Med School Applications: What to do When You Don’t Get a Single Interview

You’ve done the work.  You’ve made it through years of undergraduate study.  You’ve put in volunteer hours, you’ve studied hard for standardized tests, and you’ve submitted many applications.  But you haven’t gotten any interviews from the schools you’ve applied to.  So what now?

1)     Don’t despair. It’s not entirely uncommon for students to receive no interview requests after initially submitting applications.  You’ve still got plenty of time to secure admission to a great medical school.  It’s important not to lose hope and get down on yourself—if you do, you’ll lose the drive and the ability to continue to work hard to achieve your goals.  Failure is simply a part of life—even Michael Jordan was famously cut from his ninth grade basketball team.  Don’t give up yet.

2)     Send update letters. If it’s been several months since you’ve sent applications to medical schools, consider sending update letters.  These are short letters designed to improve your candidacy—for instance, perhaps you’ve gained useful leadership or technical experience over the last four months.  Write a brief letter describing the additional experience you’ve accumulated and be sure to explain why the experience makes you a better candidate for the school.

3)     Improve your application. If you haven’t gotten positive responses from any of the medical schools that you have applied to, it may be a sign that you need to improve your application.  Take a hard look at yourself and your application and look for areas that could use improvement (and that can reasonably be improved—you can’t do much about your overall undergrad GPA, after all).  Consider enrolling in a post-baccalaureate program to improve your GPA, or maybe even consider taking a year to work and gain relevant extracurricular experience.  If you go that route, make sure that you fit as much value into your year as possible—work, volunteer in fields related to medicine, and work hard to improve your GPA.  Once you’ve improved your resume as much as possible, give the application process another try.

Once you’ve put in the work, not even getting as far as the interview process can be depressing.  But it’s important not to give up or get discouraged.  It’s not too late for your dreams of a career in the medical field—but it will take hard work and perseverance on your behalf.


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Dr. Toote is a sensational premed speaker. He told us how an average college graduate applies to medical school and then he told us how an above average graduate applies. Everything I knew about the medical school application process was turned upside down. I am grateful for attending his presentation. M. G. Houston, Texas

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