Withdrawing my application this cycle - advice needed

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Aug 26, 2020
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Hi everyone, I'm re-posting this here too because I'm honestly not sure which forum is best for my question. So, I'm kind of in a sticky situation. I recently took my MCAT (originally scheduled for March) and received a lackluster score (501 123/126/124/128). After receiving advice from SDN, I decided to continue with my application and apply to 2 low-tier MD schools and 6 DO schools earlier this week. I was also waiting to hear back from my pre-health advisors but due to the pandemic and having graduated it's very difficult to get in contact with them. They got back to me yesterday after I had applied and advised that I not continue and retake instead. This got me thinking and ultimately, while I don't necessarily care if I'm an MD or DO, I won't get the chance to apply to programs that I really like and that does bother me. I'm thinking of withdrawing my applications altogether (haven't submitted secondaries yet), retaking the MCAT, scribing to get more clinical experience, and applying next cycle. However, I do realize I am now considered a reapplicant next cycle and if schools ask if I have applied to medical schools before, would this look bad? I'd say that I realized I could be a more competitive applicant if I waited a cycle to apply and wanted to give myself the best chance, but I'm worried I'll look indecisive or unmotivated and that this will affect me big time. Also, should I formally withdraw from the schools with a call or email or just not submit the secondary? Some schools I would potentially want to apply to again. Thank you!
 
Mar 14, 2019
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Hi everyone, I'm re-posting this here too because I'm honestly not sure which forum is best for my question. So, I'm kind of in a sticky situation. I recently took my MCAT (originally scheduled for March) and received a lackluster score (501 123/126/124/128). After receiving advice from SDN, I decided to continue with my application and apply to 2 low-tier MD schools and 6 DO schools earlier this week. I was also waiting to hear back from my pre-health advisors but due to the pandemic and having graduated it's very difficult to get in contact with them. They got back to me yesterday after I had applied and advised that I not continue and retake instead. This got me thinking and ultimately, while I don't necessarily care if I'm an MD or DO, I won't get the chance to apply to programs that I really like and that does bother me. I'm thinking of withdrawing my applications altogether (haven't submitted secondaries yet), retaking the MCAT, scribing to get more clinical experience, and applying next cycle. However, I do realize I am now considered a reapplicant next cycle and if schools ask if I have applied to medical schools before, would this look bad? I'd say that I realized I could be a more competitive applicant if I waited a cycle to apply and wanted to give myself the best chance, but I'm worried I'll look indecisive or unmotivated and that this will affect me big time. Also, should I formally withdraw from the schools with a call or email or just not submit the secondary? Some schools I would potentially want to apply to again. Thank you!
????? Do whatever is best for you. Being a reapplicant is worse than not, but it's not fatal, and you will be a reapplicant whether you withdraw, don't submit secondaries, or go forward and aren't accepted. You are indecisive, and there is no avoiding looking like that if you terminate applications between primary and secondary. How else would you describe filing an application the first week of September and terminating it the second week of the month?

Either formally withdraw with an e-mail or phone call, or don't submit the secondary. Every school has thousands of applications to deal with. Absolutely no one is sitting around wondering where your secondary is. When you apply next year, the schools you applied to this year will see that you submitted a primary in 2020-21 and did not follow through. No one will care why, or whether you withdrew with a phone call or just didn't submit a secondary. Is it a negative? What do you think? Will it kill you? That depends on what next year's application looks like, as compared to the rest of their pool!

Either way, don't go forward this year because you are afraid of what withdrawing will look like. It's your life, and you don't need to settle for anything. Good luck!!!
 

candbgirl

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Did you just apply this past week? You won’t be considered a reapp until your transcripts are verified and your application is transmitted to the schools( Not sure if this is true for DO so I’ll tag @Goro and @Faha!). If your MD application hasn’t been verified you can just go on AMCAS and withdraw. If your transcripts have been verified just send an email to the schools withdrawing! Not a big deal and it’s only 2 MD schools.
 
