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Moral Dilemma

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Morph, Jul 16, 2006.

  1. Morph

    Morph New Member

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    I wonder if you guys can help me out on this one? I have a friend who has just graduated college and now works at a big-name research institution. Her commitment to do research at this university was for two years, even though she said in her cover letter that she might apply this round if she got decent MCAT scores. She took the April 2006 MCAT and got a score that she could apply with. So then she told her boss that she was gonna apply now. But what she didn't expect was her boss telling her that what she was doing (apply now for 2007 but with a deferal until 2008 in mind) was amoral, dishonest, and that she was playing games with the admissions officer. He also said that, "The whole foundatin of going to med school is based on honesty and trust. If you don't have that, maybe you shouldn't pursue medicine." This professor is an MD/PHD, very famous, and is an adcom for one of the top 10 research med schools in the country. So the question is: what should she do? If she decides to apply, then she has to tell her boss, and he definitely won't like it. In case she doesn't get in this year (she doesn't have spectacular stats) and she has to ask him for a letter for the 2008 cycle, he'll write her a bad letter. Also, wouldn't her application be stronger if she waited a year (even though she doesn't want to do that)? She really wanted to apply now and had everything ready until she talked to him. He not only destroyed her confidence but her plans as well. So...what would YOU do?
     
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  3. bbas

    bbas Senior Member
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    I would wait. I don't really see any advantage in applying this cycle, since she's not planning on attending until 2008 anyway. Besides, as you said her application would be stronger next year and the professor sounds like he could be her ticket to acceptance if he is as famous as you say.
     
  4. silkworm

    silkworm Senior Member
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    I was in a similar situation. Before getting my MCAT score, I committed to a two year research position. After I found out I did well on the MCAT, I was tempted to apply that year. Eventually decided not to because, 1) I didn't want to break my promise, especially to a PI who was very kind and helpful to me. 2) I didn't have a good chance that late in the cycle (August MCAT) with my GPA anyway.

    I can empathize with what your friend is feeling. She is doing the right thing to discuss this with the PI, whose reaction I think is a bit too strong.

    My advice is to honor your promises and improve your application for the next cycle. A dream deferred a year is better than leaving a trail of disappointed people.
     
  5. BigKurz

    BigKurz Member
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    How exactly would the friend be breaking the commitment if she were to get the deferral? Are you hypothesizing if she is NOT granted it?
     
  6. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    When one applies in 2006 it is the equivalent of saying "please consider me for admission in 2007". If one applies with the plan to matriculate in 2008 then applying for admission in 2007 is dishonest. If one has a verbal agreement to work for 2 years then the worker (who depends on the employer for a LOR) is being disloyal, as well.

    If she wants to matriculate in 2008 she should submit her AMCAS in June 2007.
     
  7. QuantumMechanic

    QuantumMechanic Avatar=One of the Greats
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    Then why do many med schools grant deferals for "personal reasons" such as travel, fishing, getting over one's alcohol habit while watching vh1 for 5 hours a day, etc? At least this girl has her mind made up about what she wants to do during the year off.
     
  8. Morph

    Morph New Member

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    Is it possible that this professor (also an adcom) will contact other medical schools and tell them of her "amoral" action (including the medical school in which she works at)? After what the professor said, she now hates her job and wants to go to medical school as soon as possible. Do you think her professor would find out if she applies now and not tell him? If she gets in, then she might/might not defer, but if she doesn't then she can keep the job for an extra year and apply again next year. What do you guys think?
     
  9. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    If she knows what she wants to do in the year off, she should do it and apply in 2007.

    If someone is ill (alcoholism is an illness) and asks for a deferral for that reason, it is likely to be granted. Ditto someone who is lucky enough to get a prestigious fellowship that was applied for concurrent with the med school application (Rhodes, etc). Granting a deferral for other reasons is, in essence, an early decision for a subsequent year. If the applicant is so good that the school is very glad to get her and willing to wait a year, then the deferral might be granted. In all likelihood, there may be an excellent waitlist applicant who will be happy to have the spot (if the applicant hadn't applied a year earlier, that waitlister would have gotten the offer letter rather than getting waitlisted). If the school has a very thin waitlist, the school may be hesitant to grant a deferral.

    In terms of scr*wing the head of the lab, burning that bridge is dangerous. Is she going to be able to get days off to interview? The lab director can make things difficult if not impossible. Quitting will be an option but will require an explanation at interviews.

    Unless she asks for a LOR from the lab boss, it is unlikely that he'd bad mouth her to other adcoms (I don't even know who is on an adcom at other schools, it is something that most of us keep private).
     
