Should I Mention Children in My Med School Application?


Session 7

Every week, Ryan and Rich share their thoughts and insights here on the OldPreMeds Podcast as they seek to answer the questions raised over at the In today’s episode, the question is all about children and medical school, specifically mentioning children in your application.

OldPreMeds Question of the Week:

Do you mention your children in the application especially if it adds to your narrative of why you wanted to become a doctor?

Here are the insights from Ryan & Rich:

If your children have anything to do with your forthcoming, motivations, desires, and commitment to medicine then it is certainly important to mention that.

Can you put down parenting as an extracurricular?

No, if it’s just being a parent in itself. But if you’re doing things around your child that are organized (e.g. PTA, little league coach, soccer coach) these can be activities that would list well on an extracurricular activity.

How do the admissions committees look at students with children?

Parents who are on the admissions committees would probably look highly on someone who has been able to successfully got good grades, MCAT scores, and has been able to take care of two kids while doing a full time job. This is a show of discipline in her efforts and a high level of maturity and responsibility.

Links and Other Resources

If you have questions you want answered here on the OldPremeds Podcast, go to and register for an account. Go into the forums and ask a question.

Listen to our first episode at to find out more about who we are.

Also check out the Premed Years Podcast at

Session 61 of The Medical School Headquarters Podcast – Medical School Mom – Prioritizing Family, School and More

Find us on iTunes and go to and leave us a rating and review.

Check out for all the shows that we produce including the Medical School Headquarters and the OldPreMeds Podcast. We will soon be launching a medical school podcast as well so stay tuned!
Email Dr. Ryan Gray at [email protected] or connect with him on Twitter @medicalschoolhq.



Dr. Ryan Gray: If you’re looking for other great content like the Old Premeds Podcast, go to This is the Old Premeds Podcast session number 7.
You’re a nontraditional student entering the medical field on your terms. You may have had some hiccups along the way, or you’re changing careers. You’re now ready to change course and go back and serve others as a physician. This podcast is here to help answer your questions and help educate you on your journey to becoming a physician.

Again these questions are taken directly from You need to go sign up for an account if you don’t already have one, so you can ask your questions that can be answered here on the podcast or by the wonderful community- the wonderful Old Premeds community, or OPM as we like to call it. Again, Let’s jump into today’s question and say hello to Rich.
And I’m joined again by the remarkable Rich, how are you?

Rich Levy: I’m doing well, yourself Dr. Gray?

Dr. Ryan Gray: I’m doing sensational today. Which means I can’t use sensational next time we record a podcast for you. Darn it. That’s okay. Rich we have been going strong now for seven episodes of the Old Premeds Podcast. And I told you a couple times ago that when you hit seven, there’s a good chance that we’re going to be successful. So I just want to congratulate you on getting to episode seven.

Rich Levy: You’re the one who deserves all the credit for doing this.

Having Children and Attending Medical School

Dr. Ryan Gray: Today we’re going to talk about children and medical school, and specifically mentioning children in your application. And that’s really the question that was posted on the forums at The question is, ‘Did any of you mention your children in your application? Especially if it adds to your narrative of why you wanted to become a doctor?’

Rich Levy: It’s important when any student applies to medical school that they’re forthcoming in their motivations, desires, and commitment to medicine. And if your children have anything to do with that for whatever reason, it would be important to mention it. It’s certainly very germane to the discussion at hand when the school wants to know why you’re here. Certainly I have met many applicants who have families, for example there’s a professor at the Pacific Northwest School of Osteopathic Medicine who decided to not only become a doctor, but to go into OB-GYN because of difficulty had during pregnancy. By the way she didn’t start medical school until after her fourth child, which really has courage to me. Certainly your child if you’ve had issues as a parent with a child who may have been in the hospital and may have gotten interested in medicine. May have got you a feel of the pediatrics, maybe oncology which I’ve certainly heard from one applicant some time ago. It is germane to what you need to discuss. The one thing I will mention though which occasionally comes up as a question, can people put down parenting as an EC, an extracurricular? And my general advice for that is no. Just being a parent itself, while it takes tremendous commitment, a tremendous energy, has a lot to do with your life on a daily basis, in itself is not germane to applying to medical school. But if you’re doing things around your child that are organized, such as the PTA, such as the little league coach, such as the soccer coach; those would be activities that would list well on an extracurricular activity.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Interesting. One of the questions that I often get, or I’ve seen, is how do adcoms look at students with children? Do they fear students with children as having too much responsibility outside of the classroom? What kind of experience do you have with that?

Rich Levy: If you had asked me fifteen years ago when I started, I would think that was really a fear. If you ask me today, I don’t see it as much. I see students having children while in medical school. One of our recent success stories, the only other student in her class who’s older than she is has two kids and is expecting a third while she started medical school. I think that the parents who are on the admissions committees, and forgive me for being stereotypical, especially the working mothers because everybody know every mother is a working mother, would probably look highly on someone who has been able to successfully get the grades, successfully get the MCAT score, and has been able to take care of two kids while doing a full time job in all that. That shows to someone who’s rather disciplined in their efforts, don’t you think?

Dr. Ryan Gray: I think so, I think it shows a level of maturity, a level of responsibility of being able to organize and prioritize. So I think it is a strong trait, if you want to call it that, to be a parent. And so I wouldn’t hide it, obviously you don’t want to hide anything on your application. I think it’s a strength that’s good. I did have a discussion in my other podcast, the Medical School Headquarters Podcast in session 61 which you can get at about a fourth year medical student who had applied to medical school after having several kids. And we talk about what it was like to go through the application process as a mom. So you can go check that one, again

Rich Levy: By the way, one of our early members of OPM, in fact the first one who was the first full attending physician, Dr. Mary Renard, she applied to medical school as her oldest daughter was applying to college.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Now that’s a good story.

Rich Levy: It was an interesting parallel. She didn’t start med school until she was 41, so it’s rather interesting.

Final Thoughts

Dr. Ryan Gray: It just goes to show you that there are so many stories, so many paths, so many different ways to get to medical school, and to be a nontraditional premed and medical student. Alright again if you enjoyed the Old Premeds Podcast, go to for more great shows, just like the Old Premeds Podcast. Right now as we’re recording this, there are only two; the Premed Years Podcast which was formerly known as the Medical School Headquarters Podcast where we have three plus years of weekly podcast episodes for you to catch up on if you don’t already listen to that one. And this podcast, the Old Premeds Podcast. But we’re in the works, we’re working with some other people to create some new shows for you to help you on your journey. And helping you on your journey is what we’re all about, and I would love for you to let us know if that’s working or not. Go to where you can leave us a rating and review, and let us know how we’re doing. Five stars is always awesome but you can be honest to; I’ll take honesty, it’s a great policy.
Alright I hope you join us next week as always, here at the Old Premeds Podcast.

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