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Ok so this post is about the dreaded IA box and my personal situation.

Backstory: As a freshman I got in a fistfight while drunk at a party. It was a mistake as so many of us make lol. No charges were pressed from a legal standpoint but the university was more stringent and I was suspended. A few weeks later I withdrew and never went back. I attended a different university when I was more mature and did well and had no issues. This issue happened now 6 years ago and I am applying next cycle (Spring 2021) with a 3.67 GPA and a 511 MCAT score and really good EC’s (2000+ vol. hours) and my LOR are strong and don't mention the incident.

2 part question:
For the adcoms...is this insurmountable? I plan to click the dreaded IA box, own up to my mistake, and pray someone out there is feeling forgiving enough to see the rest of my application reflects I am a good person who learned from this. However, It's an issue involving violence so I'm worried there won't be a full look given to my application and I'm sunk before even getting a chance.

For the students...any success stories of overcoming your transgressions and still making it to the promised land? Any IA issue experiences would be helpful even if it was for academic issues. Also valuable would be if you owned your mistake and it totally backfired and you were blackballed (i'm sorry for you if this is the case)


A much darker take...I could not click the box...My official transcript from the 1st school says nothing of the issues and only says withdrawn. The new school/LOR have no knowledge of the issue so it wouldn't come up there. Before you rub your morality in my face, remember this is not my plan, but how could the thought not enter my mind?
 
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viralhiker

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Can't be much help here except to address your last point. Imagine submitting your app without disclosing your IA. Fast forward, you've been accepted and now you're living the good life as an M2, planning your clerkship electives and repeatedly smashing that Anki space bar.

Then BOOM. Someone finds out you were suspended from your first undergraduate institution for fighting while intoxicated. There's a hearing, and the powers-that-be determine you willfully lied on your application, culminating in your dismissal from the program. Tens of thousands of dollars wasted and your career aspirations are shot.

Even if that doesn't happen, I would hate to live for years with the thought of that potentially happening hanging over me. I say disclose it and own it. It's been years and you've likely matured greatly, allowing you to reflect on the changes you made for yourself.
 
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Can't be much help here except to address your last point. Imagine submitting your app without disclosing your IA. Fast forward, you've been accepted and now you're living the good life as an M2, planning your clerkship electives and repeatedly smashing that Anki space bar.

Then BOOM. Someone finds out you were suspended from your first undergraduate institution for fighting while intoxicated. There's a hearing, and the powers-that-be determine you willfully lied on your application, culminating in your dismissal from the program. Tens of thousands of dollars wasted and your career aspirations are shot.

Even if that doesn't happen, I would hate to live for years with the thought of that potentially happening hanging over me. I say disclose it and own it. It's been years and you've likely matured greatly, allowing you to reflect on the changes you made for yourself.

Thats my plan and im with you on the guilt factor/worry. Mostly just thinking out loud
 
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OP, there are Adcom members who believe in redemption. What positions of responsibility have you had in the past six years? How have you redeemed yourself?

@LunaOri
@gyngyn
@LizzyM
@Maimonides1
@Mr.Smile12
@lord999
@Moko
@Faha
@Catalystik
@Doctor-S

What say my wise colleagues?
First thanks for tagging some colleagues, any opinions are helpful!

As for redemption I went to a therapist right after the events for about a year and worked with them on anger control. It was a wake up call to pull my head out of my ass for sure and I took an EMT class to force myself to stay productive and make positive steps. Once back in school, i was a volunteer EMT and volunteer chem tutor (gen chem & orgo) through undergrad.

In terms of responsibility positions, probably the most notable is that I was a captain at the EMS service (people management, logistics, etc) after i graduated and I currently work in an ER as a tech. Both obviously put me in a position requiring a stand up individual.

I definitely feel like my application reflects the mistake I made is out of character, as long as I get far enough for someone to listen!
 
