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What if you have no EC's?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by agent, Aug 6, 2002.

  1. agent

    agent agent, RN 7+ Year Member

    Jul 30, 2002
    Near Chicago
    I was really wondering how much ec's matter when adcoms consider you for med school?

    Ive seen some ppl with no ecs and some ppl with a lot.
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  3. DarkChild

    DarkChild Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2002
    New York
    are you applying now - cuz if not you can sit back and watch what happens to me.
    I've got no ECs - did a lot of work during the summer though...
    but we'll see:)
  4. sluox

    sluox Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    having absloutely no ECs would reflect very badly on your record. i applied to pritzker's early application process, and i got some feedbacks as far as why my application was not successful despite a strong academic record. i had two or three ECs, and no significant clincial experiences. they rejected me first round. if you were a borderline applicant, your ECs could determine whether you get into medical school at all. if your numbers are really great, it could determine whether you'd get into a top program. regardless, absloutely having no ECs, or having very little ECs shows that the applicant has neither the incentive nor the ability to handle a variety of tasks at the same time.

    think along the more intuitive lines, do you think that all the admissions officials are going to read through your thousand word essays? with your numbers, the next easiest thing to look at would be the table of extracurriculars. if everyone else has a very impressive list while yours is empty, how do you think that's going to look? this is also the reason why on a resume, for instance, when you are trying to find a job, the most important part is the work experience, not education/GPA, which is usually placed at last.
  5. FutureM.D.

    FutureM.D. Psychology major 7+ Year Member

    Jun 21, 2002
    I personally would not even bother applying without EC's.:eek:
  6. agent

    agent agent, RN 7+ Year Member

    Jul 30, 2002
    Near Chicago
    point taken.

    thing is i have a family and time is *eek*

    i have the option of becoming an 2 yr RN degree and getting a bachelor's in psych.

    maybe that would be a better option..?
  7. lola

    lola Bovine Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    honestly, it looks pretty bad if you don't have any ec's -- like you don't have any interests outside of school! however, if you have a family i suppose that's a different story. are you involved in activities with your kid? have you had a full time job that is health-related? have you been involved in any sports teams? also, it's never too late to start volunteering. i hold babies at a hospital for only 2 hours/week and find it extremely rewarding. although it takes up a small amount of time, i feel like i'm learning a lot.
    nursing is an option i considered very seriously. only you can decide what's right for you. given your family situation, it might be a good option if you're truly interested in becoming a nurse.
  8. agent

    agent agent, RN 7+ Year Member

    Jul 30, 2002
    Near Chicago
    im not really interested in being a nurse (forever) but i would do it as an avenue to get into med school if it would give me enough clinical.

    Im not applying to pritzker or anything actually im hoping to eventually go to UIC
  9. opus

    opus Member 7+ Year Member

    May 1, 2002
    Better get some. I didn't shadow a doctor and my 3 interviwers told me that's what I now I'm reapplying.good luck
  10. Adcadet

    Adcadet Long way from Gate 27 10+ Year Member

    If you have to work for financial reasons and need ECs, I'd highly recommend getting a clinical or lab job. I don't think adcoms will necessarily frown upon someone who's had to work, as long as they've still shown interest in the human condition.
  11. omores

    omores sleep deprived 10+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2000

    Good heavens, you have a FAMILY. That's a pretty HUGE extra-curricular activity. I don't think they're going to hold it against you that you're not a member of the chess club. Please trust me on this: They WILL judge you by a different set of standards if you make it clear what's been occupying your time. But don't just leave the EC section blank and hope they'll intuit that you've been busy with other obligations. Go into some detail about what your life is like. And I'd guess that you have SOME kind of hobbies or outside interests, even if you have zero time to pursue them now. You could list those things just to round out the picture a little bit.

    I don't think that your lack of ECs is a big deal considering your situation. But you do absolutely need clinical experience of some kind. That's not optional.

    When I was applying two years ago, I was in school full time and worked three part time jobs to support myself and my husband. This left no time for conventional EC activities or volunteer work. But I did manage to shadow a local doctor on a regular basis. This wasn't just for the sake of my application -- I also wanted to make sure I knew what I was getting into. It gave me the clinical experience I needed, and lots to talk about in essays and interviews. And it worked.

