Medical Should I decline an acceptance contingent on permission to defer matriculation?

Status
Not open for further replies.

TheBoneDoctah

Full Member
Volunteer Staff
10+ Year Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2013
Messages
12,147
Reaction score
8,058
I won't get into the background, but basically, I just interviewed with a program that I thought I would like, but my interview experience made me dislike it very much. However, were I to be offered an acceptance (very much hypothetical), I would still be willing to attend IF the program allows me to defer my matriculation by 1 year. If they don't allow this, I would turn down my hypothetical offer of acceptance.

So, my question is, should I withdraw my application now, before a final decision is rendered? Or should I wait to see if I receive an offer of acceptance, and then only decline if they cannot grant me permission to defer matriculation? For context, I currently have no other acceptances.
Are you deferring matriculation at other programs too?

Do you want to go to medical school? If so, the answer is easy since you don't have any other acceptances. No, don't withdraw.

Members don't see this ad.
 
No, I would not defer at other programs. And that doesn’t answer my question. If I cannot defer my matriculation (I know that’s a lot to ask of a program), then I will decline my hypothetical acceptance. My question is whether I should withdraw now, before a decision is rendered, or if I should wait to see if I will be allowed to defer. Ostensibly, the latter works in my favor, but I’m afraid that declining an acceptance offer could negatively impact my chances at other schools in future cycles, if I am forced to reapply.
I understand the question and my answer is still the same. You have zero acceptances at this point, so why would you take away your one chance (pending them deferring).
My apologies, I misinterpreted your initial response. The only reason I would consider withdrawing now is to avoid potentially having to decline an offer of acceptance. I was under the impression that declining an offer could severely impact one’s chances of acceptance to other schools in future cycles.
 
Honestly I think you're overthinking this. If this winds up being your only acceptance, I don't care how much you don't "love it," you need to accept it and matriculate. Not everyone gets to go to their dream school.

Don't even bother with your idea of trying to defer for a year. No school would allow you to defer so you can apply again and try to get into a "better" school.
 
The single biggest mistake any pre-med can make is to turn down an acceptance when it's their only one.

I don't understand why your mental health would suffer at this school, but not at any other?

No matter where you go, get your mental health issues taken care of first. Medical school is a furnace, and I've seen it break even healthy students. The #1 reason my school loses students to withdrawal, dismissal or LOA is to unresolved mental health issues.

Normally, I advise people that the stigma against reapplicants is mostly SDN hype. But if you're T5 caliber, then in a second cycle, other schools will wonder why you didn't get in the first time.
 
Members don't see this ad :)
I believe you’ve misunderstood my situation. If I were to be accepted, I would ask for a 1-year deferral with the intention of attending this school the following year. I would not apply to other schools if this deferral were granted.

Also, this isn’t about getting into a more prestigious program. Actually, this school is widely considered to be a “T5” program. However, due to a personal situation of mine, I don’t think my mental/emotional health would fare well if I were to attend this specific program this cycle. However, a 1-year deferral would give enough time that this situation would not be nearly as much of an issue.

Essentially, what I want to know is whether or not declining an acceptance offer would severely affect my chances at other schools in a future cycle.
Yeah I agree with @Goro . Mental health is important, but I find it hard to believe that you got such a strong feeling of the program that you know you would need a year to prepare for this program rather than any other program. Furthermore, you have 8 months before you would start school--can't you start working on your mental health now, and then if it's still an issue when you receive your acceptances you could request a deferral?

I would not withdraw. If you get an acceptance and you feel your mental health requires a deferral, ask for it. If they don't allow you to defer (which I honestly would be surprised if they wouldn't allow you to defer for a health reason)... then I would just attend, and take an LOA if you do run into mental health problems.
 
Understood, and thank you for your input.
Here's the thing. Med school is difficult and stressful...period.

Is a Top X school "harder" or "more stressful" than a mid or low tier program? Maybe...maybe not.

The thing is, nobody can actually honestly and truthfully answer that question, because nobody has attended, and completed, both a Top X school and a lower ranked school. So, obviously, the Hopkins and HMS and Columbia and NW and Stanford kids are going to say their school was "tougher", because they had to work harder to get in than someone who went to a low-tier school. But that's just observer bias (among roughly a dozen other kinds of bias).

It's not unreasonable to think that the lower ranked schools are actually "harder" because of the more limited resources at a place like...let's say Downstate, since I'm a Downstate grad and proud of it...which, outside of decent pre-clinical teaching and excellent clinical opportunities, is lacking in a lot of the extras that the Top X places have. So you have to make your own magic.

But in the end, we all take the same NBMEs and USMLEs and go through the same Match process.

This is a long way of saying that, if you have mental health (or any other) issues that are going to limit your success at Top X school, it's likely that they will limit your success similarly, or even more, at another school. So get that under control before matriculating anywhere.
 