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LizzyM

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If you have not yet applied through AMCAS, I would strongly urge you to wait until next year. If you apply now in mid-October, you may well think that you get snubbed due to the IA when, in fact, the problem will be submitting too late.

The keys to success here will be to target your application to schools where you have a fighting chance (pardon the unintentional pun) and not going into this with one hand tied behind your back by applying too late.
 
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If you have not yet applied through AMCAS, I would strongly urge you to wait until next year. If you apply now in mid-October, you may well think that you get snubbed due to the IA when, in fact, the problem will be submitting too late.

The keys to success here will be to target your application to schools where you have a fighting chance (pardon the unintentional pun) and not going into this with one hand tied behind your back by applying too late.
I'm sorry, I should have been more specific. I am planning my application to apply next year when it opens! I definitely plan on having it my application submitted ASAP once it is available
 
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KnightDoc

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I'm sorry, I should have been more specific. I am planning my application to apply next year when it opens! I definitely plan on having it my application submitted ASAP once it is available
Actually, you were specific! :cool: You said you were applying this cycle. You might want to edit your OP!!
 
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I do not believe it will be an issue at most schools. I know of several college fraternities where half the members could not apply to graduate school if schools were very stringent about this.
 
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Fighting is one problem, drinking underage is another, and both are not easy IA's especially with the proximate withdrawal as being implied disciplinary even if voluntary. Hopefully you have a completely clean record, but if not, it is going to be a tossup. And if your university was stringent, plan on them submitting the IA so no checking it is not an option. (Also, if you lied and left out a university that you had no grades for, let's just leave it at that the US Department of Education NSLDS is checked by most universities through AMCAS and getting caught that way is an immediate AMCAS LIP service report).
 
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Fighting is one problem, drinking underage is another, and both are not easy IA's especially with the proximate withdrawal as being implied disciplinary even if voluntary. Hopefully you have a completely clean record, but if not, it is going to be a tossup. And if your university was stringent, plan on them submitting the IA so no checking it is not an option. (Also, if you lied and left out a university that you had no grades for, let's just leave it at that the US Department of Education NSLDS is checked by most universities through AMCAS and getting caught that way is an immediate AMCAS LIP service report).

luckily I do have an otherwise clean record. I am also currently trying to work with the school to get a statement saying that had I chosen to return they would have allowed it and that I met their requirements of the disciplinary action. Not sure that will do much but figured id try and wrap up loose ends. and just to reiterate, I intend to click the yes box and hope i can show it was an isolated incident and ive grown
 
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First thanks for tagging some colleagues, any opinions are helpful!

As for redemption I went to a therapist right after the events for about a year and worked with them on anger control. It was a wake up call to pull my head out of my ass for sure and I took an EMT class to force myself to stay productive and make positive steps. Once back in school, i was a volunteer EMT and volunteer chem tutor (gen chem & orgo) through undergrad.

In terms of responsibility positions, probably the most notable is that I was a captain at the EMS service (people management, logistics, etc) after i graduated and I currently work in an ER as a tech. Both obviously put me in a position requiring a stand up individual.

I definitely feel like my application reflects the mistake I made is out of character, as long as I get far enough for someone to listen!
If you get far enough for someone to listen ... I'll listen in an interview.

I'm much more concerned about who you are now as an aspiring physician. If asked about the IA, be prepared to show that you've developed a series of effective and healthy coping skills since the IA; and you're not going to brawl with a patient who might be doing everything imaginable to push your mental buttons in a high-octane environment, such as a busy emergency room.
 
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I see a couple of areas of concern, that would make me want to take a closer look at the circumstances.
1. You characterize this as “a mistake like so many of us make”. Really? Suspended from college for fighting? “No charges were pressed?” This seems like a pretty serious incident.
2. You left school and did not return. Why did you not return to this school?
3. A year of anger management? Good for you, but again I am concerned that the event may have been more significant than you are letting on.
I would be looking for clues about your character in your application and LOR. I would want to see evidence that you are able to remain calm in challenging circumstances, that you get along well with others, and that you show empathy. Your work with EMS suggests these things, but I would be looking for confirmation.
 
