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February 15, 2019

10 Reasons People Get Rejected from Medical School

Whether you didn’t receive that medical school acceptance letter, or perhaps you just want to fend off such a rejection, this blog post should serve you well.

  • Poor Metrics: Low undergraduate GPA & MCAT
    • At a minimum, one must reach your target medical school’s average GPA, and score in the middle 50% of MCAT scores to be most competitive. Of course, higher is always better. If your GPA is on the low side, you can compensate for it with higher MCAT scores. When the undergraduate GPA is 3.4 or lower, you should consider undertaking a post-baccalaureate certificate or Master’s degree program to show that you can survive academically in medical school.
  • Poor Letters of Recommendation (LoR)
    • Just because you earned an “A” in a class doesn’t equate to an outstanding letter of recommendation
    • It takes social intelligence, character and respect
    • Also, not every knows how to write a strong letter
    • LoR doesn’t support your essay or brand, or is downright negative
  • Applying too Early or too Late
    • Are you applying when you should or applying when you can?
      • Would you build a car or airplane before you had the skills or materials to build if properly? So…. Why do so many apply to medical school before their application is optimized?
    • Law of diminishing return
      • Many applicants realize that applying to college with its January 1st deadline, there is no penalty for submitting on the deadline date. However, medical school admissions is rolling admissions. In other words, the earlier your application is complete, the earlier it is considered and the higher your chances of admission. If an exceptional applicant applies in September, instead of June, his odds of acceptance diminish precipitously.
  • Failure to course correct
    • Inability to learn from mistakes, failures and experiences
  • Taking on too much
    • It takes judgement to gauge:
      • How many challenging classes to take at once
      • How to balance extracurriculars so that they do not negatively impact GPA and/or MCAT
  • Low clinical exposure: low volunteering & shadowing (<200 hours), and research (6 months)
    • I heard of an applicant with a 3.9 GPA and scored in the 99th percentile for MCAT. Yet, he was rejected by every medical school in applied to. He had no ECs and had no clinical or hospital exposure.
  • Unprepared for the Interview
    • Interviews, like other attributes, are skills and must be practiced and mastered.
    • Explain MMI
  • Failed to Stand Out
    • Only 40% of applicants gain acceptance to medical school. Of course, the higher the GPA, and the higher the MCAT score, the better. This gets you noticed. However, in order to stand out, you need to take it a step further. You need to know yourself, your destination, your target medical schools, your competitors, the journey, the process, your compelling narrative and how to market it all to total strangers.
  • Failed to write a compelling essay
    • The essay is one component that you have total control over.
  • Applied to the wrong schools
    • Applying to medical schools outside of your competitive range or to schools where you are not a good match is like wearing a swimsuit at the beach in the winter. It is possible. But why?
  • Overwhelmed by secondary’s
    • Applying to medical school is like taking another upper division or graduate level course. It is a heavy burden in time and energy. You cannot overcome poor quality in your application by applying to more medical schools.
  • Lack of a compelling narrative
    • This is the part where otherwise competitive applicants falter. The medical schools want to understand you as a person. They want to see inside your soul. They want to see your gift, what you offer the world and their medical school.
    • If they cannot gain insight into your thoughts, aspirations and accomplishments, then you’ve already lost. The personal statement and secondary short answers must not just answer the question, but answer the question behind the question. This is similar to when the operating room technician knows exactly what instrument the surgeon needs next, and hands it to her even when the surgeon doesn’t explicitly ask for it.
  • Lack of Synergy in the Application
    • It is winter here in the northeast united states, with the temperature in the single digits. My clothing has synergy, from my long underway, wool shirt and sweater, knit cap, thick coat and gloves. There is no hint of the warm Aruba weather in my attire. Similarly, your essay, activities, resume, letters of recommendation and interview must show synergy and support your claim that you are a competitive and desirable applicant. It is that simple. It just isn’t easy.
  • Poor Social Intelligence
    • Inability to accurately know in depth oneself and others, leading to faulty navigation through social situations
    • What is Social Intelligence
      • Verbal Fluency and Conversational Skill
        • The is the ability to comfortably speak to people of all demographics, ages and on a variety of topics
      • Know of Social Roles, Rules and Scripts
      • Effective Listening Skills
      • Understand what Makes People Tick
      • Ability to play varied social roles as appropriate
        • Ronald E. Riggio – Psychology Today