jscmd

5+ Year Member
Oct 27, 2012
4
1
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Pre-Medical
So just a little background on my sitch: I graduated from a top 10 school with a 3.81 cGPA in chemistry and scored 524 on the MCAT. I would say I have decent research experience (1500 hrs and 2 pubs in Nature subjournal) and a lot of ECs related to cancer with direct patient interaction (including hospital volunteering, support group, and summer camp). I don't have many special hobbies or anything unique about me. I'm also ORM.

The problem is in freshman year (2014), I was caught smoking a little weed by my RA and my university put me on "residential probation" (basically a big warning) and had me watch some videos on weed education. It's not in my transcript but I know I do have to report it as an institutional action. I'm not going to sugarcoat it when I explain it. I'm just going to be real and say I was young and stupid and don't do things like that anymore.

The question is are my chances for US MD shot to hell now? I'll be applying next cycle (2018) and I don't care about going to a top school. I'd be happy with most US MD schools. Also, what can I do before I apply to show the adcoms that I've grown and changed?
 

ciestar

All grown up! MS4!
5+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2013
6,231
6,914
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Medical Student
OP, I doubt you're toast. Young and stupid is a theme in admissions. You were also a freshman.
 
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Peach Newport

board certified in jewish dermatology
5+ Year Member
Jun 26, 2014
1,007
1,782
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Medical Student
You're fine, but play it smart.

On amcas, you'll have to explain. Do NOT overexplain. 3 sentences tops that say what you did and what you learned. Take responsibility. Describe exactly what happened and let the reader draw their own conclusion.

When it comes up in an interview, talk about what you learned about good judgement, and how the experience and lessons will help you as a doctor (as it relates to judgment and responsibility).

Do NOT:

Minimize what you did. No "it was my first time" shenanigans. You smoker marijuana, you got caught, you learned a lesson.

Whine about peer pressure or your university disciplinary policies.

Blame anyone but yourself.

Get dramatic about it. You did not commit a heinous crime, but you did do something stupid.

Try to appeal to te reader's emotions or try to manipulate them in any way.

Also, no, this won't help you "relate to drug using patients."

Finally, I shouldn't have to explain this, but unless you have a well-documented post-institutional action history of finding Jesus and spreading the good word about the evils of the devil's lettuce, you should probably not waste your time and money applying to schools with religious affiliations. Loma Linda and Campbell (DO) are non-starters for you.
 
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jscmd

5+ Year Member
Oct 27, 2012
4
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Yup! I think that's exactly how I'll approach it. I'll take full responsibility and won't try to explain my mindset or stupidity at the time.

By the time I apply, it'll have been 4 years since the incident. I really hope that's enough time to show that I was indeed young and stupid. I'm thinking about volunteering at an addiction clinic this year to try to make up for it (even though it's been a while since the incident).

It's just scary when I scroll through SDN on these topics and people say things like "medicine is an ultracompetitive field, any adcom can afford to do without an app with an IA, no matter how good the stats are."
 
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Peach Newport

board certified in jewish dermatology
5+ Year Member
Jun 26, 2014
1,007
1,782
Status
Medical Student
Yup! I think that's exactly how I'll approach it. I'll take full responsibility and won't try to explain my mindset or stupidity at the time.

By the time I apply, it'll have been 4 years since the incident. I really hope that's enough time to show that I was indeed young and stupid. I'm thinking about volunteering at an addiction clinic this year to try to make up for it (even though it's been a while since the incident).

It's just scary when I scroll through SDN on these topics and people say things like "medicine is an ultracompetitive field, any adcom can afford to do without an app with an IA, no matter how good the stats are."
BS. I've known dumber people, with worse stats, who did way worse things, closer to matriculation, than you. The difference is that they knew how to play it, they've demonstrated that they've learned their lesson, and didn't repeat their mistakes.
 
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jscmd

5+ Year Member
Oct 27, 2012
4
1
Status
Pre-Medical
BS. I've known dumber people, with worse stats, who did way worse things, closer to matriculation, than you. The difference is that they knew how to play it, they've demonstrated that they've learned their lesson, and didn't repeat their mistakes.
Hahaha thanks for the kind words. That's a lot of relief on my end. And I definitely haven't been down the road of finding Jesus just yet so I'll hold off on Loma Linda and Campbell LOL.
 

daxlo

2+ Year Member
Jun 28, 2016
130
163
LOL i wouldn't worry about it dude. My friend had the same thing happen to him when he was applying to law school, and he still got multiple acceptances.
 

jm192

10+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2009
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Your stats are good, so how much it will matter--likely not. It can be the sort of thing that is used as a tiebreaker. I would make sure to cast my net plenty wide just to be safe, but I suppose that's good advice for anyone.

People don't view weed as this horrible crime.

I was an RA, we busted some kids for it. I felt terrible told the RA director that we should just handle it in house. He said "nah man, it's just weed. No one really cares about weed. He'll get a slap on the wrist. They'll call his parents, he'll be embarrassed. His dad might kick his a$$ one good time. But the world doesn't really care about weed." And I think that's generally true. A lot of people at least tried a joint when they were younger.

Don't sing that tune. As others have said, own it head on. You messed up, you learned.

How you handle these situations is usually a bigger deal than the situation. Medical schools and residencies in general look to extrapolate on how you behave in a stressful situation.

In general, behave as a well-raised 5 year old. Honesty is the best policy, Apply the Golden rule, and the world will always work itself out for you.
 
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jscmd

5+ Year Member
Oct 27, 2012
4
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Ex
Your stats are good, so how much it will matter--likely not. It can be the sort of thing that is used as a tiebreaker. I would make sure to cast my net plenty wide just to be safe, but I suppose that's good advice for anyone.

People don't view weed as this horrible crime.

I was an RA, we busted some kids for it. I felt terrible told the RA director that we should just handle it in house. He said "nah man, it's just weed. No one really cares about weed. He'll get a slap on the wrist. They'll call his parents, he'll be embarrassed. His dad might kick his a$$ one good time. But the world doesn't really care about weed." And I think that's generally true. A lot of people at least tried a joint when they were younger.

Don't sing that tune. As others have said, own it head on. You messed up, you learned.

How you handle these situations is usually a bigger deal than the situation. Medical schools and residencies in general look to extrapolate on how you behave in a stressful situation.

In general, behave as a well-raised 5 year old. Honesty is the best policy, Apply the Golden rule, and the world will always work itself out for you.
Yeah I kinda got that vibe. The assistant dean basically told me "you seem like a good kid. We'll give you a pass this time. We won't even tell your parents about it." I really hope adcoms take the same perspective. But yeah I agree, I'm not totally in the clear. Who knows what each adcom member's stance is on weed and it does affect my chances to some degree (whether a tiebreaker or flat out reject). Thanks for the advice guys!
 
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