Medical School Waitlist

Waitlisted to Medical School? What are the chances of being accepted?

This is a stressful time in medical school admissions especially for those applicants who received medical school interviews, but have no acceptances and only waitlists.

We know what questions and concerns you have so I will try to address some of them!

I had only one interview and was waitlisted. What are the chances that I will be accepted?

Unfortunately, no one can tell you your exact chances of getting accepted off the waitlist. But, if we look at the data we can glean some interesting information. In 2023, 45.8% of medical school matriculants were accepted to only one medical school!!! That’s a pretty impressively high number. Further, 20% of matriculants received only one interview.

Just over 50% of matriculants received three or fewer interviews! So what this tells you is that multiple interviews statistically increases the odds that you will be accepted.

How long are medical school waitlists?

The number of applicants on a medical school waitlist varies from medical school to medical school. Some waitlists have only 70 applicants while others may have up to 600.

How many applicants are usually accepted off a medical school waitlist each year?

How many students are accepted off a waitlist each year varies based on a medical school’s yield (how many accepted students choose to matriculate). Historically, medical schools take anywhere from one to 100 applicants off a waitlist each year.

How do I know where I stand on a medical school waitlist?

While some medical schools rank applicants on the waitlist, others review the entire list when deciding whom to accept when a spot opens. How a school decides who to take is anyone’s guess! Sometimes this decision is based on institutional priorities while other schools will do a full holistic review of all waitlisted applicants when a spot opens up.

When can I expect a waitlist to move?

As of May 1st, applicants are only allowed to hold one medical school acceptance so most waitlists will start to move in May. Applicants can be accepted off a waitlist until the medical school has a fully committed class or before the start of orientation, whichever comes first!

Waitlists move like dominoes!

As soon as one medical school waitlist accepts a student, that means a waitlist position may open at another medical school assuming the student was holding another acceptance. This is why one school’s waitlist movement can cause a ripple effect resulting in spots opening at other medical schools.

A powerful letter of intent can move the needle!

If the medical school where you are waitlisted accepts letters of intent (not all medical schools will accept them so be careful), we encourage you to send one. A strong and convincing letter of intent can certainly convert a waitlist to an acceptance and we see this happen every year!

We know waiting is so difficult! There is only a week until all of the shifting begins!

MedEdits Medical Admissions Founder and Chairwoman, Jessica Freedman, MD
MedEdits Medical Admissions Founder and Chairwoman, Jessica Freedman, MD

JESSICA FREEDMAN, M.D., is a former faculty member and admissions committee member at the Icahn School of Mount Sinai and is the founder and chair of MedEdits Medical Admissions. She is also the author of the MedEdits Guide to Medical Admissions and The Medical School Interview which you can find on Amazon. Follow Dr. Freedman and MedEdits on Facebook and YouTube.

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