To what extent should a re-application be improved, if the reason for past cycle failure was purely bad luck?

Sep 2, 2020
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*PLEASE DO NOT QUOTE*

Before anyone says it, no, I don't think I am the perfect applicant. However, I don't believe my application needs much to be changed. My MCAT/GPA were above the averages for half my school list (not high enough to be yield-protected though). My essays were revised and reviewed multiple times by medical students, physicians, and professors. I've done countless mock interviews and have drastically improved my interview skills (before my actual interviews) because of it. The only "weakness" I, along with many med students I've talked to, could find is my 200 hours of clinical experience (separate from shadowing), for which I am addressing with my current clinical job (should likely be ~1000 hours by May 2021). This would really be the only change between my current application and my potential re-application in terms of activities.

My question is, besides adding my new clinical experience job on AMCAS, do I need to change my essays and LOR's for re-application if I'm very confident they're good? I'm assuming that my mediocre cycle is purely due to bad luck (I realize that's a HUGE assumption, but I can't seem to pinpoint what else may be going wrong). I am waitlisted post-II at 3 schools.
 
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harvard_of_the_west

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Hmmm...when did you submit and when were you complete with all secondaries submitted? If everything else was squared away on your app, it could be that you just applied too late in the cycle. You were admitted to the waitlist, so they like you, they just liked others before you. Try to submit ASAP and have a secondary turn around time of a week or less.

Otherwise, improve everything you can. Seriously practice your interview skills, both MMI and standard interview. More hours in clinical setting. Figure out how to make your PS better (this is always possible). Maybe take your PS to your campus writing center and get their input? Did you get any feedback from the schools that rejected you? If so, that'd be a way to get some idea of what to target on your app. Do you have any research experience? What about continued volunteer work? If not, try to get some of that too! I've noticed that sometimes just being a year older makes a difference too. Good luck next cycle!
 
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Sep 2, 2020
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when did you submit and when were you complete with all secondaries submitted?
Because of canceled MCAT dates due to the pandemic, I was complete at most schools in July and some in August. I guess this is something that was out of my control this cycle, but will be in my control next cycle.

Figure out how to make your PS better (this is always possible). Maybe take your PS to your campus writing center and get their input?
I did exactly this. Actually redid my PS twice due to lots of feedback, and the final product was complimented by numerous credible sources, so I'm not sure if I should even touch the PS.

Did you get any feedback from the schools that rejected you? If so, that'd be a way to get some idea of what to target on your app. Do you have any research experience? What about continued volunteer work?
I haven't reached out to the schools that have rejected me. Would it be a good idea to do so this early? I assumed it would be most appropriate to ask schools closer to March/April? I have sustained research and volunteering, but no pubs, so I guess that might be a downside?
 

LizzyM

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You are improving over last year if you are adding a year of relevant employment; big difference from someone who spends the year sitting in the basement eating Cheetos. Having had 3 interviews at this point, I'd wager that you'll have one offer by May 1. Sit tight.
 
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harvard_of_the_west

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Actually redid my PS twice due to lots of feedback, and the final product was complimented by numerous credible sources, so I'm not sure if I should even touch the PS.
This is a good start, and it may totally be good enough for an acceptance.

BUT, if you end up reapplying, challenge yourself to make it even better. Between 3-4ish complete re-writes (which are demoralizing and refreshing all at the same time) and clean-ups, I probably had 20 different drafts that were incrementally improved upon each time. Up until this point, you've never written anything so important in your entire life. It's arguably the most important thing you will ever write. Don't leave it to chance by simply thinking two drafts is good enough.

I haven't reached out to the schools that have rejected me. Would it be a good idea to do so this early? I assumed it would be most appropriate to ask schools closer to March/April? I have sustained research and volunteering, but no pubs, so I guess that might be a downside?
While I wouldn't reach out to your waitlisted schools yet, I don't think it's too early to reach out to the schools that rejected you and simply inquire when an appropriate time to request feedback on your application would be. However, I'll defer a more meaningful response to the adcoms on this thread.
 
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Submitting the same essays gives off a vibe you'd prefer to avoid.
I was thinking about how I'd rewrite essays if I had to reapply. For this application, I spent an excessive amount of time on my essays, and I'm not sure how I'd re-answer the same questions. For one of the schools I called about feedback, they said that my essays were mostly fine (except that the "why us" essay could have been a little more specific). They also said my personal statement was fine.
 

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