Believe it or not, the vast majority of Medical School applicants get rejected. According to the Medical School Council, more than 65% of students fail to get accepted into a Medical University in the UK alone. In France, the acceptance rate dropped to a staggering 22% in recent years. This is due to the fact that medical schools have high standards, and the competition for each spot is fierce.
Understanding why you might get rejected would already give you a significant advantage over your peers; after all, knowing is half the battle. This article will tell you the most common reasons medical school applicants get rejected and how to avoid becoming part of the majority. We will also share a secret that will boost your acceptance rate significantly.
Table of Contents
- 1 7 most common reasons for getting rejected from Medical Schools
- 1.1 Low Grades:
- 1.2 Poor performance on the medical school entrance exam:
- 1.3 Weak essays or personal statements:
- 1.4 Poor interview performance:
- 1.5 Irrelevant letters of recommendation:
- 1.6 Lack of experience and extracurricular activities:
- 1.7 Not meeting prerequisites:
- 2 7-step guide on how to avoid getting your medical school application rejected
- 2.1 1. Research where to apply:
- 2.2 2. Push yourself and achieve a solid academic performance:
- 2.3 3. Write a well-crafted personal statement or essay:
- 2.4 4. How to get good letters of recommendation:
- 2.5 5. How to ace your medical school interview:
- 2.6 6. Devote your free time to show you are committed to studying medicine:
- 2.7 7. Review your application and make sure you’re making maximum use of it:
- 3 Our secret to significantly increase your medical school application chances:
- 4 Conclusion
7 most common reasons for getting rejected from Medical Schools
First, it is crucial to understand that each medical school has unique admissions criteria and strict requirements. Therefore, you should always research the university you are applying to and shape your application accordingly. If you’d like to learn how to choose which medical school to apply to, our experts at Medlink Students have written a list of criteria for you to follow. Without further ado, here are the most common reasons why applicants don’t get into med school:
One of the most essential factors in medical school admissions is your academic record. Your undergraduate grades are critical components of your application. Medical schools want students who have performed really well academically prior to applying. This shows that the student has the potential to deal with the heavy workload involved with studying medicine.
Poor performance on the medical school entrance exam:
Entry exams are another critical factor in medical school admissions. Not only do they test your knowledge, but they also serve to check if you can perform well under pressure, both of which are vital to becoming a medical professional. Unfortunately, many applicants fail to get into medical school due to not being adequately prepared for their entrance exam.
Weak essays or personal statements:
Your personal statement or essay gives you the opportunity to show medical schools who you are, what motivates you, and why you want to pursue a career in medicine. A weak personal statement will significantly hurt your chances of acceptance, as medical schools want students who are passionate about medicine and can articulate it well. Most medical school applicants fail to produce high-quality personal letters.
Poor interview performance:
Some medical universities host interviews as part of their admissions process. Although the format may vary, all the questions you may get asked are designed to check whether applicants are suitable for their medical programme. Some students have difficulty presenting or articulating themselves, which leads to their medical school applications getting rejected.
Irrelevant letters of recommendation:
You may be asked to submit 2 or more letters of recommendation. They serve as referrals that let Medical schools know what others think of you, how you have performed academically, and what drives you personally. Usually, students fail to gather relevant and high-quality letters of recommendation, which leads to them getting rejected from medical schools.
Lack of experience and extracurricular activities:
Medical schools want well-rounded students that have demonstrated a commitment to the field of medicine. A lack of extracurricular activities and relevant experience could show that you have neither the skill set nor the passion for studying medicine, which would lead to your medical school rejection. Therefore, it is important to show that you are fervent about studying medicine from an early on.
Not meeting prerequisites:
Some applicants fail to research what the requirements are for getting considered for medical school at all. Universities often require specific courses and prerequisites to be completed before applying, and many applicants don’t get into med school because of it. If you’d like to learn what those requirements are, here’s a helpful blog post on the topic: Entry Requirements For Medicine in Europe.
7-step guide on how to avoid getting your medical school application rejected
1. Research where to apply:
As we already mentioned: knowing is half the battle. Above all, you need to know which universities you’ll be applying to, their specific requirements, and the admission process you’ll be going through. Our loving staff at Medlink Students have already done the heavy lifting for you. We have prepared a list of the best Medical Universities in Europe. You can also book a 1-on-1 consultation with one of our expert advisors for guidance on the matter.
