Should I Apply To a Med School That’s On Probation?

Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

ADG 180: Should I Apply To a Med School That's On Probation?

Session 180

This premed is applying to a medical school on probation – is it worth applying? Could it all go wrong?

Ask Dr. Gray: Premed Q&A is brought to you by Blueprint MCAT. Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

The episodes in this podcast are recordings of our Facebook Live that we do at 3 pm Eastern on most weekdays. Check out our Facebook page and like the page to be notified. Also, listen to our other podcasts on MedEd Media. If you have any questions, call me at 617-410-6747.

[00:24] Question of the Day

“I applied last cycle to start in the Fall of 2022. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any interviews up until June. So I retook my MCAT. I got more clinical experience, and I rewrote my essays, and I submitted my primaries. I’m working on secondaries right now, to start in fall 2023. 

I’m a reapplicant. However, one of the schools I applied to last year just sent me an interview that is supposed to happen tomorrow. It is an MD school in California. They have a good match list, but they’re on probation.

Honestly, I think I wouldn’t really like it because it’s for profit. And I feel that sets the vibes there. But I haven’t had the interview yet. Also, if I do go there, I’m going to end up having to take private loans. And I don’t know how I feel about that.”

[01:45] The Big Concern

If they’re not eligible for federal loans, then that is the biggest issue. And I think that’s one of the reasons they’re on probation.

'For profit doesn't make a company evil. Nonprofit doesn't make a company/school, not evil.'Click To Tweet

From a for profit standpoint, it’s not a concern. One of the biggest organizations in this whole medical school process is a nonprofit organization. And they’re probably one of the worst offenders of taking advantage of students as they’re trying to make as much money as possible.

Caribbean medical schools have given for profit medical schools a bad rap. But there are many for profit medical schools here in the U.S. now that are great schools and that allow for federal loans. Even some Caribbean schools are eligible for federal loans.

Again, the big issue is if you are not eligible for federal loans that can cause a lot of issues with being able to pay them back and with putting loans into forbearance.

[04:24] To Take the Opportunity or Not

Do you take the opportunity in front of you if it does come? Or something better may come along, and so you’re just going to wait before you decide.

You could potentially spend some time and talk to an advisor. Have them look at your last application and what your application looks like now. Hopefully, they can give you the confidence that you’ll get some interviews and acceptances with your new application.

Our student got a better score the second time around jumping from 506 to 509. From an activity standpoint, it sounds like he’s getting clinical experience and all that stuff. So that alone will definitely help. He just has to put the cards out there and see who takes it.

[06:09] What Happens When a School is on Probation

The school that was on probation is a newer medical school. Typically, with new medical schools, you get preliminary accreditation. It means the school is allowed to get their first class and they’re allowed to accept a class. 

And then after the first graduation where the class graduates, the accreditation body comes in and does another inspection. Then the accreditation bodies will give the school full accreditation.

Apparently, something happened at this school. LCME went back in and found issues with what’s going on here. They weren’t given full accreditation, so they’re on probation and they have to fix their stuff.

[07:19] The Worst Case Scenario

The other issue is because this is such a rare thing that happens. What is the leadership at that school? What’s what’s going on behind the scenes from a leadership perspective that allowed this to happen? And that’s a big concern.

The best thing to do here is to play things in your head and think about the worst case scenario. 

You interview tomorrow, you get accepted, you start medical school next month. And then in one year, they lose their accreditation and basically close. In two years, they lose their accreditation and close in three years. Then you’re screwed at that point.

And so, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered in the event the school closes. From a loan perspective, are you responsible for those loans? Is there any process for the displaced students to be absorbed by other schools? Those are questions you need to ask. And if there are no satisfactory answers, then imagine owing all that money and you still don’t have that degree.

That being said, getting the interview invite at the end of June just tells me the school is really struggling to fill their class. So it’s up to you to take it or stay away.

At the end of the day, there’s probably not a question of the education that you’ll get, but about the leadership and the foundation of the school, and why they are having issues.

[12:32] Should You Go to the Interview?

It doesn’t hurt to go to the interview. And if they accept you, and give you a full ride, because you can’t get federal loans, then that’s great. Make sure you ask those questions like what’s going to happen if they do lose their accreditation and they close?

University of Missouri has also been put on probation for a couple of times. And one of the reasons was because of a lack of diversity in their school. And so, minor stuff like that leads to probation issues.

But with the school you’re interviewing at, there’s a bigger concern there. Therefore, be sure to research and dig up the reasons why they’re on probation.

“Ask those hard questions.”Click To Tweet


MedEd Media

Medical School HQ Facebook page

Medical School HQ YouTube channel

Instagram @MedicalSchoolHQ

Join the Application Academy!

The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Personal Statement

The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Application Process

The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Interview

Blueprint MCAT