Advice for Premeds

A blog about the medical school admissions process

Waiting for Interviews and Decisions? Send Updates to Medical Schools.

by Janet Snoyer in Featured, What Should I be Doing Now? No Comments

We start seeing the same questions, again and again, from medical school applicants at this time of the year.

  • Is it getting late to hear from schools?
  • Should I be worried?
  • What should I be doing now?

No, it is not too late and there is no reason to worry. Every medical school has a different time table for when they issue interview invitations. There are some general rules you can use to give you comfort during this time of waiting.

In general, the rules are that interviews will be issued through the second week of December and again in January. Remember, there are always exceptions to this rule. Some schools will continue to issue interviews through January, February, March, and even into April. You can inquire about the timeline for issuing interviews when you connect with admissions staff at medical school fairs.

Naturally, there is a finite supply of interview slots, and as the cycle goes on, there are fewer interview slots. These are the facts and it’s important to remember that facts are facts and we can’t worry about facts, but we can make informed decisions.

There are three things you can do now to show schools that you are really interested in them.

  • Attend their info sessions. If you don’t see them posted online, contact the school to ask if they are having any info sessions.
  • Network with admissions staff at medical school fairs.
  • Send updates. Some schools have limits or don’t want to receive any updates, but if they don’t have limits, go for it. These blog posts are also applicable to people who are waiting for an interview or a decision.

Here is an excerpt from our book, The Family Guide to Medical School Admissions:

Updates consist of directly informing schools of new information about the applicant or securing supplemental recommendation letters. A good update letter has substance and brevity. The content has to be about the applicant and their fit with the medical school. The point of the update letter is that the people who read it will remember the applicant, in a good way. Sometimes applicants feel that they have nothing new to offer. This is usually not true. There are subtle changes and growth going on in us all the time. If we pay attention, we will see them.

If they have had an interview, applicants can maintain their relationship with their interviewer–– the person who will advocate for them in front of the committee––by sending letters about specific topics discussed during the interview, things the applicant learned about them, the applicant’s fit with the school and new activities, experiences and interactions that have happened since the interview.

Your applicant can send letters to the committee to clarify old matters and introduce new things. The letter can reiterate commitment to the school, interest in certain programs, and the applicant’s status if they have not received any interviews or acceptances. 

Your applicant can request a new letter of recommendation that adds to what the committee already knows. A PI or supervisor can write a new letter noting accomplishments since their first letter. These letters often cover a specific time span after your applicant applied or interviewed. Additional letters of recommendation can really help your applicant’s candidacy.

The applicant can drop short messages to the admissions office stating that they are still looking forward to hearing the admissions decision and they have not decided where they will go to medical school. One way to freshen up correspondence is to alternate messages––with one explaining personal reasons for wanting to attend (geographic proximity, for example) and the next explaining more professional reasons (curriculum, for example). Letters and phone calls from supporters are also perfectly reasonable methods to entertain in developing an update strategy.

The bottom line is that it is not getting late––don’t worry––and just because your friends have interviews at this point does not mean that you will not have your chance to go to medical school, especially if you take the opportunity to network with the schools you are interested in.

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