You’ve overcome many obstacles on your journey but haven’t gotten that acceptance yet. What’s holding you back? Should you try again?
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[01:56] OldPreMeds Question of the Week
Should I reapply and give medical schools one more try?
“I’m a non-traditional medical school applicant – I’m 30 years old. I have a B.S. and M.S. degree. Both of them are in the biological sciences. My college GPA is 3.2 and I did an SMP(special master’s program) after college at an osteopathic medical school and finished with a 3.9. I applied to medical school twice after the SMP and was rejected both times with no interview invites. My MCAT score is 499. I applied to a mixture of MD(lower tier and in-state), but most were DO schools.
I’ve gone over my application and targeted my weak points – low MCAT, my writing wasn’t optimal (personal statement and extracurricular activities), I need more clinical hours (volunteering and shadowing). My weak undergrad GPA was compensated for by the SMP and I had a biology class that was a C- (below the prereq cutoff for all schools), but I did a postbacc and earned an A in the lecture and lab, so I feel that I have proven my ability to succeed as a student and I am confident that I would excel in medical school.
The issue I am struggling with right now is that I am dealing with a great deal of trauma. I excelled in my SMP and finished at the top of my class, but it was not without a cost – I was viciously and relentlessly bullied. It was very traumatic and it broke me as a person. This program had a linkage to their medical school and I know I would have made it in, but I was so traumatized and riddled with PTSD that I didn’t apply to their medical program. I’m still afraid to use their resources. I could have done better on the MCAT, but I took it about a month after I was released from the hospital (side effect of the bullying).
I am conflicted as to whether I should study to take the MCAT again, get more clinical hours, and reapply next year for the 3rd time. I feel like the bullying extinguished the last spark of life I had left in me and I don’t know how to gather the strength to try one more time. But I want this so badly, worked so hard, and can’t let go of this dream.
[04:30] The Sunk Cost Fallacy'It doesn't matter how much you work you put into something. If you decide this is not what you want, you have to ignore how much work you've already put into it.'Click To Tweet
As soon as you realize you don’t want to keep going, but you decide to keep going because you already put in so much work, you are setting yourself up for disaster later on.
So you need to separate the work you’ve done from this being still your dream. If you still want to be a physician, then you should be a physician. You just have to figure out where you went wrong with your prior applications.
[05:43] Determine Whether You Truly Want This
An MCAT of 499 is one of the biggest things that’s holding you back. But there must be something in the rest of your application where you could improve on.
If you want this so badly and this is your dream then you should be getting clinical experience to prove to yourself this is truly what you want. And to prove to the medical schools that this is what you want.“A very common mistake among students, when they’re going down this journey, is they say one thing, but do another.”Click To Tweet
You really have to reflect hard on your journey to determine whether you truly want this. Or is this just something you’ve said you wanted to do, but all of your actions are proving something else? It’s a very important distinction that a lot of students don’t make appropriately.
A lot of physicians go down this path whether their parents want them to. Or they thought they wanted to, and they put in so much work already, so they might as well keep going. And then they get to the other end and realize it’s not really what they want.
[07:20] What to Reflect on When You Don’t Get into Medical School
MCAT and GPA are obviously top of the list because those are very easy things to weed someone out.
I’ve seen lots of students get into medical school with a 499. The 3.9 in your SMP is awesome, the 3.2 college GPA, your stats GPA-wise are not holding you back. Now, what does the rest of your application look like?
Make sure you have shadowing experience, clinical experience, and that you’ve formulated a reason for wanting to be a physician.'The personal statement is all about why you want to be a doctor. Too many students are focused on this is why I have the skills to be a doctor. Instead of this is why I want to be a doctor.'Click To Tweet
If you haven’t yet, go check out my Application Renovation videos and check out my Mission Accepted videos on premed.tv where I break down people’s personal statements.
You said you applied to a lot of DO schools and a lot of DO schools have lower stats than MD schools. That number is creeping up and we’re probably going to get to a point where DO stats are going to be pretty much on par with MD stats in the future. But right now they’re still lower.
[09:53] Final Thoughts
Finally, you have to do a deep dive, introspection, and reflection, and really be self-aware. Understand if is this truly what you want. Or you’re only trying to do this because you’ve already put in so much work, then stop.
If you look at your future and you can only see yourself being a physician taking care of patients, then you should reapply 1,000%. Then figure out what it is in your application that’s missing, and try to improve from there.
If you don’t have access to premed advisors, reach out to other people at the NAAHP or the National Association of Advisors of Health Professions.
At the end of the day, you need to ask whether you’re doing this because you’ve already put in a lot of work, or am I doing this because I can’t see myself doing anything other than being a physician. Answer those two questions and you’ll know what the next steps are.
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