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January 1, 2021

You Got Rejected From Medical School


You poured your ‘heart and soul’ into your medical school applications. Yet, they sent you a polite yet terse ‘denial’ letters. You felt shocked; or perhaps you said, “it’s okay. I knew it would be tough.” The questions now are, what next? Do you give up, regroup and plow ahead with Plan B?


  1. Stages of Grief
  2. The Ding Analysis: What went wrong?
  3. Enhance and Upgrade your Qualifications
  4. Develop a Strategic Plan
  5. Refine Your Application
  6. It is all about Fit

Stages of Grief

  • Grief from disappointment is normal and is an individual process. Not everyone goes through all five stages. They include: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Don’t be surprised if you pass through these phases as you cope with the disappointing news. To the contrary, if you handle stress well, by accepting your fate, learning from the experience and moving on to re-address your priorities, you are “way ahead of the curve.”

Ding Analysis: What went wrong?

  • This is a term commonly used for students denied by business schools. You applied this cycle and to your surprise, your efforts did not earn you a seat in a class. But, you’re not deterred. You plan to re-apply. But when and how? If you apply with essentially the same application, can expect a similar result?
  • Did you apply with a strategic and balanced list of medical schools; reach, target and likely?
  • Did you apply to too many medical schools, where the quality of your applications diminished due to you overextending yourself?
  • Perhaps your academic research and letters of reference were weak.
  • Did you apply late? It is a fact that applicants submitting in June and July have higher chances of acceptance than those applying in August and September.
  • If you applied without expert advising or consulting, it’s possible you’ll make a number of unrecoverable mistakes. Would you try to treat a medical condition without the advice of medical personnel or engage in a legal relationship without the aid of an attorney? Applying to medical school is a serious and consequential matter. Contact Physician Bound for the guidance you need to apply at your fullest potential.


Enhance and Upgrade your Qualifications

  • Once you’ve done a SWOT analysis, determining your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, it’s time to revisit your vision for the future and correct your deficiencies, one by one.
  • Perhaps you’ve done research. But you’re not published. Possibly you came across as arrogant or naïve in your interviews. Did your letters of reference highlight your faults and not your strengths?
  • Can you apply in an upcoming cycle ‘new and improved’ unrecognizable from the profile that failed.
  • It may be required or optimal that you take a gap year or more to make your application competitive.


Strategic Plan

  • As in the words of Aristotle, “Excellence is a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.” Moreover, to do a series of uncoordinated and mindless actions, without synergy and conscientious thought, is a plan destined to fail. Some applicants are intuitively insightful. Others need expert advice. Which are you?

Refine Your Application

  • Once you are enlightened and upgraded, you’ll have the tools to submit an impressive medical school application.


Consider an application review by an admissions expert

  • When your parents receive a medical diagnosis or treatment recommendation, it is not uncommon to seek another medical expert opinion to determine consensus or options. Similarly, you may wish to seek an admissions expert opinion on ways to bolster your application.

It is all about fit

  • When you attend a wedding, you’ll likely need to wear formal attire. Wearing a swimsuit to a wedding would be considered quite inappropriate. Similarly, applying to medical school is all about fit. Even with a high GPA and MCAT, if you apply to a top Research medical school without significant research in your portfolio, it will appear odd and deficient. The admissions officers might even question your judgement. In other words, your profile must fit the mission, vision and culture of the medical school you’re are applying to. Otherwise the fit is awkward.


Take Home Message

  • You must apply to medical school smart, prepared and early.

Need help applying to medical school? Contact Physician Bound at mrichardson@physicianbound.com or text Dr. Richardson at 609.608.6258.