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Do I have a chance?


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buckeyes1577

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Here are some fun factoids about me:

--- During high school, I completed many of my pre reqs at a community college, all A's, blah blah blah

--I'm a sophomore; however, this past summer I figured that since I was doing research over the summer, I could handle a few classes. Wrong. I wound up with a C+ in both orgo lecture and lab because of some mental health issues. My advisor told me to retake them both.

--Those pesky little health issues blew up during this autumn semester and I tried to commit suicide in September. Since I was hospitalized for 2+ weeks, I had to drop two of my classes and managed to convince my advisor I could handle orgo lecture and lab "since I already took them once." Well, as the semester is coming to a close, I have realized that I may/may not end up with B's in both....which is unacceptable, right? Since I already took it once?

I feel like a failure. Since I work in a lab, I can lie to my friends/family and make them think I want to rely on research as a back-up....but I really don't want to. I want to pursue medicine. However, I think I have royally screwed myself over.

I'm willing to buckle down moving forward, but with a current GPA of 3.1 and less than hot performance in chemistry, I'm feeling like a complete loser/failure/pre-med-wanna-be

Help....?
 

moisne

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Those pesky little health issues blew up during this autumn semester and I tried to commit suicide in September. Since I was hospitalized for 2+ weeks, I had to drop two of my classes and managed to convince my advisor I could handle orgo lecture and lab "since I already took them once."
Sounds like you have bigger issues than grades and med school...


GPA of 3.1
Apply DO
 

gossip_girl_xoxo

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A 3.1 is something you can recover from with hard work. Just focus on getting good grades, a good MCAT and good extracurriculars.

Even if you don't get in the first time, you can take a gap year and get a masters or do an SMP.

Don't give up! :clap:
 

NewHorizons

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You can recover from grades with time, but hopefully you look after your own well-being first before considering this journey.
 
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Glazedonutlove

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How are you studying for these classes? agreed with above, you would have a shot at DO schools. Do whatever you need to do--work with a tutor, talk to someone about studying strategies, go to office hours, etc. and ace those finals
 

Bob IV

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Assuming your courseload (hours-wise) remains constant, if you can buckle down and get say, a 3.75 GPA for your next 2.5 years, you'll be looking at a 3.5. This is currently an okay GPA for some MD schools. Should it take longer for your mental health issues to resolve than anticipated, a SMP is another way of demonstrating that you can handle the rigors of medical school.
 

Slave to the Game

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I don't know the reasons for why you attempted suicide, but you shouldn't feel like a loser because you're not currently the ideal pre-medical candidate. I find that way too many people judge the success of their lives on whether they have the nicest job. You should find other things about yourself that you are good at and enjoy, like music, chess, athletics, writing, or any hobby really. Your professional life will have its ups and downs, but you should be able to keep a cool head and be confident in yourself if you can find other things in yourself to appreciate.
 

Krupke

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You shouldn't really have retaken orgo. People get into med school with Cs in orgo. But you have plenty of time to bring it up.

Don't continue with school right now though if your mental health issues are still a problem. Continuing before you're ready will just put you in a bigger hole. You aren't in the worst position right now. Good luck!
 
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thatwouldbeanarchy

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I got a C+ in Orgo 1 and I'll be starting med school in the fall!

Not trying to give you any false hope here. You should definitely work hard to bring up your GPA as much as you can before you apply. My point, though, is that you don't need perfect stats to get accepted. Give yourself whatever time you need to get your mental health in a good place. Then focus on building a strong application. Keep in mind that, although GPA does matter quite a bit, it's not the whole picture. Strong ECs, good MCAT, clear motivation for a career in medicine all make a difference.
 

sliceofbread136

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Be happy you weren't born making pots in peru and go study like a normal person.

You already know the answer to this question
 
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buckeyes1577

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Thanks all for your honest feedback. I have a question about my history with mental health...should this sort of information be disclosed to medical school to explain my performance?
 
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sliceofbread136

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Thanks all for your honest feedback. I have a question about my history with mental health...should this sort of information be disclosed to medical school to explain my performance?

No....
 
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NewHorizons

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Thanks all for your honest feedback. I have a question about my history with mental health...should this sort of information be disclosed to medical school to explain my performance?


I have to agree... you should get whatever help you need to move forward, but it's hard to talk about these types of issues without it coming off as an excuse (which I feel is very unfair but it's how things work).
 

thatwouldbeanarchy

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Thanks all for your honest feedback. I have a question about my history with mental health...should this sort of information be disclosed to medical school to explain my performance?
To the extent that you're comfortable, it's something you could mention in an interview if the interviewer were to say something like, "I notice your GPA has a strong upward trend. What happened in your first few years of school?" I don't think you necessarily need to bring it up first and it's not something you really need to "disclose" ahead of time.

