Getting rejected from Medical School is a horrible feeling and can leave you unsure of which direction to go next. There are 2.5 applicants for every place at medical school so many students will not get the news they want.
It is incredibly important to take this time to reflect and decide if Medicine is really for you. If you do decide that you still want to become a doctor, this process of reflection will give you a greater drive than ever before. Now in order for you not to make the same mistake again you need to identify what you feel went wrong personally (we will come onto asking for feedback from the Medical School a bit later). It is very important to reflect on your application and be critical of every part of the application process i.e. the types of Medical Schools you applied to, your predicted grades, work experience, voluntary work, extra-curricular activities, personal statement and interview performance.
Don’t Give Up
Students taking two or three attempts to gain a place in Medical School are not uncommon. Remember you are a doctor for a lifetime, so it is definitely worth it.
Getting into Medical School is extremely competitive but always remember that being rejected does not mean you will never become a doctor; rejection is only a short term set back, not a permanent position. It may take you a bit longer to become a doctor and you may end up going to a different medical school than previously anticipated but I’m sure the journey will make the final destination all the more worth it. Rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.
Focus on getting the best grades you can
Concentrate on your studies, this is a given. Work hard and achieve the best grades possible, by doing so you open up many doors for yourself whether you decide whether you still want to study Medicine or not e.g. getting good grades enables you to apply to the best universities in the country or even get into Medical School through clearing. So don’t be discouraged, for now just focus all your efforts on your studies and focus on getting into medical school when exam season is over.
Common reasons for Rejection:
- Failure to meet the entry requirements (GCSE’s & A Level predicted grades) – this means that your application was not competitive in either their predicted or achieved academic grades. Some Medical School’s weigh a lot of their application on GCSE grades more than other Medical School’s, so you may have met their A-Level entry requirements but your GCSE grades may not have met the GCSE entry requirements.
- Admissions test score failed to meet the threshold – this means that yourperformance in the aptitude test was not high enough for competitive selection. When applying next, research Medical School Admissions Test Thresholds and e.g. if your UKCAT score is weak, apply to schools that do not place such heavy emphasis on it. Do not underestimate the UKCAT, BMAT or GAMSAT. Sufficient preparation will definitely make a difference and practice questions are available in book form and online.
- Poorly written personal statement – this may include personal statements that do not show your personality, demonstrate a lack of insight into a career into the medical field, poorly structured (e.g. not including the key things they want to know such as: why you want to study medicine, extra-curricular activities, voluntary work etc.) and failure to elaborate on work experience and what was learnt.
- Poor interview performance – your nerves may have gotten the best of you and negatively impacted your interview. Additionally, if you did not know your personal statement very well, if you demonstrate a lack of insight into a career into the medical field and current events in the healthcare system and if you let any mistakes you made in previously answered questions impact your response to further questions.
- Lack of work experience – We understand that work experience may be difficult to find if you are not of age or if you do not have the necessary contacts. Furthermore, lack of variation in the work experience you do e.g. volunteering with a charity & shadowing a GP, or poor reflection of your work experience and not making the most of your time.
- Lack of extracurricular activities
- Competitive Cohort – this may just mean that your cohort may have done really well that particular year.
Most medical schools will explain how to seek feedback on their website. The feedback may not be very detailed but can help to provide an indication as to why the student did not receive an offer for interview. They are not obliged to send you feedback but many universities will be prepared to give you more information about the reasons for your rejection.
What are your options?
- Be wary that many medical schools don’t accept students who have re-sat A levels, so don’t go back a year without being absolutely sure that the university you want to get into will consider you in the future.
- Apply for another course
- Can enter UCAS Extra or Clearing. The places available in UCAS Extra or Clearing will be extremely limited (if there are any at all). There are likely to be vacancies in other health courses.
- Last year, medical schools such as St George’s & Liverpool have offered places through Clearing. However, the universities offering these places will differ from year to year.
- It’s important to note that, due to the competitive nature of Medicine, limited places are available through Clearing, so don’t be disheartened if you can’t gain a place this way.
- Gap Year then reapply
- A job as a health care assistant is a great way to test whether you really want a career in medicine – and it will provide countless experiences with patients to talk about in an interview.
- Get varied work experience
- Get started on your application early
- Medicine Abroad?
- Research studying Medicine Abroad and what is required
Check out some of our helpful posts:
Do you have any queries about taking a Gap Year, studying abroad or studying an undergraduate degree before Medicine? Contact our dedicated mentors:
For More Information
- UCAS Clearing: http://www.ucas.com/advisers/guides-andresources/confirmation-and-clearing-toolkit.
- UCAS Extra: http://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergraduate/applyand-track/track-your-application/extra-choices.
- UCAS Track: http://www.ucas.com/advisers/managingapplications/tracking-and-reporting-introduction/adviser-track-and-reporting.