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I did not get in .... Now What

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Many applicants are unsuccesful when they first apply to professional schools.  This can be due to a variety of reasons, but the most common is simply that they applied before they were fully ready and with additional preparation they can become viable applicants. 

So, what can I do?

The first step is to try to determine what factor(s) in your application kept you out.

1.  Explore if the schools you applied to will provide feedback.  Some will, some will not and some will only provide feedback to people they interviewed or waitlisted.  Look on the program's website and see if they have a policy.  If not, a polite request will not be taken wrong, even if the answer is "no".

2.  Do some serious self-assessment.  O.K., this should've been done before you apply but this is another chance to do it.  A self-assessment form can help you to think through this process. 

3.  Meet with advisors and mentors.  Discuss where your application may be weak and how you can improve it. 

4.  Get out of your comfort zone.  If you have a 3.95 GPA and a solid entrance exam score, piling on more degrees, majors or even a Masters degree probably won't help. Seek major volunteer or health care experiences to show that you bring more than just grades to professional school. Of course if your GPA or test score is marginal, schools will be very disappointed if there is no improvement when you reapply.

5.  Plot out a realistic timeline.  Unless you have significantly improved your application since you last applied, resist the temptation to pour out the effort and money to reapply right away.  Rather, invest your resources in becoming a solid candidate, and then reapply.  It might take a year or three to do so, but it should yield better results. 

6.  Rethink the schools you applied to.  Carefully compare your preparation including exposure to health care, grades, test scores, involvement with research and community service to those who were successful applicants the previous cycle.  Be sure to keep state residency issues in mind. 

Remember, reapplying with a significantly improved application is look upon favorably (though you still need to be competitive), while reapplying with essentially the same application OR one that did not address areas of concern and weakness, is a major red flag for the professional schools. 

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