Advice for Re-Applicants

Applying to medical school is a long process, and many times it takes more than one application cycle to receive an acceptance. We understand that it may be difficult to figure out why you didn’t get accepted. To advise applicants, we’ve put together a few tips for those who are considering a re-application to medical school.

To Re-Apply or Not to Re-Apply?

  • Before you decide to re-apply, consider why you are passionate about becoming a physician, given the time, money, and personal investment it takes to complete your education. By the time you have finished medical school, residency, and fellowship, you may have invested 7 to 12 years. Medical school is highly competitive, so you will need to take a critical look at your resume to identify any areas that may need enhancement.

Evaluate your relative competiveness

  • Less than 50 percent of applicants to U.S. medical schools are accepted each year. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) collects statistics on all students who take the MCAT and who apply to medical school. These statistics are organized into various tables and available on the AAMC Facts webpages.

  • If you want to see how your academic grades and standardized scores measure up to all other applicants, it is useful to review the AAMC Facts Table A-23.

  • Also see Appendix A.

If You Decide to Re-Apply

Step 1: Look at your academics.

  • GPA: Be sure to research the school’s website to see if your GPA is close to the mean GPA accepted. If not, you may want to take additional classes to increase your cumulative GPA. This can be done through post-baccalaureate programs, or by taking additional undergraduate courses. Please note - graduate level courses will not be combined with your undergraduate GPA but can still show competency in upper level science courses and demonstrate likelihood of success based on your GPA. Visit the AAMC website on post-baccalaureate programs to learn more about the types of programs available.

  • Prerequisites: Have you completed all of your prerequisite coursework with grades of C or better? If you have taken AP or IB credits, you will need to check with each school to make sure that they accept those credits for meeting the pre-requisite requirements.

  • MCAT: Did your score meet or exceed the minimum accepted score? Meeting a school’s minimum academic qualifications is the first key for admission. Be sure to reapply to schools where your MCAT score falls within the range of their accepted scores. If your score is at the low end of the range, you may consider retaking the MCAT to demonstrate your academic competence. Retake it only after you have adequately prepared for it, however. For information about the new 2015 MCAT exam, visit the AAMC site on MCAT 2015.

  • Worried about the cost of preparing for the MCAT? Check out Khan Academy, which has partnered with the AAMC to provide free test prep questions.

Step 2: Reflect on and evaluate your experiences.*

  • Clinical experiences: Have you demonstrated your passion for medicine? Continue building your portfolio of working with patients by gaining additional medically related experiences, such as physician shadowing, volunteering at a clinic or blood drive, working as an EMT or an emergency department scribe, or otherwise getting some hands-on medical experience. This will demonstrate your commitment and help you remember why you’re tackling this application process again.

  • Research: Are you interested in conducting research? Is this something you want to do in medical school? At the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, our students conduct independent research as an integral part of the curriculum. If this is something you haven’t done, we suggest getting involved with a research project. This would show us your ability and interest to do research if provided the opportunity to attend our medical school. If research isn’t something you enjoy or have an interest in pursuing, we recommend utilizing resources such as the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) to identify schools that do not require research.

  • Community involvement: Have you been an active volunteer in your community, on- or off-campus? We consider any non-medical volunteerism to be community involvement, including experiences abroad. Be sure to list these experiences on your application to help the committee get a better understanding of your passion to help others. Get involved in a cause that has personal meaning to you. Opportunities such as volunteer tutoring, nursing homes, summer camps, and soup kitchen all show that you care about helping people.

  • Teamwork/Leadership: Were you part of clubs or groups on campus and in the community? Did you assume leadership roles within these groups? Most medical schools value demonstrated leadership. At the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, our students participate in patient-centered learning through a team-based environment.

*It is important to maximize your experiences and take advantage of every opportunity to express your passion for medicine through these experiences. The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) allows applicants to enter 15 experiences. Although in some cases, less is more, remember that you are selling yourself in this application. If you list only seven experiences, another applicant has eight additional opportunities to demonstrate their passion over yours. Also, if you have more than 15 experiences you want to provide, consider grouping multiple similar experiences (such as six shadowing opportunities, or four awards and honors) so that you can fit them all in. Also note that while dancing, jogging, fishing, intramural sports, and other hobbies are noteworthy to add, it can be viewed negatively by the committee to show 2000 hours spent in these activities and only a relatively few hours in medical and research related activities. Your application will reveal whether you have a true passion to be in medicine based on the things you have done to prepare for medical school.

