This post addresses some of the big questions on med school applicants’ minds:
- How long does a medical school have to invite an applicant to submit a secondary application? (Go there)
- When to expect interview invitations for medical school (or a response of ‘thanks, but no thanks’?) (Go there)
- Final interview invite date and update letter policy by school (Go there)
The fact is that there’s no rule governing how much time a medical school has to respond to your application.
When do medical schools start interviewing?
This question doesn’t have a single answer. Many med schools start sending out interview invitations in August, shortly after the first secondary applications are received. Some schools have a quick turnaround, but others seem to drag on and on – especially when you’re constantly refreshing your email to see if they’ve contacted you.
Waiting is even harder when others are receiving invitations and you haven’t heard anything. Although it might be tempting, don’t call the school to check on your status – this is sure to backfire on you. Trust that the admissions office is working through the applications as fast as they can.
No news from med schools: When should you worry and what can you do about it?
Submitted my primary app, but haven’t received a secondary
Some schools screen for secondaries. If it’s been 6-8 weeks since you applied to one of these schools, and you haven’t received a secondary, you might consider sending a Letter of Interest (LOI) to the program. This strategy can be effective if you have a strong connection to the school or its locale. Your reasons for approaching the program in this way might be a connection to an alumnus, a special fit with the program’s research efforts, familiarity with the locale, or even friends in the program who have raved about what they’re learning. Or it might simply be that X School of Medicine has always been your dream school and you want to give it your best shot. In any case, your LOI should demonstrate an understanding of the program going beyond the ordinary (i.e., what’s on their admissions website) and show that you’ve done your research.
Before contacting your chosen program(s), you must confirm that they accept additional materials. Some programs are very clear about not wanting anything but the primary and secondary applications, and you should always follow their instructions.
You should also check whether you fall within their range of accepted students. Are your GPA and MCAT scores above their lowest accepted scores? If not, then you’ve likely been screened out. It’s very important that as you show your fit for the program, your LOI should also highlight your unique qualities in a way that might not have come across as admissions committee members ticked off boxes on their checklists.
Submitted my secondaries, but waiting for medical school interview invites
If you’ve submitted your secondary and are waiting for an interview, the wait can seem interminable. It’s important during this time to focus on other interests, especially things that you are passionate about. If you finally do get an interview and are asked about your recent activities, you’ll want to have more to say than “checking my email.”
Watch: If I don’t get an interview invitation by Thanksgiving does it mean I was rejected?
The bulk of interview invites (“IIs”) go out between September and January. The earliest IIs tend to go to those who not only submitted secondaries early but who have (1) high stats and (2) very specific reasons for attending the program – this is where tailoring your secondary to each school is a huge advantage. There are always applicants who get later IIs, however, so don’t give up hope.
If you submitted your application early and haven’t heard anything by November, you might want to think about sending an LOI. Again, showing your genuine connection with or interest in the school is essential. Have you learned something new about the program that piqued your interest? Have you been in contact with alumni of the school?
And combining an LOI with an update letter can make it even more effective. Emphasize your new accomplishments as well as your strong fit and interest in that program.
Don’t limit yourself to a single LOI/update letter. Most programs want to know when you have substantial accomplishments to share, and it demonstrates your genuine interest in the program. Of course, don’t overwhelm them with letters and always follow the individual program’s instructions about additional materials.
Med school interviews timeline: Final interview invite date and update letter policy by school
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 firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
* Info from 2021-22 application cycle. Will be updated as new info becomes available.
If you represent a medical school and want your school added to the list, please email email@example.com.
Post-secondaries, pre-interview: Planning ahead
As the September-January period comes to a close, interviews tend to wind down. Some programs do continue to extend invitations late into the spring. However, if you still haven’t received interviews, you may want to start thinking about your game plan for the next year. Start by taking a good hard look at your application:
- Is your MCAT score competitive? Are your grades strong? Would either be strengthened through additional coursework? A master’s or postbac course could boost your chances next time.
- Are you confident about your personal statement? Were your secondary essays tailored with specific answers for each particular program, or did you “recycle” generic answers?
- Are your recommendations the best you can get?
- Did you apply as early as possible in the season?
- Did you submit enough applications? Did you apply to a wide range of schools, or were your applications weighted towards those with very low acceptance rates (Mayo, Georgetown, etc.) and out-of-state schools?
Don’t give up!
It’s not much consolation, but in most years the AAMC reports a higher number of applicants than the previous year, with steadily increasing stats. Whether that’s due to the Fauci Effect or the popularity of Chicago Med is anybody’s guess. But if you’re serious about medicine and can show that in your application, you’ll make it.
If you need help arguing your case to the Dean, or if you want to make sure next year’s application is as strong as it can be, Accepted can help. Contact us at any stage of the application process.
A former fellowship admissions committee member and administrator at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Cydney Foote has successfully advised healthcare applicants, including those applying to medical school, dental school, nursing and PA programs, veterinary school, public health and hospital administration programs, post-baccalaureate medical programs, residencies and fellowships. Since 2001, she has brought her marketing and writing expertise to help science-focused students communicate their strengths. Want Cyd to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!