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Any former adcoms or docs opinion on depression if its all positive?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by 10Acious, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. 10Acious

    5+ Year Member

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    I'm going to be direct and to the point.
    *First 2 yrs college- depression and eventually several "Medical Withdraw"'s on transcript.
    *2 yrs time off
    *Transfer to different undergrad. since then 3 yrs in near perfect 4.0 science and regular GPA.
    *Overcoming depression= key to what made me want to be a doctor
    *Excellent recommendation from profs; dramatic personal change, very mature and optimistic. No research but excellent ECs
    *Thirtysix MCAT. And now.....
    *Personal statement- Very upbeat (reflective of me) and does mention depression and how I overcame it and why I want to be a doctor.

    In short, is that grounds for being "dismissed" by medical school adcoms?
    I've been advised by some people to remove that information(depression) or make it vague but my essay falls flat and insincere when I do that...

    If you are interested, I can message you my PS.

    Thank you to anyone out there who can help!

    *** Addendum: Yes the GPA is killed a little bit from my first two years beside those ones that I have "W"s for, so I have to account for that...
     
    #1 10Acious, Aug 12, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011
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  3. ppfizenm

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    If it hasn't affected your GPA or anything don't mention it. If the school recognizes it as a medical withdraw you really shouldn't need to explain it unless it kills your GPA. Depression is a medically recognized disease but certain people are prone to it. Why let them think that you are one of those people. It cannot really give you any sort of benefit.
     
  4. macsta

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    I disagree with you. Your personal statement is supposed to be about your journey to this point. If depression has been influential in your road, then talk about it in a positive way. Good luck!
     
  5. ppfizenm

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    It's a double edge sword. It may seem good to some but why take the risk that it won't. And while overcoming depression is a good thing it still holds a negative connotation. What is to stop this from happening in Med School and then having the same medical leave follow.

    I was seriously depressed my freshmen year and it contributed to my lowest gpa (3.2) of my college career but you'll never hear me talk about it in an interview b/c while it can be taken as a positive that isn't guaranteed.
     
  6. drizzt3117

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    From the perspective of someone who read the applications, I think overcoming adversity is actually a strong message to give. Med school isn't a walk in the park, people who've dealt with personal problems before can draw on their experiences while someone who is dealing with adversity for the first time may simply fall apart.
     
  7. ppfizenm

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    I agree but depression usually doesn't strictly occur as an isolated incident. The re-occurrence rates are actually quite high from the literature I can find on a quick google search. There is always the chance that someone who experienced a major episode before will simply fall apart all over again.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying medical should screen these applicants out. Far from it. But I'm not the one who decides. I feel my point of view here is valid. It might be just as helpful somewhere to talk about it as it is detrimental at another school.

    To the OP. Haven't you ever felt yourself slipping back into a bad place again? I know I have but fortunately I know what to look for this time around and when I recognize it I can change my behavior and usually avoid it.
     
  8. gettheleadout

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    And if you're asked what happened that year what are you going to say? Are you going to lie?
     
  9. drizzt3117

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    Depression is also very common. 20% of the overall population has episodes, and something like 50% of medical students have it during med school, therefore, it's not like you're going to surprise anyone by saying you have depression. Treatment of depression is heavily focused on building coping mechanisms, which, if the OP has already done, would be very helpful. I don't view it as a negative at all. Saying you have a vague "medical" problem that caused withdrawals and avoiding the issue altogether IMO is far more suspicious. I'd look on an application more favorably if they were forthright.

     
  10. ILikeDrugs

    ILikeDrugs pre-attending
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    I wouldn't talk about it. Mental disorders still have a huge stigma, even in the medical community, unfortunately.
     
  11. drizzt3117

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    People say that, but I don't think it's true for depression. Yes, I wouldn't advertise bipolar I or schizophrenia or a personality disorder, but garden variety depression is so common that it's not a big deal. If someone asks you about your withdrawals and you give an evasive answer, even if they aren't "allowed" to ask you about it, they'll prolly just assume it's something less benign than depression.
     
  12. ILikeDrugs

    ILikeDrugs pre-attending
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    Taking 2 years off does not even come remotely close to sounding like "garden variety" or "benign" depression. It sounds like it was a major issue to me; so much of an issue that he had to stop attending undergrad. I think the op should replace "depression" in his personal statement with "medical condition". It won't really make a difference, and I think it would be a safer choice even if mental disorders are becoming less stigmatized. You never know when you'll come across that oldschool person who believes that someone with depression is just someone who is weak and doesn't know how to suck it up.
     
  13. ppfizenm

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    I'd just say that "I had a difficult time adjusting to freshman year of school and was more ambitious than I could handle at the time. Swimming on top of a heavy course load just wore me down." They don't need to know the details. Not that they will ask. A 3.2 it a B to B+. if they do I can just point to other semesters after and say I did the same thing here and it wasn't a problem.
     
  14. ppfizenm

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    Spoken like someone who has never been truly depressed.
     
  15. gettheleadout

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    That's not what he meant. It's a big deal to the person going through it, but not to someone judging from the outside, because it occurs fairly commonly in the population.
     
  16. SeminoleVesicle

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    I'd be careful listening to someone with a DUI on their record. Don't voluntarily offer up any information that could potentially be used against you. Let your 36 MCAT do all of the talking.
     
  17. ppfizenm

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    If it's fairly common why talk about it. You are trying to set yourself apart.
     
  18. drizzt3117

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    So someone wouldn't think you're weak for missing two years of school with a unspecified "medical condition"? What kind of medical conditions do you get that would make you withdraw for two years, but you wouldn't explicitly mention on your application? Would you advise them not to put malignancy on their application? That could recur, and they could die during med school or residency. That being said, their experience with cancer likely had some influence of them wanting to be a doctor, no? Same with their depression. Think we'd like to know about that as adcoms?
     
  19. gettheleadout

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    Trying to set yourself apart is not mutually exclusive to telling your story. If everyone only wrote about completely unique aspects of their life, I can imagine most PS's would be rather short.
     

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