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Aug 26, 2020
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????? Do whatever is best for you. Being a reapplicant is worse than not, but it's not fatal, and you will be a reapplicant whether you withdraw, don't submit secondaries, or go forward and aren't accepted. You are indecisive, and there is no avoiding looking like that if you terminate applications between primary and secondary. How else would you describe filing an application the first week of September and terminating it the second week of the month?

Either formally withdraw with an e-mail or phone call, or don't submit the secondary. Every school has thousands of applications to deal with. Absolutely no one is sitting around wondering where your secondary is. When you apply next year, the schools you applied to this year will see that you submitted a primary in 2020-21 and did not follow through. No one will care why, or whether you withdrew with a phone call or just didn't submit a secondary. Is it a negative? What do you think? Will it kill you? That depends on what next year's application looks like, as compared to the rest of their pool!

Either way, don't go forward this year because you are afraid of what withdrawing will look like. It's your life, and you don't need to settle for anything. Good luck!!!

I'm sorry if it wasn't clear but I wasn't asking the forum what I should do; I was simply asking how this would look to other schools (not the ones I applied to this cycle). I know some schools ask on their secondaries if you have previously applied to medical school and obviously I have. I was just wondering if a school will care that I previously applied to a different school and question it? I've seen mixed responses on other similar posts so I wanted a clear answer.
 
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Aug 26, 2020
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Did you just apply this past week? You won’t be considered a reapp until your transcripts are verified and your application is transmitted to the schools( Not sure if this is true for DO so I’ll tag @Goro and @Faha!). If your MD application hasn’t been verified you can just go on AMCAS and withdraw. If your transcripts have been verified just send an email to the schools withdrawing! Not a big deal and it’s only 2 MD schools.

My apps are verified :/ I know the 2 MD schools will obviously care that I re-apply, but this won't hurt me for other schools? Some people make it seem like it will.
 
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Rogue42

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It will look bad at the schools you’ve re-applied. It will look bad if schools ask.

The reason why is this: they want to know why. Why did this applicant not get accepted last year? What’s in their application that’s a red flag? What’s in their personality that’s a red flag?

But with increased scores and ECs, one can overcome this.
 
Aug 26, 2020
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It will look bad at the schools you’ve re-applied. It will look bad if schools ask.

The reason why is this: they want to know why. Why did this applicant not get accepted last year? What’s in their application that’s a red flag? What’s in their personality that’s a red flag?

But with increased scores and ECs, one can overcome this.

If a school (that I'm not technically re-applying to) asks and I tell them I withdrew before filling out secondaries because I decided I wanted to be a more competitive applicant, would that be a red flag? It's fine if it is, I just want to know what I'm getting myself into.
 

Rogue42

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If a school (that I'm not technically re-applying to) asks and I tell them I withdrew before filling out secondaries because I decided I wanted to be a more competitive applicant, would that be a red flag? It's fine if it is, I just want to know what I'm getting myself into.
Someone with more experience than me might need to answer these questions:

Medical schools want to accept applicants with good judgements. So, I assume if tell them that’s why you withdrew, they’ll question your judgement. “Why did they apply to begin with? Do they lack judgement?”

Again, I’m not sure that’s what they’ll all think or if any of them will think that at all. But the point is, unless something really crazy happened to the point that you have the best reason on the planet for withdrawing your application, it won’t look the best.

But, doesn’t mean you’re dead on arrival - especially if your scores and such paint you in a great picture. Further, I don’t remember ever being asked if I had ever applied to medical school before; I was only asked if I had ever applied to that specific school before. So it might not even be a huge problem.
 
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Aug 26, 2020
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Someone with more experience than me might need to answer these questions:

Medical schools want to accept applicants with good judgements. So, I assume if tell them that’s why you withdrew, they’ll question your judgement. “Why did they apply to begin with? Do they lack judgement?”

Again, I’m not sure that’s what they’ll all think or if any of them will think that at all. But the point is, unless something really crazy happened to the point that you have the best reason on the planet for withdrawing your application, it won’t look the best.