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I don’t like to mislead you.., all IA apps are subject to more intense review automatically.. and the majority of them get tossed away..!
Without knowing further details and see your reports, I advise you to own it, be truthful and get ready to explain your past actions!
We are all willing to give it a second read and listen to you if you can put a strong well timed and convincing application going forward.
 
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I can't believe that a suspension for one drunken fight from years ago would put your chances at risk of not getting considered. As noted previously, be honest with the circumstances and explain why you left the school for another.
 
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I don't have personal experience with IAs, but there have been many threads through the years with misdemeanor DUIs and marijuana charges that still made it to medical school. I'd leave it for the adcoms to comment on, but those offenses seem far more serious to me than an isolated fist fight while intoxicated as a freshman.
 
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readmypostsMD

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Ok so this post is about the dreaded IA box and my personal situation.

Backstory: As a freshman I got in a fistfight while drunk at a party. It was a mistake as so many of us make lol. No charges were pressed from a legal standpoint but the university was more stringent and I was suspended. A few weeks later I withdrew and never went back. I attended a different university when I was more mature and did well and had no issues. This issue happened now 6 years ago and I am applying next cycle (Spring 2021) with a 3.67 GPA and a 511 MCAT score and really good EC’s (2000+ vol. hours) and my LOR are strong and don't mention the incident.

2 part question:
For the adcoms...is this insurmountable? I plan to click the dreaded IA box, own up to my mistake, and pray someone out there is feeling forgiving enough to see the rest of my application reflects I am a good person who learned from this. However, It's an issue involving violence so I'm worried there won't be a full look given to my application and I'm sunk before even getting a chance.

For the students...any success stories of overcoming your transgressions and still making it to the promised land? Any IA issue experiences would be helpful even if it was for academic issues. Also valuable would be if you owned your mistake and it totally backfired and you were blackballed (i'm sorry for you if this is the case)


A much darker take...I could not click the box...My official transcript from the 1st school says nothing of the issues and only says withdrawn. The new school/LOR have no knowledge of the issue so it wouldn't come up there. Before you rub your morality in my face, remember this is not my plan, but how could the thought not enter my mind?

“It was a mistake as so many of us make lol.”

yeah that’s definitely not a mistake many college students make

I wouldn't be surprised if this was more of a red flag than the “typical” IA stories
 
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yeah that’s definitely not a mistake many college students make

I'll step out on a limb here. I know roughly 1/3 of my guy friends have either been in or narrowly avoided physical altercations at bars/parties. It's pretty common around 18-22 year olds and usually provoked by the non-premeds. The IA part is exceedingly rare, the getting suspended by the school and completely withdrawing is unheard of.
 
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I'll step out on a limb here. I know roughly 1/3 of my guy friends have either been in or narrowly avoided physical altercations at bars/parties. It's pretty common around 18-22 year olds and usually provoked by the non-premeds. The IA part is exceedingly rare, the getting suspended by the school and completely withdrawing is unheard of.
Lol what? Provoked by non-premeds? What are you implying by this qualifier?

“Sorry Ms. Adcom, but the business major started it!”
 
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I'll step out on a limb here. I know roughly 1/3 of my guy friends have either been in or narrowly avoided physical altercations at bars/parties. It's pretty common around 18-22 year olds and usually provoked by the non-premeds. The IA part is exceedingly rare, the getting suspended by the school and completely withdrawing is unheard of.
I enjoy the fact that, of your year and a half on this site, this of all things is what has finally compelled you to comment
 
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Maybe it's just me. But I feel like at this point they've invested so much into you. They'd hate to kick you out. Not to say you should lie, but I don't think this would play out.
Actually .... you're right, they do have a lot invested in their students and do hate to have to do this to anyone. The only thing worse would be to have a doctor lie about something years later, have it maybe cost lives or cost an employer or insurance company millions of dollars, and then have it come out that the doctor has been a liar since applying to med school, and the med school found out and didn't kick the person out when they had the chance.

