To Reapply or Not to Reapply?
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.
Before you decide to reapply, consider why you are passionate about becoming a physician. The time, money, and personal investment it takes to complete your education can be considerable. 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 competitiveness
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.
To help you evaluate, use this guide to using the AAMC Facts Table.
Reviewing your previous application
If you are considering a re-application, please review our advice to applicants above. In addition, think carefully about what you have done to strengthen your record since your last application and how to communicate your hard work to medical schools. We include some specific things to consider below:
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.
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? Do the people writing your letters know you well? Do your letters help create a well-rounded application?
We strongly recommend rewriting your personal statement and essay responses. Use the circumstance of how you have grown and what you have learned since your last application to discuss your determination, persistence, and resilience. These essays are opportunities to express your passion for medicine.
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.