Medical school rejection is a heavy topic that I have a lot of experience with. I applied to medical school a whopping three times before finally turning a corner and being offered multiple interviews and an acceptance to my top choice school. As I’m sure you can imagine, this was not an easy journey for me. However, I have yet to meet anyone who has had a totally carefree journey to becoming a physician. If you believe that you have it within you to make it through the rigors of medical school and beyond, then you have it within you to make it to the starting line. Here are some key lessons that I learned that made all the difference in me being rejected and being able to choose the medical school I want to attend.
Lessons Learned from Dealing with Medical School Rejection
- Everyone’s story is different– I know people who have known they wanted to be a physician from the time they could talk. Others, like myself, did not make the decision until quite later in life. Many of us have fallen into the trap of comparing ourselves to other premeds, which isn’t a completely detrimental thing to do, but at the same time, doing so can really hurt your confidence and distract you from your own path. It is important to seek out advice from those who have gone before you, but at the end of the day, be sure to do what is best for you. Take an honest look at where you are. This will allow you to figure out if you need to improve your MCAT score, improve your GPA, gain more clinical experiences, or even gain more life experiences in general. From there, talk to qualified people you trust to decide on the best plan of action for you, which could mean taking an upper level science course or choosing a new study method for the MCAT, like one found here.
- Do Something Different– The turning point for me was when I finally realized that what I had been doing was not working. It may seem obvious, but for a student who was accustomed to getting straight A’s with minimal effort and breezing through standardized tests without ever studying for them, this was not an easy lesson to learn. But when the light bulb went off for me, I ran with it. I dropped my passive methods of studying for the MCAT and adopted new, active methods. For instance, even though I had always done very well on the verbal/CARS section, I started to do lots of practice passages to improve my reading speed and the way I comprehended the corresponding questions. To study for the physical science topics, which were my weakest areas, I began watching tutorial videos—something I had never done before—and answering practice problems until I could solve them without assistance.
- Ask for help– I, like many other students, “suffered in silence”. I did not tell anyone my plans of becoming a physician because I was embarrassed of the possibility of my plan not panning out. However, when I made it known to those around me that I was studying for the MCAT and preparing my medical school application, I was put into contact with so many people who served as invaluable resources for me. I met many medical students who had similar paths as my own and many others who gave me a completely different perspective to the process all together. I had to really step out of my comfort zone to take advantage of all of the new opportunities that were now within my grasp. I sought out tutors for MCAT topics that I just didn’t “get” and I also contacted admissions offices of schools I was interested in attending to gain insight on how I could improve my application. I made it my goal to get all the help and insight I could find and though it was very uncomfortable for me to ask for help, it paid off in the end.
I hope this post can provide inspiration for any premed students who may feel defeated and discouraged by being rejected from medical school. Don’t loose sight of your goal and don’t be afraid to make some changes to get to where you want to be. If I can do it, then I’m sure you can too.