I encourage applicants to think of the medical school admissions process as fluid. Assuming you are not accepted to your top choice school right off the bat, it is important to provide medical schools with more evidence that you are an excellent candidate. What can you do to convince a top choice medical school that it should interview or accept you?
- Send a medical school update letter
- Send a medical school letter of intent to your top choice
- Send additional letters of reference
- Recruit a medical school applicant advocate
Let’s discuss each of these.
Send a medical school update letter.
Updating medical school applications about recent accomplishments, such as sending first semester grades and information about any recent developments that might be impressive, can potentially influence a medical school’s decision. In your update letter you should also express your specific interest in the school to which you are writing.
Not sure what to write? Looking for inspiration:
- SDN update letter
- Updating medical school applications can help tremendously.
- REDDIT update letter
- KevinMD.com update letter
On a waitlist? Send a letter of intent.
If you are waitlisted or have already interviewed but have not heard from your top-choice school, send a letter of intent if the medical school is, for certain, your top choice. Include the information outlined above, and also explicitly state that the school is your #1 choice and, if accepted, you will attend. As stated above, below you will find an example medical school letter of intent. Do not send a letter of intent unless you are absolutely sure you will attend the medical school if accepted. Also be careful about sending a letter of intent too early since you don’t want to seem desperate or insincere.. Earlier in the medical school admissions season, a medical school will be less convinced that you have seen or know enough to declare a medical school is your top choice. It is also better to send a letter of intent closer to the time when wait lists start to move in May.
Send additional letters of reference.
It is always wise to send new letters of reference from individuals who can further support your candidacy. Have you worked with or met anyone new since submitting your application that can endorse you? If so, consider taking that this letter be either uploaded to the application system or sent directly to the medical school(s).
Related: Interview Season Strategy: Calling Other Medical Schools Or Residency Programs If You Will Be “In The Area” For Another Interview
Recruit an advocate.
Your premed advisor, professor, or mentor can call the admissions office of a medical school in which you are interested to offer support for your candidacy. Not everyone will be comfortable doing this, however, but, we find that “advocacy phone calls” can influence interview decisions in particular. There are some undergraduate colleges that make calls of this nature regularly.
Remember, submitting your application often is just the beginning of the medical school admissions process. You must embrace a proactive role throughout the application cycle until you have been accepted to the medical school that you will attend. Some medical schools may specifically request that you do not send in any additional information. Others, however, encourage communications from students and may specify how they want those communications sent. In fact, a trend we are noticing is that some medical schools prefer to hear an applicant is interested in the medical school. There is no question that letters of intent can positively shift a wait list decision to an acceptance; many of our students have had success with this strategy and sending a letter of intent to your top choice school, if waitlisted, has become common practice.