How do schools view interview request if in the area?

moemoekyun

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I have an interview in a few weeks, and my pre-med adviser recommended I ask other schools "if they plan to interview me in the future" and tell them I'll be close with my interview (From my residence to this school, one school is in the on the wayish, the other is a detour). Just wanted to get some views on whether or not I should. I'm fine with waiting, as they're all driving distance from me (several hours), and I would think the other schools already have interviews planned in this timeframe (next few weeks). I would also rather take my time and not go through interview fatigue, as I think it's still "early" in interview season. Thanks.
 
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moemoekyun

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Wow, thread on topic pops up right after I post this.
 

candbgirl

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Lots of thread if you search. If you have been asked to come for an interview it's okay to ask if they can accommodate your request. They may or may not be open to it. If you haven't been invited for an interview I don't think you should ask. Kind of presumptuous and they may not have gotten to your file yet.
 

NotASerialKiller

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Let's play this pre-med advisor's suggestion out...

"Hey I know med school is crazy competitive and stuff but I'm going to be in the neighbourhood so why don't you go ahead and look at my file right now and make up your ****in' mind so I don't have to spend the extra time coming to your school, k thx kisses!"

Yup, they really are all terrible.
 

gonnif

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I'll play devil's advocate, it isn't the worst idea in the world. If the applicant can write an appropriately professional letter that is concise, coherent and compelling, it can be effective. The issue I find with these is most applicants can not write the note appropriately. As one former admissions director from Stanford used to say, "if you dont ask, they can't say yes." The worst they can do is say no; it is highly remote that this would negatively affect the student. What might happen is a school may pull your file and review it earlier and may get rejected earlier. The request did not cause the rejection, just got you reviewed earlier.
 
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GrapesofRath

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I'll play devil's advocate, it isn't the worst idea in the world. If the applicant can write an appropriately professional not that is concise, coherent and compelling, it can be effective. The issue I find with these is most applicants can not write the note appropriately. As one former admissions director from Stanford used to say, "if you dont ask, they can't say yes." The worst they can do is say no; it is highly remote that this would negatively affect the student. What might happen is a school may pull your file and review it earlier and may get rejected earlier. The request did not cause the rejection, just got you reviewed earlier.
I find it interesting that sending update letters this early in the process can come across poorly to ADCOMs or reek of desperation, or how little things an applicant does in an interview can be perceived poorly and break them, but sending a letter essentially requesting them to make an earlier decision on you when they have so many other apps and absolutely zero reason to prioritize yours has a "remote chance of negatively affecting you". Obviously I'm not arguing with what you've said, I just find it interesting how these things work and its good to know. The logic, rhyme and reason behind these things can be hard for a pre-med to predict or anticipate.
 

gonnif

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I find it interesting that sending update letters this early in the process can come across poorly to ADCOMs or reek of desperation, or how little things an applicant does in an interview can be perceived poorly and break them, but sending a letter essentially requesting them to make an earlier decision on you when they have so many other apps and absolutely zero reason to prioritize yours has a "remote chance of negatively affecting you". Obviously I'm not arguing with what you've said, I just find it interesting how these things work and its good to know(and really impossible for any pre-med to anticipate or predict).
Hence why I said how you write up the request is what I find most problematic for these applicants. Mentioning the cost of traveling while on a limited full-time student's budget and a previously scheduled trip, could work. Unlike a letter of intent, or nearly useless update, making a specific request for a reasonable situation, if professionally written is acceptable.

What I don't see is some adcom staff, getting the request, then giving an evil laugh and immediately putting the file in the reject pile. What I do see is mostly nothing other than read and put in file. Or, seeing that the applicant is in the to be interviewed pile and look for an open date. Or seeing he/she is already in the reject pile and does nothing.
 
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GrapesofRath

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Hence why I said how you write up the request is what I find most problematic for these applicants. Mentioning the cost of traveling while on a limited full-time student's budget. Unlike a letter of intent, or nearly useless update, making a specific request for a reasonable situation, if professionally written is acceptable.
Surprising this is the case but good to know thanks.
 

JLC

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So i can tell u from personal experience that i did this and it worked out well for me, but imo there were several reasons y it didnt negatively effect me. First i had a good reason, i was abroad in another country doing research so we were talking about a limited window to travel in my case, second i knew i was a strong applicant to the schools i was interviewing at, ie after i received my first interview i emailed all of the schools i had applied, i was eventually offered interviews at hopkins stanford columbia cornell umich upitt and uchicago, there were a few schools that responded later so i had to return to the us a second time and some schools didnt respond at all albeit maybe just one or two, it may very well be that some schools didnt like me asking ,but to be honest i wasnt going to fly back and forth across the pacific any more than i had to.
 

Spector1

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I think its worth a shot.
 

gonnif

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To reiterate, this needs to be a concise, clear, coherent paragraph. It should be only 4-6 sentences at the most.
 

gonnif

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I find it interesting that sending update letters this early in the process can come across poorly to ADCOMs or reek of desperation,
Just to comment, most update letters have very little worth . Updating needs a new significant achievement, not simply starting a new opportunity

Getting a paper accepted for publication, not simply starting a new lab position.
Getting promotion or position within volunteering or work, especially if clinically, academically or research related.
Winning an award or recognition (volunteer of the month not so much, volunteer of the year would be good)
Winning a grant or other completion (best poster at a conference kind of thing).
Dean's list as well I guess
 

Ox King

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N=1, but SLU openly states on their application page that they welcome applicants in the area for an interview to email them to inquire about their status.
 