2. Push yourself and achieve a solid academic performance:
Medical school admission committees look for applicants with strong grades and outstanding coursework, so it is important to maintain a solid academic record. You can achieve this by staying motivated, creating study plans, developing good habits, and applying them efficiently.
Once again, our helpful staff has got you covered. We have written the perfect articles to help you secure an academic record to be proud of, as well as a complete preparatory course to get into the medical school of your dreams.
- How to get motivated to study.
- How to study efficiently.
- 4 tips on developing stronger studying habits
- Medicine foundation course
3. Write a well-crafted personal statement or essay:
Submitting a strong, well-written and concise personal statement will significantly improve your chances of getting accepted into a medical university. Personal essays give you a chance to portray your passion for medicine and highlight what makes you a unique and compelling candidate. You always want to include arguments that provide evidence showing your readiness to pursue a medical career. If you want to get a more detailed approach to writing the perfect personal statement or how to write an application resume for a medical school, our experts have done a fantastic job covering the topics.
4. How to get good letters of recommendation:
It is not only important to send in high-quality and detailed letters of recommendation, but also from whom it is written. You should ask for referrals from professors, physicians, and other healthcare professionals who know you well and can attest to your strengths. It is also vital to give your letter writers enough time to write a strong letter, so be sure to ask well in advance of the application deadline, so you can avoid receiving a medical school rejection.
Your letters mustn’t simply be an overview of your academic achievements, but they should also highlight your personality, work ethic, and drive to study medicine. You want to present yourself as diverse and skillful, with a strong desire to become a medical professional. Portray yourself as a person who is not simply starting on this path but has already devoted himself to studying medicine.
5. How to ace your medical school interview:
Interviews can be nerve-wracking, and many applicants fail to get into medical school because they can’t clearly and vocally express themselves. However, the truth is that they aren’t that scary at all. All you need is some good preparation and time to practise speaking properly in English if you’re not a native speaker.
The first step is to research the medical school, its mission and its interview format. You should also practise answering common interview questions and be prepared to discuss your experiences and motivations for pursuing a career in medicine. We have prepared the 5 most important factors to consider when getting ready for your interview.
|Factors||What you need to know and do|
|Format||Interviews can be conducted in person, over the phone, or via video conferencing software. Some schools may also have multiple committee members present, while others may only have one. Research what your interview would look like and prepare accordingly|
|Topics||Interviewers may ask various questions to assess the applicant’s motivation, personality, communication skills, and knowledge of the field. Common topics include personal experiences, ethical dilemmas, healthcare policy, and healthcare delivery. We’ve got a fantastic informative post of the 90 most common questions that applicants get asked.|
|Length||Interviews can last from 15 minutes to several hours, depending on the format and the school. Practise speaking on a given topic for an extended period.|
|Dress Code||Applicants should dress professionally and conservatively for their interview. It shows professionalism and respect to the establishment that is interviewing you|
|Etiquette||Applicants should be polite and respectful throughout the interview and should be prepared to ask their own questions. Showing initiative, when given the opportunity to, will set you apart from your peers.|
6. Devote your free time to show you are committed to studying medicine:
The experience, extracurriculars, and activities section of a medical school application is just as important as any other section. To improve your chances of acceptance, you should seek opportunities to gain clinical and research experience. If none are available in your area, you can always volunteer to help at your local hospital.
Volunteering is critical for pre-med students, as becoming a medical professional is all about helping people. It is a great way to demonstrate your passion and commitment. You should also participate in extracurricular activities, showing your leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. With the proper use of your free time, you can shape yourself into the perfect candidate and avoid getting your medical school application rejected.
7. Review your application and make sure you’re making maximum use of it:
Last but not least, it is crucial that you thoroughly review your application before submitting it. Get opinions from as many people as possible, not only from your peers and teachers but from medical professionals as well. Many medical school applicants fail to make 100% use of their applications.
Be sure that you fill out the form to its total capacity. It is essential not to leave any empty spaces. In some cases, you can list up to 15 extracurricular activities and skills in your application, so be sure to maximise the use of each section. Concentrate on showing why you would make the perfect fit for your desired medical school programme.
Our secret to significantly increase your medical school application chances:
We told you that we’ve got a way to substantially increase your chances of getting into the university of your choice, and we weren’t lying. The single best thing to do to increase your chances of getting into medical school is to apply through Medlink Students.
