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Leave of absence and its consequences

Discussion in 'Emergency Medicine' started by cbass1350, Mar 25, 2007.

  1. cbass1350

    cbass1350 5+ Year Member

    Mar 25, 2007
    Hi everyone

    I'm a new member but I have been following this great forum for a while. Last year (my MS IV year), I had a leave of absence from school due to family problems. After a year of absence, I have come back and will soon finish my rotations.

    My question for those of you who are familiar with the EM admission process is: How severe will the negative implications of my one year leave of absence from medical school be?

    It's common sense that this sort of trend in an application is frowned upon by the admissions committee. I was just wondering if this is one of those 'red flags' that pretty much sends the whole application into the dumpster by most programs.

    Thanks for your help
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  3. Haemr Head

    Haemr Head 7+ Year Member

    Mar 17, 2007
    It's not a bad idea to address it in your personal statement, but this is not viewed as a red flag, unless the leave was spent incarcerated at a county facility.:)
    DynamicMD likes this.
  4. cbass1350

    cbass1350 5+ Year Member

    Mar 25, 2007

    Cool. Thanks a lot for your response :D .
  5. EM_Rebuilder

    EM_Rebuilder Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2006
    I am still very far from being in the decision making position of faculty, however, my opinon would be that if it appears to me you took time off for a legitamate family concern, then I would like you better than the other person that wasnt with mom when she died, or whatever. On the flip side, if you took time because you were stressed with school, then I would be hesitant since EM can be a stressful career where someone needs to handle stress very well....

    But thats just me, and everyone is going to have a slightly different viewpoint (and right now mine doesnt matter). Speciality specifics plays a part as well, but I at least think that the majority of EMers believe family comes first...

    Also, I would agree with pointing it out in the PS. Some places are not going to 'waste' a slot on you to see what the reason is. They would rather hear the bulk of the reason up front, and can bring you in and ask more questions if necessary...
  6. EctopicFetus

    EctopicFetus Keeping it funky enough 10+ Year Member

    May 3, 2004
    Def addresss it up front. Put it in your personal statement, if someone in your family was sick or seomthing like that people will understand. Life happens.

    Also expect to be questioned about this A LOT during your interviews.
  7. trkd

    trkd 10+ Year Member

    Dec 23, 2002
    San Diego
    Agreed. I would have set 2 liner ready to go for every interviewer since they will ask this right up front. If it doesn't sound very tearjerking (my dog died and I went into depression), then I would sauce it up a bit. I know that sounds awful but taking a year off because your brother broke his leg and needed help just won't really be sounding so great. Good luck.
  8. roja

    roja 7+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2003
    NYC--->San Francisco
    I would argue that this doesn't need to go into you PS. There is a part of your ERAS where you will have to adress if you took any LOA during medical school and you put in a couple of sentances explaining it. It will also most likely be adressed in your Dean's Letter.

    Do take what trkd says and have a set two liner ready as it will often be asked. Its not a major deal. You would probably be surprised how many people take them: for family, personal etc reasons.

    Like was said before: its probably not going to even cause a bleeb as long as it wasn't for a year in prison.

    I would say not to put it in your PS because you don't want to make a huge deal out of it eaither. Its mentioned in several places, be prepared to adress it in interviews and move along. You don't want it to overshadow your entire application
    DynamicMD likes this.
  9. Maple

    Maple 7+ Year Member

    Jul 16, 2001

    I agree with Roja. This does not need to be in your PS. I took a leave when I was first accepted for med school. I returned from the year off, did well in school, applied for EM, was fortunate to get plenty of interviews and matched at my top choice. I was asked about my year off at maybe 3-4 interviews out of 17. And those who asked were not at all concerned about it...It was a formality and I was told that to my face as well. if your grades /scores are fine (ie you're not at-risk for being a bum in residency :D ) you don't have to worry at all. Let your application speak for itself. I would be ready with an explanation if asked.
    Good luck.. I think you'll be more then fine!:cool:
  10. MDrugger

    MDrugger MDrugger 5+ Year Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    I took a leave of absence between my 3rd and 4th years of medical school. I decided to move to New Zealand and live there for a year because it was something I just really wanted to do. I guess to explain the background, I was inspired by the people I met when I backpacked around Europe between 1-2 year of medical school. I was the only american with a group of Aussies and Kiwis. Aside from being a great time they had a pespective on life I found very different from the american one. They thought I was nuts to have been in school as long as I had and never traveled or even had a real job. For them living//working in another coutry is pretty much a right of passage. I had thought about doing it before med school just never quite got around to it. So i realized this was going to be my last chance before residency and I took it.

    My advisor told me not to go and warned me that programs might not think as highly of me because of it. I thought he was crazy and that EM of all specialties would embrace my adventerous spirit. Especially since I was an A student with 244 on step 1.

    Well he may have been right. out of 25 program I only got 8 interviews, and while I happily matched into my #1 it was definitely a nervous interview season at times.

    I chose to explain the reasons on my personal statement and was still asked about it at EVERY interview I went on. While no one was outright negative some did seem quite confused that I hadn't done "anything medical" and many tried to tease out in some way if I was "burned out" before I left.

    My advise would be if you feel comfortable that you can right well about what happened/why you took off, do it. Especially, if its something that has changed you in some way in which case the personal statement is the perfect place to express that. Either way I would throw a little wider net and realize that yes some programs are probably going to write you off because of it. But would any place that does that be a place you would want to go to anyway?
  11. turtle md

    turtle md Hardware Included Physician 7+ Year Member

    Jan 22, 2005
    just over there
    I split my 4th year into two, went 1/2 time for the 2 years. The 1st, I went abroad to 5 different countries, doing a medical elective for a month, and then a month of vacation (2 months vacation in New Zealand and Sweden). Then I cam back and finished my required rotations. I addressed the issue in my PS - gave me something cool to talk about. I was asked by EVERY interviewer about my experience. Nothing negative for the interviews I got, but they probably offered b/c they thought it was a good thing. I did not get some offers, and I think it was b/c of my experience. They way I look at it, if they can't handle a resident who has a life and wants to either spend time doing something they want to or need to, then fu(% 'em. I wouldn't fit into their program anyway. I ended up matching at my #1.

    So anyway, address it, but don't apologize for it. Stand strong as to why you needed to do it...
  12. rdg123

    rdg123 2+ Year Member

    Jan 31, 2012
    My brother was diagnosed with Leukemia toward the end of M2 and I took a leave between M2 and M3 to spend time with him. I delayed taking my step 1 during that time. Eventually took it did well and did research for the remainder of the year. How much of a red flag do you think taking the LOA and delaying step 1 would bring up. I am not looking to do anything overly competitive thinking pediatrics at this point. Thanks for your thoughts!
  13. hoot504

    hoot504 PGY-III 7+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    Probably not much of one. Might try asking in the Peds subforum.

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