Re-Applying to Health Professions Schools

If you have previously applied to medical school or other health profession programs with the support of Brown's committee letter or credential service and wish to apply again, first arrange an appointment to meet with George Vassilev in person or to talk with him on the phone. Attend our Applicant Seminars in person or through Zoom during the academic year before you re-apply to refresh your knowledge of the process. 

Addmission to health professions programs is highly competitive and unfortunately every year there are more well qualified applicants than there are seats at health professions schools.  Before you re-apply, carefully consider the factors which did not enable you to gain admission during your first application. Evaluate your previous application and ensure that you address areas that may not have been the strongest before you re-apply. We are here to offer guidance and support but your reflection, planning and work are key. Some of the common reasons why an application may not have been as strong as schools would have expected include: 

  • low total or science GPA
  • low MCAT or other standardized test score(s)
  • low grades in key academic areas- required courses, or courses in your concentration or major area of interest
  • declining academic record
  • unmet course requirements
  • limited clinical or community service experience
  • unclear commitment to helping people in general and through health and medicine in particular
  • poor interview presentation
  • interpersonal communication skills not in line with profession
  • ineffective personal statement
  • weak, inappropriate letters of recommendation
  • unclear professional goals
  • lack of demonstrated motivation for chosen profession
  • late primary application
  • incomplete secondary applications
  • limited co-curricular activities or achievements
  • light course loads

Keep all of the above in perspective. This self-reflection may feel daunting but if you approach it openly,  strategically, and without judging yourselves, you could chart a path forward. Admission committees expect re-applicants to demonstrate how they have strengthened their candidacy by engaging with clinical, research, academic, professional or volunteer activities relevant to the study of their chosen health profession. Generally it would be important to continue to develop your candidacy in a number of these areas but also specifically to address the area(s) that hadn't be particularly strong during the previous application. Admission committees will look for evidence that your re-application shows development. While admission committees won't hold the fact that you are applying for the second time against you, a small number of schools will only accept one re-application. This is an indication of the importance of strategic planning, careful consideration of options and heeding important advice.

Re-applicants do not interview with a member of the Health Careers Advisory Committee again but it would be important to discuss your situation with Dean Vassilev in detail. We strongly encourage you not to re-apply in the cycle immediately following your first application to allow the time to reflect on your options and to develop your candidacy further. The articles below offer additional insight. 

The Health Careers Advisory Committee will not transmit materials for your re-application automatically and it is essential that you work closely with us if you are preparing for a second application. Re-applicants need to submit one copy of the specially-designed Re-Applicant Health Careers Advising Dossier. The Re-Applicant HCAD 2019- 2020  focuses on the particular ways in which students and alumni have strengthened their candidacy since their previous application. Submit your Re-applicant HCAD to our office by May 17, 2019. All of your materials must be submitted to our office by July 5, 2019.

In addition to discussing your preparation with George Vassilev, you will need to:

  • Demonstrate substantive improvement in all areas which could have been a hurdle to admission during your previous application. 
  • Meet all Health Careers Advising deadlines.
  • Submit a Re-applicant HCAD on time. The Dossier describes new substantive experience, coursework, MCAT or other standardized test scores as applicable. The first half of the Re-Applicant HCAD 2019- 2020 invites you to reflect on your experience since your previous applicatoin(s). The second half enables you to integrate these reflections into a new personal statement and list of activities for your re-application. You may download the Re-Applicant HCAD 2019 - 2020 here.
  • Send a  formal photo of yourself (E-mail jpeg with your name as the title to hco@brown.edu).
  • Provide new letter(s) of recommendation (if any) accompanied by a new List of Recommenders and Waiver Form (Form 2) for all health professions, or List of Recommenders and Waiver Form: MD-PhD (Form 3) for MD/PhD re-applicants. If you provide new letters of recommendation we will ask you to indicate which previous letter(s) should be retired. You should provide a copy of the Instructions for Recommenders (Form 1) to anyone who may be writing a new letter of recommendation on your behalf. 
  • As a re-applicant you can submit 1 more letter than the 4-letter (5-letter for MD/PhD candidates) limit for first time applicants.
  • Provide a Summer Update Form (Form 4) by July 5, 2019 if anything changes after you submit your Re-Applicant HCAD.

Upon completion of your AMCAS or other application service, please submit the following:

  • A processed hard copy of your AMCAS application (or other common application), with the processing date clearly noted. Do not submit your hard copy to our office until your application has been processed.
  • For those applying through AMCAS, the AMCAS Letter Request Form. The form can be found in the Letter of Recommendation Section in AMCAS.
  • Fee of $50
  • Letter Mailing Form (Form 5)- hand-written or electronically saved and transmitted via E-mal. No faxes.

The packet sent out on behalf of re-applicants includes any previous committee letter(s) and individual supporting letters of recommendation, as well as new supporting letter(s) of recommendation. The addendum letter for this packet serves as an update to your previous committee letter(s) by highlighting the ways in which you have strengthened your candidacy for admission.

NOTE: Re-applicants who have been away from Brown for three years or more are not eligible for the committee letter because much of their professional and/or academic experience supersedes their years at Brown University. Brown candidates for admission to medical or other health profession schools are eligible for the Committee Letter a maximum of three times within three years of graduating from Brown University.

NOTE: Applicants who have gained admission to a health profession school but choose not to accept any offer can re-apply ONCE using the support of Brown's Health Careers Advising office. However, because health professions programs would be aware that you have chosen to decline admission this will be noted at the top of the cover letter that accompanies your committee letter packet. Admission to health professions programs is hilghly competitive and we strongly urge applicants who have gained admission to at least one school of their chosen profession to matriculate unless their career plans have changed substantially. 

Helpful guidance for re-applicants from admission officers and physicians:

AAMC Reappllying to Medical School- Tips from Admission Officers

Suggestions from Ohio State University College of Medicine

Suggestions from University of Miamy Miller School of Medicine

Avoid 5 Errors when Reapplying to Medical School- Joshua Klein, MD, US News and World Report, May 23, 2011

Brief Suggestions from University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health