You could also choose to write about your mental health issues in an essay on a secondary application or something like that as an example of how you've overcome adversity. But only if it feels right to you. You want it to be genuine.
 

Dr. Death

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And don't feel bad. All premeds are losers.
 
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Glazedonutlove

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To the extent that you're comfortable, it's something you could mention in an interview if the interviewer were to say something like, "I notice your GPA has a strong upward trend. What happened in your first few years of school?" I don't think you necessarily need to bring it up first and it's not something you really need to "disclose" ahead of time.

You could also choose to write about your mental health issues in an essay on a secondary application or something like that as an example of how you've overcome adversity. But only if it feels right to you. You want it to be genuine.
I wouldn't write about it in essays unless op is a very skilled writer
 
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sliceofbread136

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To the extent that you're comfortable, it's something you could mention in an interview if the interviewer were to say something like, "I notice your GPA has a strong upward trend. What happened in your first few years of school?" I don't think you necessarily need to bring it up first and it's not something you really need to "disclose" ahead of time.

You could also choose to write about your mental health issues in an essay on a secondary application or something like that as an example of how you've overcome adversity. But only if it feels right to you. You want it to be genuine.

No, no, no and no again. There is a HEAVY bias against mental illness among MDs. It would have a high likelihood of hurting and a very very low likelihood of helping.
 
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thatwouldbeanarchy

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No, no, no and no again. There is a HEAVY bias against mental illness among MDs. It would have a high likelihood of hurting and a very very low likelihood of helping.
While it may be a risk, I don't think it makes sense to assume that all adcoms feel a certain way about mental illness. But whatver, I'm not going to argue with you about it.

I think my point stands, though, that OP should be prepared to give SOME explanation for their poor academic performance early on. It's reasonable to expect that even with an upward trend in GPA, schools are going to want to know that OP is self-aware enough to figure out what wasn't working (be it study skills, time management, personal issues, etc.) and make a change.
 
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sliceofbread136

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While it may be a risk, I don't think it makes sense to assume that all adcoms feel a certain way about mental illness. But whatver, I'm not going to argue with you about it.

I think my point stands, though, that OP should be prepared to give SOME explanation for their poor academic performance early on. It's reasonable to expect that even with an upward trend in GPA, schools are going to want to know that OP is self-aware enough to figure out what wasn't working (be it study skills, time management, personal issues, etc.) and make a change.

We aren't assuming all adcoms feel a certain way, we are considering the possible pros and cons, of which there are few and many respectively. Yes an explanation would be called for but the much better option is to pin it on "study skills, time management etc" and cite how you improved.

You don't have to argue with me about it, but you also should not be giving bad advice.
 

Glazedonutlove

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We aren't assuming all adcoms feel a certain way, we are considering the possible pros and cons, of which there are few and many respectively. Yes an explanation would be called for but the much better option is to pin it on "study skills, time management etc" and cite how you improved.

You don't have to argue with me about it, but you also should not be giving bad advice.
if asked directly for an explanation in an interview, that would be a big thing for op to leave out don't you think?
 
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thatwouldbeanarchy

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We aren't assuming all adcoms feel a certain way, we are considering the possible pros and cons, of which there are few and many respectively. Yes an explanation would be called for but the much better option is to pin it on "study skills, time management, personal issues" and cite how you improved.

You don't have to argue with me about it, but you also should not be giving bad advice.
Ah, sorry, I violated some unwritten SDN rule about never mentioning mental illness in an application. I'll be sure never to suggest it again.

As you said, it's a matter of weighing pros and cons. The con, of course, is that someone might negatively judge OP for having a history of mental illness. The pro is that OP gives adcoms a sense of how hard they've worked both personally and academically to get to medical school. The whole point of this process is to show adcoms who you are and what you're passionate about. I don't know OPs story and I agree that this issue would have to be dealt with deftly. But I don't think it has to be an automatic red flag. You don't think physicians struggle with mental illness? Writing or speaking about this thoughtfully and from personal experience could actually reflect positively. I'm not saying OP should definitely go this route but I don't think doing so would necessarily hurt their chances.
 
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sliceofbread136

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if asked directly for an explanation in an interview, that would be a big thing for op to leave out don't you think?

Explain it away with something else. Most adcoms will question your ability to handle medical school and being a doctor in general if you are having mental issues affecting your performance in undergrad. Sure you might have one or two that would be impressed with you overcoming your issues and being successful, but they will be the minority.