Thank you for your input, but I feel I should clarify something, since it seems many of those who responded may have an inaccurate impression of what I meant when I said that I'm not sure how my mental health would fare at this program in particular. By that, I meant that attending this program at this point in time would necessitate that I move far away from my spouse, on whom I greatly rely for emotional support. At this point in time, I do not feel that I have any issues that need to be addressed. However, I'm afraid that this separation, coupled with the stresses of medical school, may put me in a bad place (not to mention the stress it would put on my spouse and our marriage, which will still be very new at the time of my matriculation). I'm not sure that this will happen, but I feel it is a very real possibility.

I was trying to maintain anonymity by not specifying this, but in hindsight, I probably should have shared this at the beginning, as it isn't really something which could be used to identify me. My apologies for the confusion.
Funny...I assumed that the "mental health" issue was that your ex was going to be an M4 at that school next year do by deferring for a year you could skip that drama.

I'll be honest, my first year of med school would have gone much more smoothly WITHOUT my spouse around to remind me about all the cool things I was missing and making her miss because I was in school.

1 year is nothing. If you get accepted, matriculate and don't look back.

Or don't matriculate, and enjoy whatever non-medicine career you choose to pursue as a backup.
Well, it would actually be 2-2.5 years of separation. I think I can handle a year (hence, why a 1-year deferral would suffice), but I question how well I/we could deal with two or two and a half years. Still, thanks for your perspective.
 
Thank you for your input, but I feel I should clarify something, since it seems many of those who responded may have an inaccurate impression of what I meant when I said that I'm not sure how my mental health would fare at this program in particular. By that, I meant that attending this program at this point in time would necessitate that I move far away from my spouse, on whom I greatly rely for emotional support. At this point in time, I do not feel that I have any issues that need to be addressed. However, I'm afraid that this separation, coupled with the stresses of medical school, may put me in a bad place (not to mention the stress it would put on my spouse and our marriage, which will still be very new at the time of my matriculation). I'm not sure that this will happen, but I feel it is a very real possibility.
Yeesh, that’s a totally different ballgame.

Every couple is different, some can handle long distance and some can’t. Only you can make that determination. You need to discuss this directly with your spouse, not us. And you need to be honest with each other, no putting on a brave face because Med school is awesome rah rah rah. If this isn’t going to work for you guys, figure it out now before you matriculate at this program.

Still think you should likely wait for an acceptance decision and then see if you can defer. If the answer is no, and you guys don’t think you can handle long distance that long, you can decline. This is a reason for turning down an acceptance that I think you can easily explain if you wind up having to reapply.
 
Thank you for the advice. I have discussed this with my spouse, and while they will support me in whatever I do, I don’t want to put them and myself through that separation. I will likely end up doing as you’ve suggested here.

Yes, I will have to move away if I were accepted to other schools, but the distance would be much more manageable and would allow for biweekly or at least monthly visits. This school to which I was invited to interview is much farther away and would not allow for these kinds of visits. I realize now I probably shouldn’t have applied there to begin with, but live and learn, I guess.

Understandable.
 
Have to ask, why did you apply to this school knowing that attending would cause the separation?
And what would deferring for a year do? Allow your spouse time to find a job in the area when you're at school?
Honestly, it was a mistake. I guess my desire to get into a medical school blinded me to the consequences of attending a school that is so far away, but now those consequences are becoming more easily imaginable and real. Additionally, I applied to a broad range of schools, many of which are less competitive and closer to my spouse than is the school that inspired this post. I never would have guessed that I may end up in a situation where my only acceptance is to a T5 program. Ultimately, however, it was simply a mistake on my part.

And my spouse has a commitment that will require them to stay where they are for 2-2.5 years after I would matriculate. Deferring 1 year will reduce the time for which we are separated to just 1-1.5 years. Although this still wouldn’t be pleasant, I think we could make it through 1-1.5 years of separation without too much trouble.
 
And this is why questions that begin with "I won't get into the details here" routinely wind up with useless answers.

Give the details to get the answer you need.

I'm going to go back to what Spurs said earlier. You're both overthinking this and putting the cart before the horse. The likelihood of you (or anyone) getting an acceptance only to (let's just say) Hopkins, and not your state school, is highly unlikely.
 
And this is why questions that begin with "I won't get into the details here" routinely wind up with useless answers.

Give the details to get the answer you need.

I'm going to go back to what Spurs said earlier. You're both overthinking this and putting the cart before the horse. The likelihood of you (or anyone) getting an acceptance only to (let's just say) Hopkins, and not your state school, is highly unlikely.

Agree. No use getting worked about about something at this point. More then likely you will get more offers if you at T5 caliber and you won’t have to worry about this decision.
 
One other point, absolutely do not do this when you go into NRMP for a residency match. The algorithm always favors more matches than ideal matches. Only apply to places that you fully intend on matriculating and if the circumstances are bad, do not rank the program at all.
 
One other point, absolutely do not do this when you go into NRMP for a residency match. The algorithm always favors more matches than ideal matches. Only apply to places that you fully intend on matriculating and if the circumstances are bad, do not rank the program at all.
Sound advice here.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top