Every day for about a month, the first thing I did when I woke up was to check my email. I would then rush out to check the mailbox if I was looking for wasn’t in my email. This experience happened a few years ago. I had applied to the medical schools of the University of Cambridge and the University of Birmingham. The admission letters were taking forever to come. I’ve always wanted to be a doctor. This passion started after I had binged watched over five seasons of Grey’s anatomy and kept burning over the years as I went through high school. I was a pretty good student, way above the average grade. I always got more As than I could count. These made me confident about med school. I had filled my application with the utmost care, studied diligently for my UCAT, and BMAT and my results were quite impressive. My interview with Cambridge went quite well, and we even laughed at a few jokes. I’m not sure I want to remember my interview with Birmingham.

The admission letter from both schools came on the same day. I just got back from movie night with my friends when I saw the letters on the kitchen table. I rushed upstairs to my room to open both letters, my heart pounding ridiculously in my chest when the words ‘we are sorry to inform you……….’ jumped out of my letter. I was heartbroken and was confused. I had placed all my eggs in the med school basket that I was out of ideas on what to do next.

One of the most significant and most defining moments in a young person’s life is finding a college and choosing a career. People invest a lot in deciding which career path to follow, from several sessions with the school counselor to applying to different schools to the anxiety that comes with waiting to hear from the various colleges. It can be disappointing when we don’t get into the school we want.

Plan Bs – Now what?

It is not easy picking yourself up to try again and do something new, and it’s even more challenging to move on when we don’t know what the next move is or where to go. However, you need to understand that it’s not your fault. Getting into medical school is not an easy task, and it is quite a challenging process, and there is even no guarantee, even for the best of the bests. There are only about 37 Medical schools in the UK, and there are more than two hundred thousand applicants each year. People say that getting into medicine is one of the most challenging parts of becoming a doctor. 

Keep reading to find out a couple of things you should consider if you didn’t get into med school.

  1. Rewrite the examination and reapply. It’s not the end of the world, as you might think. If one of the reasons you didn’t get into med school was your grades, you should consider this option. Look at it as a chance to give it your best shot, to undo the mistakes you made, and to try again. If you are choosing this process, you most likely have to take a gap year. While you are preparing for your exams, you can volunteer in the health and medical fields to help you gain more experience that would go a long way in getting your foot past the door. However, you have to do proper research on the university of your choice as some do not accept resit students., 
  2. Apply for another medical-related course. I know you want to be a doctor and nothing else. But, when you apply for a different course of study that is in the medical field, you have the chance of trying for med school again, but this time as a graduate. You’ll have over four years to gather work experience, internship opportunities and boost your application. You can get a degree in biomedical sciences, physiology, and pharmacology. 
  3. Transfer. Some schools you to transfer to med school after your first year in a different course. But, the risk is very high, and the probability of successful transfer is relatively low. You do not want to find yourself in a career path you do not want for years if the transfer doesn’t work. Dropping out of school will most definitely ruin your chances of getting into med school. For your transfer to be successful, your grades and academic prowess in your first year have to be impeccable. You will have to sacrifice a lot to get it to happen, and you’ll have to give up a lot of things, ball games, parties, hanging out with friends. It will all be worth it if the transfer is successful.
  4. Consider another career path. I know it’s not what you want to hear. But, hold on and hear me out. There are many career paths out there you should consider if med school isn’t working out. A friend of mine didn’t get into med school and had to take a gap year because it was too late, and many schools weren’t accepting applicants. A few months into the gap year, she casually applied for a six months internship in programming. She ventured into the world of technology and hasn’t looked back since. So, be open-minded and flexible. You never know what you might fall in love with along the line.

What I did when I found out I wasn’t going to med school was to consider my other options. Thankfully, I still had the opportunity to apply to a different school. I got an admission to study biology at a different school, and I took it. By the time I had spent four years getting a degree, I knew I didn’t want to be a doctor, not anymore. I eventually followed a different career path. 

Not getting into med school is not the end of the world. When you find out you didn’t get into med school, don’t panic. Take a deep breath, and you can take some time off applications to relax and breathe, to consider your choices. Remember, there’s always a Plan B. 


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