Feb 28, 2015
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I withdrew my freshman year for personal medical reasons and I was told that since it was a retroactive withdrawal that it was not a big deal at all and it would be like I had never started college. They also told me I had to wait a full year to come back which was not true I could have returned the following semester. Now my transcript just says withdrawal for both the autumn and spring semester of my freshman year.

My main question is if I am asked about this in my interviews would it just be possible to state that it was a personal medical situation and not go into detail and also state that due to the medical situation and I needed to take a full-time job in order to cover the medical bills? Will they look deeper into this?

Not trying to sound shady it just involved an eating disorder and I know that there is a huge stigma around them. Also I have been in recovery now for three years so the situation will not happen again.
 

md-2020

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You'll need to explain something like this in detail, unfortunately.

Eating disorders are extremely common, FYI.
 
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gonnif

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Withdrawals are designed for an "external" issues (as opposed to just academic difficulties). Withdrawing for a full year with a well known disorder , followed with several years of success, is not likely to have a major impact on your application. You simply need to write a clear, concise, and coherent short paragraph that will be included in your application. An adcom will likely notice the withdrawal, read the explanation, say "Oh OK," and move on with little notice
 

gonnif

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You do not need to explain the eating disorder. It's no one's business and the med schools would be worried that your issues could resurface.

Honestly, I would just say that I withdrew because I realized that I wasn't ready to begin school yet
However, the eating disorder talks to a specific medical issue that would be more than understood by a culture of physicians. Instead of having the adcom wonder and raise questions why the student withdraw, give them them answer and prevent an unknown from impacting your chances
 

LizzyM

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A withdrawal of a whole year does suggest that there is a story that goes along with it and if you stonewall about the story the interviewer just might think the worst. An eating disorder is far from the worst. Relapse is relatively common in anorexia nervosa (don't know if that was your diagnosis, just sayin') but most often occurs within a year or so. I would not expect an eating disorder to carry the same stigma as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc. A brief paragraph stating that you withdrew on [date] in the fall quarterof to seek intensive treatment for [diagnosis] and were advised to continue the leave through the end of the academic year so you returned in fall of 20__.
 
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OP
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Feb 28, 2015
47
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Pre-Medical
Since I had been in recovery before I started the treatment I do not think I had an active diagnosis of bulimia nervosa. I did however have depression as a symptom of the eating disorder so I don't exactly know what the diagnosis was. So, that may make this situation worse.
 

GrapesofRath

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The timing of this works to your favor in that it happened freshmen year and you have the opportunity for several years of success after it to prove your worth. Who you are as a person now at the time of your application in terms of accomplishments and academic prowess is what probably carries the greatest weight in a situation like this, not what you were as a freshmen years ago with such a condition.

Would ADCOMs advise getting a letter from their physician in this case who examined them stating their condition and when it occured out of curiosity? Or would a simple explanation in the app as described above be enough to suffice? @LizzyM @gonnif
 
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OP
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Feb 28, 2015
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Thank you everyone for your replies I will be talking with my advisor this week so hopefully that will help me prepare as well.
 
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DokterMom

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For a year's withdrawal, some explanation is necessary.
Either you provide it, telling your own story in your own words.
Or you leave it to them to fill in the blanks with their own imaginations.

You want to have your say.
 
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gonnif

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The timing of this works to your favor in that it happened freshmen year and you have the opportunity for several years of success after it to prove your worth. Who you are as a person now at the time of your application in terms of accomplishments and academic prowess is what probably carries the greatest weight in a situation like this, not what you were as a freshmen years ago with such a condition.

Would ADCOMs advise getting a letter from their physician in this case who examined them stating their condition and when it occured out of curiosity? Or would a simple explanation in the app as described above be enough to suffice? @LizzyM @gonnif
I would offer it in an explanation such as "physician letter available upon request" rather than include it
 
OP
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Thanks everyone for your advice. I was nervous about that preventing me from being accepted but I feel that it is in the past and that can be proven so hopefully it isn't lethal to my apps.
 

gonnif

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Thanks everyone for your advice. I was nervous about that preventing me from being accepted but I feel that it is in the past and that can be proven so hopefully it isn't lethal to my apps.
Worrying about a past that is impossible to change is simply a waste of time, effort, and energy. You simply focus on what you are doing now so you do well. That is what is most impressive to an adcom
 
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GrapesofRath

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Thanks everyone for your advice. I was nervous about that preventing me from being accepted but I feel that it is in the past and that can be proven so hopefully it isn't lethal to my apps.
Put it like this if you don't get accepted this cycle it won't be because of the medical condition you had that caused the Ws( unless your explanation you give about it is terrible and shows a lack of perspective and maturity).
 

gonnif

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Worrying about a past that is impossible to change is simply a waste of time, effort, and energy. You simply focus on what you are doing now so you do well. That is what is most impressive to an adcom
Excellent life advice --
Thank The Teacher, Budda, for showing the way
 
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Goro

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OP, I agree 100% with the wise counsel you've been receiving here from my learned colleagues. As an Adcom member, if you're up front with this, you'll be fine. Your app with evidence that you did well in college will speak volumes that you can overcome any difficulty. A Dx of a an eating disorder wouldn't give me pause as would a severe psychiatric disorder does.
 

DokterMom

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A Dx of a an eating disorder wouldn't give me pause as would a severe psychiatric disorder does.
NOT to diminish the seriousness of eating disorders, which have among the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric disorder --

It's that you acknowledged the problem and it's severity, reacted appropriately and responsibly by seeking treatment, followed the advice of your treatment team, then bounced back full and healthy as evidenced by your academic success. That's a story with a strong protagonist and a happy ending. :thumbup:
 

Goro

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Indeed, resilience is a quality highly prized by Adcom members.


NOT to diminish the seriousness of eating disorders, which have among the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric disorder --

It's that you acknowledged the problem and it's severity, reacted appropriately and responsibly by seeking treatment, followed the advice of your treatment team, then bounced back full and healthy as evidenced by your academic success. That's a story with a strong protagonist and a happy ending. :thumbup:
 
May 25, 2015
147
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Most secondaries ask about withdrawals, either directly or as part of the "areas of concern in your record" section. They provide a space to explain, between 128 characters for Stanford, and unlimited for some. Most are 500-1000 characters.

People withdraw for all sorts of reasons, and most of them are understandable. Illness, Death in family, etc. Get a well written explanation and copy/paste it as needed.

Honestly, it sounds like you have a good topic for your "greatest challenge"' prompt.
 
OP
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Feb 28, 2015
47
21
Status
Pre-Medical
The year that I withdrew I spent working full-time in a rehab facility which is why I decided I wanted to become a doctor in the first place so in reality I should just count my blessings. Thank you all for the advice it was definitely heard and very much appreciated.
 
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EvolutionaryRevolutionary

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This thread was so helpful. I too went through this because of a medical illness.
 
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