For those withough acceptances... some advice

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Sep 22, 2006
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Just got this in the mail from my pre-med advisor (yes, there are some out there who are actually worth their weight), for those without an acceptance or interview yet. I always say hope for the best but plan for the worst, so thought this was a well-written piece of advice to be used in planning for said "worst."


We know from recent counseling interactions that a number of you are contemplating back up plans in case your application efforts for this cycle won't be crowned by success. Before you let feelings of failure overwhelm you, or before you jump into a job search for a research position or start scouring the web for graduate program information, let's remember that different people do not gain admission to medical school for different reasons, so their contingency plans should be *tailored* to their *specific* circumstances.

If things are not looking up right now and you are ready to contemplate contingency plans in the event that your application efforts won't be successful this year, please read on. In the next several postings we will present a range of options and strategies available to you. In fact, we know that while some of you are contemplating exploring *new* career options altogether, others are strategizing about what they need to do as they prepare for a new application cycle.

Some of you give your best effort to one and one only application cycle. If that fails, you can find peace in that outcome, knowing that sometimes doors close only so that new ones can be opened. Perhaps this application cycle gave you time to realize that after all, you don't absolutely have to become a physician to feel fulfilled in your life, or perhaps the length of training or the lifestyle ahead of you are not that appealing anymore.

Many of you, however, cannot possibly imagine doing anything else but becoming a physician. If you are determined to reapply, it would be very wise to assess exactly what may have gotten in the way of your admission this time. In other words, it is advisable to try to identify possible weaknesses/areas for improvement in one's application so that those areas can be addressed *before* a new application is started.

Remember that a number of medical schools are receptive to unsuccessful applicants' requests for a consultation in light of a possible reapplication. Bear in mind that these meetings (or phone consultations) are *not* meant to give you an opportunity to show the medical school that they made a mistake when they failed to admit you. In other words, these meetings are not a means for you to try to appeal their decision. Rather, these consultations are meant to offer you the precious opportunity to hear--directly from the source--how that particular medical school evaluated your application; to learn about which areas they identified as needing improvement; and to provide you with suggestions as to how you may attempt to address those areas. Be prepared to do a lot more listening than talking!

If your application has already been rejected at a number of schools, call the school(s) and see if it would be possible to schedule a time when an admission officer could go over your file and provide some feedback in light of a possible reapplication. In-person appointments are obviously preferable; but, realistically, most of these consultations will occur via phone. You can then keep in mind the medical school admissions officers' advice as you decide what type of next steps you will be taking in the next several months. As basic as this suggestion may seem, we know for experience that very few of you take advantage of this opportunity (asking the medical schools directly). Yet, it would be safer and most likely more effective to embark in a plan of action that would meet the approval of a medical school rather than to dream up one in the isolation of one's own perspective.


Senior Member
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Dec 18, 2005
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Keep in mind that most admissions offices won't be available to meet with applicants until late-Spring, early summer.