By: Savvy Pre-Med Staff
Welcome to Admissions Mondays, a new video series where Passport Admissions President and Co-Founder of the HEAL Clinical Education Network, Rob Humbracht, answers weekly questions from our viewers and subscribers.
Today’s question (submitted by “Jordan”):
In general, you should avoid mentioning these issues, primarily because medical schools are risk-averse: they're concerned that you will relapse and drop out.
But there are some exceptions to this rule of thumb.
You probably SHOULD mention them if these sensitive issues impacted one or more of the following:
The good news is you might be able to use these sensitive issues to your advantage. But you MUST do the following:
Sometimes, applicants feel the need to explain a potentially alarming aspect of their academic background or conduct (low grades, probation, institutional action, etc).
If you think you fall into this category, odds are you’re right. It’s wise to control this aspect of your narrative by writing about it in the Personal Statement, optional primary essays, and secondaries (when applicable) as opposed to leaving it up to the interpretation of the (often) unforgiving admissions committee.
In the Personal Statement, it’s typically best to insert this paragraph right before the conclusion. Follow this sentence-by-sentence outline, and you’ll be just fine (or as fine as you can be!).
It's wise to let the facts speak for themselves. If there were extenuating circumstances that led to this anomalous blip in your record, make sure to include those as evidence, BUT DON'T editorialize or try to make excuses for what happened. The goal in the beginning is to just acknowledge and own up to the failure/mistake.
This will depend a lot on your situation, but typically, it will involve some kind of additional tutoring, office hours, retaken classes, better time-management, etc. It might involve probation. Beyond explaining the requirements you fulfilled and your upward trend in grades, discuss the ways you've sought to improve overall as a person.
Again, this will depend a lot on your situation. Perhaps there's some activity or endeavor that you can use as "proof" of your growth as a person (i.e. tutoring other struggling students or serving on the student judiciary board). If not, just explain what you learned from the experience and how it's turned you into a better person moving forward.