If you’ve been placed on the medical school waitlist, then you should submit a letter of interest (or letter of intent) in early May. 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. Submitting a letter of interest by May would fit well into the admissions timeline—since they may be in the process of considering your application for acceptance at this time.
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. That 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.
- 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 your letter because it will represent you well. I wish you success!
Which medical schools accept update letters?
Medical school When will final interview invites be sent? (2020-2021 application cycle) Are updates / LOI's accepted?
Baylor College of Medicine January Yes, materials can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boston University January Yes
Case Western Reserve University Late February to early March Yes. Please note that edits to application essays, as well as updated unofficial transcripts, will not be accepted.
Columbia University End of January Yes
Cornell University (Weill) Interviews begin in Sept and continue through early spring Duke University First week of February Yes
Emory University The interview season will end this year on February 26th. Yes (updates only, not LOIs)
Harvard University End of January Yes, but the admissions office does not guarantee adcom will view the additional materials.
Johns Hopkins University February Mayo Clinic School of Medicine (Alix) First week of January Yes
Northwestern University (Feinberg) Mid-January Yes, materials can be sent to email@example.com.
Ohio State University March Yes
University of Alabama–Birmingham Late February or early March Yes. Letters may be uploaded through your Applicant Portal and new recommendations through the AMCAS letter service.
University of California–Los Angeles (Geffen) January Yes, for applicants who have received a secondary application.
University of Chicago (Pritzker) Medical January Yes.
University of Colorado Interviews will continue through early March No
University of Maryland Late February or early March Yes. Upload updates through your Second Stage Application.
University of Michigan–Ann Arbor Early January Yes. Letters may be uploaded through your Applicant Portal and new recommendations through the AMCAS letter service.
University of Pittsburgh January Yes
University of Southern California (Keck) February No
University of Utah Interviews will continue through February No
University of Virginia Interviews will continue through early March Yes. Update letters may be added using the application portal.
University of Wisconsin–Madison Late December No
Washington University in St. Louis March Yes
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!Want Alicia to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!