A Medical Emergency

A Medical Emergency

By Tasha

I'm a junior in High school and I'm moving schools because i've had 4 surgeries in the past 2 years and my school is fed up with me not being there, mainly because i go to a school for the educationally talented and they want me to be able to apply myself fully to the work. So i went to the counselor and asked her how i was going to switch in the middle of a Trimester. She told me that i was going to homeschool myself for the last two weeks, take the exams, then leave. And i've been at home working my butt off trying to teach myself Physics, English, AP Literature, and AP History. My exams are tomorrow and i'm a little worried because i know that i don't have all the information i should because i haven't been at school.

Mainly i'm worried about switching schools, because i'm going from a great school to a public school, i feel like colleges are going to think i gave up on everything, when i've been fighting really really hard to do good while healing from surgeries that made it so i had to stay home on my stomach for 4 months. I want to go to a good school, like the University of Michigan for Medicine because i want to be an ER Doctor. I'm scared that none of the teachers will give me a letter of Recommendation because they won't know me. I know that going to a public school from where i was going, is going to be easy; and getting good grades aren't really a concern anymore, I'm just worried about my future.

Thanks for writing in. It sounds like you have had one rough year between your surgeries, your recovery, and now your transfer. Don’t stress over what colleges will think—what’s important is that you recover and get back in the swing of things. It sounds like you are very ambitious, and I know it’s easy to fret about how transferring schools will look to college admissions committees, but there are ways to make the  committees aware of the ordeal you’ve been through. Hey, that’s what application essays are for.

Once you are feeling better and enrolled in this new school, try to keep your academic transcript very strong. It sounds like you had a difficult course load at your old school. I think you are right that your new classes may seem easier in some ways, but you’ve been through a lot this last year; if the transition is rocky at first, don't be hard on yourself. Hang in there and try to do the best you can in your classes.

When it comes to recommendations, don’t worry about the new teachers not knowing you very well. I’m willing to bet the teachers at your old high school would be happy to recommend you. Just make sure to let them know about your application deadlines way in advance. Also, it may be helpful to provide your recommenders with a short summary of your interests, grades, and ambitions for college. The more they know about you, the better they can tailor their recommendations. For more info on this subject, check out my post on letters of recommendation.

Don’t think for a minute that just because you have had some medical problems your dream of becoming an ER doctor is in jeopardy. You seem very determined to achieve your goals. Believe me, students face setbacks like yours all the time, and admissions officers will be unfazed by your situation. My best advice: try to keep your grades up, and feel free to mention your minor health emergency in your application essay or on-campus interview. Medical emergencies are just that—emergencies. The admissions committee will understand. I hope your exams went well!

Best wishes,


Got a question for Tasha? Send it to advice@sparknotes.com.

Topics: health, emergencies, transfers

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