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Disclosing Motherhood During Med Interviews


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Hi Everyone,

 

I am a single mother of 3 and will be applying next year. I know that Medical schools are not supposed to ask questions pertaining to age, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion etc.

 

Motherhood is a big part of who I am. It would be extremely difficult for me to go through the entire interview process and not disclose that. However, I wouldn't do it if it meant jeopardizing my chances of being accepted. I know that they re not suppose to discriminate, but lets be honest, the interviewers are only human, and my marital status/family status might affect the way they think, feel and act towards my application. There must be a reason why Med school candidates should not be asked these types of questions. I am afraid that this type of information could generate biased opinions and/or discriminatory judgments that may not work in my favor.

 

Any thoughts on this situation? I would appreciate some honest opinions. Thanks for your time.

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Depending on where you apply, it may not have the opportunity to come up. It would be unlikely to come up in any MMI, unless it somehow related to one of the ethical situations. In this case, however, relating a real-life example to the ethical situation would probably be a positive thing for your interview.

 

Also, there are plenty of parents/single parents who attend medical school in Canada. If you've successfully made it this far in your education, I don't see how single parenthood would make you "unfit" for medical school in some interviewer's eyes. Personally, I see it as a check in the "pro" column of your application--if nothing else, it shows how well you can balance competing responsibilities (school/family) and how determined you are to pursue medicine (as single parenthood must make it more difficult to go after dreams like med school, but yet you're doing it).

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Also, there are plenty of parents/single parents who attend medical school in Canada. If you've successfully made it this far in your education, I don't see how single parenthood would make you "unfit" for medical school in some interviewer's eyes. Personally, I see it as a check in the "pro" column of your application--if nothing else, it shows how well you can balance competing responsibilities (school/family) and how determined you are to pursue medicine (as single parenthood must make it more difficult to go after dreams like med school, but yet you're doing it).

 

Most reasonable people would agree with you, but a more "traditionally" minded individual might object to her being a single mother of three and yet pursuing medical school. There are still people who believe a woman's place is in the household as a mother and caretaker, with of course a man around the home to guide her through the big, scary world and see that she doesn't get confused or lost.

 

Although I like to think that such people are rare these days and in this country, if she insists on bringing up her personal life, I'm sure if she justs leaves out that she's single she will avoid any possibility being discriminated against in for that reason.

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I, on the other hand, would mention it. This is a huge part of your life!!! First of all, it is ILLEGAL for them to discriminate against you for this fact. So long as you have thought out the difficult questions that MIGHT (probably not) arise because of revealing this, I think it's a great thing to reveal. You have so many experiences to talk about, your children shape who you are today! I cannot possibly imagine you leaving something so important in your life out.

 

That's just my take, I think you should be frank and honest about who you are to the adcom and I think that almost all interviewers will not hold this at all against you. In fact, this can be a tremendous asset to your application.

 

Best of luck!

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....it is ILLEGAL for them to discriminate against you for this fact..........I think you should be frank and honest about who you are to the adcom and I think that almost all interviewers will not hold this at all against you. In fact, this can be a tremendous asset to your application.

 

Yes, it is definitely illegal and you may be sure that any reason for refusal will not include an illegal one. You have absolute faith that the adcom will act as they are supposed to. We will agree to disagree as I don't have the faith in human nature and that the adcom will act honestly and legally as you do. People bring their preconceptions and prejudices into the interview room with them despite their honourable intentions otherwise, whether they realize it or not, and this is just too important to believe in the tooth fairy, as a person's future hangs in the balance.

 

I have seen a rejection to obtain an interview in another professional school (law school) where the rejected student was on par with all her firends who received interviews and were accepted (top grades, loads of achievements in ECs), with the exception that the accepted friends were into debating and model UN, whereas the rejected person had accomplishments in the performing arts, e.g., ballet, theater. The professional school on their website make it clear that they were seeking 'diversity' whereas they should have claimed they were seeking 'diversity to our liking'.

 

I do agree that she should consider stating that she has 3 children as suggested by another poster, but to state having 3 children and being single may raise unnecessary questions in the mind of the interviewer and is the risk worth the potential cost to the applicant when the interviewer has no right to go down this road in the first place (unless given access by the applicant)?

 

Appearances can be deceiving, things are never as they appear and I just do not have the same faith in human nature as do you.:mad:

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I, on the other hand, would mention it. This is a huge part of your life!!!

 

Her kids and being a mother is probably the huge part of that aspect of her, not her marital status. All I'm suggesting is she leave out that she is single. She's of course free to chance it, but even though it's not allowed for her to be discriminated against in that fashion, it's not as if making something illegal prevents it from happening. I just think she should go into only as much depth about herself is required, because even the most inoccuous aspects of someone's personal life can sway opinions, for good or for bad, consciously or not.

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Her kids and being a mother is probably the huge part of that aspect of her, not her marital status. All I'm suggesting is she leave out that she is single......I just think she should go into only as much depth about herself is required, because even the most inoccuous aspects of someone's personal life can sway opinions, for good or for bad, consciously or not.

 

well said

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I personally would mention it if it could be related to a MMI question. My main goal in interview was to try and be myself because I wouldn't regret not getting in based on that, but if I tried to come across a different way and didn't get in then I would start to question my method.

 

I really think being a single parent would be a vital part of who you are, and would separate yourself from the pack. I think of words like responsible, good time management, etc when I read about your position. Though I agree there might be a few people who are biased, I think in the MMI at least, you meet so many interviewers it would be more in your favor to be honest and let them see how much you have accomplished. Also, if people were worried about your commitment/time, as long as you had a good support system in place and made that clear then being single should not be a problem. As for the panel interview, that I would play it based on feel if there is a super conservative interviewer you got a bad vibe from, then maybe simply talk about your kids not marital status.

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I really think being a single parent would be a vital part of who you are, and would separate yourself from the pack. I think of words like responsible, good time management, etc when I read about your position. Though I agree there might be a few people who are biased, I think in the MMI at least, you meet so many interviewers it would be more in your favor to be honest and let them see how much you have accomplished. Also, if people were worried about your commitment/time, as long as you had a good support system in place and made that clear then being single should not be a problem. As for the panel interview, that I would play it based on feel if there is a super conservative interviewer you got a bad vibe from, then maybe simply talk about your kids not marital status.

 

Well said... even in a panel interview, you probably could still get the point across because you will have more time to interact with the panel members. This is a fact about yourself that is vital to who you are and also sets you apart from the others. I can't imagine being in an interview and not revealing this about myself if I was in your place... I would feel like the adcom is not getting a true picture of who I am. Of course, the other posters have all brought up valid points, so it's really up for you to decide. :)

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