The response letter (after the WAPT but before medicine)

This was the moment everything I had done built up to, this was the moment I had had multiple nightmares and dreams about. A moment I could honestly never fully anticipate a reaction to. A moment I feared almost as much as I craved. I had completed my first degree, I had applied for GEMP and successfully passed the WAPT, I had done everything I needed to do, I just kept hoping it would be enough. I knew final decisions were sent out in December so my stress levels doubled when the month started.

Now I’ll go a little bit into the actual process as I’ve understood it over the last 3 or so years. Final decisions are communicated to applicants from mid-December (after the examiners meeting) to mid-January (about a week into the academic year). Generally thousands of applicants all with the dreams of becoming doctors one day apply for the 80-120 available spots in MBBCh III or GEMP I, the numbers vary per year as it is dependent on how many second year students pass and how many third year students are repeating but it has being increasing every year since I got here (there was about 60-80 GEMPs in my group, roughly 100 in the group after mine and there is about 120 in the current GEMP 1 class).

Out of the thousands a few hundreds successfully complete the WAPT (remember this isn’t a guaranteed acceptance), from that group a list is generated ranking the applicants from the highest to the lowest mark based on the composite index (CI) score which is the average of your last two academic years. Those applicants are then further divided into 3 groups. Group 1 & 2 will receive communication during December; the first group are the top applicants that have been accepted into the program, they receive their acceptance letter and they need to secure their position by making a deposit of R3000 by a certain date. The second group are at the bottom of the list and their applications have not been successful. This group can try again the following year I wouldn’t advice this unless they improve their academic portfolio by furthering their studies with a postgraduate degree or just upgrade their results. Some people start a new degree from scratch all in the hope to apply for GEMP after that; it’s really up to you but again I wouldn’t advice this. Realistically doing medicine in 4 years instead of 6 is appealing to all graduate but it isn’t the only way to do medicine. Piece of advice if you want to study medicine, if becoming a doctor is the absolute dream, don’t just apply for GEMP, apply for first year entry at all the medical schools within your reach. I’ve known people that were so fixated and desperate to do GEMP, that it took them 4 years to get in but they refused to apply for first year spots because 6 years is too long. They had spent 4 years upgrading marks, doing different honors courses just so they could get into GEMP. Had they applied to a different universities they could have been in their 4th or 5th year by the time they had gotten into GEMP.

Reminder that this group of applicants had all past the WAPT therefore they will not need to rewrite it for 3 years.

Then there’s the third group which is made up of about 10-15 students that make up the waiting list. These students will be accepted if the expected numbers of students due to return is lower due to rejection of an offer, inability to secure a spot, financial exclusion of an already medical student etc. This list is absolute, no one can be added on to it, even if there’s 16 spots available and only 15 students on the waiting list. These applicants will receive their response letter in the first week of the academic year once registration have been finalized.

I, however, was part of the fourth group. One I do not know enough to comment too much about or generalize. Back to my story; December 2014 started off on a high for me, my first nephew had just been born, I had just graduated from my B.Sc so everything was looking up for me; I was feeling quite hopeful and happy. I wasn’t sure as to when or how communication from the university will be sent out so that kept me quite anxious as a baseline. I didn’t know anyone else who was waiting on a response so I felt quite in the dark about the process in general. The wait was mentally abusive, I’d often sit and daydream about the day I’d entered my GEMP class, how I’d feel, what it would mean, other days I’d daydream about how my family would react when I got the news. I tried staying positive through the process. It wasn’t easy but it needed to be done. Also I prayed about it, every day.

We were now halfway through the month and I hadn’t heard anything. On December 19th, I woke up from a nightmare about GEMP and so my anxiety got the best of me as I decided to try get ahold of the faculty. I must have called close to a dozen times without getting a response, I wasn’t sure if the faculty had already closed for the festive season or if I was just being ignored. So I decided to email the person who had sent me my WAPT results. A few hours went on without a reply. It was around 7pm on my way home from work that that I realized that I had emailed her with my old account and that she had in fact replied but my email’s app was heavily delayed. Her response broke my heart, as I was told that my application was unsuccessful, I hadn’t made the CI cut off mark for 2015, I was short a percentage and that final decisions will be emailed to us the following day. I don’t cry often, but that day I wept like a toddler, I was so disappointed, so defeated, so ashamed, I had done everything I needed to do and I was being told that it wasn’t enough, that I wasn’t enough, that I was not smart enough to make it through the program. How would I tell my family? I had only ever imagined positive scenarios. I told my mama first, she’s a strong believer that everything happens for reason, she sat and prayed with me. Offer all the comfort mothers do and motivated me to not give up on my dreams. My entire family was similarly supportive. This however forced me to reflect on how much this meant to me, on how much I wanted it, on the fact that I was now 23 and that I couldn’t be uncertain about this anymore.

