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Red Flags on Your Application

What is a Red Flag

  • Any academic or professionalism difficulties experienced during your medical education
    • Course or clerkship failsUSMLE scores
      • Low scores for specialtyExam fails/multiple attempts
  • Professionalism issues that lead to placement on academic monitoring or academic probation
    • Isolated deficiencies in professionalism
    • Academic monitoring or academic probation related to professionalism issues, including Multiple AOCs in professionalism
    • Extended breaks in your medical education
    • Previously unmatched and reentering for a second time
  • Felony or misdemeanor convictions
    • IUSM cannot give advice on how to address this in your applications. It is recommended that you speak with your counsel and review state licensing requirements in states you are interested in pursuing a residency position

Where to Address

  • Personal Statement
    • This is the best place to discuss any issues you may have encountered during medical school
  • MSPE
    • Academic probation, extensions to your medical education, and professionalism issues must be included in the MSPE
  • The interview

How to Address

  • Be honest
  • Don’t sugarcoat it
  • Don’t hide from it
  • Be thorough in your explanation
    • Explain the situation clearly
    • What you did to address it
    • How you’ve implemented plans to ensure it doesn’t happen again
  • Review the PAR method

Other Considerations

  • Some specialties are more forgiving of red flags than others.
  • Be open and upfront with your career mentor about your red flags. They will help you determine the best approaches
  • If you’re applying to a specialty that looks at red flags more harshly, strongly consider applying to a parallel specialty