semester withdrawal

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.


Full Member
10+ Year Member
Nov 13, 2009
Reaction score
I realize that the question of whether a withdrawal or two will hurt an application has been answered numerous times. However I believe my case is a bit different. After a mediocre performance my first semester in college at a large state school, I entered my second semester and simply could not handle school anymore. I wasn't ready to go to college and wound up withdrawing from all of my classes and participating in an Americorps program. I didn't get involved with drugs or anything like that I simply was feeling extremely unhappy and unfulfilled despite my best efforts to give college a go.
Now several years down the line after returning to college and working hard to become a competitive medical school applicant I'm worried that my complete withdrawal will raise red flags. Can anyone offer any insight into what an adcom would think of my withdrawal? Has anyone gone through something similar? Thanks in advance for your input.

Members don't see this ad.
I think you'll be fine. You recognized the problem, you did the right thing by withdrawing, you spent time in an altruistic activity growing up and finding some motivation. If you were clinically depressed you, hopefully, got professional help. Taking responsibility and problem-solving is what adcomms like to see. They will also expect to see a complete turn-around academically from that time forward. You will have had to redeem the mediocre grades with a lot of As to get yourself into the competitive range. If you slip again, THAT will be the giant red flag. It will also help if your application is strong in all other respects.