As some of you might know, I applied to medical school more than once and I attribute my success at getting into school to my determination and a little bit of people skills. If medicine is the right path for you as the universe intended–you will make it. If it is not then the universe will provide you another path. While there have been so many times I question my choices to be in medical school, they are all with a jocular or sardonic tone. I know for certain I want to be a physician to build the kind of relationship I want with people. Someone who is a guide, a teacher, a leader and caregiver as well as someone with the direct method of healing. If this is something that appeals to you I believe you will be successful and you may read on to the next part of this advice blog or whatever I call this…
1. Contact the dean or director or admissions administer of the school or program you are waitlisted at.
My suggestion is to contact their office directly by phone or find some way to meet them in person. I know my people skills are much better than my email-writing skills and communicating through spoken language can help elaborate your intentions. After getting a hold of them make sure to set up an in person one on one meeting with them. I suggest talking to the dean in person because they have the most power with how the school is run. This actually works because I have personally done this for the school I am currently attending. I met the dean in person, got her card, contacted her secretary, made an appointment, went to the school and met with her and she got me an interview date set up through the portal within 24 hours of the meeting. I mean I still had to interview, do well, get waitlisted again and then accepted in the next 5 months following this meeting but I knew my chances were much better because I had been proactive in contacting the people in charge.
2. Continue to monitor the status of your application
Checking in regularly in a non-pestering manner is a good way to let them know you are still very interested in going to their school. I was not a person to be super picky because I only had a few choices based on my application stats but interest and feel are key. Stats are not the main factor involved in the application process, I know this based on the countless research I have done and the many fellow students I have encountered on my journey into medical school. I took the time to watch a ton of videos, read dozens of blogs, go to AMA meetings and talk to my fellow classmates as well as students from other schools. They all varied in their stats but the one thing I felt they had in common was how passionate the ones that got in with lower MCAT scores or GPA were. They are better communicators for sure and they had a spark of excitement when you talked to them. I would like to think I have the same electricity when communicating casually, so my suggestion for regularly monitoring would just be friendly emails or phone calls once every couple weeks or so after the interview.
3. The letter of interest or intention
A letter of interest or intention should be sent towards the end of the application cycle maybe a month or so before the schools or programs have made a final decision for their class selection, this is because students with multiple acceptances will have to choose and more movement will happen with waitlists. I believe the best time for this is April/May just before the new application opens so you have time to reinitiate the application process in case it is not meant to be at the time. I keep this as a back up option because I know I had to apply more than once to learn about how to approach the application. It is a learning process I took a lot of time and resources to even come to, but hopefully, you won’t have to do this the hard way like I did. Ok… I get it you want to know how to write the letter… Here is my general guide for that letter:
- Reintroduce yourself and your interest in that particular school.
- Explain all the reasons why you will choose that school in particular if you get in
This is including but not limited to: things about the program that you’re really excited about, how much you love the location, whether or not you have friends and family in that location or at the school already, how much you’re committed to their mission- I know mission statements are really vague, but I would say look into the nuance of each mission statement and find a story about yourself that can demonstrate how you fit into their mission and just elaborate like crazy. –Sorry I go on so many tangents–
Schools knowing that you love the location might also be a part of the mission- like the schools I interviewed at in Indiana and Idaho see previous posts for more details on those interviews. Another reason why telling them you have family and friends in the area is a good idea is that schools want to know that you have a supportive network. This gives them better outcomes. Economically, the school does better if you do better, they do not want you to fail, they want you to succeed and do well. It looks better for their school and makes them more attractive.
3. Update them on the things you have accomplished since the start of your application, it’s been about a year since that application was submitted and you have done something more if you are being proactive. I wrote about my solo travel experience and some volunteering, a new job and an internship I took on all within a year. A year is so much time and demonstrating that you took that time to grow and learn is a way to illustrate the type of person you are. You don’t even have to talk about medically related things, if you spent a year having a lot of fun making a YouTube channel, hiking a bunch of mountains, making a ton of knitting projects, learning how to master recipes, getting yoga certified, starting new hobbies, learning a new language< just random things on my bucket list…> then write about it!! It’s a space to share what kind of person you are and how human you can be.
4. Lastly, conclude with something about how you will add to their school culture while also assimilating well, and a statement how you would love the opportunity to be a part of that culture, thank them for their consideration in your application and sign.
Notice how I didn’t give an exact template! That’s because we are all unique and what each one of us says is going to be different. We are all applying to different schools, have different hobbies and goals in life.
So those are my 3 steps on improving your chances to get into the school or program you desire. As always thank you for reading and I wish you good luck on your journey!
If you have any questions or would like me to make a YouTube video on this topic… and reopen that floodgate write a comment below. I will answer at my earliest convenience. Also you may find me more responsive on my instagram @alifeinair