Medlink Students is a team of experts who have gone through the same steps that you need to. We’ve submitted applications, taken exams, and passed interviews, so we know very well what it takes to get accepted into medical school. We’ve already helped tens of thousands of students get into the medical university of their choice, and we want nothing more than to help you as well.
Contact us now to book a free consultation with our team, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know to get accepted. Of course, if you’re a bit shy, you can always fill out a written enquiry or read up on why you should apply to university through Medlink Students.
In conclusion, there are many reasons why the majority of medical school applicants get rejected. Therefore, it is important to understand the admissions requirements and process and to work on strengthening your application in areas where you may be lacking.
You can greatly increase your chances of being accepted into medical school by improving your grades, gaining experience, writing a strong personal statement, acquiring high-quality letters of recommendation and preparing for interviews. And remember, the single best thing you can do to guarantee success in your application is to contact our team of experts, so we can help you on every step of your journey.
Why are most people rejected from medical school? ›
Low GPA and MCAT Scores
The most obvious reason for a medical school rejection is a low GPA or MCAT score. Either can hinder an applicant from making it past the first round in the admissions process, as many schools screen out applicants who don't meet a school's minimum cut-off.
Every year, over 50,000 students apply to medical school, but 60% are rejected. What are the best next steps to take after a medical school rejection? Let's go through the process of reapplying to medical school step-by-step.What stops people from getting into med school? ›
Being involved in extracurricular activities such as research, volunteering, shadowing, etc is the main way communicate your passions. If you have a great GPA and MCAT score but have very little extracurricular experience, your chances of getting accepted to medical school are still slim.How good is a 4.0 GPA for med school? ›
Competitive GPA for Medical School
"However...they don't need to have a 4.0.” While perfect grades are not required for medical school admission, premeds "would want to be in the mid-3.0 range and higher to feel relatively competitive," Grabowski says.
A GPA of 3.0 or higher is generally considered to be the minimum requirement for most medical schools. Some schools may have a lower minimum requirement, such as a 2.5 or 2.75, but these are less common.What percentage of students fail medical school? ›
What is the graduation rate of medical school? Findings vary depending on circumstance, but overall, roughly 81.6 to 84.3 percent of four-year medical program students graduate, explains the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).What is the hardest year of med school? ›
Year one is the hardest year of medical school.
Many students will likely disagree, but the first year is widely recognized as being the most difficult. The majority of the first year of medical school is spent in classrooms and labs and requires an enormous amount of memorization.
By leveraging your application materials to impress upon admissions committees your continued commitment to medicine, you can be viewed as an asset to the larger medical community. Reapplying to medical school, therefore, does not look bad.Do all medical schools send rejections? ›
Most medical schools hold the majority of students until later in the cycle to decide to waitlist or reject them. But all medical schools vary, and there is no general rule.How can I increase my chances of getting into medical school? ›
- Get Some Medical Experience on Your Résumé ...
- Do Research Projects. ...
- Put in Time Serving Others. ...
- Choose a Major You Will Excel In. ...
- Apply to Multiple Schools. ...
- Study Early and Often for the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT. ...
- Learn Another Language. ...
- Don't Skimp on Extracurricular Activities.
What is the hardest major to get into med school with? ›
As demonstrated by the medical school acceptance rates by major section, acceptance rates vary between 36.7% - 47.7%. Specialized health sciences majors have the lowest acceptance rate while physical science majors have the highest acceptance rate.How many med students don t match? ›
For those who don't match
Typically, less than 10% of U.S. medical school graduates experience the much greater disappointment of not matching at all. In 2022, the number was 6.7% for senior graduates of U.S. MD-granting schools, and 8.2% for graduates of DO-granting schools.
In general, pre-med students are advised to retake courses in which they have earned a 'C. ' In reality, one or two 'C's will not rule out medical school for anyone, especially for otherwise high-achieving students.What is the hardest pre-med class? ›
1 spot as the hardest college course. This course is often referred to as the “pre-med killer” because it actually has caused many pre-med majors to switch their major.
