Reasons why you may not have been accepted to med school

December 12, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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All set for observation in the operating room! After you submit your application to medical school, comes the difficult part. Waiting for a reply can be stressful. Even if you have done everything you could, competition for a spot is very competitive. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the medical school acceptance rate in 2013 was just over 43 percent. That means over half of all people who apply to medical school do not get in.

There are lots or reasons why applicants get denied. The good thing is, in many cases, there is something you can do to fix the situation. Once you figure out why you may have been rejected, you can make the needed changes and decide to reapply.  

Some common reasons why you were not accepted to med school could include the following:  

Poor grades

 One of the most important requirements for getting into med school is high grades. A high grade point average shows commitment and consistency. Good grades in college are also an indicator of how well you will do in the future. Medical school is rigorous, and schools want to have a good idea you will be able to handle the work. According to medical school surveys, most schools require a minimum 3.5 GPA.  

How to fix it

 If your undergrad grades are less than stellar, you don’t have to rule med school out just yet. Depending on how low they are, you may be able to compensate for a lower GPA with other aspects of your application. For instance, if grades are not your strong point, make sure you have clinical experience, excellent MCAT scores and an outstanding personal statement. Another option is to head back to school and improve your grades. Consider earning a master’s degree or a post baccalaureate pre-med program. 


Bombing the MCATS

 Similar to grades, the MCATS are also a good indicator of your academic ability. In some ways, your MCAT scores may be more important than grades. It can be hard to compare students from different schools with various majors. For example, a student may have high grades, but the classes they took were not that challenging. MCAT scores allow schools to make direct comparisons among applicants. Scores of at least 30 are usually required.

How to fix it

 It probably does not come as a surprise, if you did not do well on the MCATS, you need to study more and try again. Consider making a study schedule and sticking to it. Joining a study group may also help, along with taking practice exams.


Being dull

 Medical schools are not just looking for the smartest people. They are looking for applicants who are well-rounded and interesting. Your friends may feel you are the life of the party, but if you were not involved in any extracurricular activities or wrote a boring personal statement, you may not stand out among other applicants.

How to fix it

If your application lacks extracurricular activities it’s never too late to expand your horizons and get involved. There are many things you can do to make yourself a more interesting and well-rounded candidate. Consider doing some type of volunteer work or joining a community organization. Other options include becoming a member of a board of directors for a local non-profit organization or working on a medical research project.


Having a conviction on your record

If you messed up in the past, and have a conviction on your record it may be difficult to get into medical school. But not all hope is lost. Depending on the type of conviction and what you did after, you may be able to salvage the situation.

How to fix it

If your conviction is a misdemeanor and it was several years ago and you took steps to avoid repeating the mistake, explain the situation in a personal statement. Med schools know applicants are human, and people make mistakes. A candidate who acknowledges their mistake, learned from it and did not repeat it still may stand a chance of getting accepted.


Not applying to enough schools

If you only apply to a couple of schools, you reduce the odds of getting accepted. In addition, if you choose schools, which are out of your range academically, you may be setting yourself up for a rejection.

How to fix it

There is nothing wrong with applying to your dream schools. But if you want to increase your chances of getting in, applying to schools where your grades are on par or higher than other applicants is a must. You can check out the requirements including GPA on the Association of American Medical Colleges website.


No clinical experience

If you do not have any clinical experience, it may have also hurt your chances of getting an acceptance letter. It can be hard to convince an admissions committee that your passion is medicine if you have no experience in the medical field. In addition, having some clinical experience shows you know what you are getting into, which medical schools like to see. 

How to fix it

A lack of clinical experience may be one of the easiest things to fix when it comes to reasons for a medical school rejection. Apply for a job or volunteer somewhere where you will have direct patient contact, such as a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office. In addition, becoming an EMT or a nursing assistant usually only takes a semester and will allow you to be paid while gaining clinical experience.


Poor interview skills

If you were invited to an interview, you know you made the first cut, and your application was acceptable. During an interview, you have a chance to show a medical school admissions panel what sets you apart from other applicants. It is a great opportunity to shine and overcome other areas. But you can also do the opposite. Applicants may look good on paper and then interview poorly.

How to fix it

Some people naturally interview better than others, but it is still possible to improve. Think about the best way to answer typical interview questions. Practice an interview with friends or family members. Colleges and employment offices may also have job seeking skills classes, which can provide useful interview tips.