How to handle rejection from Medical School

Never give up!

It is never nice to be told you have been rejected, especially when you have set you sights on attending medical school. But don’t give up that easily! As you know, competition for medical school is fierce, as the reality is there just aren’t enough places for everyone. A rejection does not mean you are not good enough to study medicine or become a doctor. Indeed, a valuable attribute for doctors is perseverance and determination, and that is exactly what it takes to get into medical school. So, if you are willing to keep at it, there is no reason why you can’t re-apply for med school in the next academic year. But remember, start now to improve your application!

What happened?

Did you know that for every place available on a medical course, there are between 4 to 60 applicants? So rejections are to be expected. However, it is important to know what happened in your application process that led to your rejection so that you work on this.. Did you miss the required grades? Or do you have less experience than other candidates? Maybe you didn’t perform your best during your interview. Whatever the reason, it might be worth asking the medical school for some feedback on your application. Of course, they are not obliged to do this, but there is no harm in trying and they may even give you some ideas as to how to improve your application for next year.

Common reasons for rejections

It is essential you have a look at your application with a critical eye now. What could be improved? What areas do you think could be developed and enhanced? Perhaps discuss this with a trusted friend or tutor at college for a different perspective. Generally, there are common reasons why applicants are rejected from medical school. Here’s a couple of them:

·       Missed the grade requirements – this is when none of the medical schools you applied to (and you can apply to four each time through UCAS) accept your grades because they are not high enough. Find out whether your medical school would accept you if you re-sat the exam and achieved the required grade. It is essential to find this out directly before taking such action.

·       Lack of voluntary work medical work experience – medical schools want to see clear demonstration pf your commitment to medicine, and the only way to show this as a student is through work or voluntary experience. If you think this is an area you are lacking in, and you still want to attend medical school, it would definitely be in your advantage to develop more experience.

What to do to improve your chances of success

There are many things you can do to enhance your chances of being accepted the next time you apply. Here are a few ideas that other students have suggested:

·       Develop your experience – apply for as many jobs as you can in health care. This does not have to be in a hospital, but in any health environment such as nursing homes or day care centres.

·       Apply to be a healthcare assistant (HCA) – this is a specific role in the NHS, so it is paid and is generally based in hospitals.

·       Overseas medical work experience – find a reputable overseas placement agency so you can gain excellent experience working at overseas hospitals with medical professionals. You can find out more about medical work experience here: Medical Work Experience.