In the following days, I had fallen victim to depression, I couldn’t eat, sleep or function optimally. I become quite isolated and quiet. Most people would try motivate me and say things like ‘better luck next time’, or ‘it’s only a year’s delay’ but here’s the tricky part, I was that person who had said it was “GEMP or nothing” I had no back up plan, no second choice. So all I could think about was what am I doing my life next year, deeper into the depression I sank. But look at God though, a random email from my third year Human Biology course coordinator came in, asking me what my plans for next year was, I had applied for the honors course for 2014 but finances hadn’t allowed me to register and since I was one of the top students in the course for 2013 she really wanted me to carry on  with the honors course. After a few back and forth emails inquiring about the course, I accepted the offer. My plan was to now improve my academic portfolio. It wasn’t GEMP, but it was something. I prayed about it and managed to sort out the registration fee; I was now registered as a postgraduate student. I was ready for honors, I was still feeling a little low but I tried staying motivated as I had promised my mama I would.

I had made a list of things to accomplish in 2015 and right at the top was getting accepted into GEMP or (medicine anywhere else – I was a little wiser, hungrier and determined). GEMP was still the goal but I wasn’t thinking about it anymore, I had a new objective I was excited and ready for it. The honors course was due to start on the 26th of January 2015; again I had organize with work to start my leave on the 15th of Jan, I had figured 10 days rest would be enough.

On the 16th of January 2015, my first day of leave. I had woken up earlier than I had wished, I had a load of laundry to do and my plan was to relax after with a good movie. I had neglected my phone for a few hours while doing laundry, so as I was passing through the lounge I took a quick glance at it, a few WhatsApp texts, more Facebook candy crush emails, a couple twitter notifications and right there at the bottom an email with the title ‘RE: GEMP I FINAL DECISION’ I had almost missed as I had to pick my phone up a second time before I really saw it, I was a little puzzled as I opened to read this;

I almost fell down, I turned to my sister that was sitting across the room in shock, I was confused, I couldn’t believe it. She quickly asked what was wrong. I had dreamed about saying this my whole life “I got accepted into medicine.” She jumped up and hugged me tighter than ever before as we celebrated. I was in such disbelief I tried calling the faculty again but to no avail. I also realized that they haven’t been able to reach me because I had temporarily changed my phone number. I quickly made my way to campus, I had to be sure, I needed someone to tell me what was going on. I had two emails from the same person telling me two different things. After making my way to campus I was told that I had in fact gotten in, this wasn’t a joke or a mistake, look at God though. I was the last one chosen, the last person to join the GEMP 1 class of 2015, I was two weeks late but I didn’t care, look at God though. Through all this the one person I wanted to tell was my mother, I got home and there she was and I finally said the words as tears of joy rolled down my face

“mama I got into medicine! God created a spot for me.”

(Look at God, though)



32 thoughts on “The response letter (after the WAPT but before medicine)

  1. Man this is very touching, I got emotional while I was reading this. Keep up with your good work and then again thanks for sharing this experience, May the good lord bless you in abundance. The ending is so great, this deserves to be shared in a form of a book, maybe one day you can write an autobiography. As I await for the letter I already know a lot as to how the process goes by this letter. Thanks Dr Leyka

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your story is very motivational and inspiring. It shows that Nothing is too difficult for God. When God has called you to something he will make a way for you. He is faithful and His promises are true. He is never too late nor early. When it comes to His beloved children He will shift and move everything every just for His children. May we be strengthened by His love and promises as we wait for His blessings. May we look only opon Him and know that He will finish the Good job He started in us

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hey ymell. May I please asked you. If you don’t mind what was your average for your previous degree. The one they use to select for the Gemp.


      • Hi Emmanuel, I have not gotten a response either. But what I know is that they have made early offers to people with index score of 76 and above. They are waiting for more results e.g some wits students are still waiting for their supplementary exams mark ( if you are a wits graduate) if you are from out side. They are still waiting for uct and free state university to release their results. Once they have a full picture of everyone results that where they will continue making more offers.


  4. Thanks Sthembile, I’m actually an international applicant. Thank you very much for the information, I really appreciate. Let’s keep our fingers crossed we’ll both get our offer.


    • Hey guys, so I spoke to the GEMP officer and they haven’t fully decided on a cut mark for the CI score. They’re still in meetings today and possibly tomorrow to finalize that so if you don’t get a response by the end of this week then your response will come in the first week of January once the university opens.