But, doesn’t mean you’re dead on arrival - especially if your scores and such paint you in a great picture. Further, I don’t remember ever being asked if I had ever applied to medical school before; I was only asked if I had ever applied to that specific school before. So it might not even be a huge problem.

Ahh I understand. I mean I made a decision based on information available to me at the time. I'm in this position now because my advisor presented me with new information. Also, I read on forums that schools sometimes ask but I guess it's just a handful. Nonetheless, this was helpful so thank you!
 

candbgirl

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I know it’s none of our business but can you share what your advisor told you that makes you want to withdraw?
 
Aug 26, 2020
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I know it’s none of our business but can you share what your advisor told you that makes you want to withdraw?

Well, they said that the C/P and B/B sub-sections will be a severe disadvantage and I should definitely re-take. They also basically discouraged me from applying right now because my GPA is higher and ECs are good so they think I could have a shot at the MD and DO programs I was originally interested in (in-state schools). This is something I considered on my own prior to sending in my applications to other schools but hearing it from my advisor made me realize I'll probably regret not even trying. I know I should have waited to hear back but it had been almost a week and a half with no communication and I was getting worried since my application was already pretty late.
 
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I know it’s none of our business but can you share what your advisor told you that makes you want to withdraw?
I think we can infer from the OP that the feeling is that she can do better than 501, and applying with it will limit options to likely DO, so OP wants to retake and reapply next year rather than potentially being "stuck" this year. Nothing wrong with that. The lapse in judgement was in submitting the apps, just last week, rather than having the presence of mind to know that this was what she really wanted all along. It looks like OP submitted throwaways to both MD and DO without having the score, and then went ahead last week, after the score came back.
 
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Ahh I understand. I mean I made a decision based on information available to me at the time. I'm in this position now because my advisor presented me with new information. Also, I read on forums that schools sometimes ask but I guess it's just a handful. Nonetheless, this was helpful so thank you!
P.S. Your advisor did not present you with new information that was not available to you at the time you applied, so please don't say this. It will only make you look worse. Your advisor explained to you what you should have already known, using no new information.

If you needed to consult with your advisor in order to know what to do, applying before doing that is further evidence of bad judgment. This isn't terrible, so please don't lose sleep over it, but for the few schools that care, there is no way to spin this, so don't torture yourself trying. Either kill the MCAT and make them want you anyway, or just forget about them.
 
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P.S. Your advisor did not present you with new information that was not available to you at the time you applied, so please don't say this. It will only make you look worse. Your advisor explained to you what you should have already known, using no new information.

If you needed to consult with your advisor in order to know what to do, applying before doing that is further evidence of bad judgment. This isn't terrible, so please don't lose sleep over it, but for the few schools that care, there is no way to spin this, so don't torture yourself trying. Either kill the MCAT and make them want you anyway, or just forget about them.

Yea that does make sense. I guess I wanted to believe that I didn't make a bad judgement call but in the end I did and I can take responsibility for that. Hearing it from my advisor of 4 years just made it more painfully obvious. I probably won't mention that if I re-apply to those schools, but I most likely won't. I only applied to one DO program that I had my heart set on so it is what it is. I'll focus on my MCAT for now, thank you!
 
Mar 14, 2019
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Yea that does make sense. I guess I wanted to believe that I didn't make a bad judgement call but in the end I did and I can take responsibility for that. Hearing it from my advisor of 4 years just made it more painfully obvious. I probably won't mention that if I re-apply to those schools, but I most likely won't. I only applied to one DO program that I had my heart set on so it is what it is. I'll focus on my MCAT for now, thank you!
I really don't mean to beat you up, so I'm sorry if I sound harsh. One of my favorite expressions is that you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

I totally understand why you'd want to try to do better on the MCAT before settling for whatever you can get this cycle, but I would would urge you to apply wherever you want next year, with your head held high and no excuses. Whatever happens, happens, but please don't allow a momentary lapse in judgment prevent you from taking your shot. You worked hard to get here. Let it play out, and if you don't get whatever your #1 school is, at least it won't be because you didn't try.
 
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