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5 Withdrawals too many?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by BlackJ, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. BlackJ

    BlackJ

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    Apr 26, 2007
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  3. the negative 1

    the negative 1 Bovie to "war crimes" please 10+ Year Member

    1,088
    14
    Aug 14, 2004
    Charm City
    You're grades and MCAT are excellent, but those failed stat and probability courses will figure into your AMCAS science (sorry, no 4.0) and overall gpa. Fortunately, it shouldn't influence the numbers much at all.

    People make mistakes and dramatic things can happen in college, especially in the beginning, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. But realize that you might have to explain those grades and withdrawals if it comes up in an interview. I wound up failing an entire semester because I didn't know I was supposed to obtain a medical leave of absence after a health problem forced me out of school during my sophomore year.

    Five years later, I'm now finishing my first year of medical school.

    P.S. the issue never came up in my interviews anyway, nor did I volunteer to ever mention it. Keep that in mind.
     
  4. GeorgeFoster

    GeorgeFoster 2+ Year Member

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    Apr 3, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    I'd say nothing bars you from med school other than failing cutoff criteria or a felony charge.

    Does it hurt your chances at many schools sure, how much? who knows.

    But since you're a competitive candidate in other regards (34, 4.0 sciences in a biology major) you have a good shot in some schools. The idea though is to apply to more schools, widen range of schools (more safety/in state schools) if you feel like black marks affect your application. 5 withdrawals is major black mark, but I would still through down 500 on the application than spend whatever time and money taking a year off and not even trying. But do have a backup plan.

    Look honestly at your whole picture. Why did you withdraw so much? Answer this brutally honestly to yourself, even though you be much less candid when explaining it to a ADCOM. Where you trying to save money and study poetry in CC, but lose interest in Russian Lit 1700-1800 and have to withdraw? Or did you withdraw from Chem 101 because you were into the drinking, a lot, a whole helluva alot. If your answer for each withdrawal tends towards the latter. Then start a backup plan.

    How are your ECs? Have you worked in a hospital, done research, build a home for Katrina victims? Do you live, eat, breath a desire to be a doc? Or are you sorta just coming to a conclusion on being doctor now that you realize the tech industry wont be as interesting as health? To an ADCOM, you'll look like a flake, even more so than the average 24 y/o. You'll need some serious clinical exposure time to prove your dedicated. If you don't have it, still try this application cycle (and start volunteering), but have a backup plan.

    A withdrawal, or even an F, is not that big of a deal, I have a W, and a C and I'm not worried at all since the C was in humanities and the W was in math, which I owned otherwise. I doubt they'll come up. But 5 W's and 2 F's (even in the freshmen years, where they belong) will be a red flag. In your interview, hell, even in your PC (though most people know better than me) ADDRESS IT. Be very proactive about communicating your situation up front. Explain it, and show how you've addressed the problems that led to your poor performance.

    So Apply, its worth a shot and will be cheaper than masters if you get in, but have a backup plan.
     
  5. the negative 1

    the negative 1 Bovie to "war crimes" please 10+ Year Member

    1,088
    14
    Aug 14, 2004
    Charm City
    I completely disagree with this. It took me two times through the application process to learn that you're trying to sell yourself to these medical schools. Do not highlight your flaws or speak negatively about yourself unless it is absolutely necessary.

    Why should you offer up any reason for the adcoms to reject you? If they see the withdrawals (did you mean 3 withdrawals?) and the two Fs and decide to make it an issue, then that's their decision. Your application needs to accentuate your positive traits.

    Edit: Btw, why medicine?
     
  6. NervousNed

    NervousNed 2+ Year Member

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    Oct 12, 2006
    good job on the MCAT, the top are out of your reach, i do believe you can make it to a school outside the top schools, apply to state and private schools outside the top 50, as many as you can.....i don't think your out of the running at all with a 34 mcat....but no more withdraws.....5 is broaching a ridiculous level.......if your going to get an F then withdraw, but if you were getting a C do not withdraw...a publication is positive, a computer science related research project makes you unique, you truly need to apply very broadly, leave out the top schools, apply to 30-40 MD schools, and those are state schools, and those with low incoming stats...
     
  7. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator 10+ Year Member

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    Jul 23, 2004
    Totally agree with this. Your personal statement is a sales job. Don't go in with your tail between your legs and give them reasons to shoot you down.
     
  8. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator 10+ Year Member

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    1,698
    Jul 23, 2004
    I disagree. I have more than 5 W's, an handful of F's, a 30 MCAT, applied late, and received an interview at UCSF.

    A 3.6 is slightly below the average at most top 20 schools but a 34 is sligthly above. Don't limit yourself, OP...
     
  9. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Yeah, I would advise against going out of your way to advertise negative aspects about yourself. Don't shoot yourself in the foot. Focus in on the reasons that the school should accept you. If they bring up any negative aspects of your application, then address them.
     
  10. DreamyKid

    DreamyKid 10+ Year Member

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    Feb 3, 2007
    wow. u must have found the cure to cancer..or have a stunning application
     
  11. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator 10+ Year Member

    11,595
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    Jul 23, 2004
    Not at all. I have a solid GPA and a solid MCAT and have lived an interesting life.

    Med schools say over and over and over again that they look beyond the numbers yet folks on SDN consistently choose not to believe them. I'm sure my app got file 13'd at a lot of schools because of dings it had on it. But not at all schools. And not at all the good ones.
     
  12. notgettingin

    notgettingin 2+ Year Member

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    Dec 8, 2006
    New York
    Hi there! I easily had over 10 W's and a GPA one semester that was a 1.18. Obviously, that is terrible. Graduated undergrad with a 2.75, although I did have a strong upward trend my last few years.

    I then did the post-bacc thing and got a second degree in bio 3.94. Have been accepted to an MD school. 31 MCAT- not as high as your's.

    I addressed the weaknesses in my personal statement- I was very upfront that I was young and immature, and then made sure to highlight how I have changed. I also had VERY strong letters of recommendation (one of my interviewers read portions of my letters to me :D )- 5 total: sent in 2 professional letters from employers, 1 from a high profile volunteer group I worked with, 1 from the head of the department that I did research at, in addition to a pre-med committee letter. I honestly think these letters made the difference.

    Despite applying late, I had 7 interviews. So I would say to apply to a LOT of schools- I applied to 25. But forget about the top tier schools- realistically 10 of the schools I applied to I really had no shot of getting an interview at. Good luck to you!
     
  13. twohearted

    twohearted The whistle go . . . 2+ Year Member

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    Oct 26, 2006
    In this case I don't think it will be a red flag. Four years of well above average applicant and matriculant grades will show adcoms that you can handle med school and that there is nothing to worry about. The problem however, is that there are other applicants competing for your spot who don't have poor freshman grades. They will probably be more likely to get the seat. So it isn't a red flag issue (where they have something to worry about.) You have a very unique situation however, in that you have shown for the past four years that you can handle tough sciences (with greater aptitude than most as shown by your string of A's.) Apply broadly and you should be fine.
     
  14. NervousNed

    NervousNed 2+ Year Member

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    Oct 12, 2006
    wow did you get accepted to UCSF?
     
  15. BlackJ

    BlackJ

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    Apr 26, 2007
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