Med school admissions question



B

B. Eisenmann

Guest
I have a quick question that someone might (hopefully) be able to answer. I've been a paramedic for
about 15 years now and I've decided it's time to get out. I'm seriously considering going to medical
school after I finish up my Bachelor's. Now, I had a substance abuse problem when I was younger and
went to rehab to clean up my act. I've been completely drug-free since 1991. Does anyone (perhaps
someone with admissions experience...) know if that would raise any eyebrows or present a problem
getting into med school? I'd hate to go pre-med and then find out that I wouldn't be able to get
into a good medical school. TIA!
 
M

Mike

Guest
You didn't give any specifics about your drug problem, such as whether you were convicted of any
crimes. So it's hard to say what difficulties this may cause. But there are some general principles
to follow for anyone who has had some trouble in his/her past. You should take 2 or 3 sentences to
briefly state that you had this problem, that this was in your past, and list the specific steps you
have taken to make amends. This should be done without making excuses or apologies. For example: "I
had a substance abuse problem for about 3 years, successfully completed rehab in 1991, and have been
drug-free since then. This experience inspired me to help others with similar problems, and I have
been working as a counselor at such-and-such drug rehab center for the last 8 years."

In addition, talk to your premed advisor. This person is your advocate, and should give you
objective advice on how (and if) to talk about your substance abuse.

Mike

--
Mike
George Washington University School of Medicine
http://www.NontraditionalMedicalStudent.com

"B. Eisenmann" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> I have a quick question that someone might (hopefully) be able to
> answer. I've been a paramedic for about 15 years now and I've decided
> it's time to get out. I'm seriously considering going to medical
> school after I finish up my Bachelor's. Now, I had a substance abuse
> problem when I was younger and went to rehab to clean up my act. I've
> been completely drug-free since 1991. Does anyone (perhaps someone
> with admissions experience...) know if that would raise any eyebrows
> or present a problem getting into med school? I'd hate to go pre-med
> and then find out that I wouldn't be able to get into a good medical
> school. TIA!
 
B

Beachhouse

Guest
I think it would depend upon the specific nature of your prior problem and whether there's any type
of criminal record that would make it difficult for you to obtain a medical license down the line...
further, i think a committee would be very curious to know why, after 15 years of essentially
working in the medical profession as a paramedic (a very stressful occupation) you feel it's now
time to "get out" and go to med school... there's something odd about that.

"B. Eisenmann" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> I have a quick question that someone might (hopefully) be able to answer. I've been a paramedic
> for about 15 years now and I've decided it's time to get out. I'm seriously considering going to
> medical school after I finish up my Bachelor's. Now, I had a substance abuse problem when I was
> younger and went to rehab to clean up my act. I've been completely drug-free since 1991. Does
> anyone (perhaps someone with admissions experience...) know if that would raise any eyebrows or
> present a problem getting into med school? I'd hate to go pre-med and then find out that I
> wouldn't be able to get into a good medical school. TIA!
 
J

Josh The Cynic

Guest
[email protected] (B. Eisenmann) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> I have a quick question that someone might (hopefully) be able to answer. I've been a paramedic
> for about 15 years now and I've decided it's time to get out. I'm seriously considering going to
> medical school after I finish up my Bachelor's. Now, I had a substance abuse problem when I was
> younger and went to rehab to clean up my act. I've been completely drug-free since 1991. Does
> anyone (perhaps someone with admissions experience...) know if that would raise any eyebrows or
> present a problem getting into med school? I'd hate to go pre-med and then find out that I
> wouldn't be able to get into a good medical school. TIA!

Don't worry, my friend. If you can show that you've cleaned up your act (and it looks as though
you have), you have nothing to worry about. Your 15 years of experience as a paramedic works in
your favor, too. Hell, I don't see how they would even know about your problem if you didn't
bring it up. I could be wrong, though.
 
B

B. Eisenmann

Guest
"Mike" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> You didn't give any specifics about your drug problem, such as whether you were convicted of any
> crimes. So it's hard to say what difficulties this may cause. But there are some general
> principles to follow for anyone who has had some trouble in his/her past. You should take 2 or 3
> sentences to briefly state that you had this problem, that this was in your past, and list the
> specific steps you have taken to make amends. This should be done without making excuses or
> apologies. For example: "I had a substance abuse problem for about 3 years, successfully completed
> rehab in 1991, and have been drug-free since then. This experience inspired me to help others with
> similar problems, and I have been working as a counselor at such-and-such drug rehab center for
> the last 8 years."
>
> In addition, talk to your premed advisor. This person is your advocate, and should give you
> objective advice on how (and if) to talk about your substance abuse.
>
> Mike
>
> --
> Mike George Washington University School of Medicine http://www.NontraditionalMedicalStudent.com
>
> "B. Eisenmann" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...
> > I have a quick question that someone might (hopefully) be able to answer. I've been a paramedic
> > for about 15 years now and I've decided it's time to get out. I'm seriously considering going to
> > medical school after I finish up my Bachelor's. Now, I had a substance abuse problem when I was
> > younger and went to rehab to clean up my act. I've been completely drug-free since 1991. Does
> > anyone (perhaps someone with admissions experience...) know if that would raise any eyebrows or
> > present a problem getting into med school? I'd hate to go pre-med and then find out that I
> > wouldn't be able to get into a good medical school. TIA!

