Next Steps: managing acceptances, and what to do if you are not accepted to health profession schools

Health profession schools have varying timelines for notifying applicants about acceptances. Learn about managing applications, as well as what to do if you are not accepted.


Managing acceptances

Health professions schools have varying timelines for notifying applicants about acceptances. Many health professions organizations have “application and acceptance protocols” or “traffic rules” that ensure that the process is fair to both applicants and to offices of admission. (For example, the AAMC publishes application and acceptance protocols regarding allopathic medical schools for both applicants and for admission officers.)  Search for these "traffic rules" in the national organization websites of the health professions to which you are applying.  

If you receive an official letter of acceptance, consider withdrawing your applications from schools you are no longer consider attending, as a courtesy to other applicants.  Hold multiple acceptances only if you are waiting for further information to make your final decision.  

If you’ve received multiple acceptances, here are some suggestions as how to compare the schools:

  • Review our resource on Selecting Schools. Think about which variables are most important to you in choosing a school.
  • Remind yourself why you applied to the schools to which you were accepted, and what you experienced when you went for your interviews. Read about each school again, review their mission statements, etc.  Make a list of the pros and cons of each school.
  • Speak with students who attended or are attending the schools.  You can contact the schools and ask if there are any Wellesley alumnae there, or if there are any students who would be willing to talk with you about their experience. You can post a message on the student and alumni organization sites as well as on The Wellesley Hive to find alumnae who have connections with the schools.
  • If you are still undecided, consider revisiting the schools. Contact the Admissions Office and ask if you can stay overnight with a current student.

Remember to carefully check the dates by which you must make your final decision. Once you have chosen your school, watch closely for information they require to hold your seat in the class (vaccination information, deposits, etc.). If you send information or deposits in late, you may lose your place in the class. Let your advisors and letter writers know of you final decision. Celebrate!

What to do if you are not accepted

Applying to health professions schools is a competitive process, as there are usually many more applicants than seats available in the incoming classes. Everyone applying to health professons schools should have alternative plans in the event they are not accepted in a given application cycle.

If you are placed on a waitlist, do not give up hope. Students may be accepted from the waitlist at any time up until the first day of class, depending on the policy of the individual school. Many Wellesley students have successfully entered health professions schools off of waitlists. However, begin alternative planning in case you are not accepted off of the waitlist. If the school is receptive, send any updates you have that strengthen your candidacy. These might include courses taken with grades, awards, honors, publications, or anything else you believe is significant information. (For more about the pros and cons of sending updates, see Judge When to Update a Medical School Application from U.S. News and World Report.)

If (and only if) this school is your first choice and you will matriculate immediately upon acceptance, send a “letter of intent” stating this to the Director of Admissions. Briefly explain why you think that particular school is a great fit for you, and what strengths you will bring to their community.

If you are not accepted in an application cycle, it is important for you to take time to assess why. Honestly ask yourself some questions before jumping back into the next application cycle:

  1. Is my GPA too low? Do I need to think about doing additional coursework?
  2. Is my standardized test score too low? Do I need to take the test again?
  3. Have I done sufficient clinical work to show my true interest in becoming a health professional?
  4. Has my service to my community demonstrated my commitment to helping others?
  5. Would a research experience strengthen my application?
  6. Could I have prepared better for my interviews?
  7. Are there other career paths that might be a better fit for me?

Speak with admissions officers from the schools where you were not accepted. Can they give you feedback as to why your application was not successful? Then talk with your Health Professions Advisor about next steps. In general, we recommend that you NOT apply in the immediate next cycle unless your application has significantly changed from the previous cycle. If you do decide to apply again in the next cycle and you would like a committee letter from the Medical Professions Advisory Committee (MPAC) you must inform the Director of Health Professions Advising no later than JANUARY of the year in which you plan to reapply so that a MPAC advisor can be assigned to you. You will be asked to update your materials, meet with your advisor, request updated letters of recommendation, and participate in a MPAC interview in order to obtain an updated committee letter.

Not getting into a health professions school is a difficult experience. Remember that when one door closes, another opens. You have a remarkable Wellesley education, and qualities and traits that will serve you well in a wide variety of careers. Talk with your Health Professions Advisor about your options and opportunities.