Yeah, schools do hate to make mistakes on who they admit, and to have to pull the plug on a multi-year investment. They also hate to be lied to, love to demonstrate how committed they are to ethics, and love to make examples out of transgressors. Believe it or not, it happens. It's a gamble people with skeletons in their closets make every year. Many get away with it. Some do not. Everyone has to make their own decision on how comfortable they are with the risk, whether they will be able to sleep at night, and whether they are willing to live with the consequences if they are caught.
 
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Maybe it's just me. But I feel like at this point they've invested so much into you. They'd hate to kick you out. Not to say you should lie, but I don't think this would play out.

One thing the schools want to avoid is having to define which application lies are forgivable and which aren't. Once you make such a distinction, you'll have to be ready to defend it in court.

If you are at a state school and you lie on the application, you have received state resources based on false pretenses. States do not take kindly to this, and school admins do not want the state looking at them as poor managers of state funds.

Did you use your admission to access loans? Loans backed by federal programs? Who's the school going to side with? The program they can't exist without or one student?
 
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This is going to be an unpopular opinion I’m sure...
But was there ever a formal written IA against you? If yes, then you definitely need to report it. If not, then my opinion is that no one is ever going to know what happened (it was 6 years ago) because they have no way of ever finding out. There are thousands of applicants to every med school and schools are relying on what you report. This incident is in the distant past and assuming your record since then is unblemished, I see no reason to bring it up.
I highly doubt that not reporting it would hurt your app whereas reporting it would for sure give your app more scrutiny.
 
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Goro

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This is going to be an unpopular opinion I’m sure...
But was there ever a formal written IA against you? If yes, then you definitely need to report it. If not, then my opinion is that no one is ever going to know what happened (it was 6 years ago) because they have no way of ever finding out. There are thousands of applicants to every med school and schools are relying on what you report. This incident is in the distant past and assuming your record since then is unblemished, I see no reason to bring it up.
I highly doubt that not reporting it would hurt your app whereas reporting it would for sure give your app more scrutiny.

Yup, nothing like being dishonest in trying to enter a profession that values honesty and professionalism.

And when OP is asked about why s/he left the original school? Should they lie about that as well??

Just because the transcript says nothing doesn't mean there's a record of it in the Dean's office or the Registrar.
 
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But was there ever a formal written IA against you? If yes, then you definitely need to report it. If not, then my opinion is that no one is ever going to know what happened (it was 6 years ago) because they have no way of ever finding out.
No charges were pressed from a legal standpoint but the university was more stringent and I was suspended.

OP was suspended by the university and transferred to another. There is a record.
 
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KnightDoc

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Not sure why my post was labeled by @Goro as inappropriate.
It’s an opinion which the op asked for.
I'll guess he's saying it's inappropriate to advise applicants to lie, whether or not by omission?

P.S. If a suspension is not an IA, what is? OP was suspended and withdrew. What are the odds there is no record of this???

He might be saying your post was inappropriate because following it is likely to lead to more grief for OP than any level of increased scrutiny possibly could.
 

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Not sure why my post was labeled by @Goro as inappropriate.
It’s an opinion which the op asked for.
If not, then my opinion is that no one is ever going to know what happened (it was 6 years ago) because they have no way of ever finding out.

  • Institutional Action: Medical schools need to know if you were ever the recipient of any institutional action resulting from unacceptable academic performance or a conduct violation, even if such action did not interrupt your enrollment, require you to withdraw, or does not appear on your official transcripts due to institutional policy or personal petition.
 
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I will just say this and leave it:
As a student member of an admissions committee we come across more applications than you can imagine where people are lying or trying to game the system, in numerous ways, from reporting themselves as URM or sending us questionable lot’s, etc. There is no way we can go through each app and fact check every item that the applicant lists. My point is ONLY that If OP has a legit written IA against him, it should be reported. Otherwise, it will probably go undiscovered.
Bash away if you want, but this is my experience.
 
