How I Re-Applied to Medical School
If you’ve been unsuccessful in securing a place at medical school, it’s worth remembering that reapplying is always a viable option. Many students, including myself, have received offers after reapplying and in many ways the experience will significantly strengthen your future applications.
When did you re-apply?
I had unsuccessfully applied to study medicine four times and was eventually successful in my fifth attempt. Initially, I applied during my A-Levels but did not secure any interviews.
I then studied an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science for three years. I completed my undergraduate and Master’s degrees and then entered employment. I was confident that medicine was my ambition and so I continued to build on my work experience and voluntary work to strengthen my applications. At the same time I had to earn a living and have back-up plans for the year if my application was unsuccessful.
While I have gained many positive experiences during the past few years, I firmly believe that I should have re-sat my A-Levels to achieve better grades and then re-applied to medicine as a school leaver.
I say this because applying to graduate medicine is significantly more competitive than undergraduate medicine and so this is my first tip: if you are a school leaver and are serious about medicine, then keep applying instead of doing an undergraduate degree – this saves time, money and, most importantly, it saves a lot of energy.
If you have just completed A-Levels or the IB and have not secured a place at medical school you will understandably be upset. It may be of little solace, but the good news is that most medical schools are open to re-applicants. There are a few options available depending on your grades – so persevere!
2. Consider re-sitting your exams
If you have achieved AAA or above then you are in a very good position to re-apply to most medical schools. If you have achieved below this, then you can re-sit exams but will be limited in the medical schools that you then apply to. The Medic Portal has an updated list of each Medical School’s A-Level Resit Policies.
My advice for prospective medical students is to achieve three A-grades or at least 36 points in the IB even if this means spending an extra year re-sitting. The higher your grades, the more medical schools are open for you to apply to in future. Speak to your teachers about your exam results and communicate your decision so that you can focus on the next steps.
4. Prepare your application
The application deadline for the next cycle is October 15th and so you have a short amount of time to prepare your application. You can use the time to arrange work experience and voluntary work but make sure to start as early as you can.
It is also important that you seek feedback for unsuccessful applications, especially if you managed to get to the interview stage. Do this by contacting each of the medical schools that you applied to. You can use this to work on areas of improvement that were identified in your feedback. For example, if your leadership skills need sharpening it would make sense to find an opportunity to lead a team project. Start preparing for admissions exams and reflect on your previous experience so that you can achieve higher scores. This is especially important if your feedback indicated that you need to improve your admission test score.
Re-applicants are expected to have a greater depth of experience in medicine compared to first-time applicants. One of the ways to achieve this is to do long-term volunteering in a healthcare setting with patients or paid work in healthcare.
Finally, start to think about which medical schools you want to apply to so that you can tailor your application to fit the key criteria of each one. The extra time will give you a strong competitive advantage and so you should feel confident that your next application will yield better results.
Words: Asaad Qadri