If you’ve been placed on the medical school waitlist, then you should submit a letter of interest (or letter of intent) as soon as you are notified that you have been placed on the waitlist. Most medical schools require that students notify them of their decision by mid-April. Selection committees will be deliberating over who to accept from the waitlist if they do not have a full class by the end of April. Submit a letter of interest as soon as possible —since they may be in the process of considering your application for acceptance.
For over five years, I assisted students in gaining acceptance to medical schools across the country with the UC Davis School of Medicine Postbaccalaureate Program. Since 2012, I’ve been a consultant at Accepted. During all of this time, I helped my clients write some really successful letters of interest – in fact, more than 90% of my clients have received acceptances and matriculated into medical schools and other health professional programs.
So let’s dive right in! What can you do to create a strong, compelling letter of interest?
The best letters of interest
- Demonstrate your genuine interest and enthusiasm for this school and program.
If you have not already done so, learn as much as you can about what this program can offer you in terms of a medical education and professional development opportunities. Comment on how you will benefit in these areas. Also, consider highlighting the ways that you will contribute to their class, community and institution. What skills, talents, hobbies or interests do you have that would support their mission and values? Are there any special interests or student groups that they do not currently offer that you are already involved in? Do you have connections to a university or community in another country where they might be interested in developing an exchange program?
- Update the selection committee on any new developments.
The types of new developments that they will be interested in will include: promotions, new grades, new awards or honors, and new publications or poster presentations. Even though you may feel sad or disappointed about being placed on the waitlist, it’s essential that you stay involved with all the activities that you love so that you can continue to build your credentials. Use this time to work even harder. It’s about the journey, not the destination. If you do your best, people will notice.Read: The 9 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make on a Med School Waitlist >>
- Address any weaknesses in your application that you have improved.
If you haven’t already done so, this letter would be the best place to address anything in your application that may cause the selection committee to hesitate in offering you an acceptance. Only discuss the areas that you have already improved. It’s not a good strategy to bring their attention to your greatest weakness without having a solution or demonstrating progress in that area. Be strategic in covering ONLY those weak areas that you have improved.
- Emphasize any personal connection you have to the area, school or community.
If you have family or close friends in the area, family who attended the school, or a personal connection to the community for any reason, you can mention it. Knowing that a student already has a strong support system and will transition easily into the area can be a bonus. The selection committee wants to make sure they select the students who are most likely to succeed on their campus. Being familiar with the area, having a support system and connection to the school can lead to a much smoother transition.
Including these four “must-haves” in your letter of interest will help you address the selection committee’s areas of concern. The best letters anticipate any challenges or hesitations and address them effectively while demonstrating enthusiasm and loyalty to the school.
For more guidance contact me or my colleagues at Accepted. I would be delighted to assist you in drafting an outline and reviewing your drafts before you submit them so that you are excited to submit a letter that represents you well. I wish you success!
Which medical schools accept update letters?
Medical school When will final interview invites be sent? (2022-2023 application cycle) Are updates / LOI's accepted?
Baylor College of Medicine January Yes. Applicants who have not received an interview invitation may send updates through the application system. Those who have already interviewed may send “letters of intent.”
Boston University Mid-January Yes
Case Western Reserve University August-February Columbia University End of January Yes. Any updates or corrections to the Secondary Application should be sent as an Applicant Update (in PDF) via the “Status” tab of the Secondary Application.
Cornell University (Weill) Interviews begin in Sept and continue through early spring Yes. The program is open to receiving important, occasional updates (e.g. major award or publication).
Dell Medical School August-February Yes, but not forwarded to the committee. It is put in the file, but it will not be provided as additional content for the application. Very important that the communication channel that’s through the application is the only method for delivering content to the committee. (From Admissions podcast with Joel Daboub, Director of Admissions and Records for Dell Medical School at UT Austin in 2020)
Duke University Early February (Note: Dates are subject to change.) Yes. Application updates can be made directly to the secondary application under the Additional Consideration section.
Emory University February To update an application, log in to your Supplemental Application and select the “STATUS” tab; then “Update My Application”.
Do not call the Office of Admissions to check on the status of your application.
Geisinger Medical School September-February Applicants may submit up to two meaningful updates to their AMCAS application after submission. Examples include, but are not limited to: completion of a degree program, research publications/presentations and significant community service. Submissions must be emailed to the admissions office as a PDF attachment.
Georgetown Medical School All applicants completing an application will be notified as to whether or not they will be invited to interview. Post-submission updates will be limited to text updates submitted via the online Secondary Application portal. Mailed or emailed correspondence – including transcripts and thank-you notes – will not be uploaded to your application. Applicants who have interviewed will have the opportunity to upload a thank-you note in PDF format (which may be typed or hand-written/scanned by the applicant) to the Secondary Application.
Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin First week of March Unfortunately, we cannot accept any additional information or materials unless it includes Institutional Action, Felony, Misdemeanor or Military Discharge explanations. Any additional information or materials will be discarded.
Harvard University January Yes, but the admissions office does not guarantee adcom will view the additional materials.*
Icahn School of Medicine Invitations to interview: August-February
Interviews: September through February
Johns Hopkins University Late February: Completion of interviews If there was an error on your application or you need any changes made, please contact the AAMC at 202-828-0600. The JHUSOM Office of Admissions does not accept updates to your AMCAS application or for the secondary application.
