Will taking a medical leave affect my chances for admission to med school?

The reason I am considering a medical leave is because I have an eating disorder (anorexia-purging type) which is already caused severe medical issues. I am at great risk for developing cancer and need to get it under control, and am unsure if out patient therapy will help. (I am currently in therapy)

I fear leaving a semester though for a mental disorder, for wouldn't this be heavily weighed against me for they may think I may not be able to cope with the stress of med school or something? Just really worried, dont want to get cancer/want to get rid of my eating disorder, but dont want to risk losing the one thing I have been looking forward to since I can remember.

Thank you!

3 Answers

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  • Lark
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Most colleges respect the privacy of their students and keep all details of a medical leave confidential. The reason for your leave will not be provided on your transcript, and I don't believe you are under any obligation to reveal it when applying to medical schools. If you need to take a leave of absence to tend to your health, then have the courage to apply for one. Hopefully the treatment will help you to become healthier, happier, and better able to fulfill your potential and make the very most of your college experience.

    Each college has their own policy, but it's generally better to apply for a MLOA (medical leave of absence) either prior to start of the term or as early into it as possible. Some schools will refund your tuition, housing, and other nonrefundable fees if you withdraw from the term before it commences due to an approved medical leave, and your transcript won't be affected. If you withdraw from the term when it's well underway it's possible your parents won't be refunded and you'll have a W on your transcript for your classes that semester / quarter. (Note: a W won't necessarily have a negative impact on your transcript, but it's preferable to avoid them if you can.) Once again, though, each college operates a bit differently. You should do a bit of exploring on your college's website to see if you can find information about how they handle MLOAs. You also need to know what process you need to take to apply for the leave, and start organizing everything you need to submit (like letters from your doctors). Speak with your family, physician, and advisor and come up with a plan of action. At some colleges if a student has a more severe eating disorder that seriously jeopardizes her (or his) health, she'll be involuntarily placed on medical leave. You want to take preventative measures to make sure you obtain the help you need before you reach a more dire point.

    I don't know if this will bring any comfort to you, but I've taken a medical leave and feel confident that it's not going to derail my ambitions for grad school. I graduated from high school at an early age and had already been accepted to my college when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I then applied for and was granted a deferral. My university's registrar's office knew why I was deferring, but left it entirely up to me to decide who else would know. Those closest to me knew everything as it happened, but I let those I didn't have a more intimate friendships or relationship with believe I'd opted to hold off on starting college so I could take an internship opportunity. (I did intern, but that's not the reason for the deferral). I told others the full story when I had come to terms with it as was ready to be open. It's also your decision to tell who what and when. The deferral isn't even listed on my transcript; it only states the date of enrollment. I've also had to take a medical leave of absence from school, and once again, only the registrar's office knew the reasons why. It's their policy that no other offices or persons be given any information regarding my health condition without a written release signed by me.

    They did encourage me to communicate with my professors, advisors, RA and friends for my own benefit, but didn't force me to reveal anything to anyone. I imagine you'll also have that choice.

    On my transcript it just states, "student is currently on an official leave of absence from active study" for that time period. Grad schools won't know if I was on a personal leave of absence or a medical one. For all they know I might have taken a leave because I had human werewolf syndrome or ate glue or something, or because I was doing something really awesome. I mean there were students from my college who competed in the Olympics this summer, and they were on leave last year, too. They have the same notation on their transcript as I do on mine, and you'll probably have on yours!

    Oh, and I don't think having an eating disorder is going to really be you a significant risk of developing cancer, so don't let that fear gnaw on you. Bulimics are slightly more likely to get esophageal cancer, but that cancer mainly affects people over 60, you so you have like 40 years and change probably to heal. Ask DeniseDDs and Spreedog in the cancer section about this if you're still worried. They both work in cancer-related professions and would be able to give you more accurate statistics and reassurances.

    ~ skylark : )

    Source(s): Gah, I write the longest answers everrrr when I can't sleep. Sorry!!!!
  • 9 years ago

    You don't need to tell them why you left. You do need to get some treatment because the stress of med school is going to exacerbate your disorders. You don't ever get rid of an eating disorders, you get in recovery.

  • DS
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    No, they don't look at those when deciding admissions.

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