Think back to the first time that you tried to ride a bike. You probably got on it and went for a five mile ride across the city. At least that is what it felt like. More than likely you went five feet and fell down. But you didn’t let that keep you down. You got right back on and gave it another shot, even though that first time could be considered a failure.
The same thing can be said about applying for medical school. For whatever reason, first time applicants assume that the first application, or round of applications, that they submit will be perfect. That just isn’t true. Like everything else, this is a learning process.
So, if your first round of applications didn’t go how you expected it to, take a deep breath and relax. Things will be ok.
Let’s take a look at four areas of your application that you should review, so that you don’t make the same mistakes the second time.
Your personal statement is likely the only thing about your application that is still in your control. As you reapply, make sure that you focus on how you have developed as a person and as a medical professional. Highlight any achievements that you have accomplished since your last application.
Remember not to submit the same personal statement. A lot of times the school will place the two applications side by side and compare them to see what has changed. Sometimes, even schools that you may not have applied to the first time can tell if the application is recycled.
A lot of the time, your first application will lack the right patient[a] extracurricular activities needed to really make yourself stand out. Make sure that you use the time in between applications to strengthen your experience so you can persuade the committee that you are knowledgeable in your field.
By using your time wisely, you can become more specific about your passion for medicine and make your personal statement stronger, which will make your application more compelling to the committee.
Unfortunately, one of the more common reasons why applicants are turned down is because their MCAT score or GPA is too low. Make sure that when you are applying for new medical schools that you review the 25th to 75th percentile range so you know where you will fall.
If you fall in the lower percentile for a lot of schools, you may want to take some time off and get into a master’s or post bac program. Remember that rushing to reapply with a weak academic record is never a good thing.
Take a look at this article for some tips on your interview. Make sure that you take some time to practice beforehand. You worked so hard to get to this point, don’t be unprepared and cost yourself a shot.
So if you don’t get accepted the first time that you apply, think back to when you first got on your bike. It is ok to fail, just make sure that you learn from it and change your approach.
Image by Toffehoff from Flickr.