Getting rejected from all your choices is a horrible experience, I applied three times to medical school and got rejected by all my choices the first and second time. You can read my story for more details. It had a serious knock on my confidence and I almost entirely gave up on pursuing a career in medicine. No one wants to have to apply a second time and definitely not a third time. After a second rejection, a lot of people recommended picking another field or even giving up altogether. For me, both of my rejections was hard and still to this day, I can still recall the frustration and failure that I felt during those times. However, I believe getting rejected twice was one of the best things to happen to me. It was a true test of my passion for pursuing medicine. If you find yourself in a position where you’ve been rejected by all your choices these are five things I recommend you do to give yourself a better chance of getting in when you re-apply.
1. Focus on Achieving Your Predicted Grades
It is natural to feel disheartened or a bit depressed after you’ve received a rejection from your university choice. It can be hard to refocus your efforts on studying, most students get caught up in trying to get feedback on why they got rejected, this can at times distract them from their studies. Don’t get caught up in the application process focus on achieving your predicted grades. This will give you a better chance when you re-apply. I remember constantly viewing my UCAS page for updates and proofreading my personal statement many times after I had applied. When you apply to medical school expect the worse possible outcome and focus on achieving your grades.
2. Do Not Waste Time Getting Feedback
I remember calling up my choices to find out why I got rejected. The representatives never gave specific advice. This is understandable when you consider the vast number of applicants that apply. Do not waste your time chasing feedback it is a lost cause. Focus on achieving your predicted grades! I only recommend chasing for feedback if you’ve had an interview, you are more likely to get specific feedback on your performance.
3. Speak To Your Academic Tutor
It is natural to feel embarrassed about the outcome, I didn’t tell my friends or family till after a month. Instead of dealing with it alone speak with your tutor or teacher, they will be able to provide support and review your application on how to improve it. If you plan on reapplying let them know, they might be able to give you helpful advice.
I’m personally against the idea of clearing because in most cases students settle for any degree without really making an informed decision. However, St George’s medical school announced it would open up places onto its medicine course through clearing for this first time ever in 2016. Around 40 places were on offer through the process, which was used by the university to fill up leftover places. It is highly competitive and be prepared for another interview round. This is a great option for those who have been rejected by their choices and didn’t apply to St George’s Medicine Programme but have achieved good grades (3A’s and above). Clearing can also be used to get a place into health-related programmes such as biomedical science, paramedic science, Pharmacology or healthcare science, that provide a great platform for later getting into graduate Medicine or Dentistry.
5. Find Out Helpful Information from Admission Tutors
Instead of ringing up your choices to find out why you’ve been rejected, ask for more specific information. Find out the cut-off score for the UKCAT for the application cycle you applied, or how many students applied, what was the average UKCAT score of candidates who were accepted etc. You can use the information to your advantage when you reapply. Knowing the cutoff mark for the UKCAT that year can help set a target score when you re-apply the following year.
6. Reflect Objectively
Once the dust has settled and you’ve finished your final exams reflect on your application. It is hard to reflect on your application immediately after you’ve been rejected. Try to think about how you can improve, really think about the shortfalls of your application and how you can improve it for next time if you decide to reapply. If you honestly think it’s “perfect” show your application to a university advisor or academic tutor. They should be able to criticise your application to help you improve it.