Almighty Saguaro

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In addition to the above from @Ox King, the instructions on the Wash U. secondary specifically says to let them know if you'll be in the area:
"If you are planning a trip that will include the St. Louis area, it is appropriate to email an inquiry to the Committee to learn if an interview will be authorized. The inquiry should be submitted at least three weeks in advance of your anticipated travel."

So it can't be universally frowned upon. And as @gonnif says, is an adcom really going to reject an otherwise good applicant just because they wanted to save a couple hundred dollars?! Do you want to go to a school where the administrators/faculty behave like that when faced with a reasonable request from a student?

As long as you don't sound entitled like you're expecting an II, and you emphasize that if the arrangement you're requesting is not possible/convenient you would be eager to return to the area for an interview, I think you'll be fine!
 

gonnif

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As long as you don't sound entitled like you're expecting an II, and you emphasize that if the arrangement you're requesting is not possible/convenient you would be eager to return to the area for an interview, I think you'll be fine!
Hence why how you write it is the most problematic for applicants. The above is excellent advice
 

Spector1

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how far (distance) is too far to ask for an interview? Does it have to be same city or is up to say 500 miles fine.
 
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gyngyn

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Do you want to go to a school where the administrators/faculty behave like that when faced with a reasonable request from a student?

As long as you don't sound entitled like you're expecting an II, and you emphasize that if the arrangement you're requesting is not possible/convenient you would be eager to return to the area for an interview, I think you'll be fine!
Sadly, what may once have been considered a reasonable request has turned into the next in a series of ploys to get earlier review and consideration. We have even had parents call with "in the area" requests for offspring who live in the area. At least, when we call back to point out that the applicant appears to live nearby, they blame it on their parent!

We estimate (given the area codes and zip codes) that about half of our requests are factitious.
 
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tenblackalps

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We estimate (given the area codes and zip codes) that about half of our requests are factitious.
AMCAS should have some type of "In the area" independent verification system based on IIs. It would be another way for them to make easy money.
 

gyngyn

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So, if I may ask, how do you guys handle such emails? And what constitutes "reasonable?"
Entertaining these requests is limited by the availability of openings and the expedition of a favorable review.
The odds that the applicant would have been screened for an interview and that there was an available interview slot in the time-frame requested is small.
Usually, it is successful only when done far in advance of a known event (deployment...).
 
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Almighty Saguaro

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Entertaining these requests is limited by the availability of openings and the expedition of a favorable review.
The odds that the applicant would have been screened for an interview and that there was an available interview slot in the time-frame requested is small.
Usually, it is successful only when done far in advance of a known event (deployment...).
Sorry, I'm not really sure what your first sentence is saying.
 

gyngyn

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Sorry, I'm not really sure what your first sentence is saying.
Interview slots are filled months in advance.
In order to fulfill a request, not only would the candidate have to be eligible for an interview, an interview slot in the desired time-time would need to be available. This combination is fairly improbable.
 

Almighty Saguaro

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Interview slots are filled months in advance.
In order to fulfill a request, not only would the candidate have to be eligible for an interview, an interview slot in the desired time-time would need to be available. This combination is fairly improbable.
But would the email expedite the review process if the applicant had not yet been reviewed at the time when he/she sends an "in the area" email?
 

gyngyn

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But would the email expedite the review process if the applicant had not yet been reviewed at the time when he/she sends an "in the area" email?
It might (at schools that accept such requests).
This appears to be the reason for the uptick in factitious requests.
 

JJRousseau

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Just to comment, most update letters have very little worth . Updating needs a new significant achievement, not simply starting a new opportunity

Getting a paper accepted for publication, not simply starting a new lab position.
Getting promotion or position within volunteering or work, especially if clinically, academically or research related.
Winning an award or recognition (volunteer of the month not so much, volunteer of the year would be good)
Winning a grant or other completion (best poster at a conference kind of thing).
Dean's list as well I guess

@gonnif. I know this post is a year old, but I wanted to follow it up. I was also told that an achievement on the horizon mentioned in an interview should not be sent in as an update. For instance, if you have two manuscripts that you are preparing for submission and mention this in an interview - then, an update that they have been accepted or published is of little value. Or if you have submitted your PhD, and then you successfully defend, it is of little value if these achievements were framed as probable outcomes in the interview. Would you agree with this advice?
 

gonnif

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@gonnif. I know this post is a year old, but I wanted to follow it up. I was also told that an achievement on the horizon mentioned in an interview should not be sent in as an update. For instance, if you have two manuscripts that you are preparing for submission and mention this in an interview - then, an update that they have been accepted or published is of little value. Or if you have submitted your PhD, and then you successfully defend, it is of little value if these achievements were framed as probable outcomes in the interview. Would you agree with this advice?
No I would not. These are significant accomplishments and if the school accepts updates, I would send them in. I would especially do so prior to interview or, at the very least, bring them up at interview. You should also make sure that these get mentioned, even if just planned or future, on secondaries
 

Goro

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Agree 100% with my learned colleague.

No I would not. These are significant accomplishments and if the school accepts updates, I would send them in. I would especially do so prior to interview or, at the very least, bring them up at interview. You should also make sure that these get mentioned, even if just planned or future, on secondaries
 

libertyyne

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So if I make a request to a school that I will be interviewing in the state at another school, and it would save money and time if they could make their determination to ultimately interview me, or not, earlier it is considered uncouth.
 
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gonnif

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So if I make a request to a school that I will be interviewing in the state at another school, and it would save money and time if they could make their determination to ultimately interview me, or not, earlier it is considered uncouth.
see my previous posts in this thread. if well and appropriately written, it is unlikely to have any negative impact.