Aug 2, 2016
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Hi I will be 25-26 when I apply to medical school, I'm 24 now. When I was 18 I got into an altercation with my older sister which, although it did not result in injury to either her or I, did result in my being charged with a misdemeanor (menacing 2nd degree) for making an offhand comment along the lines of "I'm gonna kill you" while we pushed each other. Though no one got hurt at all, I was still charged. I was able to get the record sealed as a "youthful offender" in new York and have since been a successful student, mother, and member of society. At the time, we were both also under the influence, and I've also been sober for 5 years, doing service work through sponsoring other struggling individuals. I was advised that I legally did not have to disclose this incident because it was sealed, but I don't want to risk a future issue and I think it speaks to my character in overcoming and turning my life around, etc. Provided my grades, test scores, etc all were up to par, do you think I will still have a chance at acceptance despite my criminal past? Btw my sister and I are very close, we are family, we just had an argument that went to far. I'm not making excuses, I needed to change and I did.

Also, there were many extenuating circumstances, my entire life is an extenuating circumstance lol. Just some extra info in the briefest manner possible:
Was bounced around from abusive, neglectful Foster home to abusive neglectful bio mother (diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic) etc, until age 6 when adopted.
Attacked by two fellow students at age 14. Students were popular jocks and when I attempted to take a stand, the backlash from almost every person in the school was so unbearable that I basically dropped out in the middle of 9th grade.
Watched boyfriend die from an overdose while desperately attempting CPR at age 15 and then subsequently put until group homes/residential programs untI'll age 18 after running away from home several times.
Then at age 18, the criminal incident with my sisterm, at which time I also took GED test while in jail/juvenile detention for 2 months (for that incident).
At age 19 I stopped using any mind altering substances, as I got in trouble most of the time when I did drink. Began working with local AA programs and have been sponsoring other people as a form of service with.
Also got pregnant at 19 and had police contact only ONE other time, in regard to the charge of Petit larceny, which was eventually dropped completely by the judge, no pleading to anything. The story behind that is I was 5 months pregnant, homeless, and hungry with no money. I stole food from a grocery store and got caught, felt horrible and ashamed, but told everything to the judge honestly and instead of legal action she actually helped me get into some assistance programs (food stamps and housing assistance) which I am so grateful for.
So i have been a single mother, and doing a very good job in my opinion, while also completing an associates degree with honors and now completing bachelor's of science degree. All of this while living WELL below the poverty line and struggling to get away from a very abusive "baby daddy" (broken my nose, cheekbone, etc). I'm still fighting in court to keep him away from our shared child.

I only list those things above because I don't want to only appear as a stupid kid who did something stupid with no explanation behind it. I had a very rough, tumultuous childhood, still the criminal record is not something I take lightly and will never happen again. Plus, while most students have one or two struggles here and there during school, I was dealing with a horribly abusive sociopath, an infant/toddler, trying to find money to get by through odd jobs etc, and still pulling off decent grades. I'm not exceptional on paper, only a 3.4 cumulative right now, but Im still just starting my juniorb year this fall, so I've got some time to raise it.

I guess I'm just wondering if there is anyone with adcomm experience or just general knowledge that may be able to give me some insight/advice about applying to medical school with a criminal history (as stated, even if it won't show up in a background check I still think I should disclose it now instead of four years from now) and if I will immediately be rejected because of it or if I have a fighting chance, all things considered... thanks!
 

Shirafune

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If your cumulative and science GPA is around 3.5 and you get a decent MCAT, you'll be fine to get into medical school. Just make sure you get some clinical exposure and volunteering hours in, however you can. You certainly fit the disadvantaged profile: unstable home and family early in life which would clearly affect childhood education. And you can always explain your trouble with the law, making sure to highlight how you've reformed your character (i.e. "sober for 5 years, doing service work through sponsoring other struggling individuals."

I think the real questions adcoms are going to consider are (1) how severe are the charges really and (2) how has this individual changed for the better, in terms of your service to individuals undergoing similar struggles and for how long have you stayed out of trouble.

Being a mother won't matter to adcoms; it's more or less a question of if you can handle the rigor of medical school while raising children, some of which adcoms can glean from your current story. But it's really a question for yourself.

Hope you continue to thrive and better your life and your family's.
 

gyngyn

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You do not have to reveal juvenile charges on the AMCAS primary.
Some schools do ask for all charges and their disposition in secondaries, though.
 
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Shirafune

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Jan 2, 2014
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You do not have to reveal juvenile charges on the AMCAS primary.
Some schools do ask for all charges and their disposition in secondaries, though.
I believe OP was charged when she was 18 for the fight with the sister.
 

Goro

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Every now and then when people ask about what it takes to get into med school, I mention "having a compelling story".

THIS is a compelling story.

You will need to explain the charges (and own them), and I think your story, and time, will assuage any concerns an Adcom might have.


