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? (2021-2022 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 February/March Yes. Each MD program welcomes pertinent updates or letters of interest/intent from waitlisted applicants if they are truly interested in attending.
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).
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.
Harvard University January Yes, but the admissions office does not guarantee adcom will view the additional materials.*
Johns Hopkins University Late February: Completion of interviews Applicants who have not interviewed at Johns Hopkins may not submit additional information. After interviewing, applicants may do so.
Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University Interviews are held from September through March Yes. We welcome all information at all time points throughout the process.
Mayo Clinic School of Medicine (Alix) November 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.
Northwestern University (Feinberg) February 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.
Ohio State University March Yes, in the form of an email with an attachment.
Rush Medical College Well into January, sometimes February Yes
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) December Yes, for applicants who have received a secondary application.*
University of Chicago (Pritzker) Medical February Yes. You may upload a PDF update using the secondary application website.
University of Colorado February or March No
University of Maryland Late February Yes. Upload updates through your Second Stage Application.*
University of Michigan–Ann Arbor Early January* Yes. Updates may be uploaded through your Applicant Portal.
University of Pittsburgh January 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Any communication received from the applicant will be included in their admissions file.
University of Southern California (Keck) March The following communication is requested from waitlisted applicants: On April 30th they may send an email to the Admissions Office at email@example.com to state their desire to remain on the waitlist.
University of Utah Interviews will continue throughout the application cycle. No
University of Virginia Yes. You are encouraged to add any document or materials that may strengthen your application.
University of Washington Mid January No
University of Wisconsin–Madison Likely through end of January No
Washington University in St. Louis March The Committee on Admissions is happy to add any updates to your file, such as new activities, publications, or personal news. These can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or uploaded directly in our portal at mdapply.wustl.edu (use the Document Upload tab).
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!
Alicia McNease Nimonkar worked for 5 years as the Student Advisor & Director at the UC Davis School of Medicine’s postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and other health professional programs. She has served Accepted’s clients since 2012 with roughly a 90% success rate. She has a Master of Arts in Composition and Rhetoric as well as Literature. Want Alicia to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!