How to Improve Your Med School Application as a Reapplicant

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Session 152

Applying to medical school is hard. Needing to reapply is even harder. Where do you start? What do you have to redo? That’s what our question is today.

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If you haven’t yet, please check out our newest podcast, the MCAT CARS Podcast with Jack Westin. It’s a valuable resource, especially if you haven’t taken the MCAT yet. One of the biggest components of the MCAT is knowing what you’re reading and doing, as well as really thinking critically through it.

[01:44] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:

“I recently listened to an episode of the Q&A where Dr. Gray talked about needing to rewrite your personal statement when you reapply. I understand the logic behind it but it felt more applicable to the younger, traditional student. The driving point made was the student is expected to “grow” between the cycles. As far as my application is concerned, my stats are low and I see that as the primary hurdle to even being looked at. I am working on a DIY postbac and will retake the MCAT if needed. But otherwise, I’m having trouble seeing how to improve my application. I feel my personal statement is pretty good and very honest. Beyond numbers, I can’t see how to improve my chances for next year. I have one interview invite for this cycle. If I don’t get in this year, what should I do? I find hoop-jumping to be disingenuous and have done my best to approach this entire process with open eyes and honest effort. Not just tick box to make you like me.”

[02:44] What Do You Need to Change?

You laid our your heart out at this point, and how will that change from year to year if you need to reapply? But how do you know what it is in your application that is causing the schools to be turned off? Is it as easy as your stats being low? A lot of times, it is. But you don’t really know. And maybe they’ve read your personal statement and that your stats are low and your personal statement wasn’t good enough to overcome and make them want to invite you for an interview. Well, this obviously worked for one school where the student has one interview invite per school for this year. But what is it about the application that made one school decide to interview her vs. other schools? That’s the biggest problem when you need to reapply. So the best advice is to change as much as you can.

[Tweet “”The personal statement has one goal in mind, to tell, to show the admissions committee why you want to be a physician.””]

[04:55] An Honest Personal Statement?

The poster says she feels her personal statement is good and honest, but would you even lie in your personal statement? What are you being honest about in your personal statement? A lot of students will be honest about the troubles they have to overcome. But your personal statement is supposed to talk about why you want to be a physician, and not about the hurdles you’ve overcome along the way.

[Tweet “”There are so many variables in an application that you just don’t know what it is that caused the issue for not getting an interview invite.””]

[05:42] What Watered the Seed?

As you’re going through this process, you’re still getting clinical experience and you’re still shadowing. Hopefully, you’re still out there doing things and gaining more experience. When it comes to writing your personal statement and rewriting your extracurriculars, you had new stories to lean on, to show the interviewer the interactions that you’ve had with patients and physicians to highlight why you want to be a physician.

Your beginning story is the seed as to what made you want to look into medicine, to begin with. That’s not going to change. Your seed is your seed. You can’t change your seed. But you can change your watering story. What watered that seed that led you to be even more convinced that being a physician is right for you.

[Tweet “”What watered that seed that led you to be even more convinced that being a physician is right for you?””]

Hopefully, you’re journalling after each of your experiences (clinical experience, volunteering, etc.) so that you have new, different stories to lean on. So you can’t just look at your stats if that’s good enough because you don’t know. You don’t know what the admissions committees are looking at. You don’t know how they’re reviewing and judging it and critiquing your essays. So don’t try to convince yourself that they’re good. They may be great. But you don’t know.

[07:50] Final Words

Rework as much as you can with new stories based on new experiences that you’re getting through this time. Check out The Premed Years Session 171, which is dedicated to reapplicants and one of the biggest mistakes students make when they reapply is reapplying too soon, and not being able to fix their application.

[Tweet “”Fix whatever it was that was wrong with the application which caused them to not get an interview or acceptance.””]

The number one thing that students aren’t able to get into medical school the first time they apply is lack of clinical experience. But for this poster, she already has one interview invite and it only takes one. But should she need to reapply, and you need to reapply, look at tweaking your essays, your extracurriculars, and really presenting new stories to highlight your journey to why you’re doing this.


Nontrad Premed Forum


PMY 171: Reapplying to Med School: What You Need to Know to Improve