How to Handle a Medical School Rejection Peacefully
Every year, thousands of applicants are rejected from medical school. It may have been you or someone you know. I’m sure everyone can think of someone who had perfect grades, MCAT scores, great extracurriculars, plenty of research and a great personality that was rejected from medical school. This isn’t uncommon. In fact, not being accepted into medical school is the norm. It’s the expected statistical outcome; there are way too many applicants for too few seats. All applicants should have been aware of this.
However, it’s hard to believe that an admissions system run by smart and supposedly fair people can turn away amazing applicants year after year. We try to justify these seemingly arbitrary decisions in many ways. He must have bombed the interview and did poorly, she chose the wrong people to write her references, their grades just weren’t competitive enough. You application was poorly put together and there were just too many better candidates than you.
But that’s not true, you are still a good person.
Despite a rejection, I believe that if you worked hard during undergrad, maintained good grades and balanced activities, and know how to interact with people, you are still a good candidate. You would be just as good of a doctor as those who were admitted.
Obviously there will be applicants that did not stand a chance in the first place. These people usually know it; their grades are poor, they haven’t done anything to show their interest, they put together a sloppy application. But if your grades are above previous year’s admitted average and you have talked to medical students who have confirmed what you are doing is enough, you are still just as good as you were before.
It wasn’t your fault you were rejected
It truly isn’t. If you have done everything right and you were still rejected, don’t feel bad for yourself. There were factors that were out of your control that lead to that rejection. I know of friends with degrees from Harvard and Yale who were rejected from some medical schools.
Most medical students have rejections from medical schools.
If you sample any medical school, an overwhelming majority will have had at least one rejection letter. Only a very small number of people will have no rejections and all acceptances. A good number of medical students have applied more than once, some even twice or more. You are not alone.
Take advantage of setbacks, learn to grow stronger with them.
Realize that facing adversity and rebounding from failure in the long-term is good for you. Take the time you have from the rejection to re-evaluate your own personal goals and make yourself a better person. Don’t do it to improve your application, but do it for yourself. If you haven’t thought about your motivations for being a doctor seriously before, you have now been given one of the best times to do so.
Sooner or later, we will all encounter failure
And learning to deal with failures appropriately is the key to future success. Even if you get in on your first attempt, you will eventually make mistakes as a medical student. It is inevitable that you will slip up or make an error as a resident that might cost someone’s life. Your rejection now is just a glimpse of what is to come. Don’t feel dejected from it, it happens to everyone.
If you are dedicated and passionate enough, you will get it.
Whether it’s this year, next year, three years down the road or more, if medicine is something you truly want to do, you will eventually get it. If you are one of those stellar applicants who are in shock because they were missed this cycle, it’s only a matter of time before you get in. If you feel like you should have got in, you most likely will sooner or later. Take this rejection from medical school as fuel for your future endeavors.
Over the last few years, I have kept every acceptance and rejection letter I have received. All my university, scholarship, and job application letters are stored away in a box. From time to time, I empty out its contents and look over the successes and rejections I have accumulated. And time and time again, I realize it’s my missed attempts and failures and how I dealt with and overcame them that fill me with pride.
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