Rejected from Medical School? Whats Next?
The summer I realized I was not going to matriculate directly from undergrad to medical school was a pivotal moment in my medical career. It forced me to reflect on what I wanted to accomplish with my life, and what I was willing to do to achieve my goals. That summer of reflection started with an interview for a job that I thankfully did not get. The job interview went something like this:
"Why do you think you didn't you get into Medical School?"- Interviewing MD, with big research lab
"Well... I must not have had a high enough GPA or MCAT scores."- Me
"Do you plan to re-apply?"- Interviewing MD,with big research lab
"Well, how is working here going to fix your GPA or MCAT scores?"- Interviewing MD
"Well I think it will add value to my application in other areas to off set my GPA and MCAT scores."- Me.
What I failed to realize at the time is that this physician, although insensitive, was not necessarily trying to be cruel. It was a question I had to answer; why had I not gotten accepted, and how was I going to fix it before the next application cycle? I was not going to fix it by adding more rat dissections to my already massive repertoire of horrible research assistant gigs.
This is an important question for all rejected pre meds to answer, and not be scared or embarrassed of. If the issue is your GPA, there are tactics to bump this up. If it's the MCAT, there is a threshold under which you can't fix your application with padding and optimizing strategies. This is a compilation of most common reasons applicants fail to get accepted to medical school:
GPA < 3.2: Post bac programs are available for students to take higher level bio/chem/physics/lab credits and improve their GPA. If you're GPA is between 3.2-3.4 this can be overcome by applying to enough schools, and optimizing your application. Learn more about strategies to increase your GPA
MCAT <26: Consider retaking the MCAT (This will be further explored as its own entry) We can help you improve your score with test taking strategies. If you have a MCAT 26-29 there are tricks to optimize your application enough to over come this set back.
No personality/poor interview: Practice interview!!!! Learn about what is going on in the world so you are an interesting adult. If there is a national health care debate, be familiar with the legislation and understand the profound effects on the job you ultimately are trying to obtain. This may be shocking, but most interviewing physicians are not interested in your drinking stories and the last sporting event you attended. Find out what's happening in the world and have well researched opinions about it. Start by reading though a couple different news websites. Sound smart, caring, and considerate.
Poor personal statement: Have your personal statement edited for both content and structure by someone with experience on medical school admission. An English major reading your personal statement may help you make yourself sound more entertaining, but may not be able to show you how your personal statement can highlight or detract from the positive aspects of your application. You can always get help with your personal statement
Extracurriculars: Do something with your summer that's productive. You don't have to save the world, but do something meaningful with your time. For example, there are medical mission trips designed for pre meds to get real experience in medicine. Medical schools want to see that you're committed to doing something positive, and understand what it takes to be a physician. Dedication in a few meaningful activities/organizations is more important than a litany of afternoons spent in a soup kitchen or at the hospital peds department.
Make a written plan for your next year with goals. Stay on track and get ready to start medical school next year
Share your success stories below!
- Pooja Deb, MD
- PGY-2 Ob/Gyn