Med School Rejection: 7 Tips for Reapplying to Med School

Updated: May 18, 2020

Facing medical school rejection is heartbreaking. The fact that you didn't receive an acceptance letter despite the time, money, and effort invested is a difficult pill to swallow. Rejection, however, is the more probable outcome of any medical school application in North America. The spots are few and the qualified applicants many. You'll need a healthy dose of resilience and tenacity, not just to overcome medical school rejection, but to also become a successful physician. If you speak to physicians or residents, you may find that they also applied more than once before being successful. If you're serious about getting into medical school this time around, you have to let go of regret and focus on your future. If you're ready to take the necessary steps now to reapply to medical school, you've come to the right place. The purpose of this blog is to help you identify firstly, why you were rejected, and secondly, what you need to do differently this time in order to get accepted.

Here's what we're going to cover:

I didn't have any interviews

How many schools did you apply to?

When did you apply?

Did you receive secondary applications at all schools you applied to?

Did you take the CASPer test? If so, how did you prepare?

Who helped you with your application?

Did you apply to American medical schools?

I had at least one interview

How many interviews did you receive?

Would you like us to help you get into medical school?

I didn't have any interviews

If you didn't get any interviews, ask yourself the following questions to find out what could have resulted in your application being rejected.

1. How many schools did you apply to?

There is a definite sweet spot when it comes to the number of medical school applications you should send. Our blog, “how many medical schools should I apply to?” will cover this topic more in-depth. As a general rule of thumb, if you only applied to one or a handful of medical schools, what failed you is that you put all of your eggs in one, or a few baskets. More applications equal higher chances of acceptance the same way fewer applications equals lower chances of acceptance. The reality is, getting accepted into medical school is extremely competitive so if you don't send enough applications, you risk closing open doors. While it's a good idea to be focussed on schools you are interested in and best suited to attend, you can't be selective to the point that you're turning down opportunities to become a doctor. Getting accepted at ANY medical school is an accomplishment, and it means you'll be on your way towards becoming a doctor, which is your true end goal. So, if you didn't apply to enough medical schools, applying more broadly will help you maximize your chances of acceptance.

On the other hand, applying to too many medical schools can be just as detrimental as applying to too few medical schools. Firstly, if you're focused on sending out as many applications as possible, you might be targeting schools that are not an appropriate fit for you. For example, if you apply to medical schools that are highly focussed on research but you have no research experience, those schools are unlikely to select you. Instead, they will favor those with the skills and experiences related to their mission statement and core values. Secondly, even if you only target suitable schools but you apply in such high quantities, you're likely going to be overloaded when it comes time to fill out secondary applications. While some schools only send secondary applications to select applicants, other schools send out secondary applications to every single applicant that applies. If you applied to thirty schools, you could have thirty secondaries in front of you, all due back within the same two-week period! If this happened to you, were you able to submit all essays by their deadlines and can you honestly say you gave each one of them your best effort? If not, this is definitely something you'll need to work on when you're reapplying to medical schools. Take a look at our medical school secondary essay examples blog to determine the level of detail required for constructing successful secondary essays.

Reapplying to Medical School Top Tip #1:

Apply to 15-20 suitable medical schools based on your statistics, interests, and experiences.

2. When did you apply?

As many medical schools utilize rolling admissions, the longer you wait to apply, the lower your chances of acceptance become. Applicants that apply early will have their applications reviewed earlier and will start taking up interview spots. Keep in mind that when AMCAS starts accepting applications in June, they verify each application before sending it to medical schools. In June, AMCAS can verify and transmit applications to medical schools within a few days. However, the process of verifying applications and transmitting them goes from a few days to a few weeks in July and August as their backlog grows with the sheer volume of submitted applications. Overall, if you applied too late, you could have been rejected or placed on a medical school waitlist simply because no interview spots were remaining or worse, because your application didn't even arrive before the school's application deadline.

Reapplying to Medical School Top Tip #2:

Submit your applications as early as possible in June and set July 1st as the absolute latest submission date.

3. Did you receive secondary applications at all schools you applied to?

If you didn't receive any secondary applications or if you only received some, then the problem lies with your primary application. It likely wasn't as competitive as you thought it was, and this could come down to your personal statement, AMCAS work and activities section, letters of recommendation, as well as your GPA and MCAT scores. It's a good idea to visit our medical school acceptance rates blog to have a look at the admission statistics at the schools you applied to so you can compare them to your own grades and scores. If you find that your GPA and MCAT score doesn't meet the average accepted scores at the schools you applied to, then your issue is that you applied to schools where you didn't have a realistic chance of acceptance. While you can still get into medical school with a low GPA, you have to target schools where your GPA isn't viewed as low and is still considered competitive. Have a look at our blog for common medical school GPA requirements. If your GPA and MCAT scores are competitive at the schools you applied to but you still didn't receive any secondary applications, your application materials were not as strong as you thought they were. Review our medical school personal statement examples blog to compare your personal statement to successful statements we have included in the post. If your statement isn't at the same level, this could have resulted in medical school rejection.

If you received secondary applications at all schools you applied to, when did you submit your secondary essays? Medical schools correlate the speed in which you send your secondary applications back to them with your level of interest in their school. Now, you never want to rush your secondary applications, but if you take too long to send your secondary applications back, you'll be telling admissions committees that you're not very interested in their school and that you're prioritizing other schools over theirs. A prompt submission, on the other hand, goes a long way and tells a school that you're still very interested in both their program and institution. If you receive 20 secondaries, and they are all due back within a few weeks, how on earth can you complete them all and ensure you don't sacrifice quality to do so? Start early, before you even receive secondaries. Review our list of medical school secondary essays to begin planning your essays in advance.