I would say to have a competitive chance at most medical schools you probably want to have a GPA above 3.5 So a B or two per semester is probably OK but do you want to make sure you get mostly A's or A- in your science and math courses. How do pre-med students end up not regretting entering medical school?What GPA is too low for med school? ›
What is considered a low GPA for medical school? Many medical schools have a cut-off for GPAs below 3.0. The average GPA at most MD medical schools ranges from about 3.7 to 3.9. The average GPA at most DO medical schools ranges from about 3.4 to 3.6.What is the lowest MCAT score to get into med school? ›
Usually, any score less than 507 is considered too 'low' for MD programs. While the 3-point difference seems incredibly minor, it's huge in the admission boards' eyes. Some schools might not even review your application if you scored lower. Students with a 506 score or below are less likely to be accepted.Can a high MCAT offset a low GPA? ›
A high MCAT score can help neutralize a lower GPA score. For example, the admissions committee might overlook a GPA below 3.5 if the candidate has an MCAT score of 520.How many med students fail first year? ›
One half of all medical course dropouts occur in the first year and it is hypothesised that this is due to different reasons than dropouts in later years .What do failed medical students do? ›
Students who fail to pass a required course in medical school may be dismissed. Some schools will pursue dismissal after two failing grades or two grades below a C. Dismissal is typically decided after an academic review meeting.
What is the average debt of a medical student? ›
Report Highlights. The average medical school debt is $202,450, excluding premedical undergraduate and other educational debt. The average medical school graduate owes $250,990 in total student loan debt.What is the hardest class to become a doctor? ›
These are the typical core rotations:
- Internal Medicine.
- Family Medicine.
- Family Medicine. Average Step 1 Score: 216.1. ...
- Psychiatry. Average Step 1 Score: 223.1. ...
- Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Average Step 1 Score: 224.2. ...
- Pediatrics. Average Step 1 Score: 226.4. ...
- Internal Medicine (Categorical) Average Step 1 Score: 231.4. ...
The surgical subspecialty of ENT treats conditions affecting the head and neck. This comprises malignancies of the head and neck, thyroid, parathyroid, larynx, nose, sinuses, ears, and endocrinology, as well as cancer in the head and neck.Does a bad semester ruin med school? ›
Maybe you're really not cut out for medicine? Bad grades are an indication that you should evaluate these things and even re-evaluate your desires to go to medical school. You cannot maintain the status quo after a bad semester. To sum it up, one or two bad semesters do not ruin your chances.Is it worth it to retake a class I got AC in for medical school? ›
Yes. It's all about demonstrating improvement. The most important thing you can do is to learn from the experience and improve. Many students have been accepted into medical school after failing and retaking a course or two early in their college education.Do med schools send rejection emails? ›
Yes. Applicants who have not received an interview invitation may send updates through the application system. Those who have already interviewed may send “letters of intent.”How many interviews do most medical school applicants get? ›
On average, an applicant can expect to receive 2.5 interviews in a medicine application cycle. Approximately 12% of medical school applicants will not get any interviews while 30% will be interviewed by all four of the medical schools they applied to.What is the average number of medical school acceptances? ›
The average medical school acceptance rate for individual allopathic medical schools in the United States is 5.5%. The primary factors that impact this rate for individual medical schools are the overall popularity of the medical school and the number of applications received by each medical school.What happens if you don't get matched after med school? ›
Med students who don't receive a match through Main Residency Match are eligible to reapply for a different specialty through the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP). In 2021, 48% of U.S. medical students, 27% of U.S. DO students, and 18% of IMGs had matched with their residency program through SOAP.
What is the most important factor in medical school admissions? ›
Without a doubt, the two most important factors are GPA (science and overall) and MCAT score. Many medical schools do not even consider applicants whose GPA and MCAT scores fall well below their averages.What is the best age to get into medical school? ›
The best age to start medical school is around 24.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, this is the average age of the first-year medical student.
- University of Michigan–Ann Arbor: 824.
- University of California–Berkeley: 735.
- University of California–San Diego: 646.
- University of Georgia: 591.
- Texas A&M University: 579.
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: 541.
- The Ohio State University: 522.
|University of Mississippi School of Medicine, MS||37%|
|University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, MS||7.2%|
|University of Nebraska School of Medicine, NE||7%|
|University of New Mexico School of Medicine, NM||5.83%|
- Orthopedic Surgery.
- Thoracic Surgery.
- Vascular Surgery.
- Interventional Radiology.
- Diagnostic Radiology.
