Pre-Med Q&ACategory: Scheduling and ClassesWithdrawal from a semester
AvatarMazen Dbouk asked 8 months ago

If for some difficult reason you had to withdraw from a semester after the add/drop deadline, how would medical schools look at it? Is there any way you can avoid weakening your application whilst having that many Ws?

1 Answers
AvatarOwen Doane answered 8 months ago

Hi Mazen!   Generally, medical schools will recognize that there are some things beyond your control that cause you to require some time off. A list of W’s in a semester is definitely going to catch the eye of an admissions committee, but there are some strategies you can use to avoid having this be a bad thing. While it’s obviously not ideal, withdrawing in the middle semester might be the best for you, and I would encourage you to heavily consult with an academic advisor or pre-health advisor before doing so.
 
If you do end up withdrawing from a semester, I would highly recommend you address this in your medical school essay that you submit with your primary application when you end up applying to schools. Not acknowledging this gap right from the start can lead admissions committees making their own assumptions about why you had to withdraw, which could hurt in terms of admissions prospects. While you shouldn’t necessarily make this the focus of your essay, it’s important you acknowledge it and provide some background information.
 
Another piece of advice I have is to make sure you take time to reflect on your decision. Figure out how you can find positives from this situation, and make sure you’re prepared to answer any questions you get about the W’s on your transcript. What did you learn about yourself from this experience? How can you let a medical school committee know it won’t happen again? If the circumstances were beyond your control, what does this say about your values in life? Feel free to drop by our advising hours if you’d like to do some brainstorming or if you need any more clarification/advice!
 
-Owen, PMH Advisor

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