Today’s nontrad is the GM at a bakery. With their eyes now set on med school, how should they discuss career advancement on their application?
Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from the Nontrad Premed Forum over at premedforums.com. Please go ahead and register for an account, ask your question, and have fun with the community.
Also, please be sure to check out all our other podcasts on Meded Media as we try to bring you as many resources as you need on this journey.
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
[00:43] The MCAT Minute
The MCAT Minute is brought to you by Blueprint MCAT. As we’ve discussed before, you’re only allowed to take the MCAT seven times maximum in a lifetime, three per year, and four times in two years. Hopefully, you won’t have to take it more than once because it is expensive, not to mention how the MCAT is a beast of a test.
For more MCAT help, go to Blueprint MCAT and sign up for a free account. Then you get access to their brand new Spaced Repetition flashcard platform which has over 1600 flashcards made by their MCAT experts.
[02:41] OldPreMeds Question of the Week
“Hey everybody! I’m currently the General Manager of a bakery and have been working there for over 7 years beginning as a counter server while in college. How would you recommend titling work experience for applicants who have received promotions? List the entry as the most recent title and weave the promotion(s) somewhere in the ‘description’ section?
I don’t want to give a false impression that I’ve been the GM for my entire time there – am I overthinking this? This job was incredibly life-changing, so at this point I intend to mark it as one of my most meaningful experiences.”
[03:20] Writing Your Most Meaningful
This comes up not only in the corporate world, but also in the military world where you wear lots of hats and you get promoted, and you have more responsibility. And you have so many other things when you pin on that new rank.'The activity section doesn't have specific rules.... most meaningful doesn't have to be specific to medicine.'Click To Tweet
There are a number of ways to work around this. And one of the things to keep in mind that most meaningful doesn’t have to be specific to medicine.
[04:00] Making Sense of Your Hours
The next biggest thing is to be careful when writing all of your hours. You don’t want it to look like you worked 2,000 hours across full-time work one year for one thing. But you also worked a part time job that same time and had another 1,000 hours over the same time period as your 2,000-hour job.
You have to make sure that the hours make sense. Be careful with time and double-dipping with time if you’re going to split up your hours.'You can split activities into multiple activities. You can split your experience into multiple activities on your application.' Click To Tweet
Now, the easiest thing to do is to split it into two activities. For instance, you have one paid, nonmedical clinical experience in your activity section for counter server. Then talk about what it was like to be a server and what it was like to work in customer service. That can be one story, one activity. Then put another activity marked as leadership. Here, you put your title as a General Manager. Then talk about being the general manager of the bakery. If possible, tell a story about your leadership. That is a very easy way to capture both things.
Timeline-wise, make sure they fit together well. Don’t count 100 hours from your counter server time, and the same 100 hours where you’re a general manager. Don’t make them overlap or “double-dip” your hours so make sure everything is separated.
It’s easy to delineate a job that’s more customer-facing, and leadership as a general manager where it’s more employee-facing. Highlight different strengths and weaknesses in your activity section by telling those stories.
[07:20] Splitting Activities into Multiple Entries
A specific activity that premeds do a lot is being a clinical research coordinator. As a clinical research coordinator, you’re doing a lot of front-facing activities with the patient. But there’s also a lot of downtime, where you’re in the room with the patient with a physician as you wait for the physician to be done with their evaluations or whatever.
After which, you wait for the physician to leave so you can take that patient to the next thing they have to do. Or you go wait for the next physician or whoever is coming to do more evaluations for the research. That’s another easy one that you can split into clinical and shadowing.'On the AMCAS application, clinical and shadowing are two very separate activities.' Click To Tweet
It’s very easy to separate your experiences, especially if you’re lacking in shadowing. You can put shadowing as one activity and clinical experience as another activity. But together, they’re both being a clinical research coordinator. Hence, you have that flexibility.
For AMCAS, it becomes a bigger issue because you only have 15 spots in your application. With AACOMAS and TMDSAS, you have unlimited spots that you can fill out so it’s not an issue. You can split as many things as you want.
This is one area where there’s a little bit of strategy that you can employ to help highlight the different things you’ve been doing. Especially as a nontraditional student, this can make your application as truthful as possible. And to show the admissions committee and the reviewers the totality of who you are.