I think the title of this post says it all. Not gaining an acceptance to your dream school or profession is something extremely disappointing and is bound to hit any individual hard. But after the dust settles you are faced with a tougher decision on what to do next. Here’s my input on where to start. If I miss anything I would love more input, there really is no wrong answer here (except giving up, that would be wrong!!)
So at the beginning I think it is important to remember the 3 P’s that stunt your ability to move forward and they are: personalization, pervasiveness and permanence. Not gaining an acceptance to medical school is nothing personal, the program that I applied to had over 1000 applicants and only took 200, the reality is 800 people opened the same letter that I did and felt the same disappointment. The reality is standards are as high as they are due to the sheer level of competition, but it shouldn’t be something that you feel is a reflection of you as a person, a good amount of people don’t get into medical school (or any professional school) on their first try. Second, it is not pervasive, this is only one part of your life, it doesn’t take away from your ability to excel in other areas of life, in fact it is those other areas of your life that can potentially help you to better yourself for your next application cycle. Any hobbies or activities you do outside of school can make you a more well-rounded candidate, you may be excelling in a job that can help you hone in on skills you never thought you had. Finally, it’s not permanent, this is only one cycle, you can always apply again, there are million paths to medical school maybe this one just wasn’t yours.
The next step should involve reassessing where you stand. A lot of medical school admission departments are willing to set up an appointment where they can go over your application with you. This is crucial for you to take advantage of, the advice you get from them is first hand and it allows you understand what their expectations are and where your application may be lacking. After this meeting its important for you to sit down and plan out what you’re next steps are, whether it involves rewriting your MCAT, working on your GPA or having more volunteer experience, what is it that you can do to make your application stand out.
Most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself, this is a marathon not a sprint. It may take a while but it will be worth it all in the end.
Until then keep smiling,