Oct 11, 2019

I was a single mom through undergrad after going through a divorce (baby at 18, married at 19...big life lessons learned along the way...). I graduated in May 2019 with a GPA ~3.6x. Long story short, I doubted myself as a premed all through undergrad and ended up applying to an accelerated nursing program that began last August. After working in a hospital as an aide over the summer and after 2 weeks of nursing school I dreaded my future and realized medicine was still my calling. I withdrew from the nursing program the day of the 100% tuition deadline.

Fast-forward to now: My current husband (who went to the same undergrad as me) and I moved to the major metro area he is from (I am from a rural area and our undergrad was in a rural area). I am 30 weeks pregnant and due in April. After deciding to leave nursing school I decided to hop back onto the med school route and started preparing for the MCAT. I just took the official Practice Exam 1 and scored 511. (This is after 3 months of content review but 1 month of intensely going through the Kaplan books). I am super happy, and registered to take the exam on March 14th. I am going to spend the next month on all the AAMC material. There are only 4 schools I can apply to (because of my joint custody plan with my older child's dad, I need to stay in the state). Their average MCAT scores are 503, 507, 508, 513 (2 DO and 2 MD). So I am feeling really confident.

I have decided to wait until next year to apply, so that if I am admitted my new baby will be 2 when I matriculate, and I will get time to be with her for her first couple of years. My husband can support us on his income, so my time is split between taking care of myself, my housewife duties and mothering duties. I want to be the best applicant I can be when I go to apply next year, so I was hoping for some ideas of ways I can use my time (while caring for my new daughter) that will demonstrate my commitment to this path. Here are some ECs I've participated in so far:

Healthcare Navigator Volunteer for Refugee and Immigration Services
-I brought an Iraqi woman to a couple of her appointments and helped her get checked in, then she wanted me to go into her appointments with her. She had me over for dinner with her family. She was super sweet but it feels like so long ago now. I was able to observe the language barrier and how differently she was treated; I remember a few things about the experience. (~maybe about 10 hours total)

Stayed at home with my older child
Took nursing classes at a CC in Summer 2016 (got 40 hours of hands-on nursing experience in a nursing home)

Completed degree at university after divorce and finding my own way
Worked at a grocery store, then at our Student Recreation Center in the weight room (3 semesters) and as a certified personal trainer at the YMCA (1 year)
Shadowed 2 OBGYNS and 1 family medicine doc for a total of 75 hours
Various random volunteer stuff but nothing long term; I was very busy with school and caring for my son (then ages 2-4)

Summer 2019
Worked at a major hospital as aide in oncology unit (~200 hours)

Fall 2019-now
Pregnant, taking care of family and studying for the March 2020 MCAT

I am worried my EC's are lacking, but anyone with children, especially if you are their primary caretaker, understands the time and energy commitment they demand. I could not take on supervisor roles at my job on campus because that would require early mornings and late nights and I could only commit to things that happened during preschool hours. My extended family wasn't too far but none of them lived in the same town as my university and each have responsibilities of their own. My mother has severe unmanaged bipolar disorder and is in out of the hospital/jail and my father committed suicide when I was 14, so I haven't really had that classic experience of being supported by my parents. Also, my son only sees his dad every other weekend.

My thoughts on ways to volunteer whilst having a baby and kindergartener:

-Find a role at a crisis pregnancy center, especially after having the experience of being a young mom myself.
-American Cancer Society Road to Recovery Driver (I am already cleared to do this, but I was going to wait until after the MCAT)
-Church associated things

Any ideas on how to make my commitment to medicine clear even though I am pushing off applying for another year?


2+ Year Member
Mar 16, 2016
Medical Student (Accepted)
Are you able to become a PRN or part time CNA? I'm a nurse but after my first semester we were eligible to become a CNA and that's what I did while in nursing school and the hours PRN were very flexible only 2, 12 hour shifts per month requires although I worked much more than that. I think that would give you proper exposure to medicine and patient care, as well as some flexibility in your schedule in caring for your kids. Either that or scribing. I think you're sufficient as far as shadowing hours. I volunteered at the humane society for my application 2-4hrs/week for a year and didn't have any issues in the application process, volunteer work never really got brought up as most of my interviews were MMI. Your GPA is sufficient and provided a 505+ MCAT I think you should be fine for the DO schools and 508+ for the MD schools. Congrats on the new baby!
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