This blog is part of a series of tips about visiting medical schools. One of the best ways that you can set yourself apart as an applicant is to visit as many medical schools as you can before and during the application process. These blog posts will help you set yourself apart from other applicants!
When you return home from visiting a medical school, immediately plan to send follow-up emails. The longer you wait, the less likely the people you met will remember you. Only contact the people with whom you had a genuine connection and who seemed interested in keeping in touch. When I worked at UC Davis School of Medicine, I always invited students to keep in touch—very few ever did. Those who did follow-up were given a review of their application and advice, after the rush of application season was over. I responded to every request. I genuinely enjoyed getting to know our students and helping them realize just how many options they had.
To Keep in Touch with finesse:
1. Start by sending a thank you email: After your visit, rank the people you met in terms of how well you connected—not based on how high the position is that each person holds. If the conversation continued easily, you had something in common and/or you enjoyed talking with the person, send an email thanking them for their time. If they respond, keep the conversation going. Make sure you ask thoughtful questions that you actually have and always respond with gratitude. Only ask questions that this particular person could answer and that do not overstep professional boundaries. For example, I don’t recommend asking a Director of Admissions about where to park on interview day or continually asking about whether you will be granted an interview. Do not send more than one email at a time. Wait for a response before replying or you could be overstepping the etiquette of polite communication. Don’t take it personally if you don’t hear back from the person for a while or at all. They may be overwhelmed with work—especially during application season.
2. Follow-up: When you have submitted your application to their school, contact the people you met to let them know that you have submitted your application and, if true for you, express your enthusiasm for their program. Continue any previous threads in your conversation. Make sure you include your AMCAS ID as part of your signature block so they can quickly and easily find your application.
3. Updates: It is appropriate to update your contacts at medical schools for four main reasons: new publications, new awards, new grades and any acceptances that you have received from other schools. Send one update email for all of the above, not a separate email for each one, if they occur during the same time period. I would also recommend that you include an updated copy of your resume or CV with these new additions in bold text so that they are easily visible. When writing about an acceptance, always begin and end the email with gratitude and be humble.
Hopefully, the guidelines in the Visiting Medical Schools Series will give you the confidence to network with the admissions professionals you meet while visiting medical schools. When you need it, ask for support. You can find support on your campus, by working with an admissions expert like my colleagues and me, participating in pre-health clubs and organizations, attending pre-health fairs and information sessions and networking with medical school students, admissions officers and faculty. I wish you success in all of your endeavors. I would be honored to assist you through the application process.
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.