    Best of luck to you!
  12. marleybfour

    marleybfour Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 2, 2001
    Boynton Beach, Fl.

    I have no EC's and am applying this year. I did exactly as you are thinking of doing and obtained an Associate's Degree in nursing. I have worked as a critical care RN while pursuing the pre-med requirements. I also have an MS in Psychology and have been an Executive Director of a battered women's shelter and several other non-profit agencies. I figure that my work is my "EC."

    FutureDoc, I don't think you can compare an "older" adult with extensive responsibilities to a 22 year old with minimal/no responsibilities and then say they both have to obtain EC's in order to apply.

    Ischemia, you stated what I was thinking very nicely.
  13. Tweetie_bird

    Tweetie_bird 7+ Year Member

    Nov 20, 2001
    to further defend Agent, I want to add that I read somewhere in one of his posts that he has a 7 month old. GOOD GOSH!! I think that counts for a LOT of "EC experience." Did you also know that he is working AND studying.

    Having a family, while also doing school AND work is not an easy thing. Surely, I would not want to be in his shoes and commend him on his courage to brave it all. :)

    So anyway, not sure how the whole nursing thing works but I do have some advice. :D Why don't you do an EMT training program through the local community college? It takes a MAX of 4 months (for me it was 6...) and a minimum of 2 weeks (from what I've seen on SDN). Perhaps you can look into the EMT training in your locale, and do it. After that, you can get placed in any ambulance company for a few hours a week (although I've seen where most require atleast 25 hours/week committment). The pay is a measely $10/hr but you get awesome experience for the amount of training you've received. A nursing program in my mind might take longer, and you need something STAT to update your schools with. So, in my opinion, an EMT program might put you right in line of some awesome clinical experience.

    Good luck and PM me if you need help/advice/whatever! :)

  14. exigente chica

    exigente chica 7+ Year Member

    May 28, 2002
    I am one of those people who can't be bored, so I have too many ec's, so I have to decide which to put in my application.

    Med schools do like to have "well-rounded" show that they can do more than jsut study. In your case you do have a try to get at least one meaningful one. When adcom's ask you about your lack of ec's explain your sitution, I am sure they will empathize.

    Good luck:clap:
  15. nero

    nero Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 15, 2000
    If you dont' mind me asking, where did you apply?......i know a few people who didn't shadow and were very successful last cycle.

  16. Sweet Tea

    Sweet Tea Girl Next Door Physician 10+ Year Member


    I'm going to second Tweetie_Bird's idea of becoming an EMT. Training is done at night through a community college, and if you live in or near an area with a volunteer staff, you can most likely pick the volunteer shifts you want around your family/work schedule. It's a great way to get experience working with patients.

    And with your family situation, I don't think you necessarily need to have all the volunteer/research/whatever experience that lots of people have. In fact, I'd be more concerned if you DID have time to get tons of EC's when you had a family at home. I don't know if you sent in your AMCAS yet, but be sure they know you have a family and that's how you've spent your time.

    Best of luck!!
  17. efex101

    efex101 attending Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Apr 19, 2002
    Sweet Tea I have EC's and I do have a family at home, it is called time management (Agent this is not meant for you, for you do work full time). I am able to volunteer (4 hours per week since frosh year), I have two summer research experiences, tutoring, etc. So yes, even if you have a family you *can* get involved but it does take some serious time management and a supportive spouse/sig other/ whatever. I do hope that adcoms will be able to see that although I have a family (but my kids are also older) that I made some time to give back to my community.
  18. Sweet Tea

    Sweet Tea Girl Next Door Physician 10+ Year Member

    Efex-- I apologize if my tone sounded nasty in my first post-- I promise I wasn't trying to criticize people who have a family and are able to get EC's. I was responding to Agent's situation b/c I remembered he has a young baby and works full-time. I think it's fully possible to be a fantastic spouse/parent and get great EC's... but like you said it takes some serious time management skills (which I don't have) and it's easier if your kids are older. I'm so impressed with people who have families and are applying to medical school and I wish you lots of luck. I don't think I have the kind of organizational skills to pull something like that off, and that's why I'm waiting to have a family until after I get in. Assuming, of course, I get in to school! ;)