Reapplying to Medical School Top Tip #3:

Secondary essays should be submitted within two weeks of receiving them.

Check out our video for the top 5 reasons most medical students get rejected:

4. Did you take the CASPer test? If so, how did you prepare?

There are a lot of medical schools that require CASPer as part of their admission process so if you took the CASPer, you know that it's not a test you can do well on without preparing. While you may not have believed this before you took the test, hopefully, you believe it now. Keep in mind that the CASPer test is used as an intermediary step to help admissions committees determine who should be invited for an in-person interview. If you took a CASPer test and didn't prepare effectively, this is likely why you did not receive an interview and in turn, faced medical school rejection. For example, BeMo's successful students have actually taken roughly 6, full-length, realistic, CASPer practice tests which allow them to understand the test format, practice their timing, receive personalized feedback on their responses, and most importantly, ace ANY type of question that is thrown at them. Moving forward, you must learn how to prepare for CASPer effectively as well as how long it takes to prepare for CASPer so you can ace your CASPer test prep this time around. In addition, make sure you're aware of CASPer test dates so you can register for your test early.

Reapplying to Medical School Top Tip #4: 

The CASPer test is highly coachable, check out our blog here to find out how you can improve your CASPer test score by 23%!

5. Who helped you with your application?

While it's true that some students get accepted into medical school without seeking the help of a professional medical school advisor, many do not. If you applied on time, applied to the appropriate schools, applied to the ideal amount of schools, met average accepted GPA and MCAT scores, and feel that you aced your CASPer test, then all roads lead to the fact that your application just didn't do enough. Your application may have been decent, maybe even good, but if it wasn't great, you likely blended in with the thousands of other applicants. The reason many students seek out medical school admissions consulting services is because they want to get their application right the first time so they can get accepted from the get-go. Reapplying to medical school is expensive, time-consuming, and exhausting. If you were one of many that faced medical school rejection, you have the opportunity to get it right the next time around and a professional consultant can help you get there. An excellent medical school consultant with have experience reviewing thousands upon thousands of medical school applications and because of this, they will know what the admissions committees are looking for and what you need to do in order to tick all of the required boxes. Medical school consultants can help you create a stellar application with a strong, memorable personal statement that will leave the admissions committees wanting to learn more about you.

Reapplying to Medical School Top Tip #5: 

Have your medical school application reviewed by a professional to ensure your application highlights your strengths and proves that you are a mature, intelligent, unique, suitable applicant.

Would you like us to help you with your medical school application?

6. Did you apply to American medical schools?

Medical schools in Canada are very competitive and in general, they are even more competitive than most American medical schools. For this reason, if you're a Canadian applicant, it's a good idea to apply to a few American medical schools so that you have a backup plan in place should you get rejected from all Canadian medical schools. Now, that's not to say that every single American medical school is easier to get into compared with Canadian medical schools, but in general, the level of competition is lower at American medical schools. Have a look at our medical school chance predictor to help you determine your chances of acceptance based on your GPA and MCAT score. Some American medical schools are Canadian friendly, which means that instead of viewing Canadians as international applicants, these schools consider Canadians to be out of state US applicants. This is advantageous because it gives Canadians an advantage over other foreign applicants that may not be allowed to apply simply because some US medical schools will not accept international applicants. Medical school prerequisites are similar at both American and Canadian medical schools so Canadians usually don't have any issues having their undergraduate coursework accepted. Just remember that medical school tuition at American medical schools is more expensive compared to tuition at Canadian medical schools and Canadians won't qualify for financial assistance and scholarships at most US medical schools.

Reapplying to Medical School Top Tip #6: 

Check out our blog for a list of Canadian friendly American medical schools to consider applying to next cycle.

I had at least one interview

7. How many interviews did you receive?

If you made it this far in the admissions process, you should be proud of yourself as you were likely very close to getting accepted. The number of interviews you received can tell you a lot about why you faced medical school rejection. If you received less than three interviews, there were likely a few different contributing factors that resulted in your application being rejected. Poor interview skills, applications, CASPer skills, timing, and even the amount and suitability of schools you applied to could have all been nails in the coffin. In this case, the best advice I can give you is to work on all of the above (1-7) before reapplying to medical school. If, however, you received more than three interviews and were rejected from all schools, then your interview skills are likely to blame. How did you prepare for your interviews? Perhaps you tried winging your interview and weren't prepared for such thought-provoking questions such as “tell me about yourself”, “why do you want to be a doctor?” and “what is your greatest weakness?”. Perhaps you practiced with a variety of medical school interview questions, which is a great start, but without professional feedback, you'd have no idea if the responses you planned were strong enough. Perhaps you memorized a bunch of answers and blanked during the interview or maybe the high-pressure environment made you nervous and you just didn't do as well as you'd hoped. Regardless of what exact situation you believe was to your detriment, your performance wasn't enough to get you accepted, and unfortunately, you didn't stand out compared with other applicants. With this said, it's not too late to improve your interview performance and get accepted the next time around. Medical school interview preparation is paramount to your success because the interview is the final step towards gaining acceptance. So, when you're reapplying to medical school, prepare effectively, in advance, so you can ace your interview.

Reapplying to Medical School Top Tip #7: 

Participate in 6-8 realistic mock interviews with personalized feedback in the appropriate interview format (panel/traditional, MMI).

If you'd rather watch a video with the 7 tips, click below:


Would you like us to help you get into medical school?


To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting