Are my 2 DUIs a Deal-Breaker?

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OPM 330: Are my 2 DUIs a Deal-Breaker?

Session 330

This student got 2 DUIs – one was 15 years ago, another was 9 years ago. The 2nd was due to a “zero tolerance” law. How should he go about this in his application?

Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from Go ask your questions there and use #OPMquestion.

Also, please be sure to check out all our other podcasts on Meded Media as we try to bring you as many resources as you need on this journey.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

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OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“I’m honestly not sure if I’m truly going to be able to get into medical school with my prior arrests. I got two DUIs in my 20s. I’m now 38. One was 15 years ago, another was nine years ago. I know I need to take full responsibility for them. 

But the second DUI wasn’t because I was over the legal limit. I was way under it. I was arrested because of a zero-tolerance law. Even 0.01 blood alcohol content less than one drink will get you arrested. I spoke to a dean at a local DO program. And she encouraged me to go forward and said it would not preclude me from getting in. 

I know there’s no way to be sure. It’s just that I’ve made so many radical sacrifices, especially at my age, quitting my job to go back to school full-time and focus 100% of my time and my work – to being a premed. 

I didn’t make a huge mistake and I haven’t wasted years of my life. I suppose it’s better to find out sooner, rather than later if I’m wasting my time. This is more than a dream to me though, I would be crushed. If I couldn’t become a doctor, I would never have given up everything in my life to chase this dream if it wasn’t more than a passion. I could really use some help.”

Navigating Fear and Red Flags: Overcoming Doubts in the Medical School Application Journey

This question highlights the struggle that a lot of nontrads have. And this student sacrificed everything to go back to school to be a premed student and a lot of nontrads are in a very similar position. Ultimately, whether you have two arrests for a DUI, you were kicked out of school with a 1.5 GPA, or whatever your specific situation is, the situation is the same for every student in this process.

Dealing with Fear and Anxiety

For this nontrad, they have these opportunity costs of quitting their job and all the other stuff. At the end of the day, the risk is where the fear is. There are thoughts of what if you don’t get to school, or you’re only doing all this for nothing. You’re spending all this money to go back to school, for the MCAT prep, and for your applications, only to lose it.

At the end of the day, fear and anxiety about not being good enough or getting rejected can be overwhelming for some students. 

The Importance of Reaching Out to Schools

This particular student has two red flags: a prior arrest and concerns about its impact on their medical school application. However, they are taking the right steps by reaching out to admissions offices and seeking guidance. Fortunately, some schools provide honest feedback and reassure the student that their chances are not automatically rejected.

The Power of Accountability in College Applications

It’s important for this student to be open and honest about their situation, as transparency is key. Even if mistakes have been made, owning up to them and demonstrating personal growth can still lead to acceptance into medical school.

“Own it. It's the only way to move forward.”Click To Tweet

During a conference, I had an enlightening conversation with a Director of Admissions and a pre-health advisor. They shared an impactful story about a student who applied to the Director’s school and was accused of plagiarism. Unfortunately, the student vehemently denied the allegations instead of taking responsibility. The Director made it clear that they would never accept someone who didn’t own up to their mistakes.

However, there is hope for redemption in this case. The fact that the last infraction occurred nine years ago, with a clean record since then, holds significant weight. Time has the potential to heal wounds and demonstrate personal growth. By openly discussing the incident, accepting responsibility, reflecting on lessons learned, and committing to avoid such actions in the future, the student can pave the way for a positive outcome.

Embracing Fear: Pushing Forward Towards Medical School Dreams

In the pursuit of entering medical school, fear is a common companion for every student, regardless of their past experiences or setbacks. Whether it’s dealing with DUIs or recovering from academic challenges like being dismissed from school with a low GPA, the fear of putting in all the effort and not securing a spot in med school looms large. However, it’s essential to remember that this fear is a shared experience among all aspiring medical professionals.

Despite the uncertainties, it’s crucial to push forward with determination, knowing that pursuing a career in medicine is one’s true passion. By persevering and staying committed, each student can find a way to overcome obstacles and work toward their dreams of entering medical school.


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