Admissions blog: Tips for reapplying
It is no secret that admissions to medical school are highly competitive. Each year, we receive over 3000 applications, invite around 600 students to interview, and accept 259 students into the program. Applicants who are unsuccessful may have strong applications but are simply just not as competitive as others in the current application cycle. Many students who apply for the MD Program are not admitted the first time they apply. Each time you apply, you get to know the process a little bit better and are able to strengthen your application.
Medicine is a goal that people typically have for a long period of time, and the application process itself can be a lot of work. Thus, we understand how it may be discouraging to get the news that this attempt to become a medical student in this cycle was not successful. As much as you can, try to reframe the situation as a new opportunity to strengthen your application and gain experiences for the next round. It sounds simple in theory, but how can you do this?
Pursue your interests
It is often believed that there is a one-size-fits-all approach to get into medical school. Students approach our admissions office looking for a specific rubric to follow that they hope will gain them admission. Applicants may try to emulate the paths of current medical students with the hopes that this will lead to a better chance of their own admission. In reality, the admission committee is interested in learning about your individual experiences. Passion shows through on your application, in letters of reference, and in interviews. Perhaps it is time to think less about what you believe medical schools are "looking for" and focus more on the things that make you a strong individual.
Further referee relationships
Letters of reference are an integral part of your application. Though we look at the applications holistically, referees are able to give us an objective view of why you would be a successful physician. Have you talked to your referee about why you are so passionate about medicine? Do they know the community involvement work you do? Or how you helped mentor students in years below you? Make sure that the referee you choose fully understands your desire to attend medical school. We also recommend that you chat with your referee about the four clusters, and remind them that they are the criteria we use to assess if you will be a good fit for the program.
In any situation with high competition, this is tough to do. It is easy to think about why someone who may have been successful did not appear to put in as much work as you did, or to compare your own accomplishments against the accomplishments of others. In reality, there are people from all backgrounds who are admitted into medicine. You never know the whole story of other applicants: what their referees said, how strong their essays were, the passion they displayed in interviews. Spend the time that you would spend in comparison, thinking about how you can better your own application. And, avoid forums that encourage comparison as much as possible!
Revisit your application
Were your intentions clear on your application? Did you make sure that you covered the four clusters in your personal statements? Did you ask your referees for letters without letting them know what the admissions team is looking for? There are always small ways to improve your application, that may end up making the difference in getting an interview or offer next year. If you made it to the interview rounds, you had a competitive application, but there is still room for improvement in the next cycle. Interviews can be a learning curve for applicants, so reflecting on how you performed in the interview may prove helpful for if you are invited again to interview next year. Like with all aspects of the application, having been through the experience before will help you during your the next application cycle.
The admissions team is always more than happy to chat with you about the application process. Feel free to drop in to chat with a member of our team, or to contact us via phone or email. Though we cannot give individualized feedback, we are able to discuss general themes of your application and answer your questions about the application cycle.