bugsterizer83

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Sep 2, 2015
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Background -

Started med school but took one year leave of absence for serious health reasons after just a couple days of class (didn't take any exams or anything)
Returned as part-time student the following year (did the part-time tract offered at our school due to on-going health and family reasons). Basically the way it works is your M1 year is taken over 2 years.
Did fine the Fall semester of M1 year 1.
I Failed anatomy class and histology class in Spring semester of M1 (year 1). Passed the make-up histology exam over summer. Failed the make-up anatomy exam.
Because I was part-time M1 anyway, I retook Anatomy during my M1 (year 2) (with the other classes I hadn't taken yet) and passed.
Would say my academic troubles end of first year highly related to medical and family issues on-going at the time.
Subsequently finished M1 and M2 with no academic problems after this
USMLE Step I 225.

U.S. M.D. student - currently M3. Not at Ivy League/top 10 school or anything.
Very well-liked/personable.
Doing well so far on clinical rotations.
Medical/family issues previously stated have been resolved for the past 2.5 years.

What can I do to match in EM? Or do I simply have no shot because of mediocre step I and previously stated red flags?

Thank you for your time.
 
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BoardingDoc

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Your step 1 is fine. It is middle of the road and nothing outstanding, but it certainly isn't an albatross around your neck. The failures in your MS1 year are only marginal red flags if you have a compelling story about your personal issues at that time. If you go through MS3 and MS4 and you get solid clinical grades and good letters, I don't see you having a problem matching into EM. Will you have some issues getting into highly competitive programs? Of course, but again assuming that you do well in your clinical rotations, EM is by no means out of reach.
 
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bugsterizer83

bugsterizer83

huggle buggie
Sep 2, 2015
36
13
Your step 1 is fine. It is middle of the road and nothing outstanding, but it certainly isn't an albatross around your neck. The failures in your MS1 year are only marginal red flags if you have a compelling story about your personal issues at that time. If you go through MS3 and MS4 and you get solid clinical grades and good letters, I don't see you having a problem matching into EM. Will you have some issues getting into highly competitive programs? Of course, but again assuming that you do well in your clinical rotations, EM is by no means out of reach.
Thank you. I know its been a couple months since I posted this, but I since have finished some rotations and had a lot more exposure to EM. At this point I really could not see myself doing anything else/would probably be miserable if I couldn't match EM. That being said, any suggestions on what I can do in ERAS/personal statement/etc to help give myself a better chance? I am hoping those class failures during M1 aren't what keeps me from a shot at EM. Anyway, thank you again all.
 
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The White Coat Investor

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Explain/minimize the red flags as much as possible. The message should be "This is in the past and will never affect anything going forward." That explanation will be good enough for most, but not all.

We had a red flag job applicant once. Had a long argument in the group about the red flag and what it really meant. Ended up not hiring due to it. (It was a much bigger red flag than yours.) So it will affect some people, so apply more broadly than you otherwise would.
 

dchristismi

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On the flip side, we once ran into a (big) red flag job applicant, who had an excellent and well-thought letter of explanation, and took the chance and hired him anyway. Great guy, great doc. Agree with the others, that you need a rock solid explanation, and to apply broadly.
 

Vandalia

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I like things that make sense.

If you can give me a convincing explanation for something that is "out of character" in your application I will generally buy it. For example, if you have a poor Step 1 and the rest of your application is excellent, and you tell me that you had a car accident on the way to the test, fractured both arms, and had to type the answer in with your nose, then that one "red flag" will not bother me.

The key word, however, is one. If there is more than one "red flag", then I will think this is a trend that I do need to worry about. For example, if you tell me that you had a personality conflict in one rotation that resulted in a (relatively) poor grade (and if I even cared about such things) then I might buy that. If you claim multiple personality conflicts, then I will think the problem is with you.

Also, if you follow college football, you will know that a loss in September is not nearly as bad as a loss in November. The same thing with a residency (or even attending) application. So you had a tough time adjusting to MS 1? Who cares? Many excellent physicians did. That wouldn't necessarily bother me. Now if you have a problem as an MS4, then that worries me.

So this one thing wouldn't cause me to categorically exclude you. However, keep in mind that you have already used your one potential "mulligan."
 
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bugsterizer83

bugsterizer83

huggle buggie
Sep 2, 2015
36
13
I like things that make sense.

If you can give me a convincing explanation for something that is "out of character" in your application I will generally buy it. For example, if you have a poor Step 1 and the rest of your application is excellent, and you tell me that you had a car accident on the way to the test, fractured both arms, and had to type the answer in with your nose, then that one "red flag" will not bother me.
Thanks for your responses. I am wondering where I should address the issue about my M1 class failures... do I address it in my personal statement? Or do I wait to be asked about it in interviews? Etc.

I am also worried because though our school does have an EM elective, it does NOT have an EM residency program, hence no program director here at this school who can make calls on my behalf.
 
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bugsterizer83

bugsterizer83

huggle buggie
Sep 2, 2015
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13
Take step 2 early, do 2 aways, bust your a$$ for great SLOEs, then apply broadly including programs in less desirable locations.

If you do the above you should have no trouble getting plenty of interviews.
I plan to apply to as many as possible. Our M3 year ends sometime in June. Should I aim to do those EM away rotations starting in July?
 

alpinism

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The earlier the better.

Try to do your home EM rotation 1st though.

Home in July then aways in August/September if possible.
 

HooliganSnail

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Be very honest, that is all I can say.

That being said, I hate red flags. The problem with med students with red flags is they become residents with red flags.

That being said, your's was academic while dealing with personal issues. A professionalism issue or character issue is a killer in my book.

These are potentially forgivable offenses.

I agree with White Coat, you need to explain clearly and logically how and why everything that happened is behind you, and how it made you stronger person because you went through it.

Good Luck
 

JBOB

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Be very honest, that is all I can say.

That being said, I hate red flags. The problem with med students with red flags is they become residents with red flags.

That being said, your's was academic while dealing with personal issues. A professionalism issue or character issue is a killer in my book.

These are potentially forgivable offenses.

I agree with White Coat, you need to explain clearly and logically how and why everything that happened is behind you, and how it made you stronger person because you went through it.

Good Luck
Would you mind giving an example of something that you would think of as a professionalism or character issue red flag?
 

HooliganSnail

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Exactly! Assault charges, cheating, drunken disorderly.

Other more subtle ones, rumors that you "gun people down" to make yourself look good, not getting along with nurses (huge mistake)

.....Something that says " I have a character issue"
 
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bugsterizer83

bugsterizer83

huggle buggie
Sep 2, 2015
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The earlier the better.

Try to do your home EM rotation 1st though.

Home in July then aways in August/September if possible.
was planning on doing home EM then 2 aways, one right after the other. Really dont know where I should do them
 

FoughtFyr

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Thanks for your responses. I am wondering where I should address the issue about my M1 class failures... do I address it in my personal statement? Or do I wait to be asked about it in interviews? Etc.

I am also worried because though our school does have an EM elective, it does NOT have an EM residency program, hence no program director here at this school who can make calls on my behalf.
Join EMRA. Get a virtual advisor. Mine was the sitting president of ACEP. It kind of helped {Sarcasm - it really f'ing helped!)
 
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