While we always hope for the best, sometimes life does not go as we expect. If your child has received rejections from all of the medical schools that s/he has applied to, it may seem like the end of the world. Here are a few tips to help your future physician overcome this devastating experience:
1. Give them some time
Our brains process rejection like physical injury. Each rejection from medical school feels like a kick or a punch. Understanding the science behind rejection can help us to understand that what we’re feeling is normal and experienced by everyone in a similar situation. Giving your premeds time to process the experience can be helpful. Encourage them to be kind and gentle to themselves as they grieve this lost opportunity.
2. Be supportive
When they are ready to talk about their next move, encourage them to research alternative options. There are lots of ways to turn a rejection into an acceptance. When it’s time, you can help your premeds reevaluate their application or encourage them to seek the guidance of a professional consultant or mentor. There are lots of options and lots of alternative paths to medical school! Don’t hesitate to remind them of this fact.
Here are some alternative routes to consider:
2. Informal postbac coursework
4. Working a year to gain clinical experience, perhaps retaking the MCAT, and then applying earlier
3. Put it in perspective
It’s difficult to see the big picture when we’ve experienced a minor setback in our academic plan. Remind your premeds that this will only be a hiccup in the timeline of their life. While it is a painful experience, they can develop the resilience to re-evaluate their application and reapply successfully the next time by addressing any weaknesses in their application.
4. Seeking Personalized Advice
While these tips may only help you manage the immediate crisis, if your premeds are reapplying to medical school, it will be critically important that they do make significant changes to their application the second time they apply. Working with a medical school admissions consultant can make a significant difference in the admissions outcome – many Accepted consultants have spent years working in admissions and can provide lots of insight on the application process and the strategies required to be successful.
Do you want to help your premed child get into med school…without having to nag or stress them out? This series has loads of concrete, actionable advice that will help your premed discover their competitive advantage and get accepted!
Alicia McNease Nimonkar is an Accepted advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs.