7thAndLASTPoopoftheDay

2+ Year Member
Jan 9, 2019
44
133
I have seen several applicants making posts to the effect of "send an application update in order to bring your name up to the top of the pile," so you'll be more likely to get an interview. Is this commonly done?

I know, I know, don't send an update unless you have something meaningful to update them about - what I'm asking is, should I manufacture something "meaningful" just to have a reason to send an update? It seems several other applicants are already doing this, and getting interviews and acceptances. If I don't do this, then I will be at a disadvantage.

I have slightly above-average stats (ORM, LM 74), and currently zero interview invites. I'm still working and doing all the same ECs (non-trad) as I was before I sent my application, so I don't think I have any real reason to send an update. If I need to, and if it will help me get an interview, I can easily come up with several possible "good reasons" to send updates. Should I do this?

I am aware that some schools do not accept updates - probably for the reasons listed above. I am talking specifically about those schools that do.

Thank you for your help.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
D

deleted1075353

I think being an honest person is more important than going to medical school.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 6 users

drbatsandwich

I like bats. I like sandwiches.
2+ Year Member
Feb 23, 2018
330
491
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
If you’ve accumulated a *significant* number of additional hours that you believe contributes to your application in a meaningful way, by all means, send an update. Do NOT “manufacture” numbers that don’t exist. Maintaining your integrity is more important than moving your name to the top of a list - and do we even know for sure that this is what it accomplishes?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
About the Ads

7thAndLASTPoopoftheDay

2+ Year Member
Jan 9, 2019
44
133
If you’ve accumulated a *significant* number of additional hours that you believe contributes to your application in a meaningful way, by all means, send an update. Do NOT “manufacture” numbers that don’t exist. Maintaining your integrity is more important than moving your name to the top of a list - and do we even know for sure that this is what it accomplishes?
What qualifies as "significant?" That word has different meanings to different people. For example, I work full-time doing research, which means I've spent an additional 300+ hours just by going to my job every day. I've also added a handful of volunteer hours. I could truthfully talk about either of these things and spin them as "significant" updates.
I am very much against manufacturing numbers that don't exist. Perhaps a poor word choice. What I meant was spinning something I consider to be non-meaningful into something which medical schools might consider to be meaningful.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

drbatsandwich

I like bats. I like sandwiches.
2+ Year Member
Feb 23, 2018
330
491
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
What qualifies as "significant?" That word has different meanings to different people. For example, I work full-time doing research, which means I've spent an additional 300+ hours just by going to my job every day. I've also added a handful of volunteer hours. I could truthfully talk about either of these things and spin them as "significant" updates.
I am very much against manufacturing numbers that don't exist. Perhaps a poor word choice. What I meant was spinning something I consider to be non-meaningful into something which medical schools might consider to be meaningful.

For all they know you could’ve quit your job and stopped volunteering the day you submitted. If you interview, you’ll likely be asked about your extracurriculars. I’d use that opportunity to talk about how it’s an ongoing experience that is important to you and that you’ve accumulated an additional XXX hours since submission. If you don’t think it’s meaningful enough for an update than don’t send one.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

7thAndLASTPoopoftheDay

2+ Year Member
Jan 9, 2019
44
133
If you’ve accumulated a *significant* number of additional hours that you believe contributes to your application in a meaningful way, by all means, send an update. Do NOT “manufacture” numbers that don’t exist. Maintaining your integrity is more important than moving your name to the top of a list - and do we even know for sure that this is what it accomplishes?
I don't know. This is what I am asking.

For all they know you could’ve quit your job and stopped volunteering the day you submitted. If you interview, you’ll likely be asked about your extracurriculars. I’d use that opportunity to talk about how it’s an ongoing experience that is important to you and that you’ve accumulated an additional XXX hours since submission. If you don’t think it’s meaningful enough for an update than don’t send one.
My question is: is it helpful?
 
Aug 31, 2020
36
78
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
Gawds, people can be testy on these boards. All OP is asking is whether it's true that people sending in updates are sort of bouncing themselves back to the top of a filtered list and, if so, he believes that he'd be able to fashion a plausible note that gives concrete updates.

