Listing being a father as an activity on AMCAS app

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.


Full Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 23, 2010
Reaction score
Would it be appropriate to include as an activity on the AMCAS app being a father? I am a father of three girls, two of which were born during my undergrad years, so Ive been a little busy with taking care of kids. With having one daughter during my freshman and half my soph year I was able to be in two clubs and do a lot of ECs, but after the birth of my second daughter in Feb 2009 (soph year) and my third daughter in Dec 2009 (junior year) I have had to focus on family and school and had to even work 35 hours a week from April 2009 to April 2010 to make ends meet, and quit in time to start to study for the MCAT. I am an Army Veteran and have some ECs and alot of awards to list but was thinking of putting that in there since I do identify myself as a father above most other things and Im sure it would be a surprise for the adcomms to see it listed there.
Would do you think?

Members don't see this ad.
No, I do not believe it would be appropriate.

I was raising four kids during undergrad (3 step and my own) and I was at the time a traditional aged college student and I am not going to list being a parent as an activity because that isn't what the adcomms are looking for. Now you could mention it in a secondary or in your personal statement (for the latter only do it if it helps you answer "Why Medicine?"). You could potentially spin something that relates to your kids into a more appropriate EC. For example, did you volunteer 2 hours a week at their daycare/preschool? Well, that's volunteer work.
I wouldn't. I know LizzyM does say to list a hobby or other personal activity so you don't look inhuman and they know you have interests outside of medicine to help you de-stress. But you also aren't supposed to repeat stuff. On AMCAS, there is a place in the general demographic section where you list the number of dependents that you have. Dependents are (nearly) always children so they are going to see you are a father there. AACOMAS does not have a place to list number of dependents but I still don't think the adcoms want to see this on your app as an EC. You might be able to work fatherhood into your PS, though. :)
Members don't see this ad :)
Surprising the adcom by placing information where it doesn't belong is not the way to go. Agree with the previous two posters: yes to mentioning parenthood in the PS, ixnay on listing it as an activity. Activities are generally employment or extracurriculars. Hopefully, you don't consider being a father an extracurricular activity akin to joining a premed club. ;)
no but it definitely is a full time job, and being a true, involved father is a lot different than just being a sperm donor
Careful, careful. I would strongly caution AGAINST putting down parenting as an EC, because (as FPM notes) it isn't what adcoms have in mind. And I would be very circumspect about mentioning it in your essays as well, because by doing so you make it fair game for interview questions. (Normally, questions about your marital or family status are off-limits, but if you disclose the information yourself, that no longer applies.)

As a mother of two, I didn't want my kids, childcare arrangements, etc. to be the main topic of discussion at interviews, so I didn't mention my kids in the PS and only touched lightly on them in the secondaries. My family is very supportive of what I'm doing and I think my experience as a parent has been very positive, but I wanted to have the option of bringing it up myself or not, depending on how things were going at a given interview. I did talk about this a couple of schools, and I think it got a very positive reaction, but it wasn't the main focus of the interviews.

I would say that there seems to be a double standard on this issue. While women tend to be looked down upon for highlighting their parental and family roles, men seem to get brownie points for doing it. So it may not be too problematic if you write about this in your essays--but I still wouldn't list it as an EC.
I'm going to agree with NO it is not an extracurricular.

YES to including it in the PS, YES to writing a secondary about it, YES to mentioning it on an interview.