      I hope and pray you both get a positive response. All the best


      • Congratulations to you @Sthembile. I’ve checked mine and yet no offer. On the 24th I got a mail but it was not an offer, it was a notification that if an offer is made and not accepted within 3 days that it would be withdrawn. Please how can I check my CI score. Thanks and congrats once again.


      • It is calculated as the average marks from the final two years of qualifying degree (for example the last 2 years of a 3-year Bachelors degree; or, if you have a four year degree or honors degree it is your 3rd and 4th year direct average Marks. You also get additional points for having post graduate degrees, for example 1 for honors, 2 for MSc and 2 for PhD. These are added to your calculated average mark.


  5. Firstly. thanks Yannick for the great blog – I’ve been reading your posts for about a year now, and they’ve been great inspiration while trying to get into GEMP. So have you! I passed the WAPT this year and now I’m waiting for a (hopefully) good outcome.

    Secondly, congrats Sthembile on your acceptance!

    Based on the last 2 years of my studies (3rd year of undergrad, and 1 year of honors), my CI would be 77; I’ve still not received any feedback or an offer from the med school. I can’t tell you how this is beginning to take up all my thinking on a daily basis, and now even my dreams! If 75 was good for an offer, surely 77 would be too? Do you know if anything else goes toward making the final decisions besides CI?

    Good luck Eya, hope you get an offer too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks a lot for following my journey. I’m humbled that could serve as a source of inspiration.

      Keeping my fingers crossed that you get a positive response once Wits opens next week. Hope I’ll be seeing you guys all on campus in a few weeks.


  6. Hello everyone

    Thank you so much Yannick for the amazing blog and inspiring posts! May God continue to use you.

    I also passed the WAPT two years ago and I completed my honors this year. My status says ‘Decision has been deferred’, so I’m also still waiting for feedback. I’m praying for all those who are awaiting feedback.

    Congrats Sthembile I hope to see you next year! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for following my journey and I’m humbled by the fact that it may serve as an inspiration.

      Good luck on your final response, I really hope God comes through for you and that I’ll be seeing you on campus soon.


  7. I’ve been told I am on the waiting list – my CI was above what is needed, but there aren’t enough places available at the moment to make an offer. I can’t explain how depressed I feel in this moment. Like Yannick says in the blog – “I had done everything I needed to do and I was being told that it wasn’t enough”. I passed the WAPT. My CI is 77. But there aren’t enough places. I know there is still a small chance, but realistically that is unlikely and that’s bringing me down like you can’t believe


    • Hi WS87

      Try not to despair, students on the waiting list do make it into the program, it all depends on the final numbers which they will only know for sure on Friday once registration closes. I’ve heard of people being accepted into the first and sometimes even the second week of the academic year. We’re still hoping for the best outcome. I still think there’s hope.


    • My CI was 78, and I wasn’t even put on the waiting list, I was outright rejected and not even informed until I called. I am an international student and the cutoff CI score for us was apparently 80, calculated from the GPA system so I would have needed a 4.0 GPA ( only As during my undergraduate degree) to make it. I just wish I knew earlier before investing so much time and money. There was probably a lot of competition this year. Oh well, everything is grace.


      • Hi. Do not give up, try again this year to to apply for 2019 entrance . The test is valid for three years. I have met some students who wrote in 2016 and were not considered for 2017 entrance. they have been accepted this year. There are not also wits graduates. And they did not improve their results, they have applied using the same results there were rejected for 2017 entrance. So try again for 2019 entrance. It is never too late to become what you may have been


  8. Hi WS87, did you call the faculty or you just received the message? My CI is way below yours, if you are on the waiting list then I am scared of the possible outcome of my application, the wait is terrible and depressing. We are all hoping for the best but now its starting to seem impossible. Which degree/s did you complete? I wish you all the best. It feels better to communicate with people going through the same stage as you are. To Yannick, thank you a million times for this blog.


  9. Hey people, I thought I should let you know that I have been informed that application has been unsuccessful and all the best to those who are still waiting. I hope to try again next time.


    • Hi Mercy

      I am sorry to hear that. Are you a wits graduate? If not I would advise that if you would want to improve your marks. For example by doing honors. You may try to do it at wits. Because what I heard is that the Gemp program accepts about 70 percent of wits graduates into the program . From outside wits they only take 30 percent of student. You also get some additional points for being a wits post graduate. All the best


  10. Hello everybody, also want to thank all who wished me well. This journey was certainly better with you guys. My application was unsuccessful but getting to interact with like minds was a positive. I wish everyone success.


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