You Don’t Get In. Now What?

You got good grades during undergrad. You were involved, volunteered, did research. You studied for and took the MCAT. You spent way too much money on med school applications. You interviewed. You got waitlisted. But that is as far as you got in this crazy process called “getting into medical school”. Now what?

If you are like me, and can’t see yourself doing anything else, you try again. But when? How? What do you change? Here are some tips for reapplicants so that you get an acceptance the next time.

  • During the year that you are interviewing, make sure to continue improving your application. I would recommend to continue shadowing, volunteering, and definitely continue getting good grades. If you don’t get accepted (which is probably why you are reading this), gaps in your resume will not look that great.
  • If you do not have an acceptance by May 1st, take some time to really look at your application. Take some time looking at your MCAT score, the schools you applied to, and what you have done in that past year. It might seem like you are ready to go ahead and reapply that June – but take a second look. Many schools actually recommend taking an entire year off before reapplying. For example, if you originally submit in June of 2017 and don’t get in to start fall of 2018, reapply in June of 2019. In that time, focus on your resume, building new relationships that could potentially serve as a letter of recommendation, and build up those healthcare experiences.
    • Personally, I found that I was too impatient to wait a year to apply. I submitted my first set of applications June 2014 and then my second set June 2015. I believe my decision to not wait a year did end up costing me. Some of the schools that I had interviewed the first cycle didn’t invite me the second cycle, I think due to the quick turn around of my back to back applications. I believe I should have taken a harder and more honest look at my application. In the end, starting med school 1 or 2 years later is not the end of the world.
  • Change your application. Admissions do not like seeing the same essay and activity descriptions. Like my first point stated, you should have new activities to add to your application that you completed during that year of interviews. Of course, some of the big ones will relatively stay the same – but I would recommend rewriting everything. 100% change your personal statement.
  • Have more people edit and read your essay. New perspectives may be able to point out something that didn’t come out clear like you had imagined.
  • Submit day 1. We all know about the rolling admissions. Help yourself out by applying early.
  • Pre-write secondary essays. I hated these essays. I found that I was so burnt out when it came to the last few I had to do. It turns out that a lot of schools will reuse essays so a simple google or studentdoctor.net search can help you find essay prompts ahead of time.
  • Continue working on your resume during the summer and fall months so that you can send in updates! I sent in updates to all my schools. I sent one in December and one in March. I made sure that each update had something substantial on it that would actually affect my application. It might come across as annoying if you send in an update every month with not so important information.
  • Talk to family and friends to help keep you sane during this terrible, terrible process. You will not feel so great when you see other people get interviews and you are still waiting for one. But know that you are not alone – there are a lot of people with similar experiences. Having someone to talk to will help keep your spirits high because in the end, getting into medical school does involve a lot of luck.

If you have any personal questions – comment below!

-Madison

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