OP, how long ago did you send in your secondaries? If it's more than 3 months ago or so, i mean, why not? It's not like there's a group of admins out there saying, "well, we were going to send an interview invite to OP but now that he's written us a follow-up email, he's off our list!" Worst case scenario (and 90% likely what will happen), it'll have no impact. And it'll give you peace of mind.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 7 users

7thAndLASTPoopoftheDay

2+ Year Member
Jan 9, 2019
44
133
Gawds, people can be testy on these boards. All OP is asking is whether it's true that people sending in updates are sort of bouncing themselves back to the top of a filtered list and, if so, he believes that he'd be able to fashion a plausible note that gives concrete updates.

OP, how long ago did you send in your secondaries? If it's more than 3 months ago or so, i mean, why not? It's not like there's a group of admins out there saying, "well, we were going to send an interview invite to OP but now that he's written us a follow-up email, he's off our list!" Worst case scenario (and 90% likely what will happen), it'll have no impact. And it'll give you peace of mind.
I sent my secondaries starting in mid-Sept (late AMCAS verification). Maybe I'll wait another month.
You're right that there's no cost to doing it except the PITA of writing them and there is a potential gain (and potential big loss if I don't). I suppose that means I should do it. Thank you.


Did you project the hours on your app?
Yes
 
Mar 14, 2019
4,426
4,534
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I'm not an adcom, so this is just my 2 cents, but the question really implies that there is a misconception that there is a huge stack of paper files in the office waiting to be reviewed, and that an update causes a clerk to have to rummage through the pile, insert your update, and then return your file to the top of the pile.

I am very sure that the reality is that whatever you send is electronically added to an electronic file that is queued up for review electronically. If it hasn't been reviewed yet, great, the reviewer will see it when they get to you. If you have already been reviewed, your update is the proverbial tree in the forest not making a sound. I think it is unreasonable to assume, with the thousands upon thousands of applications reviewed at every school, that any application is reviewed again and again every time a neurotic applicant adds something to it once it is marked complete.

Thousands of people are doing this every week, and a few of them get some good news shortly after sending an update, and then falsely attribute a cause and effect. If it makes you feel better, send the update. No reason to think it will hurt. JMHO.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
15+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
24,908
40,591
Candor Chasma
Status (Visible)
  1. Academic Administration
Yes, the days of the file room are long gone. Today we have an electronic queue and after an applicant is sent for review, new items can be added electronically by the office staff but that action will be invisible to the reviewer who has the application in his queue until he opens the application and starts reading.

Updates aren't going to move you up in the review to interview queue and any experience that makes you think otherwise is coincidental, not causal.
 
  • Like
  • Love
  • Haha
Reactions: 16 users

Goro

SDN Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
64,512
97,303
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
I have seen several applicants making posts to the effect of "send an application update in order to bring your name up to the top of the pile," so you'll be more likely to get an interview. Is this commonly done?

I
Those are people who are really breath-takingly ignorant of the application process.

The only thing that moves your app is a large donation check.
 
  • Love
  • Like
  • Haha
Reactions: 4 users
About the Ads

Banco

5+ Year Member
May 28, 2014
1,752
2,300
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
I don't know about "moving up the queue" but I sent an LOI to a school towards the end of the interview season for them, and received an interview for the final dates. Ended up attending this school too. So your mileage may vary but it could possibly help if the timing is coincidentally right.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

jhmmd

supernatural
Apr 28, 2020
1,567
1,064
on the wall
@7thAndLASTPoopoftheDay remember that most adcoms verify EVERYTHING. And I mean EVERYTHING, 'cause there lots of pre-meds who want to falsify/exaggerate their experiences/ECs. You get it. It's a prestigious, $$$-making profession, and lots of people want to be doctors.

You should fill out your application as if adcoms are going to go over it with a fine tooth comb--cuz most will. It's better than word spreading that you lied, and then getting rejected from every medical school that you applied to.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

gonnif

Rule One: Take a Breath
10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
23,313
38,129
The Big Bad Apple
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
@7thAndLASTPoopoftheDay remember that most adcoms verify EVERYTHING. And I mean EVERYTHING, 'cause there lots of pre-meds who want to falsify/exaggerate their experiences/ECs. You get it. It's a prestigious, $$$-making profession, and lots of people want to be doctors.

