Rejected from Medical School?

July 5, 2013

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

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It’s hard not to feel dejected when you receive a medical school rejection letter. After all, you have worked very hard towards this point, right from staying up all night to get high grades to completing the lengthy application process. What now? Should you give up or is it worth giving it another go?


Before you make that decision there are a few things you should know…

Gap Medics students on their hospital work experience placement in Tanzania.

No matter how hard it is, you need to be objective about your rejection. Entry into medical school is highly competitive. Depending on the medical school you have applied to, there could be anywhere from 10 to 50 students applying for every seat. Somebody has to be rejected. In fact, more students will be rejected than accepted. It most likely has nothing to do with your application not meeting the mark or your qualifications not being good enough.

If your heart is set on becoming a doctor or surgeon, don’t let a single rejection dampen your enthusiasm or stop you from fulfilling your dreams. If you really want to be a doctor then you will become one. There are several things you can do to increase your likelihood of success with your next application:

Reconsider Which Medical Schools To Apply To

Applying to only a few select medical schools significantly lowers your chances of acceptance. If your grades are good, acceptance to medical school can be a numbers game. The more schools you apply to, the higher your chances of gaining admission. If you’ve only applied to the top 5 medical schools, perhaps you need to lower the bar a notch and add a few lesser competitive schools to your application list. We’re not saying don’t aim high, just consider other options.

Consider Pursuing Some Advanced Coursework

If your application was rejected because your grades were not as good as they should have been, it is a good idea to take some advanced coursework or graduate level courses that will boost your overall grade point average and impress the applications committee.

Looks for Ways To Get Some Hands On Experience

Put this enforced gap year to good use by getting some hands on experience. Not only is it a great way to show the admissions committee that you are truly committed to medicine, but it is also an excellent opportunity for you to grow and mature. While you may be enthusiastic about becoming a doctor, handling the pressures that come with medical school can be daunting, particularly given your lack of real life medical experience. Use this time to volunteer at your local free clinic or any other volunteer organization. Registering with a reputed organization such as Gap Medics for an overseas medical placement will give you the opportunity to get some hands-on experience in hospitals in developing countries. The experience you gain as you shadow doctors and midwives working under these challenging circumstances will give you a tremendous competitive edge when you reapply to medical school. Medical schools appreciate applicants who have shown a great passion and determination for wanting to become a doctor.

In the operating theatre, Jodhpur, India 

Don’t take the easy way out and choose a different career path simply because your application to medical school was rejected once, or even more than once. A gap year put to good use can benefit you in several different ways whilst also ensuring your success with your next application.