What would you do if you ultimately did not get in medical school?

Sheemu

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If asked this question on a secondary/during an interview, what is the general advice on how to answer it?
I was told you should make it adamant that you would reapply and reapply and that medicine is your one true love and nothing else. But for a 1200 character secondary essay, simply saying you'll try try and try again seems a bit underwhelming. Would it be bad to say after trying a second and third time, you would try to help the world in other ways, ie, through public health? Thanks
 

gyngyn

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I was told you should make it adamant that you would reapply and reapply and that medicine is your one true love and nothing else. But for a 1200 character secondary essay, simply saying you'll try try and try again seems a bit underwhelming. Would it be bad to say after trying a second and third time, you would try to help the world in other ways, ie, through public health? Thanks
Don't do this.
 

thatwouldbeanarchy

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I'm definitely no expert on this and I'd be interested to hear what adcoms here think... but I would actually see it as kind of a red flag if someone said they'd apply again and again and again. Medical school is competitive and it is sometimes necessary for qualified applicants to apply more than once. But it's important to know when to call it quits. I'd worry that a chronic re-applier was in denial about their own abilities or had unrealistic ideas about medicine. Medicine is a job. Yes, it's a job that I want more than others. But it's not the be all and end all of my life. So yes, I would think it's perfectly fine (and even possibly a positive) to say that you would do something else.

I also think perhaps the purpose of this question is to learn something about you by what you say you'd choose, if medicine were off the table. If medicine is the only thing that interests you, you sound kinda boring, tbh. ;)
 

JustAPhD

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I forget who said it, but a respected member on here said three applications is when they'd move on. One MD only app, one MD/DO mix, and finally a DO only app. This obviously might vary depending on the individual, their stats, and their particular "story," but this always made a lot of sense to me.
 

NotASerialKiller

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What would you do if you ultimately did not get in medical school?
If the real question was phrased similarly, then it should be obvious that they're asking about your alternate career plans, not just what you would do in the summer of 2017 (reapply). They're likely not interested in how many years you'd reapply for, or what you'd do in the meantime as you reapply. The point of the question is to see whether or not you've considered what you'll do if medicine is off the table.
 
7

777137

I would probably join the peace corps and figure it out from there. I am interested in teaching, but going into medicine is what I want to do, so taking some time to do some good in the world and discover some stuff about myself would be a great opportunity. Since my issues aren't stat related, who knows, maybe I would be unable to get into the medical field completely.

Question: Is saying you would attempt to join the peace corps a bad answer?
 

LuluLovesMe

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There must be something you feel strongly about - some change you'd like to see in the world. Write your essay about how you would go about accomplishing that.
 
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frosted2

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I would be a pilot. As a female however (and non ex-military) that is a long shot to get into Delta, Southwest, United, etc. I know there are obviously other options, but that would be what I would ultimately want to do!

Medical school is a bit more practical from my standpoint. I would be more than happy to do either though.


I think what the question is asking is for your ability to self reflect and make smart/well informed decisions... For instance, if something is not working, what are you going to do to fix the problem? Are you going to keep doing the same thing over and over again? Or will you change your approach to the task?

upload_2016-7-25_22-29-23.png
 

Goro

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This is a sign of both immaturity and being unrealistic.


If asked this question on a secondary/during an interview, what is the general advice on how to answer it?
I was told you should make it adamant that you would reapply and reapply and that medicine is your one true love and nothing else. But for a 1200 character secondary essay, simply saying you'll try try and try again seems a bit underwhelming. Would it be bad to say after trying a second and third time, you would try to help the world in other ways, ie, through public health? Thanks
 

FutureOncologist

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Short-term: call almost every med school that I thought was within my reaches and ask what went wrong. PS poorly written? Too low of an MCAT? sGPA too low? Then I would ask how I could fix this and take the time to improve my application. Each school will offer different reasons why also; so it is advised to make a spreadsheet of some kind and see where the common denominator is. For example, JHU told me that I had too low of a sGPA and I could try to beef it up, but it may be fruitless. Emory told me my GPA was okay, MCAT was great, but overall I didn't "fit in" with what they wanted as far as a class. Not sure what that meant, but oh well.

Long-ish term: Take a gap year or two to work on the glaring part of the application that caused the problem, as well as volunteer, work, have fun, and so on. Hopefully it isn't something that cannot be fixed, such as an IA or a legal action.

Long-term: if I didn't get in after 4 tries, then I'd find another aspect of medicine I could work in, like research or becoming a PA/NP.
 

numbersloth

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I know this doesn't help for your secondary, but if anyone was in a position where they weren't going to get into medical schools because of stats or unwillingness to put in volunteering/shadowing/research hours, wouldn't this be pretty obvious *during* undergrad? Like at least by the end of junior year, at which point the student can make the decision to at least pursue an employable minor or think about applying to masters programs to help them find a better job than most pre-medical major/pre-req combinations can give?
 

