6 Tips on What to Do if You Haven’t Received a Med School Interview Invite Yet
It’s a few months into interview season and you’re starting to get anxious because you haven’t received an invite. Don’t be discouraged. We will tell you how to handle this stressful situation.
- Keep Things in Perspective
It can be difficult witnessing everyone around you celebrating the schools they’ve received interviews from when you are still waiting to receive the same good news. Feelings of sadness, envy, anxiety and self-doubt are common and expected if you find yourself in this situation. These feelings can be magnified when people ask you how your interview season is progressing. It can be hurtful to have to tell them that “I haven’t heard anything yet”. This can be particularly troubling for those who are the first in their families to become doctors, as is the case for many minorities. If you especially fall into this category, (and even if you do not) take a step back and realize that no matter what, the outcome of this application season does not define who you are.
You are so much more than any admission committee can ever realize based on your application.
This is true regardless of how well your personal statement is written, the prestige of your letter of recommendation writers, or the breadth of your extracurricular activities. No set of written documents can fully capture your spirit, your brilliance or your amazing potential.
You will be successful and reach your goals regardless of outside opinion.
Yes, medical admissions committees are the gatekeepers of the medical profession, and a necessary entity to interact with to become a physician. However, if you have taken the proper steps to prepare yourself to have the strongest application to medical school possible, the best reaction is a combination of accepting the discomfort of the unknown and taking action to maximize your chances of getting an invite at this point in the cycle.
- Make Sure Your AMCAS Primary Application is Complete and Transmitted
Double check that your primary application has been completed correctly and has been transmitted. If you find any problems, such as missing letters of recommendation for example, correct that as soon as possible.
In order to be part of the first wave of applicants considered by programs, it’s best to submit your AMCAS application as early as possible in the cycle. Not everyone meets this deadline however, for various reasons. If you fall into the latter category, know that it may take longer for you to hear back from med schools, as many fill interview slots as they receive applications.
- Make Sure Your Secondaries are in Order
When it comes to secondary applications, it’s not a bad idea to contact each program to confirm that they received your secondary submission.
If there are schools that you have not yet received a secondary from, it is advisable to contact the administrative team to confirm that they have both received your primary application and they are still sending out secondaries.
- Do Not Transmit Your Anxiety to the Admissions Committee
It is uncomfortable not knowing how the application season will turn out. Not receiving an interview by now makes you worried an invite will not come your way. You likely feel a powerful urge to do SOMETHING to improve your chances and reaching out to the schools directly seems like your best bet.
However, what you DON’T want to do is transmit your anxiety about not having an invite yet to the admissions committee.
This is a common pitfall, especially given the high emotions associated with not having any interviews a few months into the cycle. However, it is important to avoid the following as a rule of thumb:
- Using a pleading, pushy or anxious tone in any correspondence to the admissions committee
- Dropping by an admissions office to make your case in person
- Sending multiple letters/emails back to back
- Sending letters/emails that do not contain NEW information that will strengthen your candidacy
Actions such as these may send a bad message, potentially leading you to come off as impatient, immature or controlling. Coming off that way will not help your case.
- Send an Update Letter with New Information
Let’s talk about how to know when reaching out directly to admissions committees will help you and how to do it.
If something significant has changed, such as new information becoming available that will strengthen your application, it is a good idea to let schools know.
For example, you may send an update email that informs the committee of a recent achievement, such as a new leadership position, a new letter of recommendation or improved test scores. The update email should request that this new information be considered.
The key here is to keep the update email short and to the point.
To avoid coming off as overly anxious and off-putting to admissions committees, here is what you SHOULD do:
- Keep any correspondence no longer than 1 page (about 500 words) at the absolute maximum.
- Have an outside party or two read the email before you send it. Ask them how they interpret the tone to ensure you do not come off as pushy, desperate or angry
- Limit the number of correspondences you send. Typically, one email outside of your initial application is enough to inform the committee of any new updates and confirm your continued interest in interviewing at their program
Don’t have any new updates? Think twice about reaching out.
It may be helpful to send a letter expressing your interest in a specific interview, but don’t send more than one message of this sort.
- Stay Positive
Keep in mind that just because you haven’t received an interview doesn’t mean you won’t get into medical school this cycle. Yes, it’s true you have more of an uphill battle, but hope is not lost. Plenty of people get their first interview early in the next calendar year and get into medical school. You only need ONE interview and ONE acceptance to make your dream a reality!