If an application to health professional schools produces a negative result, the decision to reapply is one only you can make. You should consider your goals, make an honest self-assessment, and consider your available resources. Your decision should also be informed by the following considerations.
A hasty reapplication is not likely to produce a different result. If you are going to reapply with a better chance of success, you will need to take the time to determine your weaknesses as an applicant and address those weaknesses before applying again. This may mean one or more years needs to pass before you apply again. If you are substantially the same applicant when you apply for the second time, you will not be reevaluated and will receive the same result as last time.
Improving your chances
The first and most important thing you can do to improve your chances is to find out what your weaknesses are. Contact the admissions offices of the programs you applied to and ask for an assessment of your application. Then put together a plan to address those weaknesses. For some students, this may be a significant undertaking, such as additional training in the sciences or substantial practical experience in a relevant field. Note that at this juncture, a significant weakness (like low grades or test scores) is unlikely to be compensated for by improvements in other areas: you need to strengthen your qualifications where they are weakest while also continuing to develop your strengths.
Explore your options
It is a hard lesson, but many applicants are turned down for a reason. Reapplicants often face longer odds than first time applicants. Give serious consideration to back up plans. Is it possible to combine preparing for your alternative plan with improving your credentials, by, for instance, pursuing a masters program or practical experiences in a relevant field?
Some suggestions if you are considering a reapplication
- Consult with a health professions advisor to discuss your plans.
- Be honest with yourself about your motivations. A less than fully committed application is not likely to be successful. Consider that medical school will always be there.
- Write a new personal statement for your applications (required for an updated Health Committee Letter).
- Learn as much as you can about the specific programs you are applying to.
- Apply early with a complete, carefully polished application.
- Maintain a connection with your chosen profession (such as volunteer work) to continue to educate yourself about the profession and your own interests.
- Consider your goals and potential matches with alternative careers in the health professions. Consider what you want to accomplish for others and not just the status value of any particular credential.