Step 3: Be sure what you wrote is what you really wanted to say about yourself.

  • Personal Statement: Rewrite your personal statement. It is an opportunity to briefly showcase the passion you have for medicine. It should be interesting and well-written. You may also explain anything in your application that you feel may be viewed as less than positive by medical schools by reflecting on your weakness and demonstrating how it has improved. Be sure to tell us why you want to be a physician.

  • Secondary Essays: Rewrite your essays. They should be interesting and well-written. Be sure to read the prompt carefully, and answer the question appropriately. This is your chance to bring your personality to our attention and establish yourself as a standout applicant.

  • Letters of Recommendation: Will you be able to obtain at least one new letter of recommendation to support your candidacy that addresses the areas that may have been seen as weaknesses in the previous application cycle? Include letters from the entire spectrum of your experiences (such as medical professionals, research mentors, and science faculty). If you have been out of school for a few years, include employer references. When asking for letters of recommendation, be certain to ask people who are going to positively and accurately speak to your character and abilities. The better the person knows your abilities and personal strengths, the better the letter will be.

Step 4: Make sure you are prepared for interviews.

  • Interviews: Practice your interview skills. If you received interviews the previous application years but were not accepted, it may be beneficial for you to work on your interview skills. This could include mock interviews with friends or taking a public speaking class. At the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, we conduct Multiple Mini-Interviews (MMI). Although the MMI differs from panel or traditional interviews, you will still be interacting with several individuals, so it is important to be confident in your speaking ability. Learn more about our MMI process with this video.

Step 5: School Choices: Research the schools that are the right fit for you and your educational goals.

  • MSAR: Medical School Admission Requirements: If you are considering re-applying to medical school, we highly recommend that you subscribe to the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) published by the AAMC. This guide is a comprehensive source of information on preparing for and applying to any allopathic medical school in the U.S. or Canada. It allows you to sort by state, private/public institutions, program type, and many other filters and will assist you in choosing the schools that best meet your goals for a medical education. It will help you determine your “best fit” for a potential acceptance.

  • Osteopathic Medicine: Don’t rule out osteopathic medical schools (DO). Learn more about being an osteopathic physician by visiting this website, which has a section especially for prospective applicants.

  • Other Medical Professions: There are many other medical professions from which to choose. If you are more interested in other professional schools such as veterinary medicine or dental school, be sure to research those options, too.

When Should You Reapply?

Now that you’ve reviewed your application and identified any areas that need improvement, it’s time to decide when you should reapply.

First, it’s important to understand that application cycles overlap. Only one month after accepted students declare their top medical school choice, the application cycle re-opens. It can be difficult to focus on improving your application when you are trying to reapply in the next immediate cycle. Furthermore, applicants may still be called off of the waitlist during the summer. Consider waiting to apply for at least one cycle to give yourself time to self-evaluate and improve any areas of weakness on your application.

Medical schools look at a combination of your academics, experiences, essays, letters of recommendation, and much more. For some reapplicants, just improving in one area is enough; however, for others, improving in multiple areas is most beneficial. If there are significant gaps in your application that require time in order to strengthen your application, it may be best to wait before reapplying.


May - AMCAS applications open
June - AMCAS applications may be submitted
July - First secondary application invitations sent
August - First round of interviews
December 1 - Deadline to file AMCAS applications
January 1 - Deadline for secondary application submissions
March 15 - By AMCAS regulations, Virginia Tech Carilion issues 42 acceptances
April 30 - By AMCAS regulations, applicants may hold only one acceptance
July/August - Matriculation and orientation

Contact Us

Office of Admissions
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
2 Riverside Circle Roanoke, VA 24016
Phone: 540-526-2560
Fax: 540-982-3805
VTCSOM Admissions

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Disclosure Statement:

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine is in a process to integrate into Virginia Tech as its ninth college, effective July 1, 2018. Students who will graduate after July 1, 2018, will be part of the transition. This includes the current Classes of 2019 and 2020 and those applying to be part of the Class of 2021. All students applying to be part of the Class of 2022 and beyond will apply to be part of the fully integrated Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine at Virginia Tech. Current and prospective students with questions about the integration can contact Beth Pline, VT-VTCSOM Transition Project Manager at or 540-581-0347.