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I will just say this and leave it:
As a student member of an admissions committee we come across more applications than you can imagine where people are lying or trying to game the system, in numerous ways, from reporting themselves as URM or sending us questionable lot’s, etc. There is no way we can go through each app and fact check every item that the applicant lists. My point is ONLY that If OP has a legit written IA against him, it should be reported. Otherwise, it will probably go undiscovered.
Bash away if you want, but this is my experience.
And your school is okay with it?? What's worse, explaining a situation like this and hoping for the best, or omitting it and getting caught, whether because there is a legit written IA, or because his school isn't your school, and a suspension and subsequent withdrawal warrants a closer look, even though your school apparently has no time for that??
 

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Of course we’re not okay with it. You misunderstand.
I’m saying that more obvious transgressions will be scrutinized further. Sometimes they are not so obvious. In this case, if OP did not report it, AND THERE WAS NO OTHER RECORD, we would have no way of knowing. Perhaps it will manifest itself later, but in my experience it does not and will not. This is the question that OP asked in his post and I was simply trying to answer it.

“A much darker take...I could not click the box...My official transcript from the 1st school says nothing of the issues and only says withdrawn. The new school/LOR have no knowledge of the issue so it wouldn't come up there. Before you rub your morality in my face, remember this is not my plan, but how could the thought not enter my mind?”
 
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Of course we’re not okay with it. You misunderstand.
I’m saying that more obvious transgressions will be scrutinized further. Sometimes they are not so obvious. In this case, if OP did not report it, AND THERE WAS NO OTHER RECORD, we would have no way of knowing. Perhaps it will manifest itself later, but in my experience it does not and will not. This is the question that OP asked in his post and I was simply trying to answer it.

“A much darker take...I could not click the box...My official transcript from the 1st school says nothing of the issues and only says withdrawn. The new school/LOR have no knowledge of the issue so it wouldn't come up there. Before you rub your morality in my face, remember this is not my plan, but how could the thought not enter my mind?”
Okay! I don't know OP from a hole in the wall, and maybe he's right, but you'll admit that some people who post here (including me from time to time :)) have no idea what they are talking about. Does it sound right to you that there is no record of a suspension followed by a withdrawal?

A suspension is certainly a formal IA. Most schools are pretty meticulous about documenting formal IAs, because peer institutions rely on the disclosure, and they all have a common interest in not facilitating what OP is asking about doing. The only IA more severe than suspension is expulsion.

So, this is the second most serious in the entire panoply of IAs. If the OP isn't a very well executed troll, do you REALLY think there is no written record of a suspension from college, and that wouldn't be shared with grad schools upon request, and that such a request isn't part of the AMCAS verification process? I'd agree with you if this were underage drinking in the dorm that was let off with a verbal warning and no formal IA, but a suspension and withdrawal? I'd never try it.
 

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I have no idea whether he’s a troll or if he’s lying or whatever. Upon reading the post his question seemed legitimate to me and I was only giving my opinion based upon my experiences. I knew and understood that people would disagree; I have no problem with that. But, I do disagree with my post being labeled as “inappropriate,” because I was trying to give an honest answer and opinion to OP’s post.
As I said in my original post, if there is any kind of written record of the IA it should be reported.
 
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Goro

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I will just say this and leave it:
As a student member of an admissions committee we come across more applications than you can imagine where people are lying or trying to game the system, in numerous ways, from reporting themselves as URM or sending us questionable lot’s, etc. There is no way we can go through each app and fact check every item that the applicant lists. My point is ONLY that If OP has a legit written IA against him, it should be reported. Otherwise, it will probably go undiscovered.
Bash away if you want, but this is my experience.
Schools do due diligence after the fact and so the OP would have their acceptance rescinded, OR, if it's caught even later, get expelled. It's happened.
 

