Interviewed or Not: What you should be doing
At this point if you have applied to medical schools, hopefully you have submitted everything on the early side of all deadlines. If you have been interviewing, then this is a good sign of being competitive and your timing has paid off. Once a school has interviewed you the following scenarios could be the case:
- Acceptance to a school. Congratulations! After the joy and happiness has settled in, it becomes the time to prepare and fill you FAFSA A.S.A.P. (see AAMC RESOURCES HERE.) Having your paperwork completed will allow for medical schools to put together a financial aid package just for you. Each school has their own internal and external financial resources so make sure to connect with that specific school’s financial Aid Office. They are there to help you and explain everything, so don’t hesitate to contact them.
- Waitlisted/Hold. Don’t fret. This is typical for many applicants. This usually means that you are falling in a group of applicants that may be very similar to each other or you may not be standing out but may still be acceptable. Be sure to check the school’s directions on their preferences on your communication with them. If they prefer you don’t send updates, make sure that you respect their directions. If they do accept updates, then make sure to provide them with anything new since your last communication with them. This can be any new grades from the fall quarter or semester, any new clinical and/or research experiences, awards, publications, etc. Include, any aspects of why you feel that their program is a good match and make sure to give specifics that shows you know their program well. Talk to your premed advisor for other tips or insights to specific schools and review your updates with them. Again – make sure to follow each schools preferences on communicating with them and their preference in receiving updates. They prefer applicants who can follow instructions.
- Decline/Rejection. While the sting and the reality hurts, don’t take it personally. Either you were not a good match to that particular program or your application was not strong enough for that school. Nationally less 50% of applicants are accepted to medical school and students apply anywhere between 8-15 schools, so rejections are part of this process. Talk to your mentors and meet with your advisors. Review your list of schools and review your application. Assess your competitiveness to identify your weaknesses and put a plan together to make sure you are strengthen them. Take advantage of time and stick to your plan and continue to strengthen your application. The goal is not to just re-apply but rather to make sure you are applying when you can show medical schools that you have addressed your weak links.
If you have not received any interviews, meet with your advisors and mentors to create a plan and help you decide what your next steps will be. Share with your advisor what you’ve heard from programs so far. Review your timeline and assess the possibility of still acquiring an interview during this cycle. Consider sending any updates to the school that accept them. If you have been working on strengthening your application since you applied, then you may be in a good place to re-apply. Remember that science courses strengthen your science GPA, clinical experience continues to show your interest in the health professions and that you are continuing to learn about working with patients, about yourself, and your interest to be a physician.
Finally, don’t take rejection personally or as a reflection of your passion and dreams. Recognize your sources for motivation, touch base with them about your plans, and thank those that have been supportive – Including your recommenders!
As you move forward I leave you with one question, regardless of the number of interviews and acceptances/declines:
“How will/did this experience help your personal growth and help you reach yet another level of maturity and professionalism?”
If you are re-applying, prepare to address this question with tangible examples in a future secondary application and hopefully in a medical school interview.