Crayola227

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in my post history I have an answer to this I think is good, see if you can find it
 

Crayola227

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English/Spanish/History teacher
Spanish translator
Cultural anthropologist
Sexologist
Homemaker
Chemist
Actress
Writer
Hobo
Exotic dancer
Brewery w/ @Mad Jack

if healthcare related, podiatry, PT, adult foster care/nursing home director
 
7

777137

Short-term: call almost every med school that I thought was within my reaches and ask what went wrong. PS poorly written? Too low of an MCAT? sGPA too low? Then I would ask how I could fix this and take the time to improve my application. Each school will offer different reasons why also; so it is advised to make a spreadsheet of some kind and see where the common denominator is. For example, JHU told me that I had too low of a sGPA and I could try to beef it up, but it may be fruitless. Emory told me my GPA was okay, MCAT was great, but overall I didn't "fit in" with what they wanted as far as a class. Not sure what that meant, but oh well.

Long-ish term: Take a gap year or two to work on the glaring part of the application that caused the problem, as well as volunteer, work, have fun, and so on. Hopefully it isn't something that cannot be fixed, such as an IA or a legal action.

Long-term: if I didn't get in after 4 tries, then I'd find another aspect of medicine I could work in, like research or becoming a PA/NP.
Every year you spend clean and having a positive impact in your community helps fix this from what I've heard. At least I hope so, that's the only problem I see with my app :rofl:
 

Crayola227

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Can you imagine the look on an interviewers face?
Yes, yes I can.

I actually spent some time living on the streets. It's not that bad in the summer if it doesn't rain.
 

Boogy'sChick15

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Right, the key word is "ultimately" so I think that leaves reapplying off the table altogether. At one of my interviews it was phrased as "If God came down and told you that you can't be a doctor, what would you do instead?"
"Did you just assume my religion?"
Really though, this is a perfect way to ask this question lol I hope I get asked a question like this when its my turn to interview
 
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mimelim

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I would have applied to law school. I told people as much while interviewing. Nobody really seemed to care.
 
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Goro

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Nope. Some people just aren't meant to be doctors. Stats are only part of the equation. Remember that 60%of applicants don't get accepted!

I know this doesn't help for your secondary, but if anyone was in a position where they weren't going to get into medical schools because of stats or unwillingness to put in volunteering/shadowing/research hours, wouldn't this be pretty obvious *during* undergrad? Like at least by the end of junior year, at which point the student can make the decision to at least pursue an employable minor or think about applying to masters programs to help them find a better job than most pre-medical major/pre-req combinations can give?
 

Swish16

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The answer doesn't matter as long as your explanation is solid. If you could say you wanted to be a concert pianist or a carpenter that might be an interesting talking point.


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freak7

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I would be a pilot. As a female however (and non ex-military) that is a long shot to get into Delta, Southwest, United, etc. I know there are obviously other options, but that would be what I would ultimately want to do!

Medical school is a bit more practical from my standpoint. I would be more than happy to do either though.


I think what the question is asking is for your ability to self reflect and make smart/well informed decisions... For instance, if something is not working, what are you going to do to fix the problem? Are you going to keep doing the same thing over and over again? Or will you change your approach to the task?

View attachment 206882
I always feel like Einstein would've been irked at how overused that expression is. It's gotten to the point where I think people actually believe that's the definition and not just a witticism
 

The_Bird

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Right, the key word is "ultimately" so I think that leaves reapplying off the table altogether. At one of my interviews it was phrased as "If God came down and told you that you can't be a doctor, what would you do instead?"
I'd Stephen Fry that mafk.
 

golfman7

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I have plans to enroll into an engineering program if I'm not admitted off the waitlist this year. I think having alternative career plans is wise and not acknowledging that you can make a living doing something else is immature.
 

Dro133

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I would suggest to answer honestly and rationally, as with any other interview question.

Personally, I would have done one of the following (in order of likelihood):

- Ph.D. in genomics
- Science writing
- Software developer

These jive well with my interest in science, communication, and technology, all themes that I touched upon in my essays/secondaries and interview.
 
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FutureOncologist

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OP, medical geneticists are becoming a big thing nowadays. Look into that if you don't get in. Pretty awesome stuff and if you live in the right state, you could make a killing by just working at home.
 

numbersloth

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I would suggest to answer honestly and rationally, as with any other interview question.

Personally, I would have done one of the following (in order of likelihood):

- Ph.D. in genomics
- Science writing
- Software developer

These jive well with my interest in science, communication, and technology, all themes that I touched upon in my essays/secondaries and interview.
Are you a bioinformatics or cs major? Or would you transition to genomics/software through extra coursework?
 

tessellations

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Me? I'd probably try for some sort of PhD in Public Health or Epidemiology. There are a few Chronic Disease Epidemiology programs out there that I find particularly interesting. I find healthcare fascinating from all perspectives - from individuals to populations.

