I remember all too well the stress of applying to medical school. If going through pre-med, taking the MCAT, and crafting a compelling application wasn’t hard enough, the waiting game was. Back when I applied, the general rule was if you hadn’t heard back by Thanksgiving, all hope was lost.
I didn’t receive an interview invitation until March.
A common trap that pre-med students fall into is thinking it’s over before it’s over. While the competitiveness of medical school is on the rise and not gaining an acceptance is a reality for many, this doesn’t mean that students should accept defeat just because of some imaginary deadline. If anyone should tell you “No” let it be a medical school… not yourself.
If you’re currently in this situation, trust that I know exactly how you feel. Whether you’re angry, frustrated, scared or all the above, those feelings are completely normal and others have them too (even if they don’t act like it). In this post, I’m sharing a few things to help you get through this time.
Stressing about things you can’t control is only a recipe for anxiety and frustration. The best thing I did during this period was distracting myself. I focused on being productive at work, spending time with my boyfriend and friends, and exploring the city I was living in. Outside isn’t completely open yet, so I understand if you’re not able to vacation, but even picking up a new hobby or starting a new project will give you something to work on while keeping your mind distracted.
Whatever you do, DO NOT go on SDN or Reddit stalking interview forums. Others getting interviews during this time doesn’t affect you. You’ve done everything you can possibly do. Have faith and take care of yourself!
2. Send update letters
I want to start off by saying that some schools specifically do not accept update letters, so check each school’s specific policy.
If a school does accept a letter, be sure to do the following:
- Keep it short and sweet – There is no need to re-cap your whole application. Only include recent developments such as new grades, a recently published paper, or a relevant job.
- Be sure to mention why these changes are relevant to the specific school.
For example, I did research during my gap years. In my update letter, I would write something like, “My recently published article on Sickle Cell Disease patients and their chronic pain lends itself well into XYZ School of Medicine’s initiative to provide culturally competent care to commonly marginalized groups.”
3. Don’t be passive
While it’s important to remain positive during this time, preparing a Plan B is the smart thing to do! Start off by taking an honest look at your application and recognize areas for improvement. After doing this, think of the best way to address them. Personally, I decided that applying to a post-bacc program was best for me. Also, I specifically looked for ones that had MCAT preparation within their curriculum.
Here’s the program I got accepted to:
I hope that this helps you during this time and provides some direction. If you ever need anything, I’m only a DM or email away so please reach out!