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5 Ways to Deal with Medical School Rejections

That pile of “We regret to inform you…” letters can be difficult to confront. Instead of racking up another hundred hours of Fallout 4 to get through the rejection, try these tips to soften the blow to your ego and make yourself a better candidate in the future:

Don’t Take it Personally

A rejection from medical school doesn’t mean you’re worthless. Admissions committees evaluate hundreds, if not thousands, of applications, and their decision processes are often subjective. Some U.S. medical schools reject candidates based on low MCAT scores without even considering the rest of their applications. Luckily, there are plenty of other sturgeons in the sea. (Sure, the adage says fish, but sturgeon sounds more medical.)

Have Several Back-Ups

If you’ve applied to just a few schools the pain of not getting in will feel even worse. But even if you’ve already received a few rejection letters, it’s not too late to broaden your application list. With flexible entry dates, Caribbean medical schools make a perfect Plan B. Schools like AUA match U.S. medical school quality and allow you to enter in the spring, fall, or (at non-AUA schools) even the summer, instead of only once a year.

Keep an Open Mind

Rejection can help you reflect on and rethink your personal goals. Being honest with yourself is the key to moving on. Ask yourself what you want out of a medical education and why you want to become a physician. You may discover you’re passionate about another field entirely, or realize that attending an Ivy League medical school isn’t necessary to your dream of becoming a doctor. Changing your plan now might seem scary at first, but most personal journeys are filled with trial and error.

Realize You’ll Be Okay

The sadness that follows rejection is only temporary, and you haven’t lost anything by applying. You actually did a lot more than many prospective students who only talk about applying but never do. Let your family and friends help you get through this setback. Medical school will always be there next year.

Flip-it: Embrace the Rejection

Take this as a wake-up call to improve yourself and strengthen your resolve. Evaluate your application objectively; identify aspects that might have signaled to an admissions committee that you’re not ready for medical school, and work on remedying them. Retake the MCAT if you got a low score last time. If your GPA leaves something to be desired and you’ve already graduated, take continuing education health sciences courses. If your numbers are up to par, try showing your passion for medicine by doing relevant volunteer work, shadowing a physician, or work in a healthcare-related field. The key to applying again is keeping your momentum; when the next cycle rolls around, you’ll be a more mature and more qualified candidate.

In that vein, AUA has articulation agreements with two programs that can make you a better candidate for medical school: Bridge to MD (BTMD) and AICASA’s Basic Science Enhancement Program (BSEP). If you meet each program’s qualifications, they can give you a crash course in medical education that gives you a leg up on other prospective students.

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