I could also see myself getting a PhD in Environmental Toxicology. I like the idea of working for the government in some sort capacity with one of these degrees.
 

toutou

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Considering I'm already a nurse I would stay in nursing and go into management.
 

Dro133

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Are you a bioinformatics or cs major? Or would you transition to genomics/software through extra coursework?
Nope, I was a Neuro major. I picked up the programming background during an internship at a tech company (1.5 years). I would have picked up the extra genomics/software skills I needed for a genomics Ph.D. through coursework/independently. Are you trying to make a similar transition?
 

numbersloth

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Nope, I was a Neuro major. I picked up the programming background during an internship at a tech company (1.5 years). I would have picked up the extra genomics/software skills I needed for a genomics Ph.D. through coursework/independently. Are you trying to make a similar transition?
Oh nice! I'm a Cognitive Science major (basically neuro/psych/cs/philosophy) with a lot of CS since I actually like coding. I've been toying around with having computational neuroscience or even genomics grad school as a backup though. Thing is that a lot of the coursework grad schools like to see like upper level stats are just too GPA-dangerous for me to take while still pursuing pre-med. If I were to give up on pre-med due to low grades in the pre-reqs I would take the other courses for grad school for sure.
 
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darkjedi

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I almost always asked this question in interviews and explicitly stated "if medicine were no longer an option at all" because I hated the "would just apply again" answer since it was so boring. The reason I asked the question is to gauge what a person's passions were. If they were to say something that was interesting or still reflected their passions in life, whether it's science or helping others, I'd take the candidate more seriously. If candidates said something boring like finance or didn't know at all, I'd be much more wary.
 
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Kurk

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I'd pursue a masters in molecular biology and go into research among a few other possible choices.
 

EEtoPre-Med

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If I got that in an interview I'd say "all the polls say I'm going to get in. Who needs a backup plan? Make Medical School Great Again". Haha
 

Dro133

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Oh nice! I'm a Cognitive Science major (basically neuro/psych/cs/philosophy) with a lot of CS since I actually like coding. I've been toying around with having computational neuroscience or even genomics grad school as a backup though. Thing is that a lot of the coursework grad schools like to see like upper level stats are just too GPA-dangerous for me to take while still pursuing pre-med. If I were to give up on pre-med due to low grades in the pre-reqs I would take the other courses for grad school for sure.
I actually applied to grad programs as a backup, and got some love from a couple of 'second-tier' programs, despite not having taken any formal CS/stats/upper-level math background courses. I'd say about 50% of the students I met on the interview trail had zero coding experience. Of course, if you want to aim for the Stanford/MIT/UCSF/Berkeley tier, it would probably help to have some of those courses.

Would you consider applying for MD/Ph.D?
 

Oncie

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pillowsnice

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I would say a cop/detective although I'm not sure how the interviewers would respond to that.
 

numbersloth

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I actually applied to grad programs as a backup, and got some love from a couple of 'second-tier' programs, despite not having taken any formal CS/stats/upper-level math background courses. I'd say about 50% of the students I met on the interview trail had zero coding experience. Of course, if you want to aim for the Stanford/MIT/UCSF/Berkeley tier, it would probably help to have some of those courses.

Would you consider applying for MD/Ph.D?
MD/PhD is kind of a dream but I don't think I'm competitive enough stats-wise. I'm not good enough at gaming the system to get As in heavily curved courses.
 

gonnif

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If asked this question on a secondary/during an interview, what is the general advice on how to answer it?
I was told you should make it adamant that you would reapply and reapply and that medicine is your one true love and nothing else. But for a 1200 character secondary essay, simply saying you'll try try and try again seems a bit underwhelming. Would it be bad to say after trying a second and third time, you would try to help the world in other ways, ie, through public health? Thanks
if that was the only focus of the essay I would score it a 0 which is essentially an immediate blackball and rejection. starting an essay that you continue to reapply for another cycle and then explaining your thoughts for a plan B is the direction to go.
 
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nm06003

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I know someone who applied 4-5 times and on his/her last cycle did MD/DO/PA... Got into two schools that year (1 PA and 1 MD). Most of us thought they wouldn't have gotten in after so many tries... but you never know.
 

JustaDO

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Make more then 15 accounts pretending to be different people lamenting about the "Indian" culture, and use SDN as a diary for all of my panic attacks.

Oh, all while not getting into medical school.
 
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Sardinia

Yes, yes I can. I actually spent some time living on the streets. It's not that bad in the summer if it doesn't rain.
Pretty awful when it rains. What would do when it rained?

Youth hostel? Metro? Do churches offer housing or did you not qualify for young adult/HUD housing?