Re-evaluating Applications After Med School Rejecions

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You worked hard in college to fulfill your dream to be a physician. You finally filled out multiple applications and paid hundreds of dollars to be rejected after stressfully waiting for months while your friends get interviews and acceptance letters. It is one of the experiences that really beats down your self-steam and capability, which can be rough. 

However, If this is something you want and you believe you can do it, then perseverance and hard work will get you where you need to be as long as you are keep trying. You can't let other people tell you otherwise. 

Reevaluate your application in the following areas below. Do you see weaknesses in any of them? If there is weakness in any of these areas, then you know where you can improve on your application.

  • MCAT

    • Do you have any section that you scored below 8?
    • Do you have at least 30 or above combined score? 
  • Undergraduate GPA

    • Do you have any grade below C especially in your pre-med requisite classes? If so, have you explained it in your personal statement?
    • Do you have undergraduate GPA of at least 3.6?
  • Volunteer experiences in health care settings

    • Have you volunteered at a health care setting for at least a semester? Most hospitals offer weekly volunteer experiences that are total of 40 hours spread over a school semester
  • Shadowing experiences

    • Have you shadowed at least 2 different physicians for total of at least 20 hrs? It is an arbitrary number that I am just giving you as a starting point. I had 40 hours of experiences with 2 different physicians and 2 days of operating room experiences. 
    • Do you have any recommendation letters from a physician that you shadowed? 
  • Letters of recommendations

    • Do you have a health care committee letter?
    • Do you have letters from your college professors in both sciences and humanity's classes ?
    • Do you have letters from an employer or supervisor who is not in the health care field?
    • If you have done research, did you get a recommendation from your research advisor?
  • Personal statement

    • Did you explain why you want to be a physician over any other profession in health care?
    • Did you explain any red flags in your application like poor grade etc.?
    • Did you get it read by multiple people including people who are not in medicine?
    • Did you make sure there is no typo and grammar mistakes?
  • Extracurricular activities

    • This category is not essential, but it does not hurt to have one thing that gives you personality outside out school.
    • Do you have any extracurricular activities including hobbies? 
  • Research and paper

    • Research experience is not essential unless it is very research orientated school. 
    • If you do have any research experiences, did you explain briefly what your role was in the project and what you learned from the experience?
    • If you are doing research already, try to present at a student research day or equivalent of that at your institution. 
  • Schools applied

    • Did you apply to at least 15-16 schools if your application is average?
    • Did you apply to schools that match your stats including MCAT score and GPA?
    • Did you apply to your state schools? 
    • Did you consider DO schools?
  • Admission committee advice

    • Did you check out the stats for the incoming class for the schools you are rejected from to check if you just applied to too many "reach" schools?
    • Did you ask if the admissions committees offer review of your application post rejection? Most schools don't, but there a few that offers advice with your applications upon request. Pritzker School of Medicine at University of Chicago offered something similar a few years back. 

It is important that you take enough time to work on your application weaknesses. Most schools are done with interviews around March and the next application cycle starts in June. Reasonably speaking, nobody has time to improve their application within 3 months. I recommend you find a job in health care or research setting, where you will get meaningful experiences while you improve your application. 

If you don't see any problem with your application, then you should really believe that the rejections are not personal. As cliche as it sounds, admissions committees tell you the truth in their rejection letters: they just have only a few spots for too many qualified applicants. Even then, you can always strengthen your application more to reapply again.

I hope it was helpful and best of luck!