This non-trad working father worries that his obligations put him at a disadvantage and wonders how to communicate the problem to admissions committees.
Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from the Premed Hangout. Go ask your questions there and use #OPMquestion.
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.
[00:55] The MCAT Minute
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[01:44] OldPreMeds Question of the Week
“I have questions navigating workload that adcoms would deem acceptable, when working full-time, having a family and doing a do-it-yourself postbac. Also, how far back can we include activities as a nontrad?
And is there still stigma for community college or online prereqs/upper-level science courses even for nontrads?”
[02:15] What AdComs Care About
AdComs care about what you’re doing when you are doing all of your things. If you have a 4.0 GPA, and you’re taking 12 credits, which is barely full-time, and you’re not doing anything else, the AdComs can see that. They’re going to question why you weren’t doing anything else.“As a nontraditional student, it’s very important to understand that it's not just medically related or clinically related things that go into your activity section.”Click To Tweet
I had a student who was a manager at Walmart and just left it off his application because he thought it wasn’t healthcare-related so it shouldn’t go to his application.
You need to put all of the activities – both clinical and nonclinical activities in your application so that the AdComs can see what you’re doing with your time.
Now, it’s much harder when part of that time is being a parent, a spouse, or being an adult, with all of your responsibilities. It’s harder to quantify those things.
That being said, you can talk about things in your activity section to show that you’re navigating these waters as a parent, as a spouse, or whatever. AdComs can see what else is on your plate that may take away time that a “traditional” premed student may be filling with research, clinical, shadowing, and volunteering at the soup kitchen.
[04:13] Your Job as a Nontrad Premed“Your job as an applicant to medical schools is to paint the fullest picture possible when applying so that adcoms can see everything that you're up to.”Click To Tweet
Your job is to put in all of your activities in your activity section. Then let the admissions committee decide if they’re going to accept the fact that you have less time and less experience as a nontrad.
Some schools will be perfectly fine with it. Other schools won’t be. And you can’t play that game to figure out what schools are going to be okay with it. You just have to apply and hope that the schools you’re applying to some of them will be okay with it. That’s just the name of the game.
[04:55] How Far Can You Go Back with Your Activities?
If you started something in high school and you continued that in college, you can put your start date while you were still in high school. But the general rule of thumb is anything post-high school.
[05:34] The Stigma for Community College and Online Prereqs
There’s still some stigma out there – but it is what it is. I have talked to plenty of students who go to community college for postbac work or for the majority of their undergrad work, whatever it may be. And they get in and do just fine.
Therefore, do what works best for you, your schedule, your family, your finances, whatever. The schools that will be okay with it, will be okay with it. The schools that won’t be, won’t be.
You can’t change everything about your life just to appease one school out there that doesn’t like community college classes.