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Medical School Rejection

What to Do If Your Medical School Application is Rejected

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Most applications to medical school get rejected. It's a hard, unhappy fact. When applying to medical school, you need to accept this possibility and make a contingency plan in case your application isn't accepted. Before I give you advice for making this plan, I have this advice for you: Apply Early. If at all possible, take the April MCAT and get the AMCAS application completed before summer starts or at least before August starts. If you wait until August to take the MCAT for the first time, your application will be delayed until the scores are available. The entering class may have already been selected before your application is completed! An early application may improve your chances of admission. At the very least, an earlier decision will help you plan for the following year.

If you get a rejection letter, but are sure that you want to go to medical school, follow these steps:

  • Call or visit the Office of Admissions and ask if you can have an Admissions Counselor review your application and give you advice for improving it for the next application cycle. Be courteous and grateful. Follow the advice!

  • Review your own application and make notes of ways to improve it.

  • Take your application to your pre-med advisor or other academic advisor and ask him or her to review the application and suggest way to improve it.

  • Take some action that will show improvement on next year's application. If you get an interview next year, expect to be asked what you did all year to help you on your career path. Work hard so that you can have a great answer to this question!
These are common means of improving an application:

  • Get higher MCAT scores. Remember, a school sees your most recent scores, which may not necessarily be your highest scores. If you are pleased with your scores, don't retake the test unless you are confident you can improve them.

  • Get more experience. If you were granted an interview, you probably came away with a sense of how the interviewer perceived your experience. If at all possible, build upon your past experiences. You may seek employment in the medical field.

  • Consider taking more college courses, particularly upper level courses in the sciences. These additional courses could raise your grade point average and will help reinforce concepts.

  • Look critically at the writing on your application and make it even better on the new application.

  • Think hard about the letters of recommendation used for your application. If you waived your right to review these letters, are you 100% positive the letters were glowing recommendations? Were the letters written by respected sources? You need new letters for the new application, so use the time to make sure your letters are great. If you have any doubt about the quality of the letters on the rejected application (an Admissions Counselor might clue you in about this), consider not waiving your right to review the letters for the new application cycle.
If you don't get accepted to medical school, you need to re-evaluate your desire to become a physician, as well as your aptitude and skills. A lot of rejected applicants never reapply. Those who take steps to improve their applications and then reapply greatly improve their chances of success. Admission Committees like to see perseverance! Getting a rejection letter is disheartening, yes, but how you handle failure is your choice. Good luck!

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