That pile of “We regret to inform you…” letters can be difficult to confront. If a career in medicine has been the only path you’ve been steering towards, it can be hard to get rejected from medical school despite working your best. It can be scary and unsettling, so we’re here to help you face med school rejection together, and decide on what to do next.
1) Don’t Take it Personally.
A rejection from medical school doesn’t mean you’re worthless. Committees in admissions offices evaluate hundreds, if not thousands, of applications, and their decision processes are often subjective. Some admission committees reject candidates based on low MCAT scores without even considering the rest of their applications.
2) Take Some Time Off to Heal
Everyone processes things differently. Some require a few days to contemplate before deciding what to do next. Other takes longer. Focus on yourself, take some time off to relax and reflect before deciding what to do next.
3) Re-Evaluate your Career Goals & Keep an Open Mind
Being honest with yourself is key. 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 being a doctor may not have been what you wanted. Changing your plan now might seem scary at first, but most personal journeys are filled with trial and error.
4) 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.
5) Attend Alternative Medical Schools
With flexible entry dates, Caribbean medical schools make a perfect Plan B. Higher-quality Caribbean med schools offer curricula comparable to those at US medical and allow you to enter in the spring or fall instead of only once a year. Applicants are evaluated holistically, and are not assessed solely on grades and MCAT scores alone. And, contrary to Reddit and some message boards, graduates from upper-tier Caribbean medical schools have gone on to become successful physicians in the United States. The main difference between these and U.S. medical schools are that not all Caribbean medical schools are accredited. Accredited by the U.S. Department of Education, AUA graduates have high residency percentages and moved on to attend clinical rotations in the United States.