April is the cruellest month (for med school applicants)…

One of my pals from HCP wrote me the other day to congratulate me on my acceptance to Ross. I thanked him and cheerfully asked, “Where are you headed this fall?”

His reply: “No acceptances so far. Crazy huh?”

My brain: …….what?!?!?

This pal is one of the smartest people I know. He was my lifeline in physics and a go-to-guy during help sessions before orgo lecture. Not only is he ridiculously intelligent, he’s delightfully quirky and he got interviews at ALL the top schools, schools I didn’t even bother applying to because I knew I’d be competing with guys like him. And he’s still waiting????

Sometimes I forget that there is no justice in this world.

April is when everyone starts getting antsy. If they haven’t called you yet or plucked you from the wait lists, you have to face the possibility of reapplication – going through everything all over again, having to wait another year to finally start on your path.

Even though the logical part of your brain knows that rejection isn’t the end of the world and even if every time you’ve has been asked “What will you do if you don’t get in?”, you matter-of-factly respond, “I’ll reapply next cycle”, reapplication is a scary prospect. The self-doubt can be crippling and for some reason, advisors love to chirp, “Well, why don’t you consider a career in one of the other health professions?”

It’s like asking a groom who was stood up at the alter if he wouldn’t prefer to marry one of the bridesmaids instead.

While reapplication is expensive and stressful, the success rate among well-qualified reapplicants is about 86%. Here are two ways to increase your chances of being accepted the second time around:

1. Fortify Your Application

If you think your numbers weren’t competitive enough, consider signing up for an MCAT prep course* and retaking the MCAT or enrolling in a few a la carte science courses to raise your GPA. You can also rework/revise your essays and personal statement.

*note – I don’t endorse any prep course in particular. Because my MCAT score was 5 points lower than I wanted it to be, my plan, had I not decided to go to Ross and ended up being rejected everywhere else, was to spend the money on a course, rock the MCAT, and resubmit my applications with a dazzling new score.

2. Cast A Wider Net

Perhaps your application was phenomenal but you only applied to Harvard and Yale, where everyone’s application is phenomenal *and* all the applicants are phi beta kappa and have been building AIDS clinics in Africa or publishing research in Genetics. For the next cycle, instead of applying to 2 schools, apply to 15 or 20. Apply to both private and state-funded, allopathic and osteopathic med schools. Select schools based on research opportunities, hospital affiliations and student testimonies, not name or rank. Consider off-shore schools. And most importantly, apply early. Make sure those applications are in the mail on June 1st.

Often, schools that have rejected you are willing to discuss your application and tell you what they thought the weak spots were. (One school that isn’t: SUNY Downstate) Although you may want to burn your rejection letters and spit on the steps of every school that sent one, call the admissions offices and see if someone from the committee would be available to talk with you about why you didn’t get in and what you can do to make yourself a more attractive candidate.

Do you really want to go to med school? Do you really want it? Do you feel like your life will be incomplete if you don’t go? Then dust yourself off, revamp your app and reapply.

Meanwhile, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Luke. Harvard Med had better call him soon!

The Waste Land is strangely relevant today for other reasons. Here’s the bit that stirs me:

April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

Sums up this last week in Boston/Somerville rather aptly.

Explore posts in the same categories: med school, randomness, romance

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