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Schools do due diligence after the fact and so the OP would have their acceptance rescinded, OR, if it's caught even later, get expelled. It's happened.

A very fair point. I doubt that anyone has any hard statistics on this actually happening other than anecdotal evidence.
 
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Yup, nothing like being dishonest in trying to enter a profession that values honesty and professionalism.

And when OP is asked about why s/he left the original school? Should they lie about that as well??

Just because the transcript says nothing doesn't mean there's a record of it in the Dean's office or the Registrar.

I'm just playing devil's advocate here, but wouldn't it be a FERPA violation for the Dean or Registrar to release anything beyond what they are authorized to release (e.g. a transcript)? If you ask for a transcript, and they send additional information, that would seemingly be a basis for a lawsuit, no?
 
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Schools do due diligence after the fact and so the OP would have their acceptance rescinded, OR, if it's caught even later, get expelled. It's happened.

In my Bill Clinton voice: "It depends on what your definition of institutional action is..." I'm just kidding. :)
 

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I'll step out on a limb here. I know roughly 1/3 of my guy friends have either been in or narrowly avoided physical altercations at bars/parties. It's pretty common around 18-22 year olds and usually provoked by the non-premeds. The IA part is exceedingly rare, the getting suspended by the school and completely withdrawing is unheard of.
there have definitely been instances that could have easily gone sideways on me. i remember one specific where i was walking between two bars (post-college) with a friend of mine who is disabled, and some guys started to come up and talk crap to him and take pictures of him. i wasn't having it so we got into an argument while walking - luckily, we arrived at the bar we were going to and my friend and i just walked right in with no altercation. but if that bar had been even an extra block away it could have easily been a fight, and if i had been in college it could easily have been broken up by campus PD and ended up on my record. some people go out looking for trouble. you can usually avoid conflict if your smart, but not always.

testosterone is a hell of a drug

edit: i realize this is totally unhelpful to the OP, my advice is be honest, especially as that is the advice given by faculty representatives here.
 
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KnightDoc

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I'm just playing devil's advocate here, but wouldn't it be a FERPA violation for the Dean or Registrar to release anything beyond what they are authorized to release (e.g. a transcript)? If you ask for a transcript, and they send additional information, that would seemingly be a basis for a lawsuit, no?
I don't think so. I'm pretty sure you give AMCAS permission to ask for and receive all of your information (not just classes taken and grades) as a condition of being allowed to apply.
 

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I'm just playing devil's advocate here, but wouldn't it be a FERPA violation for the Dean or Registrar to release anything beyond what they are authorized to release (e.g. a transcript)? If you ask for a transcript, and they send additional information, that would seemingly be a basis for a lawsuit, no?
No, it's not a FERPA violation.
 
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D

deleted1021996

Tbh my philosophy is just report it because you need to be as honest as possible. During your interview the ADCOM will find it suspicious that you were enrolled in a school for a semester then withdrew. Just explain your IA and show how you've grown since. No one is perfect and I'm sure they'll look past it since a lot of people make mistakes.
 
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Jul 20, 2020
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Have an IA from freshman year and was also worried about how it would affect my app. make things worse I didn't realize my infraction was a reportable one because I'm dumb and so I had to personally email and update all my school as soon as I realized. Cut to now and I am receiving more interviews than I could have asked for. An IA is not the end of the world
 
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xffan624

7+ Year Member
Jan 6, 2013
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Have an IA from freshman year and was also worried about how it would affect my app. make things worse I didn't realize my infraction was a reportable one because I'm dumb and so I had to personally email and update all my school as soon as I realized. Cut to now and I am receiving more interviews than I could have asked for. An IA is not the end of the world

An IA from freshman year that you barely remember vs. one involving a violent act that you are suspended from school for and then withdraw are not equivalent. OTOH, it's been a while for OP and years of good behavior can overcome it.
 
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