Shadowing a Doctor

May 5, 2016

reapply to medical school

It takes a lot of time and trouble to put together multiple medical school applications, and when none of them are successful, it’s natural to feel disheartened. It may be a small consolation, but the fact is: yours was not the only rejected application.

When you consider that every medical school receives at least three times the number of applications that they can accommodate, it’s only natural that they can afford to be extremely selective. However, rejection doesn’t mean that you should give up your dreams of becoming a doctor. There are several things you can do to make your personal statement more impressive, which increases your chances of success during the next round of admissions. If you want to reapply to medical school, these few tips will help you:

Re-evaluate your earlier application

Take a long, hard look at every component of your application, and identify where you may have fallen short of the schools’ expectations. Don’t cut yourself any slack when doing this – you’re looking for areas where you can improve, and the only way to do this is to do an objective assessment. Being critical of yourself will help you put together a more compelling application that you can submit in the coming year.

These are the areas you should look at more closely:

Your personal statement
Does your passion come through in your personal statement or does it sound a little wishy-washy? Underline the areas where you can improve and tighten your statement, and redo it. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask for it. Get it reviewed for content and style, just to be sure you haven’t missed out on something.

Extracurricular activities
Extracurricular activities carry a lot of weight when applying to med school, but – mainly due to lack of time – many students don’t invest enough in this area. If your application is lacking in this respect, this is the time to make up for it. Look for meaningful opportunities that will give your application the boost it needs.

Work experience
You may have a mile-long list of accomplishments, but if they lack serious engagement in the healthcare field, they hold little weight. It may not be anywhere in their requirements, but medical schools always give preference to applicants who’ve obtained some experience in a clinical setting. It shows them that you’re genuinely interested in healthcare and have taken the time and trouble to know more about the industry. Physician shadowing, volunteering with a healthcare organisation or doing a medical placement are some of the best ways to demonstrate that you’re committed to practising medicine and that you understand the realities of the profession.

Last but not least
Send your application out as early as possible. Of course, you need time to improve your application, but try and get it all done as quickly as possible (without compromising on anything) and submit it early – don’t wait until the deadline.


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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.