Let’s just be real. Rejection sucks! It means we weren’t wanted for some reason or another, and that hurts. You work hard to be the right candidate – you take the right classes; you volunteer; you serve your community through good works; you get the grades; and you put yourself out there – and then that letter comes. The one that says, Thanks, but no thanks, and your dreams of what could’ve been get washed away.
Or do they?
Let’s talk about this. Let’s take it from the top.
Certainly it’s a delightful thought when applying to our medical or dental (or other healthcare profession) schools of choice that we’ll get into every one we apply to. That’s actually a thrilling thought!!! And sure it’s not impossible for it to happen, but it is far less usual. For most students, they usually apply to a number of schools, some of which are more “long shots” or “dream picks,” because, hey, you never know, and then there are the – reasonably speaking – projected good fits, and then there are the few “safety” bets. And in that smattering of schools, we often feel we have a good chance, but in reality, there are so many factors or variables that need to be considered when contemplating your success of application to each school. And in the big picture it comes down to timing of your application and how well you fit the school’s program and desirable applicant profile, at that time. Schools often receive thousands of applications for usually only a hundred plus or so seats. So your timing and fitness are a really big deal. And if either or both of those are off for whatever reasons, in comes that big Ugh! to your heart and stomach. You find it sitting there staring at you in your inbox, and the more you read it, the more emotional it can get. Stress can grab you. Fear. Depression. Frustration. Self-doubt can all follow. … And depending on the school it came from, maybe even tears.
It’s not unusual to wonder why. Or to feel hurt. To question fate, the universe, … even yourself.
First and foremost, HUG yourself!!!! And then have your support team HUG you, too – BIG TIME!!! Again and again. And then maybe devour a tub of chocolate ice cream with a bag of chocolate chips poured on top covered in whip cream and the happiest sprinkles you can find. … Think about all that calcium, vitamins, other minerals, and anti-oxidants … it’s good for you! … LOL … Okay, maybe not that good for you, but it will likely make you feel better long enough to understand this next bit:
Until you receive rejection letters from every school you’ve applied to, you are still in it to win it this year! So chin up!!! Take a deep breath. Hug yourself, again. Eat some more chocolate. Talk to your peeps again and get more hugs. Then. Let go of the school that has rejected you, and focus your efforts on what you can still do and be. Keep moving forward and working hard to be the best shining you!!! (Also consider that resilience is a personal attribute that schools seek in their candidates.)
If the truly gut-wrenching happens, and you get rejected by all of your schools, then the first thing you need to do – after whatever emotional moment you need and more hugs and more chocolate – is ask yourself the all-important question, “Do I still want to be a doctor or a dentist (or whichever profession)?” and if the answer is YES! then don’t let this application season get you down. Instead, ask yourself what you can and need to do to be the right candidate for your future patients and the right candidate for your schools of choice. Reflect. Learn. Buckle down. Dig deep. And keep moving forward!!! Your future patients are still waiting for you!!! Sure, it means it will take longer, but if this is your real dream, you’ll do what you need to do to make it happen.
If any of the schools who have said no to you are offering you a counseling call/visit to help you assess your strengths along with what you can work on over the next year, SIGN-UP! The insight might just be amazing!!! The only caveat is that whatever insight they give you will be most likely (and understandably) specific to what THAT school is looking for. Each school has its own way of reviewing applicants and their own criteria (and that can change from year-to-year and class-to-class). So the more schools you can get counseled from, the better. You can look for common threads, if any, and focus on those during your upcoming year of improvement and prep.
Beyond that, get help with your personal statement and interview prep. Get help understanding what your application can do for you and how you can maximize your impact when filling out your application, writing your personal statement, and interviewing.
So whether it’s just one or two or even a few disappointing emails, or all of them … if you truly want this dream, then know it is yours to have – even if it means waiting one more year to get there. In the big scheme of things, even though a year might feel daunting right now, it’s a year of amazing opportunity to grow leaps and bounds and to share that with your future patients and your future school of choice!!! So hang in there!!! And if this is truly your dream, then Don’t!!! Give!!! Up!!!
A note from my advising experience: I’ve worked with students who have been so determined, that even after a second year of rejection – making them 3rd time re-apps – they’ve done the work; they’ve invested in themselves (personally, academically, and experientially); and they’ve gotten in!!! … YOUR DREAM IS YOURS TO MAKE COME TRUE!!!
For more insight and help from The Best You PAL Academy, look into the following courses and offerings (there are also many more!):
You can also check out my Personal Statements, Wut Wut?!! web page for more info on writing your personal statement. Click here.
Big Hugs and Happy Success to you always!!!
Mary Kate :0)