Common Reasons for Medical School Rejection


medical school personal statement mistakes

Common Reasons for Medical School Rejection

Unfortunately the majority of people who apply to medical school will not get in. For this reason, it is useful to be familiar with the common reasons for medical school rejection.  If you know why schools reject applicants, you can ensure that your application is strong prior to applying. Furtuermore, you can identify what went wrong if you are rejected from medical school.

Error #1: Low Grades

Although medical schools consider many factors when making admissions decisions, grades are still extremely important. If you have a very low gpa, you will find it difficult to gain admission to medical school. Schools will often forgive a few academic missteps if you show strong coursework in general. However, if you have a trend of generally poor grades, you will likely face medical school rejection. If your undergraduate career was underwhelming, you should first research medical schools carefully. The average gpa of admitted students varies between schools, so you should aim to apply to schools with lower gpa standards.


If you find that your gpa is significantly below what is accepted at any school, you will need to make alternative plans. Medical schools will not accept you if you apply with a very low gpa. This is true even if the remainder of you application is strong. Instead, you should look for ways to improve your academic record prior to applying to medical school. For example, you should consider earning a graduate degree or attending a post-baccalaureate program. You can demonstrate to admissions officers that you are academically prepare for medical school by excelling at graduate coursework.


Error #2: Late/Incomplete Application

Most medical schools have rolling admissions. This means that schools review and act on applications as they receive them. Therefore, applicants have better odds of being accepted when they apply early in the season. For this reason, it is vital for medical school applicants to submit their applications as early as possible. Even if you are a strong applicant, you will face medical school rejection if schools receive your application after they have filled all their seats. Therefore, you should aim to submit your AMCAS application shortly after it opens. In addition, you will need to complete secondary essays in a timely manner.


If  you make errors on your application, AMCAS will often return it to you to correct. This causes application delays. Before you submit your AMCAS form, carefully review your responses. You should ensure that you answer all the required questions completely and accurately.


Error #3: Poor Quality Personal Statement

The personal statement is a vital portion of the medical school application. Many applicants underestimate the value of the personal statement and they do not write quality essays. This is a grave error. It is almost guaranteed that you will be rejected from medical school if you write a lack luster personal statement. Medical schools use personal statements to learn about an applicant’s character, goals, and motivation. If they can not get this information from your personal statement, you are unlikely to progress very far in the application process.  Therefore, submit a well-executed personal statement in order to avoid medical school rejection. It is a good idea to seek the services of a professional medical school editor. They know what schools are looking for and will make sure that your essay will withstand the competition.


Error #4: Improper Handling of Secondaries

Secondary applications can be difficult to manage. The average medical school hopeful sends applications to fourteen schools. Therefore, most applicants will have to complete over a dozen secondary applications. Furthermore, most schools’ secondary applications have at least five questions. This means that the typical medical school applicant will have to write sixty (probably more) essays during the secondary application period. This can be an overwhelming task. Many applicants make errors  on the secondary application and are subsequently rejected from medical school. When completing secondary medical school applications, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Ensure that your answers completely answer the prompt
  • Make sure that your responses reflect the values of the school
  • Return the application in a timely manner

One common practice of medical school applicants is to recycle essays to use for multiple secondary applications. Although there is nothing wrong with this technique, applicants must use caution. If you are recycling an essay, make sure that it completely answers the question posed by the new school. In addition, remove all traces that the essay has been previously used for another school. It is definitely bad form for your essay to mention how much you want to attend another school’s program. This is an error that will almost certainly result in medical school rejection.

Error #5: Poor Interview Performance

The medical school interview is the final step before the admissions committee makes a offer of acceptance. If you have made it to the application portion of the interview process, it means that the medical school is seriously considering offering you admission. However, it is possible to persuade the admissions officers not to accept you based on your behavior on interview day. Make sure you dress appropriately, treat everybody kindly, and practice your interview skills in advance.


Unfortunately, the majority of people who apply to medical school do not get in. However, if you prepare for- and avoid- the most common pitfalls, you will greatly improve your chances of success.


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