Dilemma: Pass/No Pass courses and medical school applications

What is the impact to AdComms about not passing classes that are Pass/No Pass grades?

Here is the background to my dilemma:

I have been taking four (4) Pass/No Pass (non-credit) courses at a local community college to gain some certifications for my health care job.

I am currently passing all my classes with ease, getting high scores on all the tests. I am also taking one credit course, an online

psychology class from the same community college, in which I am getting an A.

But last weekend my father was admitted to the ER for what was thought to be an MI and now he is in intensive care unit; later he will

be moved to the regular nursing floor. The attending physician said that my father would be there for a long time, perhaps several weeks

or more.

Because of my father’s condition, my family wants me to drop all my Pass/No Pass courses and be there for my father; I cannot be in

two places at once: in class and be at the hospital, dealing with the medical staff.

The problem is that the non-credit courses have a mandatory attendance policy; if a student misses more than 2 classes or withdraws

from the course, the student receives a No Pass grade – even if they are currently passing the course.

So, if I were to withdraw from all my courses, I would receive No Pass grades on all the non-credit courses.

Any transcripts I submit from this community college to AMCAS would show a No Pass grade; I don’t want medical schools to think I am stupid or


Because the psychology course is online, I can work on it while I am dealing with my father’s medical condition. And I expect to get an A in

this course.

I read somewhere that one can use their Personal Statement to explain anomalies on their records; I suppose I could do this. But I had intended

to use my Perosnal Statement to explain why I am considering medicine at such a late age and my extensive work with the poor, not my grades.

Any ideas?

I wouldn’t drop out of the courses. I understand family obligations and this is a big one. But why does it need to be you? This is an important time for your future and if it’s at all possible to avoid having the W and especially having the no pass, I think you need to do it. Getting the no pass not only could raise flags on your application, but sounds like it could affect your job.

Not to sound callous, but your dad will be in the hospital. He’s there for a reason, and it’s not like you will need to provide his care during his hospitalization.

Personally I would tell my family that withdrawing is not an option, but here’s what you can do and lay out a plan. Like you’ll agree to be at the hospital on certain days or keep certain times open to meet with the medical team, you can be the point person for phone calls with the medical staff or agree to oversee your dad’s home or finances or something that you can do on your own time.

I’d also talk with your professors now, proactively, and let them know what’s going on. Sometimes these attendance rules are made to be broken, and if you’ve performed well, they might be more willing to work with you.

I agree with the previous poster. Consider your goals and the actual role you would play in your father’s recovery, talk to your program to see if you have any other options.

If you do have to withdrawal or drop them, I do feel it should be easily explained without having to devote much of your statement to it. After all, they’re for certificates for your job, and not the core medical school prereqs.

@agnor, it doesn’t matter what the no pass grades are "for’ because there’s no place on the applicaton to make that kind of distinction. And coming from a commuity college it would look VERY bad.

I have to agree with the other posters, the OP has to put his/her future first in this situation because not doing so could cost them their future. I’d tell my family that I would be there are soon as I could and leave it at that, NO further discussion would be entertained.