If you have been placed on the waiting list, you can send in a letter to reiterate your interest in the school. Keep in mind, that this letter of interest is not going to make or break your application. Where you are placed on the waiting list plays a much larger role. If you’re #5 on the waiting list, you’re much more likely than #54 to receive an acceptance before classes begin. Some medical schools do share that number with you while others do not. It doesn’t hurt to ask but don’t expect a clear answer from most schools.
Since it’s customary to send a letter of interest and most applicants do, the best way to approach this piece of correspondence is to 1) be yourself and let your personality (and gratitude) shine through, 2) have solid reasons for why you are genuinely interested in the school and 3) have exciting new updates and developments to share to demonstrate how hard you are working to gain an acceptance. If you cover all three of these areas in your letter, you will probably have a strong letter to submit.
To help you decide when to submit your letter of interest consider these important dates:
1. The dates for the school’s revisit events
Most medical schools have a revisit day or series of events in which they invite accepted students back to their campus to persuade them to choose their school. Many students receive multiple acceptances and medical schools use these events to recruit the most competitive applicants. The dates of the school’s revisit event(s) are an indication that their admissions process is coming to an end. If they don’t have a revisit event, you can find out when their last interviews are scheduled. Many schools share interview information on their admissions website. It’s a good idea to get your letter of interest submitted before the last interviews and/or revisit event(s).
2. The school’s deadline for final decisions
Medical schools give applicants a deadline for deciding to accept or decline the offer of admission. In the past, for example, April 15 was a common date for California medical schools. Double check your school’s deadline for final decisions. If you are on the waiting list, you could receive an acceptance shortly after this date once the school sees how many spots they have left. Plan to get your letter of interest submitted BEFORE THIS DATE.
3. The school’s start date for classes
I have worked with students in the past who have received an acceptance only weeks or days before school is scheduled to begin. Don’t give up hope, if you are high on the waiting list. You can send an update letter, which is a letter that provides important new information or developments (like new grades or a new MCAT score), if there are radical new developments after sending your letter of interest. (If you are on the waiting list, you should be doing everything in your power to create new and radical developments.)
Plan to submit your letter of interest before the school’s final decision deadline.
For help with creating an outline and editing drafts for the letter of interest, you are welcome to contact me or one of my colleagues at Accepted for expert advice and the highest quality assistance.Alicia McNease Nimonkar is an Accepted advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs. Want Alicia to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!