Aug 2, 2017
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Looking for some advice. I attended one of the big 3 Caribbean medical schools and failed my first semester due to two separate deaths in the family. I had to leave the island twice and by the time I came back, I couldn’t recover my grade and missed passing by a couple points. I was doing really well (top 15% of class) before the incidents so I know doing well in the future will not be an issue. My question is, instead of having this failing grade on my transcript when I apply to residencies in the future, wouldn’t it be better to apply to the two other top 3 schools and begin there fresh instead of repeating at my current school? That way I will have a clean record, since I failed the first semester and don’t need to transfer any grades from my current school. Will I have to include in my residency application that I failed at my 1st school or will they only see my full transcript from the school I graduated from? I know some will say go back to the US and reapply there, but that isn’t an option for me for various reasons and I’m only really looking for advice about what I said above. Thanks for reading!
 

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Ross has a specific "academic leave of absence" policy.

http://medical.rossu.edu/medical-school/documents/AcademicInfoandPolicies.pdf

I'm not sure why students, when undergoing hardships, think they can 'manage' significant life stressors and do fine when these avenues are available to them.

To your point, failing a semester - whatever the reason - requires alternate planning and rearranging, as well as brutal honestly with oneself as to the causes. Running away from a problem, no matter the rationale or justification, is usually never a viable long-term solution.

That's all I have.

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Aug 2, 2017
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Ross has a specific "academic leave of absence" policy.

http://medical.rossu.edu/medical-school/documents/AcademicInfoandPolicies.pdf

I'm not sure why students, when undergoing hardships, think they can 'manage' significant life stressors and do fine when these avenues are available to them.

To your point, failing a semester - whatever the reason - requires alternate planning and rearranging, as well as brutal honestly with oneself as to the causes. Running away from a problem, no matter the rationale or justification, is usually never a viable long-term solution.

That's all I have.

-Skip
Hello, Thanks for the response. When it happened, I was very stressed out and down from what had occurred and thinking back, I should have dealt with it better and sought out help. Its a mistake I have to live with. Do you have any insight on what the best route for me to take now is? I can retake the semester or reapply to the other two big 3 schools and start fresh, is there any reason not to start fresh and that way my blemish of failing a course wouldn't be seen by residencies? Any advice is welcomed, thanks
 
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There is no way to know how future programs - in a blanket, universal way - will look at this issue. Each program may be a little different and, for example, some may think it's a deal-breaker whereas others will say "no big deal" based on your subsequent successes. There's just no way for us to know this at this point. At lot has yet to happen in your life.

However, in my original response I intimated that, if it were up to me and were I in your shoes, personally I would stay at that school and repeat the semester. No one wants to hear excuses, however valid you perceive them to be. What they want to hear is that you own the problem, you didn't run away from it, and you adjusted your strategies in order to succeed. Furthermore, I'm not sure how well you can "hide" this failure these days and, as I've said before in other ways on this forum, some people may consider that lying... and liars always get found out... eventually.

(I want to be clear: I am only suggesting what I would do and what my impressions are... not what you should do. Only you can make that decision based on what you know about yourself coupled with your own self-reflection and personal sense of integrity.)

Good luck.

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Aug 2, 2017
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There is no way to know how future programs - in a blanket, universal way - will look at this issue. Each program may be a little different and, for example, some may think it's a deal-breaker whereas others will say "no big deal" based on your subsequent successes. There's just no way for us to know this at this point. At lot has yet to happen in your life.

However, in my original response I intimated that, if it were up to me and were I in your shoes, personally I would stay at that school and repeat the semester. No one wants to hear excuses, however valid you perceive them to be. What they want to hear is that you own the problem, you didn't run away from it, and you adjusted your strategies in order to succeed. Furthermore, I'm not sure how well you can "hide" this failure these days and, as I've said before in other ways on this forum, some people may consider that lying... and liars always get found out... eventually.

(I want to be clear: I am only suggesting what I would do and what my impressions are... not what you should do. Only you can make that decision based on what you know about yourself coupled with your own self-reflection and personal sense of integrity.)

Good luck.

-Skip
Thank you for the detailed response, I appreciate it. I just have a terrible feeling about starting at a potentially large disadvantage right from the get go, and it really bothered me. Take care.
 
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If you start at a new school, you will need to report both schools on your ERAS application, and release both transcripts. There's no hiding this.
Oh, I wasn't aware that I would need to include both because I hadn't even gone past semester 1 at the first school. Thanks for the response.
 

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If you had deaths in your family, how did you fail the semester and not take a leave of absence?

If you failed the first semester regardless, cut your losses and move on. I don't know many people who failed anatomy and histo or whatever they taught you in your first semester and made it through the rest of the program.
 

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Thank you for the detailed response, I appreciate it. I just have a terrible feeling about starting at a potentially large disadvantage right from the get go, and it really bothered me. Take care.
Dealing with deaths in the family is always difficult, and I went through 1 myself before I started medical school.

However, to the bolded part of your statement... you went to a Carib school. You already started at a large disadvantage right from the get-go in residency application. This failure might have closed more doors, but by no means all doors. Be realistic with yourself and move forward, whatever it maybe.
 
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