A new year brings, among opportunities for new beginnings and many other wonderful things, another dose of anxiety for those who hope to be in medical school in seven or eight months. The anxiety is of a happy variety for some as they weigh the two or more acceptances they’ve received or continue to go to interviews. For others, the anxiety is the result of one or more rejections and/or deafening silence – no interviews and no word of any kind, although they sent some “feeler” e-mails or letters in November seeking to arrange interviews over the holiday break.
What should you do now if this is your situation, besides trying your best to accept reality? Let’s talk about what you shouldn’t do. You may know individuals who, after applying to medical school, applied to other kinds of health professions programs or graduate programs with much later deadlines than those of allopathic schools. You may also know people who applied to allopathic schools outside the U.S. All such programs have later deadlines, and some even offer matriculation in January of the following year. These are all worthwhile alternatives provided you’ve researched and thought them through carefully — and you’re not allowing the fear of having no plans for the fall to guide your decisions.
Don’t plan to jump into a program this year and jump out next year. No one should apply to a graduate or professional program unless (s)he intends to complete the program and envisions a future in the particular field. Enrolling in a foreign medical school with the goal of transferring back to the U.S. after a year or two is not a good idea because transfer opportunities are very limited under the best of circumstances.
Wherever you may choose to go, plan to stick it out until you’ve finished.
By Joan Davis, who for eighteen years advised medical school applicants at the University of Rochester, can advise you as you go through the medical school application process.