If you have been rejected from medical school, don’t worry, there are ways to remedy the situation and it is not reflective of your ability to become a good doctor. If you are a pre-med, pay attention to these potential reasons for rejection so you can avoid them.
1) Low MCAT/GPA
The MCAT is a standardized admissions test that all premeds must take to be considered for medical school. The GPA, or Grade Point Average is the scaled grade you achieve throughout college. Both of these together make up a package deal that gets your foot in the door of a medical school interview. Schools have different cutoffs for these numbers that you can email them for or look on their website. If you do not meet these cutoffs, your application does not move to the next stage of consideration. We have other videos/posts about how to study for the MCAT and for class to help you avoid this problem so make sure to check those out as this is the most common reason for rejection. Below you can see the average MCAT/GPA for people who were accepted.
2) Personal Statement Issues
The personal statement is how you tell the story of who you are and what you have accomplished in premed and your life thus far. Mistakes here can prove to be fatal as this is more or less a virtual first impression that a school has of you. Simple things like spelling and grammatical mistakes can cost you a medical school admission. Make sure to never make this type of silly mistake by constantly going over your personal statement and having it proofread by multiple parties. We have a post on how to write a good personal statement so check that out. In general, you want your personal statement to be just that, personal. Schools see countless statements that have a generic, “I like helping people”, “I like science” feel to them. You want to make sure that you tell a genuine, but memorable story for why you truly want to be a doctor.
3) One-Dimensional Applicants
The GPA and MCAT are very important and take a lot of studying to accomplish. However, once your foot is in the door, schools want to see what kind of person you are. Everybody that makes it to this stage of screening has a high MCAT and GPA so you are not special. If all you have is good grades, you are going to be in trouble. Schools are becoming more and more progressive and are looking for people with social skills, experiences and interesting stories to tell. This does not mean lie and embellish on your application, nor does it mean to spend a lot of money to go on a mission trip. It simply means to have things going on outside of school that you are passionate about, be it hobbies, volunteering, research, jobs etc that give insight to what kind of person you are. Grades and MCAT alone will not be enough to get you in.
4) Poor/Generic Reference Letters
Reference letters are very important in the medical school admissions process as they are a further insight to who you are. There is a huge difference between a generic-last minute letter that you got cause you couldn’t find anyone compared to a genuine letter from someone that knows you well. These letters give schools an idea of what other, professional and respected people think of you and your work ethic. This is why it is very important to focus on longevity and quality of work rather than quantity when it comes to your extra-curriculars. Join clubs early, find research and mentors early, get jobs early in your college career without spreading yourself too thin. It will pay dividends down the road.
5) Poor Interviews
Interviews can be nerve-wracking experiences for anyone, especially when it comes to something you have worked so hard for. However, this is something you have to get over by preparing and practicing. We have a video here that you can use for medical school interview advice. The interview is a chance for adcoms to finally meet you and see what you are like in person. They want people that are easy-going and social and people who they could see themselves working with. They want to see confidence balanced with humility and an overall good vibe from the applicant. Pre-med can be a socially isolating experience if you let it, and this can lead to poor development in social skills. This can certainly be overcome but you will have to put forth the effort. Lack of preparation or social experience can lead to nervousness, wandering eyes, taking too long to answer, long-winded answers and lack of confidence. On the flip side, some applicants can be very arrogant and too full of themselves which doesn’t fly either. All of these things can be prevented with preparation so be sure to watch our video along with others to help you.