Hi I will be 25-26 when I apply to medical school, I'm 24 now. When I was 18 I got into an altercation with my older sister which, although it did not result in injury to either her or I, did result in my being charged with a misdemeanor (menacing 2nd degree) for making an offhand comment along the lines of "I'm gonna kill you" while we pushed each other. Though no one got hurt at all, I was still charged. I was able to get the record sealed as a "youthful offender" in new York and have since been a successful student, mother, and member of society. At the time, we were both also under the influence, and I've also been sober for 5 years, doing service work through sponsoring other struggling individuals. I was advised that I legally did not have to disclose this incident because it was sealed, but I don't want to risk a future issue and I think it speaks to my character in overcoming and turning my life around, etc. Provided my grades, test scores, etc all were up to par, do you think I will still have a chance at acceptance despite my criminal past? Btw my sister and I are very close, we are family, we just had an argument that went to far. I'm not making excuses, I needed to change and I did.

Also, there were many extenuating circumstances, my entire life is an extenuating circumstance lol. Just some extra info in the briefest manner possible:
Was bounced around from abusive, neglectful Foster home to abusive neglectful bio mother (diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic) etc, until age 6 when adopted.
Attacked by two fellow students at age 14. Students were popular jocks and when I attempted to take a stand, the backlash from almost every person in the school was so unbearable that I basically dropped out in the middle of 9th grade.
Watched boyfriend die from an overdose while desperately attempting CPR at age 15 and then subsequently put until group homes/residential programs untI'll age 18 after running away from home several times.
Then at age 18, the criminal incident with my sisterm, at which time I also took GED test while in jail/juvenile detention for 2 months (for that incident).
At age 19 I stopped using any mind altering substances, as I got in trouble most of the time when I did drink. Began working with local AA programs and have been sponsoring other people as a form of service with.
Also got pregnant at 19 and had police contact only ONE other time, in regard to the charge of Petit larceny, which was eventually dropped completely by the judge, no pleading to anything. The story behind that is I was 5 months pregnant, homeless, and hungry with no money. I stole food from a grocery store and got caught, felt horrible and ashamed, but told everything to the judge honestly and instead of legal action she actually helped me get into some assistance programs (food stamps and housing assistance) which I am so grateful for.
So i have been a single mother, and doing a very good job in my opinion, while also completing an associates degree with honors and now completing bachelor's of science degree. All of this while living WELL below the poverty line and struggling to get away from a very abusive "baby daddy" (broken my nose, cheekbone, etc). I'm still fighting in court to keep him away from our shared child.

I only list those things above because I don't want to only appear as a stupid kid who did something stupid with no explanation behind it. I had a very rough, tumultuous childhood, still the criminal record is not something I take lightly and will never happen again. Plus, while most students have one or two struggles here and there during school, I was dealing with a horribly abusive sociopath, an infant/toddler, trying to find money to get by through odd jobs etc, and still pulling off decent grades. I'm not exceptional on paper, only a 3.4 cumulative right now, but Im still just starting my juniorb year this fall, so I've got some time to raise it.

I guess I'm just wondering if there is anyone with adcomm experience or just general knowledge that may be able to give me some insight/advice about applying to medical school with a criminal history (as stated, even if it won't show up in a background check I still think I should disclose it now instead of four years from now) and if I will immediately be rejected because of it or if I have a fighting chance, all things considered... thanks!
 

gyngyn

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I believe OP was charged when she was 18 for the fight with the sister.
I see.
Then the question is: what does "sealed" mean?
AMCAS wants misdemeanor convictions. If it's a sealed conviction, that would be worth a call to AMCAS to be sure.
IL and OR have state-specific laws that do not require the reporting of expunged records, NY does not.
 
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gonnif

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I see.
Then the question is: what does "sealed" mean?
AMCAS wants misdemeanor convictions. If it's a sealed conviction, that would be worth a call to AMCAS to be sure.
IL and OR have state-specific laws that do not require the reporting of expunged records.
I am assuming charge led to conviction?

in new york state a sealed youthful offender is legally equivalent to juvenile. Since AMCAS bases their determination on the offense is classified by state, it would not have to be reported on AMCAS.

just to extend this discussion further, while some schools may ask about arrests and convictions on secondary, both on legal basis from a sealed and youth offender status (which flows across state borders mostly but not in all circumstances) and from an implied/inferred process basis (something banned in the centralized service and association cant be imposed by individual members), it is questionable the can do so.

however, that isnt the issue. in the short term, will this showup in the formal criminal background ( probably not) or in any individual search or background that any school may do in addition (possibly yes). in the long term will this have to be revealed in any subsequent step such as licensing in another state. that is more legally problematic but by that point the current OP would be a successful MD/DO and likely be able to pass any character or morals standards as defined by regulation. additionally, it will also be likely 10 years after date of conviction which is a wide spread standard for reporting cut off.

So the competing risks here are reporting it now, risking rejection now based on a criminal conviction versus risk of it coming up later in clinical rotations or in licensing ?

my opinion is that nothing can stop it from coming up later at some point and therefore getting support of schools faculty for that eventuality is important. it also reaches the level of taking the skeletons out of the closet and dancing with them. You will be talking about your story extensively in your application and there is no reason to hide this domestic dispute piece. It will not be the straw that breaks the camel's back. either they will have rejected you already or you will have compelled them to interview you. I would report it .

contact me via PM if you want more advising. you will not be the most extreme case I have had but almost
 

crossled

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Aug 26, 2015
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With God all things are possible. I am sure you can do it, just stick to getting good grades and only take the mcat when you are prepared (do lots of practise tests/questions), dont feel rushed to take it.