Tips for the Reapplicant: Successfully Reapplying to Medical School

Medical School
June 25, 2019

If you are worried about the medical school rejection letter you just received in the mail, you’re in good company. While the numbers vary from year to year, nearly 60 percent of applicants experience rejection when initially applying to medical school. However, while those numbers are intimidating, there is a bright side: applicants that medical schools initially reject often reapply later on, and many are eventually accepted. There is nothing at all unseemly about reapplying. In fact, reapplicants comprise a significant portion of the incoming classes at many top medical schools. So, if you’ve been rejected by the schools of your choice and want to try again, here are some great tips for successfully reapplying to medical school.


If you receive a rejection letter, you’ll be understandably upset. However, ensure you take a step back and don’t let your emotions run wild. Following the initial shock of rejection, be honest with yourself and take any advice you receive to heart. Try to find out exactly why you were rejected. Perhaps it was a matter of timing, a weak application packet, problematic MCAT scores, or some other issue. Determining why you medical school rejected you will put you on the path to a successful reapplication.  If you get feedback that your packet had significant problems, or that it was not strong enough relative to your competition, make sure you evaluate all of your options. Reapplying for medical school is often an arduous process and you will only succeed if you are willing to face what you will actually need to do to improve your chances of being accepted.

A key part of this frank assessment is determining the chances of being accepted to the medical schools you originally applied to. If you don’t have a fighting chance to get into those schools, it may make sense to search for other medical school options that align with your personal goals and that you have a more

realistic chance of being accepted into. Casting a wider net during the medical school reapplication process can give you a much better chance of being successful the second time around.


Once you determine exactly why your med school application was rejected in the first place, start making a plan for reapplying. First and foremost, you should find out when you need to reapply to your target medical schools, focusing on the earliest possible dates. Then, using that application window as a goal, you can develop a timeline for everything else you need to do. For example, if your MCAT grades were too low in your original application, programming your time to retake the test and all of the studying you’ll have to do to improve your score should take priority on your timeline.

If other parts of your application were considered weak, allocate time to improve those areas as well. You may need to take additional classes to improve your GPA, so the time needed to do that should be factored in to your plan. Finally, ensure you program enough time to successfully fill out and submit your new medical applications as well.  Don’t spend months and months improving your medical school acceptance prospects, only to leave no time to prepare effective application packets.  


Once you have a plan, you should start preparing your new medical school application packets.  A great place to begin is with your letters of recommendation. Find out if the schools you previously applied to allow you to resubmit your old letters. If they do, and you feel the old letters were particularly strong or addressed important areas concerning your potential, then you should definitely reuse them. You may also want to consider replacing letters that you assess are too generic or weak with stronger, more relevant ones based on more recent relationships you’ve had with professors or other medical professionals. If any case, you should start seeking any new letters you’ll need as early as possible.

You should also assess other key parts of your application packet as well. When reapplying to medical school, you should plan on updating your personal statement. Schools you previously applied to will want to see a new statement, and you can use your revisions to address the work you have done to improve your potential since the last time you applied. If you assess that the work and activities section of your previous application were strong, you may not need to update it. However, if you have had new experiences in the time since your first application, or if you receive notice that this section was particularly week, you may want to revise it nonetheless. You should proceed carefully and deliberately to complete all of this work; many medical schools accept reapplicants on a case-by-case basis, so the sooner you reapply, the better.


When it comes to reapplying to medical school, don’t go it alone. Instead, find trusted advisors and experts who can help you navigate the process. The med school help these experts provide can increase your prospects of making your second round of applications a successful one. A great place to start looking for help are the admissions offices of the medical school or schools that rejected you. While all medical schools are different, many admissions offices are willing to explain exactly why applicants were rejected and may even provide tips for successful reapplication. This feedback can be invaluable as you begin planning to reapply to medical school again.

Additionally, other expert help can put you on the path to a successful medical school reapplication. For example, if your MCAT score was too low despite all your studying the first time around, consider enrolling in an MCAT prep course to get the help you need to improve your score. Advisors in the Pre-Med program at your current school may also be helpful in plotting a course for medical school reapplication. If you receive feedback that your original application packet was weak, you should also seek help to improve key sections, like your personal statement or work and activities section as well. If you have to retake a class or sharpen your interview skills, tutors can assist you in both of these areas. Finally, your mentors or other trusted advisors may be able to recommend additional clinical experiences that will strengthen your reapplication and give you a greater chance of being accepted upon reapplication.

A medical school rejection letter doesn’t have to end your dream of becoming a doctor and helping patients. Every year, thousands of people channel their disappointment of initial rejection into a successful medical school reapplication process. So, if you have recently received a rejection letter, consider the tips here, and start working hard right now to have a successful reapplication the second time around.

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