Many admissions officers view a GPA of 3.8 as very competitive, and they like to see at least a GPA of 3.5 or above. These scores will be especially competitive if your major is related to medicine, and it's even better if it's a difficult science major like neuroscience or physics.Why do some med students not get matched? ›
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the top three reasons for students not matching are poor exam scores, poor academic standing, and poor interviewing or interpersonal skills.Why do med schools reject applicants? ›
The most obvious reason for a medical school rejection is a low GPA or MCAT score. Either can hinder an applicant from making it past the first round in the admissions process, as many schools screen out applicants who don't meet a school's minimum cut-off.What are the easiest specialties to match into? ›
- Family Medicine. Family medicine is one of the most common medical specialties. ...
- Pediatrics. Pediatrics is the branch of medicine dedicated to the care of infants, children, and teenagers. ...
- Psychiatry. ...
- Internal Medicine. ...
Schools won't think you can't handle medical school because you got a C. More likely, they will look into where you've gone from there. Some students retake the classes early on.
Does withdrawing from a class look bad for med school? ›
But there's also the issue of how a “W” on your transcript will affect your chance of admission to medical school. The truth is that withdrawing from one or two classes is not going to hurt you at all. In fact, it's a lot better than having an “F” on your transcript, since W's are not factored into your GPA.Is a 2.8 GPA bad for med school? ›
The Average GPA for Med School Achieved by Admitted Students
Data from the AAMC shows that acing the MCAT ( a score above 517) and having a GPA between 2.8 and 2.99 results in a 46.7% chance of admission. The average applicant and matriculant GPA is 3.59.
Among would-be doctors, the Yale School of Medicine is famous for being mellow. Its educational approach, known as the Yale System, is an optimistic one: treat medical students like adults, give them plenty of freedom and responsibility, and they'll not only do fine in school, but also make fine doctors.Is med school harder now than before? ›
Although data from previous decades is difficult to find, the trend in recent years has been that GPA and MCAT scores for matriculants have been steadily increasing. In 2001, the average GPA for matriculants was 3.60 and the average MCAT was 29.6. This equates to roughly a 508 on the MCAT today.What is the biggest test in med school? ›
Taking the Medical College Admission Test, known as the MCAT, is one of the first steps in applying to medical school. The maximum possible score on the current version of the MCAT is 528.Can I still get into med school with one B? ›
While perfect grades are not required for medical school admission, premeds "would want to be in the mid-3.0 range and higher to feel relatively competitive," Grabowski says. Still, it is possible to get into med school with a mediocre or low GPA.How bad is a 3.5 GPA for med school? ›
Medical schools need to make sure you're going to finish medical school. A 3.5 GPA is probably good enough to get through medical school. But when you're dealing with a student who's trying to overcome early struggles, they like to see a little bit more.Does retaking classes look bad on transcripts for med school? ›
In most cases, a course only counts as a “Retake” on your transcript if you retake the course at the same campus you did before. Retaking the course at another university, perhaps a local community college, does not count as a “Retake” but as another grade in your GPA.Why do all med schools have low acceptance rates? ›
Why is it so hard to get into medical school? While the overall matriculation rate to U.S. medical schools is at an all-time low, it may simply be due to a larger number of applications from less-qualified students. Therefore, it's important to know the stats with which applicants apply today relative to years past.What to do if you get rejected from every medical school? ›
“Call the schools you were rejected from and ask them how to improve your application for next cycle,” Dr. Brown suggests. These types of conversations could reveal that you're lacking meaningful clinical experience, for example, or perhaps that you didn't craft your personal statement thoroughly enough.
Is it normal to not get into med school the first time? ›
Medical school is a highly competitive opportunity, as thousands of students apply every year. This means it's inevitable that some candidates don't get into med school the first time they apply.Which year of med school is the hardest? ›
Year one is the hardest year of medical school.
Many students will likely disagree, but the first year is widely recognized as being the most difficult. The majority of the first year of medical school is spent in classrooms and labs and requires an enormous amount of memorization.
Typically, less than 10% of U.S. medical school graduates experience the much greater disappointment of not matching at all. In 2022, the number was 6.7% for senior graduates of U.S. MD-granting schools, and 8.2% for graduates of DO-granting schools.Is med school first come first serve? ›
As there are a limited number of spaces for entering classes and a recent significant increase in applicants, most medical schools admit qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Before following our timeline for applying to medical school, you must review school-specific deadlines.