Medical schools nationwide saw yet another round of exceptional applicants this past admissions season. Given the highly competitive nature of the admissions process, many well-qualified applicants have been left considering their chances of approaching med schools as re-applicants this admissions season.

These applicants should not feel discouraged. Many med schools accept re-applicants – in fact, applicants who have already been through the admissions process once may have some advantages over those who are going through it for the first time. However, re-applicants need to be realistic about the reasons they did not succeed the first time they applied and make sure they rectify those weaknesses.

One problem that many re-applicants face is a weak undergraduate GPA. In that case, building an alternative transcript may be necessary.

“Applicants can overcome the problem of a low undergraduate GPA, but it takes a lot of work and dedication,” says Senior Consultant Wayne Shelton, Ph.D.

“Many of these applicants may find that their best bet for increasing their chances at medical school admission is to consider some of the excellent master’s or post-baccalaureate programs in medical science,” says Wayne. “These programs give applicants an additional opportunity to demonstrate that they are academically ready for medical school. Also, doing more advanced work in science assists in better preparing applicants for the MCAT as well.”

Other re-applicants have outstanding academic profiles but lack the clinical experience that medical school admissions committees like to see. Admissions committees prefer applicants with some first-hand experience related to health care because they are looking for candidates whose decision to attend medical school seems carefully thought out. Applicants who have had a sufficient amount of clinical experience can give concrete examples of their interest in the medical profession. That’s why there are various internships and clinical opportunities that are designed strictly for premedical students.

An additional step that is essential for re-applicants is to reassess their list of target schools. Review each of the schools you applied to and make sure that you actually meet their minimum qualifications for admission. Don’t forget that schools vary widely in this regard. Also, remember to keep your options open. With further research, you will most likely find additional medical schools to apply to that you may not have considered the first time around.

Finally, make sure you tie all of your strengths and story themes into a cohesive and well-thought-out application. You should submit your applications only when you feel confident that your new application strategy is sound.

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