Sep 9, 2013
12
2
Status
Pre-Medical
I recognize that all apps need the grades. Assuming they are over the 32+ MCAT/3.7 range, I need to better understand what is being searched for when it comes to other activities.

Like many people who did not go through their teens preparing for professional school, I am thin on the normal ECs. I'm working my way through undergrad, while supporting my family. (disadvantaged background, age 30.) To what extent can work experiences stand in for this?

Not fully, I know. Leadership and management skills I have aplenty, from experience and training- for traditional ECs demonstrating service, not so much. I have begun volunteering at the hospital associated with my ideal med school. I did some adult literacy tutoring, but not hundreds of hours.

Now, with two small kids, working full time, doing the one volunteer function and a junior in college, I don't know that I can add more. I'm sure dozens in this forum alone are in the same boat. So what are your thoughts?
 

DrMidlife

has an opinion
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
7,506
2,601
Status
Resident [Any Field]
If you have work experience where you had actual responsibilities, and volunteer history of any kind, and you're now getting clinical exposure, then you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

Keep in mind that most of your competition has never been responsible for paying their own rent. Which shows.

Best of luck to you.
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
52,626
76,335
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
Strongly concur. AdComs realize that non-trads have a life and responsibilities.

If you have work experience where you had actual responsibilities, and volunteer history of any kind, and you're now getting clinical exposure, then you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

Keep in mind that most of your competition has never been responsible for paying their own rent. Which shows.

Best of luck to you.
 
Jun 30, 2013
634
254
West Lafayette, Indiana
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I recognize that all apps need the grades. Assuming they are over the 32+ MCAT/3.7 range, I need to better understand what is being searched for when it comes to other activities.

Like many people who did not go through their teens preparing for professional school, I am thin on the normal ECs. I'm working my way through undergrad, while supporting my family. (disadvantaged background, age 30.) To what extent can work experiences stand in for this?

Not fully, I know. Leadership and management skills I have aplenty, from experience and training- for traditional ECs demonstrating service, not so much. I have begun volunteering at the hospital associated with my ideal med school. I did some adult literacy tutoring, but not hundreds of hours.

Now, with two small kids, working full time, doing the one volunteer function and a junior in college, I don't know that I can add more. I'm sure dozens in this forum alone are in the same boat. So what are your thoughts?
From understanding what you are asking, I put all of my working experience after high school. I put a waiter job and even a car sales person. I would put everything in there. Meanwhile, I would concentrate on getting some volunteer work. Find someone to tutor, clean your church, plan a picnic for you community or church, hospital, and definitely shadow docs including DO's.
 

ruedjgtc

5+ Year Member
Jul 9, 2013
293
303
Status
Resident [Any Field]
During my round of interviews one of my interviewer joked that most premeds have very little life experience, as he called it "Their worst life experience was a bad grade". Later that day I was told an anecdote by one of the medical students, a professor lamented on his feelings about most premeds "You went to grade school, high school, then college, and now medical school? They're practically fresh out of the womb".

As for myself, I was accepted this cycle into three programs so far, nontraditional, 29, years of works experience. Personally, I feel who doesn't have hospital volunteering, it's practically automatic now. So, I think having something different that shows you've been out in the world: can carry responsibilities, manage teams/projects is a big plus. For myself, I put down a lot of work experience, tutoring, or non medical volunteering where I had a significant impact. During my interview my work experience came up a lot, and seemed to help distinguish myself from my interviewing cohort.

I posted one of my actual entries for my Work/Activity with light editing on my blog, hope that helps:
http://doctororbust.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/applying-to-medical-school-the-application-workactivities-section-tips/
 

NightWindDriftr

7+ Year Member
Nov 5, 2010
30
26
Status
I'm sure dozens in this forum alone are in the same boat. So what are your thoughts?
Indeed. It's been my experience that your professional/working experiences will fit nicely where traditional ECs will, if not better. For example, as a veteran, I was only asked once (out of 4 interviews) about leadership. Even then, it was to the effect of "have you done any leadership since separating?"
 
OP
R
Sep 9, 2013
12
2
Status
Pre-Medical
I appreciate the responses, particularly since they tell me what I want to hear!

One particular difference in my own path that varies from most non trad stories I read here is that I'm not changing from one professional career to another. I was raised very religiously in a smallish organization that strongly discouraged higher education, and attended a very rural high school. This resulted in my not making it to college at all until my mid 20s.

I won't bore everyone with any further detail. I just thank the universe daily that in the random genetic lotto, I ended up with brains, and life gave me drive.