Hi, Mike; nope, no convictions/arrests/DUIs or the like, and I volunteered to enter a 5 year medical
professional substance abuse advocacy program to ensure my medic license wouldn't be in jeopardy for
any reason. During the five years, medical professionals in the program are randomly drug tested and
go to counseling sessions, so everything's documented. The only employers I've had are fire/public
safety departments and the background checks are very, VERY intensive, and they're extremely picky
about certain things. I wasn't sure if review boards (or whatever entity makes decisions about
accepting new students) were that strict.

BTW, that's a great website you have there; it's found a home in my bookmarks. Thanks for
the response!
 
B

B. Eisenmann

Guest
"Beachhouse" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> I think it would depend upon the specific nature of your prior problem and whether there's any
> type of criminal record that would make it difficult for you to obtain a medical license down the
> line... further, i think a committee would be very curious to know why, after 15 years of
> essentially working in the medical profession as a paramedic (a very stressful occupation) you
> feel it's now time to "get out" and go to med school... there's something odd about that.
>
>
> "B. Eisenmann" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...
> > I have a quick question that someone might (hopefully) be able to answer. I've been a paramedic
> > for about 15 years now and I've decided it's time to get out. I'm seriously considering going to
> > medical school after I finish up my Bachelor's. Now, I had a substance abuse problem when I was
> > younger and went to rehab to clean up my act. I've been completely drug-free since 1991. Does
> > anyone (perhaps someone with admissions experience...) know if that would raise any eyebrows or
> > present a problem getting into med school? I'd hate to go pre-med and then find out that I
> > wouldn't be able to get into a good medical school. TIA!

Nope, no legal troubles at all; I'm just not sure how picky the schools may be when it comes to
things like this.

And I've always been told I'm odd - coincidence? ;) Thanks-
 
K

Kent H.

Guest
Have you been charged and/or convicted of a drug offense? Even if you had, and didn't put that on
your application it is doubtful an admissions committee would ever know. They could find that
information if they tried, though I doubt that they routinely do. I would fester somewhat over that
if I were in your situation, though I think you could reasonably leave that off, unless they
specifically ask for it. You might look at a medical school app. and see exactly what they ask for.
Good Luck Kent

"B. Eisenmann" wrote:
>
> I have a quick question that someone might (hopefully) be able to answer. I've been a paramedic
> for about 15 years now and I've decided it's time to get out. I'm seriously considering going to
> medical school after I finish up my Bachelor's. Now, I had a substance abuse problem when I was
> younger and went to rehab to clean up my act. I've been completely drug-free since 1991. Does
> anyone (perhaps someone with admissions experience...) know if that would raise any eyebrows or
> present a problem getting into med school? I'd hate to go pre-med and then find out that I
> wouldn't be able to get into a good medical school. TIA!
 
N

Njbmd

Guest
Hi there, You may not have to put this information on your medical school application but when you
apply for a liscence, you will have to list this info. Also, some residency programs require you to
pass a police background check. Mine
did. You should call some of the medical schools and find our what their policy is. I would think
that if you have been clean for almost 13 years, you shouldn't have any problems getting into
medical school but everyschool is different. Do some calling and get answers from every school
that you might think of applying to.

njbmd "Kent H." <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> Have you been charged and/or convicted of a drug offense? Even if you had, and didn't put that on
> your application it is doubtful an admissions committee would ever know. They could find that
> information if they tried, though I doubt that they routinely do. I would fester somewhat over
> that if I were in your situation, though I think you could reasonably leave that off, unless they
> specifically ask for it. You might look at a medical school app. and see exactly what they ask
> for. Good Luck Kent
>
> "B. Eisenmann" wrote:
> >
> > I have a quick question that someone might (hopefully) be able to answer. I've been a paramedic
> > for about 15 years now and I've decided it's time to get out. I'm seriously considering going to
> > medical school after I finish up my Bachelor's. Now, I had a substance abuse problem when I was
> > younger and went to rehab to clean up my act. I've been completely drug-free since 1991. Does
> > anyone (perhaps someone with admissions experience...) know if that would raise any eyebrows or
> > present a problem getting into med school? I'd hate to go pre-med and then find out that I
> > wouldn't be able to get into a good medical school. TIA!
 
K

Kv4c

Guest
Actually there's nothing odd about that. Current admissions
commitees are very interested in having people with that
kind of background apply. They want to know that candidates
really understand how streessful the medical proffession
is. The Average age for first year medical students is
above 26 now-- most just don't matriculate immeditely after
4 years of college. Older students also have life
experiences that younger ones do not have and tend to make
better students overall.

"Beachhouse" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> I think it would depend upon the specific nature of your
> prior problem and whether there's any type of criminal
> record that would make it difficult
for
> you to obtain a medical license down the line... further,
> i think a committee would be very curious to know why,
> after 15 years of essentially working in the medical
> profession as a paramedic (a very stressful occupation)
> you feel it's now time to "get out" and go to med
> school... there's something odd about that.
>
>
> "B. Eisenmann" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...
> > I have a quick question that someone might (hopefully)
> > be able to answer. I've been a paramedic for about 15
> > years now and I've decided it's time to get out. I'm
> > seriously considering going to medical school after I
> > finish up my Bachelor's. Now, I had a substance abuse
> > problem when I was younger and went to rehab to clean up
> > my act. I've been completely drug-free since 1991. Does
> > anyone (perhaps someone with admissions experience...)
> > know if that would raise any eyebrows or present a
> > problem getting into med school? I'd hate to go pre-med
> > and then find out that I wouldn't be able to get into a
> > good medical school. TIA!