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Not Made it to Med School? Your Next Steps

You may be at the receiving end of those horrible UCAS Track emails with the dreaded “unfortunately your application was unsuccessful…”. Alternatively, everything may have been going pretty smoothly up to the last hurdle: you’ve received your A-Level results and found out that you have not quite met your conditional offer.

When you’ve worked so hard only to be told you are not quite good enough, it’s heartbreaking and can knock your confidence. However, the battle is definitely not over. Here, I’ll give you five tips on what to do if you are holding no offers for medical school. 

1. Accept and identify

The quicker you accept that you have been unsuccessful, the quicker you will bounce back and keep trying. Being rejected from medical school is not a bad reflection on you as a person. Identify the areas that may need improving: did you not score as highly as you could have on your UKCAT? Did your nerves get the better of you during your interview? Sit down and honestly reflect on what you could improve on – but remember that more often than not it is just a matter of bad luck. 

2. Feedback

Press for feedback whenever possible. If you received an email from the university itself, contact back and request more details. If you failed to pass your interview, ask them what areas you could improve on next time. Be polite and professional during any correspondence. If your feedback contradicts your personal statement (for example, if you’re told you didn’t have much work experience on a certain area, when you have explicitly spoken about it) think about how you could get your message across better.

3. Missed the offer

If you have missed your grades, remember it is still not the end of the world as some people (albeit very few) can still be accepted. If you have only just missed your grades, call the university and ask if they would still be willing to offer you a place. It may also be worth remarking your exam (although bear in mind that your grade can also go down as well as up). Speak to your teachers/personal tutor about what the best strategy is at this point, and they’ll be able to advise you.

4. Do not jump straight into your plan B

As tempting as it is to accept a non-medical offer, if your heart is set on medicine, don’t accept that offer. Applying for graduate entry is so much harder than getting in as an undergraduate. Competition is even fiercer and funding is much less available. So unless you’ve decided that medicine perhaps isn’t for you, it’s far better to take a gap year.

5. Start planning your gap year

There is no shame in taking a year out after school. A large proportion of students do not start medicine straight after school anyway. If you had an unsuccessful interview, try and recall every single question: what went well and what could you improve on next year? Think what was missing from your personal statement and really plan your work experience. Work on the tricky sections of the UKCAT. You’ll be so much better prepared the following year and you’ll be glad you took that year out when you’re finally on the other side! You might also find it useful to read TMP’s page on Reapplying to Medical School

Words: Natalia Kyrtata

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