I'm not saying I agree with it. In fact I have a family member with a rather serious mental illness in the process of applying to medical school and I think our field's attitude towards mental illness in our collegues creates more problems than it solves. There is a reason we have sky high suicide rates.
 

Glazedonutlove

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Ah, sorry, I violated some unwritten SDN rule about never mentioning mental illness in an application. I'll be sure never to suggest it again.

As you said, it's a matter of weighing pros and cons. The con, of course, is that someone might negatively judge OP for having a history of mental illness. The pro is that OP gives adcoms a sense of how hard they've worked both personally and academically to get to medical school. The whole point of this process is to show adcoms who you are and what you're passionate about. I don't know OPs story and I agree that this issue would have to be dealt with deftly. But I don't think it has to be an automatic red flag. You don't think physicians struggle with mental illness? Writing or speaking about this thoughtfully and from personal experience could actually reflect positively. I'm not saying OP should definitely go this route but I don't think doing so would necessarily hurt their chances.
If there is any reason to suspect that it will affect their ability to handle pressures of med school and beyond, that is a red flag
 
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sliceofbread136

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Ah, sorry, I violated some unwritten SDN rule about never mentioning mental illness in an application. I'll be sure never to suggest it again.

As you said, it's a matter of weighing pros and cons. The con, of course, is that someone might negatively judge OP for having a history of mental illness. The pro is that OP gives adcoms a sense of how hard they've worked both personally and academically to get to medical school. The whole point of this process is to show adcoms who you are and what you're passionate about. I don't know OPs story and I agree that this issue would have to be dealt with deftly. But I don't think it has to be an automatic red flag. You don't think physicians struggle with mental illness? Writing or speaking about this thoughtfully and from personal experience could actually reflect positively. I'm not saying OP should definitely go this route but I don't think doing so would necessarily hurt their chances.

I do think physicians struggle with mental illness, in fact more so than most other professions. The very reason for that is the profession looks down on it. We are getting better but we simply aren't there yet. You paint a pretty picture of how medical school applications are supposed to be, but if we look at this pragmatically it just isn't worth it to mention mental illness. The majority of the time it will be viewed as a negative with adcoms who will feel safer picking the applicant without a history of mental illness.
 

sliceofbread136

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If there is any reason to suspect that it will affect their ability to handle pressures of med school and beyond, that is a red flag

My point is why take that chance. Reading the OPs post again it sounds it was quite serious requiring hospitalization. It would not be hard for an adcom to take that as a bad sign.
 

docycle

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While it may be a risk, I don't think it makes sense to assume that all adcoms feel a certain way about mental illness. But whatver, I'm not going to argue with you about it.

I think my point stands, though, that OP should be prepared to give SOME explanation for their poor academic performance early on. It's reasonable to expect that even with an upward trend in GPA, schools are going to want to know that OP is self-aware enough to figure out what wasn't working (be it study skills, time management, personal issues, etc.) and make a change.

It's seen as a weakness and a potential for inconsistency in the individual's academic future. Person with "mental health issues" vs. one that has no record of such problems (though it's highly likely they could have been wrestling with such issues) -- that's a very simple choice to make, especially with how competitive this process is. Do not ever mention these sorts of things unless you want to create a huge disadvantage for yourself out of thin air.

An explanation may not need to be provided. OP is a sophomore, and therefore has time to fix this. One kind of "eh" semester doesn't really need all that much explaining. A fully withdrawn semester or just straight up gaps in education need to be explained, though.

As far as the question, OP is kind of low even for DO, as of right now (I'm sure this is recoverable). Either way though, OP needs to get a good MCAT score.

Being URM would also be awesome.
 
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moisne

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Never mention you previous suicide attempts or any suicidal idealization - that will destroy your chances at any med school. It's known that the medical profession (especially MD/DO's) have one of the highest suicide rates.

Just say you worked through some "health" (hey,.. mental healthy is still health) issues, and it was a struggle but you were able to overcome it.
 

DoctorDrewOutsidetheLines

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Seriously, don't beat yourself up so much. You're only a sophomore! Get yourself together first, there will be plenty of ups and downs in life. I'd highly suggest not mentioning your mental health trials and tribulations on your applications...but you are not alone. As previously mentioned, this profession has one of the highest rate of suicides, and I'm pretty sure the perfectionist premed attitude probably creates more than a few suicidal attempts each year.

If you're super worried about your GPA, you could always transfer to a school with a direct BA or BS/MD program - so that you'd get into their med school immediately upon graduation.

However, honestly just take things one day at a time, study hard, and raise your GPA. And breathe. Keep breathing.
 

docycle

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Never mention you previous suicide attempts or any suicidal idealization - that will destroy your chances at any med school. It's known that the medical profession (especially MD/DO's) have one of the highest suicide rates.