Kaiser Permanente Medical School February The school will accept application updates only from candidates who are invited to be interviewed. For the 2023 application cycle, the school will send out invitations for interviews on a rolling basis beginning in July 2022.
Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University Interviews are held from September through March At any point in the application process, you are welcome to submit additional letters to support your application and encouraged to use the AMCAS letter service to transmit these letters.
Loyola Stritch School of Medicine August-February You may update your application at any time during the cycle through your supplemental portal. Updates can be uploaded as a Word document or PDF through the "Submit Update Document" button on your supplemental portal home page.
Please do not mail/email updates to the Admissions office.
Mayo Clinic School of Medicine (Alix) September-December We like to hear from our applicants! Significant application updates are accepted after an applicant has been invited for an interview.
Updates should be uploaded directly into the admissions portal as a PDF.
We do not accept any updates to transcripts or grades.
New York Medical College Interviews are conducted from late September through March. Applicants may be invited to interview at any time during this period as applications are reviewed throughout the application cycle. Welcome updates as long as students are still active in the cycle.
Northwestern University (Feinberg) March If applicants would like to notify us of an update to their application or wish to have other communications added to their application file for consideration, we ask that they upload these to the FSM Applicant Portal (the site where the secondary application is accessed) through the “Document Upload” tab. Please note that additional recommendations (accepted after a student is invited for interview) need to be sent directly from the recommender either via AMCAS or e-mail (to email@example.com)
Ohio State University September-March Updates, such as publications, grades, internships, shadowing experiences, etc., will be accepted but only in electronic format (i.e., email with an attachment), as this is the most efficient way to connect your updates with your file. Updates should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Perelman School of Medicine September-January We consider updates and letters of intent from applicants at any point in the process through the applicant portal, applicants can use the document upload tool.
Rush Medical College February SUNY Upstate Med School Every week an email will be sent to anyone who is being invited for an interview. The email will instruct you to go to a calendar and select an available interview date.
Interviews are conducted on Mondays and Wednesdays beginning in September and continuing through March.
Tulane School of Medicine September-end of February/early March Yes, applicants have the option on the application portal so they can submit it directly.
UC Davis Interview invitations are on a rolling
basis — July through February/March
The Admissions Committee does not accept updates from applicants including activities additions/updates, additional letters of recommendation, etc. Note: Substantial changes such as citizenship status or recipient of a nationally recognized award may be reviewed and considered by the admissions committee on a case-by-case basis.
University of Alabama–Birmingham Mid-to-late February* Yes. Updates can be uploaded to your Applicant Portal at any stage in the application process.*
University of California–Los Angeles (Geffen) January University of Chicago (Pritzker) Medical February You can upload PDF updates at any time through the secondary application website (under Status > Update My Application).
University of Colorado Roughly August-February Application updates are NOT accepted. If you are invited for an interview, interview day would be the best time to update the Admissions Committee regarding changes to your application.
University of Illinois COM Interviews are by invitation only and occur September-February Submit an update via the “Other Documents” section of the Secondary Application Portal
University of Maryland Early February Applicants must promptly notify in writing both AMCAS and the School of Medicine of any change of address or other information submitted in the AMCAS application.
University of Michigan–Ann Arbor Early February Once your Secondary Application is complete, you will be able to access your Applicant Portal. If at any time you want to submit updates to your application, please use the checklist on your Applicant Portal.
University of Pittsburgh Early December Our Admissions Committee welcomes letters of intent/interest and updates to your application. The most appropriate time to follow-up with us is following your interview or after the receipt of your official admissions decision. Communications can be sent via postal mail or to our admissions mailbox at email@example.com. Any communication received from the applicant will be included in their admissions file.
University of Southern California (Keck) March Applicants on the waitlist (alternate list) on April 30th may send an email to the Admissions Office at firstname.lastname@example.org to state their desire to remain on the waitlist.
University of Utah Early December Once an application has been verified by AMCAS, information cannot be added or deleted from it.
University of Vermont’s Larner School of Medicine End of February. If you haven’t heard by February, it’s probably unlikely that an interview will be offered from institution. Yes
University of Virginia Applicants may submit additional letters of recommendation, recent publications, or information about their most recent activities. Updated transcripts should be sent as soon as they become available.
University of Washington February No
University of Wisconsin–Madison Likely through end of January No
Washington University in St. Louis Mid-February After you submit the Supplemental Application, you will not be able to edit it. If you need to modify or update your Supplemental Application, please contact our office via email at email@example.com with your request.
Zucker School of Medicine July-February Admissions sends email with the secondary application with login information for the Admissions Portal. Log into the Admissions Portal you may:
Upload updates and any documents you determine as necessary to your application
(including new grades, employment, publications, etc., or an explanation of mistakes in your application, if any) under "additional information".
*Please do not email the Office of Admissions directly with your updates.
Watch: Dr. Nichole Zehnder, Assistant Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs, explains how the University of Colorado School of Medicine views letters of intent.
Do you need help writing your med school letter of interest or completing any other element of your application? Explore our Medical School Admissions Consulting & Editing Services and work one-on-one with an expert advisor who will help you get accepted!
• Help! I’ve Been Waitlisted!, a podcast episode
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• Your Guide to Getting off the Waitlist in 2022