What to do if you weren’t admitted to medical school

Tufts faculty and medical students provide their advice
Drone image of downtown Boston

Applying to medical school can be a long and arduous process, and receiving rejection letters can be deflating. However, a large percentage of students apply to medical schools more than once. Faculty and alums from the MBS program shared their advice on what students' next steps can be after not receiving admission to a medical school. 

Our MBS program is designed to help students enhance their academic records before applying to medical school and could be the right next step for you. 

Learn More about the MBS Program


Headshot of James

Applicants who were not successful in gaining acceptance to medical schools need to demonstrate improvement as a re-applicant. Medical school admissions committees are looking for resiliency and determination, so as a re-applicant finding ways to improve the application and demonstrate these characteristics can help make the next admissions cycle more successful.

Medical school applicants should also strongly consider ways to make their application stronger before reapplying such as gaining more clinical care experience, demonstrating an ability to handle upper-level science courses, or improving an MCAT score. Some re-applicants may need to do more than one of these things.

James K. Kubilus, PhD, MBS Program Associate Director



Headshot image of Najla

First, assess your application. Look back at your medical school application and see where you may have fallen short. Was it a low GPA, a weak MCAT score, or a lack of relevant experience? Identifying these areas can help you determine where to focus your efforts moving forward. Second, seek support. Don't hesitate to seek support from mentors, advisors, or other professionals who can offer guidance and encouragement as you navigate this process. Finally, seek support. Don't hesitate to seek support from mentors, advisors, or other professionals who can offer guidance and encouragement as you navigate this process. Remember that rejection is not a reflection of your worth or potential. Stay positive and keep working towards your goals, and you will eventually find the path that is right for you.

Najla Fiaturi, MD, PhD, CFD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Education



Headshot image of Devon

I am going to be the first physician in my family. In situations like this there is a lot of doubt and negative self-talk that can overwhelm you, especially when they have not been successful in their first application cycle. This was true for me when I applied the first time and didn't get in anywhere. It is important to remember that a rejection from medical school means "not right now" and never is "never." If you applied to medical school and have been unsuccessful you are at a crossroads and you have to decide if you’re going to go all in and give everything to becoming a physician. Everyone that I know that has become absolutely committed to becoming a physician and surrounding themselves in the programs and with the people that can support them has then become a physician. This is absolutely true of the person reading this right now regardless of your background, grades, MCAT, anything. If you commit to it, you will achieve it.

The most helpful aspect of applying to medical school is to be surrounded by a community that understands the medical school application process and to apply with your peers concurrently. Special Master’s Programs are an excellent way to do this while demonstrating new metrics of success in your GPA and MCAT. Research opportunities in these master’s programs are also a fantastic way to identify physician mentors who can support your application and make it known to medical schools that you would make a great candidate for medical school.

Devon Evanovich, MBS21, M25 Tufts MD Student



Headshot image of Shrey

The best thing about pursuing a career in medicine is that there is no timeline. If you want to become a doctor you can. My biggest advice for students that don’t get into medical school the first time is simple: try again, keep trying, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Medical school admissions is a highly competitive process and improving yourself as an applicant is of utmost importance. Spend your enrichment year doing what you love, but with an emphasis on improving yourself as a person. Committees on admissions want to see that you can utilize your experiences and build upon them to become an empathetic and patient centric physician in the future. At the end of the day mindset is key. If you truly want to become a doctor, you will pave your way there.

For me, my personal support system, mentors, and academic advisors were the most helpful when I was applying to medical school. Medicine is a team sport and that begins with the onset of our medical career. As pre-medical students it is important to utilize that support structure to help stay motivated and healthy during this process. The people around you are the ones rooting for you and they are there to help. The admissions process is often isolating and lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. You have a whole team of supporters willing to help you along the way. All you have to do is ask.

Shrey V. Patel, MBS22, M26, Tufts MD Student