  10. medrad

    medrad Ubermensch!
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    Why would she apply with deferral in mind? The whole spirit of a deferral is to give you a way out of very trying circumstances, not to allow over anxious premeds a way to map out their future. Her boss seems like a pompous dingus, but if I were in her shoes I would probably heed his advice.
     
  11. medrad

    medrad Ubermensch!
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  12. Dr. Pepper

    Dr. Pepper Duffman in Disguise
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    Even though I think that the professor's reaction was a bit harsh, I think that she should wait and apply during the 2008 cycle.

    While she does claim that she will defer a year even if she is accepted during the 2007 cycle, no one can be sure that she doesn't just go straight to med school and quit her job. Also, it's a bit presumptious to think that the med school she will get into will grant her a deferall (esp. as mentioned by another poster if they have a thin waitlist.)

    If she waits a year, she: a. Doesn't burn a bridge (an important one in this case) b. can possible take MCAT if it isn't decent c. Gains more experience and makes her app stronger d. Commits to her research job like she claimed

    I'm not saying that she is a bad person or anything for wanting to apply during the 2007 cycle, but I think she should just suck it up and wait a year. It will be best for her current job and for her chances of getting into a good med school.

    Anyway, that's just my $0.02.
    -Dr. P.
     
  13. cbennett

    cbennett Membership Revoked
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  14. cbennett

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    Waiting a year for a possible letter of rec seems like a waste. Let this guy act all macho cause hes got more letters behind his name than many have in theirs. But who cares, look at it this way, you will be serving people one more year rather than cleaning up after this bitch and doing other lab rat work. If its bothers her afterwards do probono work for your first year out. Screw this wackjob
     
  15. medrad

    medrad Ubermensch!
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    looks like a self-censorship. Thanks for "thinking about the children" before using such sexually provocative and graphic language.
     
  16. :laugh:
     
  17. Sondra

    Sondra UMC 2010
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    I do feel it is dishonest to apply when you know you are going to defer. I know schools give deferals, but I think they are more for situations that you don't know about when you apply.

    I ask the adcom at my school about deferals, and they said they don't like them but would do it if needed. They said if you know you want to defer, then apply later. And MD\PhD also feels the same way.

    She made a committment to stay in research for two years, and she should honor her it and be responsible for her decisions. It would be a shame if she quit med school midway through (not saying she would).
     
  18. MedStudentWanna

    MedStudentWanna Membership Revoked
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    This may be minor, but it's a pet peeve of mine. Please, before you reply, read the post you're replying to. She won't be "serving people one more year." She wants to defer if accepted, so whether she applies in 2006 or 2007 won't matter since she wants to matriculate in 2008.
     
  19. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    OP- You can ethically apply with an intent to defer only if you mention this in your personal statement. If you wait to bring it up until after an acceptance, it's a lie by omission.
     
  20. Morph

    Morph New Member

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    Well...actually what if she decided after being in the lab for a month that she not only dislikes the people in her lab (especially her professor), but she doesn't like being forced to stay overtime every day and coming in on the weekends as well? And she really wants to go into medical school ASAP (i.e. 2007). So yeah, although her original intent was to enter med school in 2008, she wants to go in 2007. So...how about now?
     
  21. spursss

    spursss Member
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    Not even considering the ethical part of this, if she waits, her application will be stronger because she could have poster abstracts, publications, etc. This could aid her into getting into a better medical school. Don't waste your time applying this year, wait until next year because it sounds like your application will be stronger. This is just common sense, not even dealing with the whole ethical issue.
     
  22. mychelle774

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    A whole year working at a job she hates can't be good either. The situation sucks either way, but if she thinks it's worth it and she can be fairly certain her app is good enough to get her in somewhere this year, I think she should apply and quit her job since she hates it anyway. Talk through the reasons for why she's changed her mind honestly and openly (but don't say "hate"). That's all she can do. Things change all the time in the professional world, and a reasonable person would respect that (dunno about this guy). Adcom's do talk to each other, but if she wasn't shooting for the top ten anyway, I don't think it can hurt her. I wouldn't have asked for a letter from the PI for next year even if I had taken his advice and waited. You don't want LOR writers to ever have thought anything bad about you. To me, doing what's best for you counts the most. Keeping some random big shot happy who may or may not have any sway on your future ranks pretty low. While being fired would be a blemish on her app, I think if her intentions were genuine, she can't really be faulted. If she's accepted, she has one more year to start helping people. If she's not accepted, she has a year to do a job she really does enjoy before reapplying.
     
