No medical school interview invites?
AMCAS application – check. Secondary essays – check. Now it’s the long waiting game of hearing back from various medical schools for the coveted interview invitation. But what if the application cycle is not going according to plan? What if you are still waiting for a majority of medical school interview invites? Or worse, what if you have no medical school interview invites? Don’t fret too much. Many other applicants are in your shoes and some of the authors of Cracking Med School Admissions did not receive interview invites until as late as March!
Starting November of each year, we start getting emails from students who are worried that they have not yet received a medical school interview invitation.
If you haven’t received any medical school interview invites …
Don’t panic. The first thing to remember about the application process is that timelines are often flexible. While there is an “aggressive” timeline that follows what we would recommend for a medical school applicant, unexpected things do come up and it is important to be able to weather these challenges with poise.
For medical school interviews, it is the case that some applicants may not get called to interview until February or as late as March. In the mean time, there are a few things you can do to enhance your application.
Waiting for medical school interview invites?
There are several things you can do to improve your medical school application and send your candidacy into overdrive:
1. Send an update letter about your activities, jobs, awards, and new medical publications
Medical schools appreciate applicants who are actively trying to improve their case for acceptance. An update letter containing the above topics could be just enough to push you over the edge to land a medical school interview. Activities and awards are important because they show leadership, passion, and drive. Be sure to include short descriptions about new leadership roles and updates about your activities. New publications serve as additional proof of how interested you are in the research aspect of medicine, and substantive research can dramatically improve your candidacy.
Other than the sample medical school update letter below, we wrote a blog recently on how to write an effective medical school update letter: https://crackingmedadmissions.com/medical-school-letter-of-intent-medical-school-update-letter/
Here’s an example medical school update letter:
Dear [name of admissions director],
Greetings! I was recently placed on hold for interview at [medical school], and I am writing to update you on my current endeavors and reaffirm my interest in your school. [Medical school] is one of my top choices and I strongly believe that it is perfect match for my future endeavors.
Since the time of my application, I have been working full-time for Care Ambulance, Southern California’s largest ambulance provider, and my experiences have provided numerous opportunities for personal growth and vocational fulfillment. Responding to 911 calls with local fire departments has reinforced my ability to perform under pressure and adapt to unexpected situations. Likewise, attending to patients on inter-facility transports has provided opportunities to interact with them in ways that I could not as a physician’s shadow or research assistant. In this way, working at Care has strengthened my knowledge of pre-hospital care. It has given me exposure to other aspects of health care, including the role of insurance, billing, and transfer of care, and it has allowed me to witness firsthand the struggles that patients undergo during trauma.
Care Ambulance covers an urban landscape spanning three counties. As a result of operating in this diverse landscape, I have interacted with people from all types of backgrounds. A large proportion of my calls take place in predominantly Hispanic/Latino communities. Some Spanish-speaking ability is crucial to providing meaningful care to these residents, and I have used this opportunity to improve my fluency in the language. I can now provide thorough medical assessments in Spanish and have taken one step further toward becoming an effective aid to underserved populations in California.
Working as an EMT has also opened my eyes to the general public’s lack of medical knowledge. I have seen that knowledge is taken for granted, and oftentimes, falls to waste. At the same time, I have learned that it doesn’t take much effort to teach someone what they didn’t know before. CPR is a lifesaving skill that is unknown by most people. I have decided to train to be a CPR instructor to teach this lifesaving skill for free, in underserved communities. Additionally, I am training to teach CPR in Spanish. In the coming months, I aim to share this lifesaving skill in my community, and perform my part in the betterment of public health.
For this reason, I wish to state my absolute intent to attend [medical school]. I believe I will make a vibrant addition to the school community, and I feel that [medical school]’s curriculum and mission statement are a perfect match for my goals. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I hope to hear back from you soon.
All the best,
2. Send the medical school admissions committee a letter telling them you will be in the area and that you are very interested in their school
This is especially pertinent to students who are doing some portion of his or her gap year abroad, or if you are studying abroad your senior year fall semester.
It’s important to remember that the admissions office is not a black box – admissions offices are staffed by real people who care about selecting the best fit applicants for their school. They also are quite reasonable when it comes to respecting applicants’ travel schedules and the challenges of going on medical school interviews around the country. Oftentimes, if a candidate is in the area, the school will allow them to come and interview if they have already traveled great distances to interview at another school (or even if you happen to be in the area at the time). You can send a letter or an email in advance of your travel, expressing interest in interviewing at the medical school of your choice. If you receive a favorable response in return, you can adjust your travel accordingly and get your interview. This strategy does not always work, but it’s a win-win situation when it does. The important thing is to make an effort!
No Medical School Interview Invite Tip: Remember, don’t just tell the school you will be in the area. Still mention a few key aspects about the school that make it one of your top choices!
3. Some Schools Allow You to Send An Appeal
Keep in mind that some medical schools allow you to appeal a rejection decision. Actively keep communication open with the schools that didn’t grant you a medical school interview, and if there is an appeals process in place, take advantage of it to have the admissions committee take one more look at your application! Even if there is no formal appeals process mentioned on a school’s website, if you are particularly interested in a school it may be worth asking if there is an appeals process and supplying a brief statement for why they should reconsider. A thoughtful letter to the admissions office just might make a difference to help you land a medical school interview. We have also seen letters of recommendation writers or pre-med advisors at certain schools write appeal letters/emails to the medical schools’ Admissions offices.
No Medical School Interview Invite Tip: Before you send in an update letter, do some homework: look online or call ahead to acquire the name of the admissions coordinator. Then, address your update letter specifically to that person. It will show that you’ve gone the extra mile.
Need help or worried about your application?
Each year, several students contact us because they are worried, “I have no medical school interview invites.” Our Cracking Med School Admissions team can help evaluate your application and help you figure out:
- When to update the medical school admissions committees
- What to tell each medical school admissions committee
- Other strategies to express your interest to the medical school
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your concern or fill out the contact page below. You can read more information about our update letter package here.
Contact us with questions about medical school interview invites
Your Medical School Admissions Advisers
Medical School: Stanford School of Medicine
Residency: Harvard, Emergency Medicine
What I did After College:
• Improved vaccine distribution in developing countries
• Worked with the World Health Organization in the Philippines
• Launched a national HIV Awareness Campaign in the Philippines
• Produced an HIV awareness commercial for MTV
• Worked full-time at a healthcare consulting firm, advising pharmaceutical companies
• Created a public health program in Stanford’s Emergency Department
Undergraduate: Columbia University
What I did after I graduated:
• Worked at two education non-profits, improving public & charter schools across the U.S.
• Coached students to master interview, debate, and speech techniques in the U.S. and Asia
• Advised students in China, Korea, and Japan with college applications to American Universities
• Developed mobile education content for iPhone apps
• Worked in investment banking, conducting industry analysis and advising technology companies
Medical School: Stanford School of Medicine
Residency: Pediatrics, Stanford
Masters: Masters in Medical Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies; Masters of Science in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
What I did after I graduated:
• Interned with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland
• Founded and launched an NGO to improve the health and education of Ethiopian
• World Bank consultant who helped implement Ethiopia’s national nutrition program
• Partnered with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health to study child health practices in communities