Plus a billion to this.

Your problems don't make you unique. They make you noncompetitive. Whether or not they're as real or as difficult as the problems that are glorified by adcoms.....frankly, it doesn't matter.

Just say you worked through some "health" (hey,.. mental healthy is still health) issues, and it was a struggle but you were able to overcome it.

I feel like this would incite further probing, at which point OP risks revealing this unfortunate truth or feeling like he/she has to lie. But I honestly think it's probably not something worth explaining. A 3.1 is not so bad it needs explaining. Really.
 

El-Rami

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Isn't it illegal for educational institutions to discriminate against someone based on mental health? It seems that being rejected based solely on a history of depression would be a violation of law. I know it is illegal to discriminate against disabled persons, and mental health can be a disability. Also, would said institution kick a medical student out of their program if it was found out that they were recipients of therapy and medication? This would be a shame, and there are a LOT of medical students that suffer from depression. I'm genuinely curious.

I would have to agree that it is risky and the OP should be careful when disclosing information. I wish you the best of luck.

I feel like this would incite further probing, at which point OP risks revealing this unfortunate truth or feeling like he/she has to lie. But I honestly think it's probably not something worth explaining. A 3.1 is not so bad it needs explaining. Really.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, an individual does not have to disclose their disability. However, they may supply this information if it warrants special accommodations. The OP does not have to explain their medical history to an adcom. Also, there are only certain questions that an adcom (or a job interviewer for that matter) may legally ask an applicant. This should fall within the domain of questions that may not be asked.
 
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Isn't it illegal for educational institutions to discriminate against someone based on mental health? It seems that being rejected based solely on a history of depression would be a violation of law. I know it is illegal to discriminate against disabled persons, and mental health can be a disability. Also, would said institution kick a medical student out of their program if it was found out that they were recipients of therapy and medication? This would be a shame, and there are a LOT of medical students that suffer from depression. I'm genuinely curious.

I would have to agree that it is risky and the OP should be careful when disclosing information. I wish you the best of luck.



According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, an individual does not have to disclose their disability. However, they may supply this information if it warrants special accommodations. The OP does not have to explain their medical history to an adcom. Also, there are only certain questions that an adcom (or a job interviewer for that matter) may legally ask an applicant. This should fall within the domain of questions that may not be asked.
http://www.physicianswithdisabilities.org/2010/08/disabled-medical-student-sues-medical.html?m=1
Here is one case I found in a quick search.

The problem is that if it is a mental illness that prevents you from performing well, you are endangering patients. It's good for schools to have resources to help students manage and work through depression, but if it's at the point that you can't function properly then your patients would be neglected.

Much of the depression in medicine comes from people who werent depressed before entering the medical field. Taking someone who is suicidal and who might not be able to manage depression and throwing them into a situation that makes people suicidal is a recipe for disaster.
 

El-Rami

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http://www.physicianswithdisabilities.org/2010/08/disabled-medical-student-sues-medical.html?m=1
Here is one case I found in a quick search.

The problem is that if it is a mental illness that prevents you from performing well, you are endangering patients. It's good for schools to have resources to help students manage and work through depression, but if it's at the point that you can't function properly then your patients would be neglected.

Much of the depression in medicine comes from people who werent depressed before entering the medical field. Taking someone who is suicidal and who might not be able to manage depression and throwing them into a situation that makes people suicidal is a recipe for disaster.

I can see where you're coming from, but there's a reason why students have the right to take a LOA. Schools must still accommodate a depressed student. Providing counseling services comes to mind. As for your latter statement, medical schools shouldn't know a person is depressed or has a history of suicidal ideation in the first place because it is something they cannot legally ask in an interview.
 

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I can see where you're coming from, but there's a reason why students have the right to take a LOA. Schools must still accommodate a depressed student. Providing counseling services comes to mind. As for your latter statement, medical schools shouldn't know a person is depressed or has a history of suicidal ideation in the first place because it is something they cannot legally ask in an interview.
Well you were talking about the ADA, which would only apply if the school knows about the student's history.

And I second what was said above.
 

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I really feel for you, man. FWIW, I struggled with mental health issues in college and got straight Cs through Orgo, and this cycle I've applied to 20 schools, got 8 IIs and 3 acceptances (still waiting to hear back from others). Feel free to PM me about it. It's definitely doable, and struggling with mental health issues in your late teens/early twenties is common and I don't think it necessarily says anything about your ability to be a doctor in the future.

I would, however, be very cautious in discussing personal mental health issues in a medical school application as it is likely to make adcoms doubt whether or not you'll be able to hack it - even people who have never struggled before will struggle in med school. Tread carefully.
 
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