The 5 year plan

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zmeister22

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So, ER is what I love, and ER is what I want to do. I really don't want anything to get in the way of that. Unfortunately, some rather unexpected (and unfortunately serious) medical complications have come my way. I am currently a 1st year, BTW. It has gotten to the point of interfering with my academic performance. I have received advice from fellow students and counselors on the 5 year plan. I would rather not take a whole year off to deal with my illness and start again next fall, but would rather take what I can, when I can to stay current. The question is, if there is a legitimate medical reason for not being able to complete the course in 4 years, is that going to look bad for residency applications? The grades that I have so far are at or above average. Thanks!
 

tybalt

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So, ER is what I love, and ER is what I want to do. I really don't want anything to get in the way of that. Unfortunately, some rather unexpected (and unfortunately serious) medical complications have come my way. I am currently a 1st year, BTW. It has gotten to the point of interfering with my academic performance. I have received advice from fellow students and counselors on the 5 year plan. I would rather not take a whole year off to deal with my illness and start again next fall, but would rather take what I can, when I can to stay current. The question is, if there is a legitimate medical reason for not being able to complete the course in 4 years, is that going to look bad for residency applications? The grades that I have so far are at or above average. Thanks!

You always have the opportunity to explain a leave of absence in your PS and interview. And I have to say, any program that doesn't consider health a legitimate reason to delay training is filled with complete hypocrites and doesn't deserve you as a resident. I imagine you will find much more sympathy and empathy on the interview trail than you are fearing.

Best of luck!
 

BKN

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So, ER is what I love, and ER is what I want to do. I really don't want anything to get in the way of that. Unfortunately, some rather unexpected (and unfortunately serious) medical complications have come my way. I am currently a 1st year, BTW. It has gotten to the point of interfering with my academic performance. I have received advice from fellow students and counselors on the 5 year plan. I would rather not take a whole year off to deal with my illness and start again next fall, but would rather take what I can, when I can to stay current. The question is, if there is a legitimate medical reason for not being able to complete the course in 4 years, is that going to look bad for residency applications? The grades that I have so far are at or above average. Thanks!

Of course medical problems are a reason to take longer to complete medical school. I will say, however, that such statements raise the question of substance abuse or academic failure if minimal details of the illness are not provided.
 

EM2BE

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Another thing to consider is the medical condition. If your brain works and you have the energy to keep up, keep doing it. If it causes you to miss a lot of class and study time, take the time off before the grades start dropping. My point is that if you are going to sit at home and do nothing, you might be better off staying in school if you can (also helps keep the mind off what is going on).
 

bartleby

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You are better off taking 5 years and continuing your decent grades than trying to push through in four an bombing out on a class or two. It is easier to just explain why you took the time off in an interview or your personal statement.
 

GoBuckeyes913

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So, ER is what I love, and ER is what I want to do. I really don't want anything to get in the way of that. Unfortunately, some rather unexpected (and unfortunately serious) medical complications have come my way. I am currently a 1st year, BTW. It has gotten to the point of interfering with my academic performance. I have received advice from fellow students and counselors on the 5 year plan. I would rather not take a whole year off to deal with my illness and start again next fall, but would rather take what I can, when I can to stay current. The question is, if there is a legitimate medical reason for not being able to complete the course in 4 years, is that going to look bad for residency applications? The grades that I have so far are at or above average. Thanks!
You need to take care of yourself first. Residencies will understand if it's a legitimate reason (which yours clearly is). :luck:
 

LadyGrey

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Maybe they're not supposed to do this, and maybe one of the elders can say something smarter about it, but I think you'll have to make it very clear that the problem is resolved or at least controlled and that it will absolutely not interfere with residency. It's easier to take a five year plan as a student than as a resident, where your schedule affects everyone else's.
 

college!!

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There is a section in ERAS that explicitly deals with this.

There is a check box "Was your education interrupted?" If you click yes, you are given a text box to explain what happened. It's pretty straight forward and you can explain what you had, and how you're all better now.

Alternatively if you have CF or something that is going to progressively limit your ability to function, maybe med school isn't the way to go.

Good luck!
 

EM2BE

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Maybe they're not supposed to do this, and maybe one of the elders can say something smarter about it, but I think you'll have to make it very clear that the problem is resolved or at least controlled and that it will absolutely not interfere with residency. It's easier to take a five year plan as a student than as a resident, where your schedule affects everyone else's.

I feel this is a very good point. If it will in any way interfere with your ability to work, it will likely be considered a 'red flag.' Not that you can prevent a medical condition and it's processes, but another thing to sincerely consider before acting on decisions. Of course, undiagnosed, you will have no idea, and that's up to you and your position whether a year off is warranted.
 

AmoryBlaine

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I feel this is a very good point. If it will in any way interfere with your ability to work, it will likely be considered a 'red flag.' Not that you can prevent a medical condition and it's processes, but another thing to sincerely consider before acting on decisions. Of course, undiagnosed, you will have no idea, and that's up to you and your position whether a year off is warranted.

I second LadyGrey's point. I'm assuming that you have something physically wrong with you, if that's true you should be fine (all other things being equal).

I'm not saying this is what the OP is doing but I felt like a decent number of students at my school took time off for things like "stress" or "exhaustion." That would be pretty hard to "explain away" IMHO.
 

PokeHer

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I can speak as someone that is on the "5 year plan." My situation is somewhat different in that I took time off for personal reasons rather medical or academic, but can give you my experiences thus far.

Like has already been mentioned, there is a question on the ERAS application regarding if it has taken you longer than expected to complete medical school. There is then a section give you an opportunity to explain why. Be as open as you feel necessary and, above all, be honest. Luckily your situation is medical rather than academic. Regardless, people understand that life doesn't always go as smoothly as we'd like and situations do arise. You're certainly not the only person that has taken longer than the traditional 4 years for medical school. What PDs are interested in is not so much the situation, but how you handled it. They also want to be reassured that it will not be an ongoing issue during residency.

Aside from your application, you need to be prepared to talk about it during your interviews. I've interviewed at 3 programs thus far with many more scheduled and some that I've turned down. As long as you're a strong applicant otherwise, this should have very little impact on your chances. I've had about 15 individual interviews at this point and I've only been asked by one person, a PD, about my situation. The PD was very respectful and wasn't concerned with specifics, but rather how I resolved the situation. It's certainly a valid question, and I honestly expected more people to ask.

I know there is a certain amount of anxiety when you're in this situation. My best advice would be to not be overly concerned with it, but be prepared to talk about your situation and how you handled it. You're not always in control of what happens to you medically. Your grades, board scores, clinical performance, etc. you certainly are and I'd focus your attention on those areas.

As I go through more interviews I'd be happy to post further experiences with people that asked me about this.
 
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