On interviews & Apps - downplay your motherhood?

Discussion in 'Women in Healthcare' started by SwimSwam, May 27, 2008.

  1. SwimSwam

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    For those of you who are moms and have/are applying/interviewing for med schools:

    - Did you downplay having a family to care for?

    - Would mentionining your children be viewed as detrimental (ie, set you apart as a less-than ideal or committed candidate?) Or would it make you seem as though you are capable of handling more than the "typical" student?

    - Has anyone had feedback from schools regarding how to present (or not) this part of you?

    - I have been told by my pre-med advisor that it would be looked at as a negative for MD programs, but is more acceptable for DO programs.
     
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  3. menotyou7

    menotyou7 menotyou7

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    I am currently in the process of applying to medical school, so I don't know if my thought process is the right one or not, but I think that being a mother sets you apart as a non-traditional student in a good way. Personally, becoming a mother has made me stronger than any other experience in my life. I want to be a doctor, and I know that I have the strength and intelligence to become a doctor, BECAUSE I am a mother, not despite the fact that I am a mother.

    I don't believe that medical school admissions committies are looking for a bunch of little 21 year old clones. I believe they are looking for strong intelligent people who will become sharp compassionate doctors. If they aren't, then they are looking for the wrong thing.

    Becoming a mother changes you. It shapes you to become a stronger and better person than you were before. Becoming a mother turns you into an adult faster than any other experience in your life. How you could possibly hide it?
     
  4. menotyou7

    menotyou7 menotyou7

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    So, I was talking to my husband last night about this particular thread, and I was getting a little bit huffy about why in the world someone would dare to question whether or not motherhood was an asset...when he kindly reminded me that when I first started the journey to medical school, I too had these same doubts.

    So first, I want to apologize to anyone who read my reply and interpreted it as snarky. I didn't really mean it to be snarky. I intended it to be a "you-go-girl, stand on your own two feet, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, be proud of your roots" type of message.

    Second, I wanted to let you know that I had the same doubts when I first started out. I intend to go into Ob/Gyn after medical school and have been shadowing an OB on her weekend calls for a while now. During a slow Sunday I discussed this very topic with her. She served on the admissions committee for her home school for several years and had some good insight into the whole issue. She advised me to not hide my motherhood and to outright sell it as an asset, not a liability. She also suprised me by saying that medical school is a buisness, and it would definetly not be looked upon negatively that I had a husband who could actually support me and pay the bills while I was in school.

    I have also been talking to another professor who is on the MD/PhD admissions committee here at my PhD school (I'm very non-traditional) and she said that I should definetly bring up my motherhood and to sell it to the interviewer because while they wouldn't be allowed to ask about my familly status, they would definetly view it as a negative if I hid it. Given that I decided to go to medical school because of a nearly fatal pregnancy, and that I will be writing about that experience in my personal statement, I can't exactly hide the fact that I'm a mother. They will definetly know. She then followed up her comments by saying, "get a 30 on the MCAT, and you'll walk into medical school, no problem." And yes, I have a PhD, but my undergrad GPA still sucks.

    So there you go. Second hand information from the mouths of the admissions committees. Do with it what you will. Just don't let anyone tell you that you can't do this because you're a mother. Be stronger than that.
     
  5. SwimSwam

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    Thanks for your honesty and for updating your post.

    I don't normally hide anything in my life. I too, coincidently, had a traumatic and "near-fatal" pregnancy with my first child. She changed my priorities and my life. She also completely increased my stamina and ability to achieve goals. I am very proud to be the mother of two.

    The reason I posted is that my major advisor & a science professor both recommended against medical school, in favor of law school. My advisor's reasons were that I might experience age discrimination during the application process, as well as in finding a job upon graduation. She also mentioned that many schools might reject me as an applicant, with the idea that I would not be able to devote myself to being a successful student. She thought they would view my family life as an "extra" job, reducing my ability to be competitive.

    Further, I've spoken to three woman doctors about what it might be like, and they were discouraging. Not one, however, had children while in medical school - only after. Not one knew of a woman who had kids to care for while in school.

    That is why I'm curious about women who've gone through the experience and how they have presented themselves.
     
  6. menotyou7

    menotyou7 menotyou7

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    I think it's amazing that people always asume that once you become a mother you won't be able to acheive any of your life goals. It's like once you have a baby, you're not expected to be able to think about anything except spit up and teething.

    I have experienced the same dramatic increase in stamina and focus that you mentioned. Instead of feeling like I don't have a brain, I feel like I have a new found ability to focus on what matters, to the exclusion of what doesn't.

    I say go ahead and apply. If you want to go to medical school, apply to medical school. If you get in, then you can make the tough decisions. But if you don't even apply, then you will spend your whole life wondering what if.

    In regards to the people that have been advising you: I think the key thing that you mentioned is that they didn't have kids in medical school. Therefore, they don't really know that it would be like, they are only guessing. My OB didn't have kids in med school either, but has two now. She is the managing partner of a very sucessful private practice and is married to a pediatrician. Her kids are lovely. If she can do it, so can I. And so can you.

    Go for it.
     
  7. Tropicana

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    I chose not to mention my daughter in my personal statement just because it did not fit with the rest of my essay, however, by no means did I make an effort to hide the fact that I had a family. One of my LOR's mentioned my daughter which did not seem to have a negative impact as I had lots of interviews and acceptances.

    I also interviewed while pregnant. I'll admit that I made an effort to conceal my belly in the early months simply because I could, and saw no reason to bring attention to it. But I also interviewed at 7 months and looked as professional as everyone else in my maternity suit! Bottom line is that motherhood may not necessarily define you, but it is a big part of who you are. People will question your ability to manage motherhood and med school, but guess what? you are not the first, nor will you be the last. And frankly, the schools that have a problem with motherhood are probably schools that would not have been a good fit for you anyway. So I say go for it and play it up if it tells an important part of your story.
     
  8. kittenj

    kittenj Mizzou c/o 2014!

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    I am a mother of a 4 year old daughter and have recently been accepted into veterinary school.

    When I began my admissions process I considered not mentioning my daughter in apps/interviews, however after really considering it I realized that I would be very uncomfortable going to a school where my choice of career plus motherhood was not respected and welcomed.

    I briefly mentioned my daughter in my applications, only a sentence or two on balancing commitments. At the school which I was accepted, at the end of my interview, the committee asked if I had anything more I wanted to talk about. I used that opportunity to talk about how balancing career and family was important to me, and that having experienced balancing academics with being a working mother has prepared me for a rigorous professional curriculum.

    I'm happy to now know that my acceptance was based on them knowing I am a mother and still finding me a worthy candidate.
     

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