csx

May 8, 2013
1,075
211
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
If an applicant has a ongoing health condition that is being treated and has had an effect on their GPA/EC's/life in general (but not overtly noticable just by looking at their stats that something was wrong), say...lyme disease, is that something that will be held against the applicant or something that will be held in their favor?? I think you can look at it two ways 1) "wow, even with that condition applicant 'x' still performed very well or 2) "applicant 'x' won't be able to make it through medschool with that condition."
 
Dec 17, 2013
3
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Through my conversations with an Admissions Advisor at a Law School, I've come to understand the counsel views your situation in a holistic manner taking into consideration all circumstances. An ongoing health condition can be viewed in 2 perspectives:

1. Assuming you do rather well in school despite the pressing health condition, it could be viewed as resilience, competency, and dedication. The fact that you were disadvantaged but still able to produce competitive statistics may prove your resolve in this matter and may also be a clear indicator that you are entering this field with genuine reason.

2. Assuming you don't do as well as your colleagues, it may be a little more difficult to explain. They may view this as an issue that affects your performance and deduce that it may be a possibility of hindering your studies in med-school. Of course you will still have a chance to explain yourself and if your circumstances show positive signs, i.e. increased academic performance on a continuum, it could be excusable.

What needs to be understood is that no one is infallible. Everyone has some weakness in their armor and hence some difficulties they face in life. Although these problems may vary as to health, psychological, personal, interpersonal, and social, they all show a common factor: your ability to overcome obstacles.

Identify your issue, problem solve it, take an active approach and work your way around it and when viewed with compassion and in the light of understanding, it could prove to be a strong statement as to why this student would be a great fit to our school.
 
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Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
52,556
76,184
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
We accepted near blind and deaf students, and Gawd knows how many diabetics, transplant recipients or with other chronic illnesses. thus, if you've been able to maintain a solid academic performance, there's no reason why an AdCom would hold that against you.

The only thing that worries us is mental illness. Medical school is a furnace.

We're also not allowed to discriminate based upon medical condition or disability. However, if you physcially can't do the job (for example at my school, you have to be physcially fit enough to perform osteopathic manipulations, which means, you have to have at least one functionign hand), then medical schools have the right to refuse you admission. Medical schools may even have you sign a form that you can physcially do the job.



If an applicant has a ongoing health condition that is being treated and has had an effect on their GPA/EC's/life in general (but not overtly noticable just by looking at their stats that something was wrong), say...lyme disease, is that something that will be held against the applicant or something that will be held in their favor?? I think you can look at it two ways 1) "wow, even with that condition applicant 'x' still performed very well or 2) "applicant 'x' won't be able to make it through medschool with that condition."
 
OP
csx

csx

May 8, 2013
1,075
211
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Would this disability be something to bring up in your PS if it had nothing to do with your decision to pursue medicine/you don't acknowledge it as a "disadvantage" even though it probably is...if that makes sense?

or is this something to bring up in your interview if it comes up somehow (very doubtful)?
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
22,912
31,430
Status
Academic Administration
Do not bring up in your application or in the interview anything that you don't want to focus on. The purpose of the application and the interview is to put the spotlight on why you want to be a physician and the ways in which you have tested that interest in science and helping people as well as other things that interest you and show that you have interests outside of science/service.
If your illness did not plant the seed of interest in medicine and if you aren't feeling that knowing about it will make the committee more likely to admit you, then don't bring it up!
 
Dec 8, 2011
76
17
Status
Medical Student
If you feel the need to explain any shortcomings, the essay is the place to do it. But make sure you're not just making excuses for yourself; show how you've overcome your challenges and why it won't pose the same problems in your medical education.
 

hmockingbird

7+ Year Member
Jan 31, 2011
488
182
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Would this disability be something to bring up in your PS if it had nothing to do with your decision to pursue medicine/you don't acknowledge it as a "disadvantage" even though it probably is...if that makes sense?

or is this something to bring up in your interview if it comes up somehow (very doubtful)?
You will be required to complete/pass a physical to start medical school, and sign that you can perform the basic functions of the job with/without accommodation. But this is all after you've been admitted - it's illegal for schools to discriminate admission based on disability. (That being said, it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. For example, if a school were to read a statement that implies the applicant still has significant health problems, the school might worry the applicant might not be able to finish med school on time or at all. So that's why the advice on here for people who DO want to discuss personal medical problems is typically to be vague and focus more on you and your personality than the details of the medical experience.)

My advice would be: it is YOUR medical problem. There's no reason to bring it up anywhere unless you want to. It's not like it's this big gap the schools are going to know about - they will only know if you tell them so feel free to not tell them, if you don't want this to be part of your app. :) (If it is a physical disability that will be apparent when they meet you in person and you wanted to address that if it was awkward or something, you could always deflect by acknowledging that you have this disability, but then changing the topic like "But what REALLY got me interested in medicine was..." Stating that you are doing well now might be good too, like above. They can't legally ask you for details and I doubt most schools would get really pushy if you answered vaguely and changed the subject.) I know a lot of people might be like "Oh but it's medical you should put that in your app!" or you might feel that it's typical for people with medical conditions to write about them for their medical school PS. But you have to write the best application YOU can and to me, cheesy as it is, that includes being true to yourself. Sincerity, IMO, leads to better writing and better defenses in interviews since you can talk about the subject at length. So if your answers to "why do you want to be a doctor?" or "How do you cope with stress?" don't include talking about your health condition then don't try to force it. As much as it is true for many people that their own medical conditions led them to be interested in medicine, there are probably just as many people who have medical problems and weren't affected by them that way, nothing wrong with either one.

With regards to the "extenuating circumstances" essay, I don't really know the best answer without having more details so you might want to talk to someone you trust with that information IRL. I would generally say that if you don't feel that it was a disadvantage, don't write about it. I would lean towards including it if there was an obvious defect in your app, but if you don't think it's noticeable than that's just another reason not to write that essay.

Side note... if you need accommodations, those are granted after you are admitted as well. There is no need to bring that up during an interview and I think most would advise you not to do so. If you are really worried make an anonymous call to the office about their accommodation procedures or something like that.