  23. spursss

    spursss Member
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    If she wants to go to medical school in 2007 then she should go. Her boss is trying to make her stay because it will suck for him to get a new person that he will have to train. He is only thinking of the good for himself. In reality, a good physician should want what is best for everyone. If she hates where she is, and she wants to go to medical school in 2007 then she should go. It is what is best for her, and as a good, famous or whatever this doctor says he is, he should recognize this and wish her the best. I have a feeling that she told your boss about the deferal thing so that he would think she is still going to be around for that next year. If she hates what she is doing, she needs to get the heck out. She needs to do what is best for her. Don't stay in a position because one guy said your are unethical. You have one life to live. Does that physician have to live her life, NO. As future doctors we need to have the fortitude and courage to do what we think and feel is right. For her it sounds like what is right is getting into medical school and getting out of that lab job.

    And to solve the problem about that doctor calling the medical schools and telling them that she is dishonest or whatever, I would tell her not to inform him of where she is getting interviews at.

    Bottom line: Life is too short, live everyday as you want to live. She sounds like a very nice girl. She should not let one person bring her down.
     
  24. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Wanting to go now is fine. Applying to go now is fine. I'm talking about the opposite situation. I'm talking about filling out an application for 2007 admittance while knowing that you're planning on applying for a deferrment, sitting in interviews and not mentioning it, getting an acceptance, then calling up the medical school and saying, "Oh, by the way... I want to defer."

    At that point, she would have two options, tell the truth or lie. Telling the truth ("I never had any intentions on attending. I want to attend in 2008, but thought I'd apply for 2007 and try to defer.") would get her immediately rejected. Lying ("I _really_ thought I'd attend in 2007, but this job is just so important...") is wrong.
     
  25. PMR TX MS

    PMR TX MS Member
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    It's only a moral dilemma if you do not tell everyone involved the situation up front. There are many schools who are OK with deferrals for a year, without question. For may schools and definitely for most of the higher ranked ones, a one year delay is nothing to sweat over. I would say apply, include in your application that a deferral is a possibility, and leave it for discussion during interviews. This way, there is no hiding the truth, but you cover yourself on all ends.

    PM me for more, I went through a similar process.
     
  26. charles82

    charles82 Go ahead- make my day!
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    Hi Everyone,

    I thought this was a polite and respectful thread and was going somewhere with some thoughtful responses and input.

    Here is my opinion based on similar experiences, particularly with PI's.

    There do seem to be some inconsistencies in the story, but that is okay. There is nothing wrong with changing your mind.

    This post is kinda long, just because I want it to be crystal clear.

    Let's start.

    So in terms of breaking her commitment to work two years,

    1) she raised the possibility in her cover letter.

    2) About your two year commitment, I would be very weary telling a PI you plan to work for him two years. That just is not done. Now, if she has received a really formal, stipend, government or competitive award for the position, that is different. I think people start jobs that plan to work long-term (years-life), or perhaps short-term. But stating to a PI as a recent college grad that you plan to work two years, no more, no less, can be a problem.

    3) If she really wants to go to medical school now, here is my advice:
    Go To Medical School Now -:) Do not defer.

    That being the case, one important take-home message I'd give her is this:

    Based on the way this PI acted, I'm gonna be straight up with you: That is NOT a good sign. This person clearly has issues with her (or perhaps Premeds), which likely began before this deferment was mentioned.

    Do NOT ask this PI for a letter. One slight offensive remark about you hidden in a 'decent' to good letter will be well interpreted. I am familiar with some of these 'very famous' PI's.

    It sounds like clearly life circumstances have changed for her

    1) her work situation has become unpleasant, and boss has become a bit hostile towards her

    2) she wants to go to medical school ASAP.

    Therefore, I again recommend she apply now, and enroll in 2007.

    Lastly, there have been several comments about deferring for the sake of strengthening your application. As someone who has gone through the process, I'd like to point out there seems to be a myth out there that simply taking a year off strengthens the application. I do not believe this is true.
    Although it probably depends on the school, in this year off, there is nothing guaranteed that will happen for you (sorry, it sounds like this PI will not give her a publication, especially if he has lots of PhD students, and most especially after his comments, which unfortunately, speak volumes about his opinion of her. Taking a year off to do travel/volunteer/teach is a bit different than working in a lab. So lets be fair about that. And from several of her comments, and those of other posters, it does seem one of the benefits of the year off would be a letter from this PI, which as I've already stated, would likely not be good.


    I would tell her to apply for 2007.

    Good Luck!
     

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