Medical School Application: Take Two

September 18, 2019


Didn’t get into your chosen medical school with your first application? All is not lost. In fact, during the 2018–2019 application cycle, more than a quarter of medical school applications came from candidates who had previously applied, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. But those students won’t get in with the same application they submitted the first time – and neither will you. Here are five things you can do to help assure the second time’s a charm:

  1. Get feedback: “The old adage is that you never can address a problem until it’s identified,” John D. Schriner, PhD, Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, recently told reporters. “So if you don’t get in, I’d solicit feedback from the medical school as to why things didn’t work out in that initial application cycle.” Your chosen schools pre-med advisor can tell you just how your application stacked up against the rest of the pool and recommend programs that tend to favor applicants with a similar background to your own.
  2. Act on that feedback: A top mistake of second-time applicants is to simply reapply with the exact same application and hope the dice roll in their favor this time. That’s a sure way to fail. “Chances are you’ll get the same results,” Schriner said. We look to see how a student has taken our advice and acted on it, whether it’s experience or academics. We want to see a marked difference in the candidate’s profile.” Recommendations for improvement can mean retaking the Medical College Admission Test for a higher score, enrolling in post-baccalaureate program with a particular focus, pursuing a master’s degree in a related subject or gaining more volunteer clinical experience. Whatever your advisors advise – do it!
  3. Boost your communication skills: A common reason for not making the cut is lackluster communications skills. The good news is the more you practice, the better you’ll become and opportunities to improve are all around you. Sign up for a public speaking class, request a practice interview at your school’s career center, offer to pen a few articles for your local newspaper and ask an accomplished writer or editor to look over your pieces.
  4. Be the early bird: Most medical schools accept students on a rolling basis. Take advantage of this by revamping and submitting an application as early as possible. You’ll skip the last-minute transcript verification crunch and get your pick of interview days.
  5. Be ready for your encore: Know that if you reapply to the same program, admissions officers will notice and very likely will ask you about it. Don’t approach this opportunity as having to explain a failure. Rather, see it as an opportunity to prove your perseverance, commitment and ability to take direction – all important factors in medicine. “If I were the candidate, I would address it and speak to how I have enhanced my viability in the new cycle,” Schriner said. “Talk about how you continued building your knowledge base or engaged with meaningful research—whatever the enhancements were that had taken place since the last application cycle. That would show the tenacity and desire to be part of the program. It’s the old you-can’t-tell-me-no once sort of approach. I see this every year, and the gratifying thing is to see [an applicant] reapply, review their credentials and see them follow their course of action and do everything you asked of them. When you see they did that, you give them another good, strong look.”

Another way to assure your success in your medical studies is by enrolling in WOLFPACC’s COMLEX or USMLE review courses. Call 904-209-3140 to find how we can help you best prepare for medical school and major exams.