Why Was I Rejected After My Med School Interview?

So, you got a medical school interview (or a few), but you weren’t accepted. What are the possible reasons you were rejected AFTER your med school interview?

If you are currently in this boat – without an acceptance – consider applying to be on my series Application Renovation to get free feedback on how to improve your app: http://applicationrenovation.com/apply​.

If you want to learn more about interview tips, check out my book The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Interview. And check out all our podcasts on MedEd Media.

[00:42] Interview Doesn’t Equal Acceptance

You may have heard me discuss if you have a medical school interview, that acceptance is yours to give away. But that’s not always the case.

So what are some of the reasons you could get rejected after your medical school interview?

'Just because you're there for the interview doesn't necessarily mean you have a perfect shot of getting in.'Click To Tweet

The first thing to keep in mind is that, just because you made it to the interview, that doesn’t NECESSARILY mean you have a realistic shot at getting in. 

Some schools will actually interview EVERY in-state applicant, even if they have a low chance of being accepted during this cycle. Usually, it’s going to be the smaller, rural states that have fewer premed students because they’re looking to keep those premed students in the state. And so, they’re hoping to show that applicants what an interview day looks like. They’re hoping to show and give some feedback to those applicants after the interview for how to be a stronger applicant next year.

[02:01] You Weren’t a Strong Applicant

It’s always possible that something in your original application was the reason you got rejected after an interview.

You may have been invited for an interview for one reason or another. Maybe there was just something in your application that stood out. Maybe the school interviews all of the students from the state, whatever it may be, you may have gotten an interview with the school knowing that your stats just weren’t on par for what they’re looking for.

'Don't assume that you got the interview and that your stats are good enough.'Click To Tweet

It’s very important that you reflect on everything that you do on this journey. Don’t think that just because you got an interview, the 498 MCAT score is good enough. So you’re not going to retake it. A higher MCAT score will obviously help you in the next application cycle assuming you have to apply again.

Reach out to the schools and ask for feedback. That’s the only way that you’re going to hear directly from the people that are rejecting you. What it is about your application that is causing that rejection?

[03:59] Coming In Too Rehearsed

One of the biggest reasons that students get rejected after the interview is that they didn’t let the interviewer get to know them during the interview. It’s because you kept diverting the interviewer’s questions into sales pitches. You came in with too much.

“Drop the agendas. Go in and have a conversation with the interviewer.”Click To Tweet

Have a coffee shop conversation with your interviewer. Let that interviewer ask the questions. Answer the question without any agenda behind your answer. And you will be able to connect with that interviewer at a higher level without putting up any barriers.

[05:37] Selling Too Hard

A lot of students try to sell way too hard in the interview. They try to spin every interview question into a sales pitch. Every point they have to make has a specific selling point behind it. For example, the only time you should really be emphasizing why your experiences or traits will make you a better physician is when that was part of their question.

“Drop that sales act. All that does is disconnect you from the interviewer.”Click To Tweet

The only time I really want you to focus on why it’s going to make you a better physician is specifically if the interviewer asks you, how is this experience going to make you a better physician?

If the interviewer doesn’t add that into their question, do not add it into the answer. Remember, follow their lead. Don’t add your agenda and don’t sell them as to why your experiences, skills, or traits are going to make you a better physician.

[07:08] Too Nervous

One of the goals of medical schools is to see how you’re going to be a good fit for their class, the community at the school. They’re also going to picture you as a physician taking care of their loved ones.

If you are nervous or very closed off, and you aren’t making good eye contact, the interviewer is going to notice that. And the interviewer is just not going to feel comfortable with your presence on that day. Then they won’t be able to imagine you taking care of their family members in the hospital.

“Remember that the interview is meant to be a conversation – not a sales pitch.” Click To Tweet

Hopefully, with practice and doing mock interviews before your real interview, those nerves will go away, or at least decrease to a level that you can tolerate. When you are able to kind of reduce that anxiety reduce that stress, you will come off as a much better interviewee to that interviewer.

[10:47] Being Too Rude of Closed Off

Another thing that can cause you to be rejected after your interview is being rude or closed off during the rest of your interview day. The whole day is really an interview, not just when you’re in the room with the interviewer. If you’re being rude to staff or students, that could come back to bite you.

Think about how you act on your interview day, not just in the interview, but throughout the whole day. Be open and be energetic. You shouldn’t have your phone on interview day. Don’t be rude to people outside of the admissions office. Whether it’s a parking lot attendant, a janitor, a door person, whoever it may be, you are on your medical school interview so be kind to everyone that you interact with.

“You are on your medical school interview from the moment you step foot on that campus.”Click To Tweet

[09:04] Get Feedback

If you are rejected from a medical school, you don’t really know what caused that rejection unless they specifically tell you. And so, you have to reach out to the schools to be able to get their feedback.

Not many schools will give you full transparent feedback on your application that’s specific to you. Unfortunately, the admissions committees are very busy throughout the year. When one application ends, the next one starts and they’re busy building up their class. So they don’t have a lot of time to give specific feedback.

Unless you do a lot of reflection on why you were rejected, you may not know what you need to improve for your next application cycle. One great idea is checking out our Application Renovation series: http://applicationrenovation.com​.

In each episode, I go through someone’s full application to medical school and help them identify the weak points. I will review your application and give you feedback potentially on why you didn’t get in.

Now, obviously, we don’t have recordings of your interview day, so I can’t give you super-specific feedback there. But we will talk about that during the interview as well.

By seeing those examples, you’ll be able to compare notes with your own app and get an idea of how admissions committees may be looking at your application.


MedEd Media

The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Interview