You should fill out your application as if adcoms are going to go over it with a fine tooth comb--cuz most will. It's better than word spreading that you lied, and then getting rejected from every medical school that you applied to.
Lets clarify this:
Adcoms do not verify everything on an application . Verifying hours usually doesnt happen until after you have been accepted during pre-matriculation. All acceptances are conditional and can be withdrawn for unethical behavior at anytime up to actual matriculation. Actually its up to being awarded your degree as due diligence on your application may continue, especially prior to clinical rotations.
 
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 2 users

7thAndLASTPoopoftheDay

2+ Year Member
Jan 9, 2019
44
133
Yes, the days of the file room are long gone. Today we have an electronic queue and after an applicant is sent for review, new items can be added electronically by the office staff but that action will be invisible to the reviewer who has the application in his queue until he opens the application and starts reading.

Updates aren't going to move you up in the review to interview queue and any experience that makes you think otherwise is coincidental, not causal.
Those are people who are really breath-takingly ignorant of the application process.

The only thing that moves your app is a large donation check.
I don't know about "moving up the queue" but I sent an LOI to a school towards the end of the interview season for them, and received an interview for the final dates. Ended up attending this school too. So your mileage may vary but it could possibly help if the timing is coincidentally right.


Thank you for your feedback. I can see now that submitting an update probably won't change the order in which my application is reviewed. That partially answers my question.

What I am still wondering is, given that, what benefits are there to sending updates for relatively minor reasons? If my application eventually gets in front of the reviewer, is there any benefit to already having a few updates attached? Even if those updates are essentially "I have spent another X hours working and Y hours volunteering?" Does it show the school you are interested? Is it that the content is less important but they like to see that you put in the effort?

I am still seeing a lot of anecdotal posts, including the one by @Banco quoted above, saying an update helped. Are these all confusing correlation for causation? Perhaps the update didn't move them up in the queue, but it may have helped in some other way.

I am still unclear on what constitutes a "meaningful" update. My immediate impression is that just showing up at my job doesn't really count as meaningful. However, it seems some applicants are sending updates for equally basic stuff and benefiting from it, sort of using it as an opportunity for an extra secondary. If it will have any positive impact at all I can certainly do the same.

The argument @southernhope1 made that it can only help is very convincing, so I think I will most likely end up sending them in the absence of a real reason not to.

Thanks to all who have commented.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Goro

SDN Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
64,512
97,303
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
Thank you for your feedback. I can see now that submitting an update probably won't change the order in which my application is reviewed. That partially answers my question.

What I am still wondering is, given that, what benefits are there to sending updates for relatively minor reasons? If my application eventually gets in front of the reviewer, is there any benefit to already having a few updates attached? Even if those updates are essentially "I have spent another X hours working and Y hours volunteering?" Does it show the school you are interested? Is it that the content is less important but they like to see that you put in the effort?

I am still seeing a lot of anecdotal posts, including the one by @Banco quoted above, saying an update helped. Are these all confusing correlation for causation? Perhaps the update didn't move them up in the queue, but it may have helped in some other way.

I am still unclear on what constitutes a "meaningful" update. My immediate impression is that just showing up at my job doesn't really count as meaningful. However, it seems some applicants are sending updates for equally basic stuff and benefiting from it, sort of using it as an opportunity for an extra secondary. If it will have any positive impact at all I can certainly do the same.

The argument @southernhope1 made that it can only help is very convincing, so I think I will most likely end up sending them in the absence of a real reason not to.

Thanks to all who have commented.
Meaningful updates are a semester of great grades, a major award like a Rhodes scholarship, a publication, or a significant increase in EC hours that you were lacking.

Minor updates aren't worth it except for those needy schools, or those that like seeing people grovel (ex: Jefferson, Mayo, U Penn, Gtown; no, I don't have a complete list)

When people say that an update helped, my gut reaction is that these people don't understand that correlation isn't causation
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4 users

candbgirl

Junior Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 14, 2005
5,044
4,718
Status (Visible)
Thank you for your feedback. I can see now that submitting an update probably won't change the order in which my application is reviewed. That partially answers my question.

