As the cycle year comes to an end and you are waiting to hear from all of the schools that you applied to, I want to give a few words of advice from my reapplication. Dealing with rejection and silent rejections is really challenging. I definitely had some elements of depression and panic because I had to plan out what to do the next cycle. Whether or not I was going to apply again, get a job, travel or even how I was going to finance the next cycle. I know that I was really lucky because my parents were gracious enough to pay for my applications again but others are not as lucky. I think as a medical school applicant, we are all smart enough to know that we have to change our application because something wasn’t there. My biggest tips are:
1) Reflect on what you really want in life. If you determine that medicine or whatever profession you are applying to is really not for you then you can take it as a blessing and move on from it. Don’t give up if this is something you really want though. Your time will come and it will be the best time you have ever had.
2) Volunteer a little more. I tried so many different things when I was volunteering and it helped me realize my passion for everything and anything. I did Habitat for Humanity, hospital volunteering, nursing homes and large events. Everything really does count and there is no real consequence of dropping a volunteer project when you’re not getting what you want from it whereas with a job you need prior notice and you have a lot more responsibilities.
3) Rewrite that personal statement. Obviously with the change in the content of your experiences, there needs to be a change in your personal statement to demonstrate how those new experiences shaped you. Also make sure you have at least 3 people proofread it before considering your final draft. It should be a succinct and direct statement… no one wants to hear about a grandparent dying of cancer for the bajillionth time. I can write more about this later.
4) Enjoy yourself! If you have the means enjoy your application cycle and put your time into your hobbies or pick up new hobbies. The application process is like dating. You have to have your own life to look sexy to the other party. The more independent and awesome you feel the more it comes across during interviews as well.
5) Practice your interview answers. The generic questions that are asked: Why medicine? Why did you apply here? Who would you have as a dinner guest? Tell me about yourself. Those are questions that you should have prepared! If you can’t show your personality and passion through your answers, you are shooting yourself in the foot. Prewrite answers, recite them and talk to other people to make it sound natural. It should be a part of you by the time you interview.
Of course this is geared towards trying again and working on yourself before reapplying. If you find that medicine is not for you, definitely feel free to look for jobs outside of medicine, but I would say that these tips are still applicable regardless. I didn’t want to tell you to just retake your MCAT or do a post-bacc because that can always be better but it doesn’t illustrate worth as much as someone who knows what they want. With that said, know yourself and if those are the weak points in your application do try to improve yourself there too. As always thank you for reading and good luck on your application!