organizations in addition to work and school.

I like kennymac’s information on the work experience as EC since that is something to address. In the military many hours are not accounted for—while the service itself is noted as “wrok”…we would have to place any extra duties and responsibilities that accounted for leadership. The same for parenting-- it goes without saying that someone was obviously working hard to balance work/life or school/ life…but the question here is the “extras”. I think Gonnif and kennymac addressed it best here. There are many parents that never attend not 1 meeting or event in all the orgs. my children participate in…that doesn’t mean they are bad parents but it definitely points to the fact I am putting more time into those orgs.

Also, outside of academia/ graduate school/etc…as you may already know…ECs are not requested.I have held other positions both government and public…no one ever asks about ECs in other “professions”.Thus, this is an important question to address for people like us…non-trads going to med school.

A few years ago, I was part of lof a long thread/discussion on parenting and EC for both the nontrad forum on SDN as well as in the Prehealth Advisers mail list. Additionally, I have had a few discussions with admissions directors/staff from medical school. The general consensus and perception that I took away from that was mentioning parenting as an EC was not advisable in and of itself.

If you have a particular “organized” group, activity, event that you were involved with, especially in leadership, volunteering, etc that centered around your kids (PTA was the most common example) then it maybe worth while.

Additionally, if your children were a prime motivation or strongly influenced your decision to becoming a doctor, then it should be mentioned or discussed in PS. A speaker we had at 2014 OPM conference, who is now a professor at a DO school, wanted to go in OB/GYN and did go to medical AFTER having her fourth (yes I said 4th) child because of issues she had during pregnancy.

When my son was 14, he had a choice whether or not to volunteer at the food shelf.

He did.

When he was 16, I did not ask him to help with an event I was in charge of. However, he asked to come with the teams (the firm I worked for sponsors an impact day event and I was in charge of the inner-city school event).

At 20, he volunteered his own time at a homeless shelter where I was helping and drove himself to the location.

And now, he volunteers at a horse rescue…

My point is that you are not different and no, you can’t include being a parent as EC… lol

Personally, I find it offensive that someone who is trying to get into any profession thinks of using their child’s activities (even if PTA) as a source of EC as if somehow, what they are doing is so much better than what anyone else is doing.

It rubs me the wrong way.

Further, I am truly a single parent. My son’s father (sperm donor) was never a part of his life; not a weekend during 18 years; not a day in 20 years; never… nothing… nada (and now, he is deceased).

I still found time to volunteer… it’s not something I did to check a box on an application, it is who I am… whether my time was once a month or every other week or every day when unemployed.

As an aside, why not include your children in a volunteer activity???

I started my son at 5… at the food shelf. There was no way in hell I was going to raise a snotty, pretentious child who flew only 1st class on ALL flights … (I was a very, very well paid executive of a very, very large, public company).

Seemingly, that worked out rather well…

I’d stick with common ECs adcoms are expecting to see, namely those that involve working with strangers/people you don’t necessarily know well.

I personally never mention being a parent unless it’s relevant to the conversation, but that has more to do with society’s view of Black mothers than anything else. What you don’t want is to sound too busy with parenting to attend med school. I also made the decision to wait until my kid was in college to give full-time educational endeavors like med school 100% effort, though I may have decided differently if I’d had a wife instead of being one, lol!!!

pathdr2b—Nice take on this. My husband and I had this discussion several times…whether him being in school would be any different. I think it would. Since we can see this through our own analysis I am guessing that the adcoms are more than trained to look into things —its more than meets the eye especially with being a single parent. I am having a hard time maintaining even with help from my husband. Single parenthood along with this journey is nothing to take lightly—both as a weakness and strength.

On another note, what do you mean by “relevant to the conversation [.and…]society’s view of Black mothers”? Never heard of that before.

Thank you Gonnif for your additional feedback.

Parenting does not count as EC’s. I was a parent when I started to apply to medical school. There are other ways for you to get ECs. Being part of the PTA, volunteering at your kids’ school, township library, or do something together. My wife delivers food to shut ins and brings the 4 year old and the 11 year old with her.

I don’t yet have children, but I have to echo what has been said above about not listing being a parent as an EC. I recall getting an email from our pre-med adviser at some point during the application cycle specifically warning us not to do this as it doesn’t look good, and some people had apparently been passed over for interviews because of it.

That said, I am in the PTA at the elementary school my wife teaches at, and that absolutely went on my application. One of my interviews actually gave me bonus points for it because he thought it was awesome I was volunteering when I didn’t myself have children at the school.