    I apologize again for any criticizing or judgemental tones in my previous post. I did not intend to sound that way!!
  19. agent

    agent agent, RN 7+ Year Member

    Jul 30, 2002
    Near Chicago
    i dont think there's any need to apologize :)

    i have two doctors im going to try to shadow for a little while on weekends.

    that should be fine
  20. Tweetie_bird

    Tweetie_bird 7+ Year Member

    Nov 20, 2001
    Ok, this is my general response to shadowing so please take this advice with a grain of salt:

    shadowing = OBSERVING. If you are not doing much beyond that, I wouldn't waste my time if all you are doing is sitting next t othe doc and patient being a mere observer (ok, I am going to get flames for this). But med schools are going to ask you HOW YOU DO with patients, not how the doc you work with does. Does that make sense? I would urge you after a week or two of shadowing, to ask the docs if you can do some stuff like take histories and vitals. It's not hard, and there are no insurance problems associated with you seeing patients (ie. if you are with patients, you are NOT liable) Hell, I started doing that the first week of my work in a clinic and I had NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE. I want you to get the skills through patient work etc, not just observe. Trust me, this is what I have seen people in an ER do all the time (observe) and later get flamed for it in an interview when they ask--what did YOU do? I wouldn't want to be the interviewee in that case. :(

    I don't mean to sound harsh, but if you are going to get *some* experience, please let it be more than shadowing. Even if you are sitting in the waiting room and talking to patients while they are waiting for that doc, that's better experience than simply shadowing. Others may disagree, but I just wanted to let you know what I think.

    Then again, I have seen people with AWESOME stats (3.8 and 35+ MCATs) who have done nothing but volunteer in an ER and carry piss and charts all day, that have multiple acceptances. So if you have kick-ass stats, . . . . I don't know. I would still urge you to get more experience than shadowing. I want you to do well, so please keep me updated..okay??

  21. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat 7+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2002
    I want to back Tweetie up to a degree. According to her parameters, I have awesome stats, but I have no good clinical experience to speak of. The total clinical observation time I can point to is 12 hours (one 12-hour shift) spent shadowing in a very busy ER in a major west coast city. I have no clinical skills. I have no volunteering AT ALL. I have research coming out of my ass though. I got 2 acceptances and consider myself extremely lucky to have done so. The biggest knock on me, and something that many, many interviewers brought up was this: what do I really know about medicine, and how do I know it is something I want to do? That question is a lot harder to answer if you can't say, "I've been down in the trenches and I know the medical field inside and out." You can explain your motives and interests, but they carry a lot less weight than if you can say, "I have some experience so you can be sure I know what I'm talking about."
  22. efex101

    efex101 attending Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Apr 19, 2002
    Hey Sweet Tea sorry if I sounded defensive did not mean to, you are sweet indeed :) for apologizing (sp?) without any need to. Anyways I am sure that if the need arised you would step up to the plate (even with kiddies, it is really not that difficult just not a lot of sleep :eek: )
  23. missmod

    missmod Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 15, 2002
    You are right to some degree, Tweetie, but I feel that as premeds, there are a lot of limitations that we come across. If you don't volunteer in a hospital and spend all your time with one doctor, your view of the medical world can become very skewed (focusing on private practice and perhaps whatever else the doc you follow around believes in). If you do volunteer in a hospital, there ARE a lot of liability issues that come into play and what you can do IS limited to carrying around piss and bringing people charts. History and vital signs? Forget it... you are not covered by their insurance and if you make one little mistake (i.e.... write bp as 180/90 as opposed to 120/90) THEY are screwed.

    That taken into consideration, I think it's still possible to learn a lot of from a ER setting, even if you spend a lot of time doing grunt work. It's really what you want to make of it. I don't think the only purpose of volunteering is to develop your patient advocate skills (though it is important). There's also seeing how the medical field works, knowing the problems, accepting the hardships, and observing enough to make an informed decision about your choice to become a doctor.

    (Though I think the decision to go to med school, no matter how much clinical experience you have, will always be a bit in blind faith. You never know exactly HOW it will be until you get there...)

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