What I am still wondering is, given that, what benefits are there to sending updates for relatively minor reasons? If my application eventually gets in front of the reviewer, is there any benefit to already having a few updates attached? Even if those updates are essentially "I have spent another X hours working and Y hours volunteering?" Does it show the school you are interested? Is it that the content is less important but they like to see that you put in the effort?

I am still seeing a lot of anecdotal posts, including the one by @Banco quoted above, saying an update helped. Are these all confusing correlation for causation? Perhaps the update didn't move them up in the queue, but it may have helped in some other way.

I am still unclear on what constitutes a "meaningful" update. My immediate impression is that just showing up at my job doesn't really count as meaningful. However, it seems some applicants are sending updates for equally basic stuff and benefiting from it, sort of using it as an opportunity for an extra secondary. If it will have any positive impact at all I can certainly do the same.

The argument @southernhope1 made that it can only help is very convincing, so I think I will most likely end up sending them in the absence of a real reason not to.

Thanks to all who have commented.


When you applied and submitted your primary/secondary did you include any of these activities in your future plans or how you were going to spend the application year?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

EdgeTrimmer

2+ Year Member
May 26, 2018
2,287
1,630
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
Those are people who are really breath-takingly ignorant of the application process.

The only thing that moves your app is a large donation check.
how large, 7 figure?
 
  • Hmm
Reactions: 1 user

EdgeTrimmer

2+ Year Member
May 26, 2018
2,287
1,630
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
Meaningful updates are a semester of great grades, a major award like a Rhodes scholarship, a publication, or a significant increase in EC hours that you were lacking.

Minor updates aren't worth it except for those needy schools, or those that like seeing people grovel (ex: Jefferson, Mayo, U Penn, Gtown; no, I don't have a complete list)

When people say that an update helped, my gut reaction is that these people don't understand that correlation isn't causation
My take is nothing to lose by sending an update even for minor stuff like poster presentation or new clinical experiences for schools that allow. I won't claim 2 IIs my kid got are due to recent minor update but normal processing timelines by schools.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

7thAndLASTPoopoftheDay

2+ Year Member
Jan 9, 2019
44
133
When you applied and submitted your primary/secondary did you include any of these activities in your future plans or how you were going to spend the application year?

For the schools that asked that specific question I did. Are you implying I shouldn't send updates to those schools?

Meaningful updates are a semester of great grades, a major award like a Rhodes scholarship, a publication, or a significant increase in EC hours that you were lacking.

Minor updates aren't worth it except for those needy schools, or those that like seeing people grovel (ex: Jefferson, Mayo, U Penn, Gtown; no, I don't have a complete list)

When people say that an update helped, my gut reaction is that these people don't understand that correlation isn't causation

Thank you, this is incredibly helpful.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

candbgirl

Junior Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 14, 2005
5,044
4,718
Status (Visible)
For the schools that asked that specific question I did. Are you implying I shouldn't send updates to those schools?

If they already have this information it’s not an update. It’s a rehash or reminder or a time consuming , not important notice to those schools. It certainly isn’t an update. They know because you told them weeks ago.
 
  • Love
Reactions: 1 users

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
15+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
24,908
40,591
Candor Chasma
Status (Visible)
  1. Academic Administration
Remember, when you demonstrate that "you took the time to send an update" you are also putting a demand on the school's workforce to take the time to open your message and upload it into your file. It does seem excessive, like sending daily text messages to someone who is just not that into you.
 
  • Love
  • Haha
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users

beachbum75

2+ Year Member
Jan 26, 2019
19
17
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Minor updates aren't worth it except for those needy schools, or those that like seeing people grovel (ex: Jefferson, Mayo, U Penn, Gtown; no, I don't have a complete list)

Do you have any advice on what to send if one of the schools you mentioned happens to be my top choice? :confused:
 
  • Haha
Reactions: 1 users

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.
About the Ads