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REL and LizzyM: What do you think of LOI's and Thank You notes?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by TheMightyAngus, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. TheMightyAngus

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    Does the adcom really take into consideration letters of intent when they make admissions decisions? It seems like, in most cases, LOI's are sent after your file has been reviewed (i.e., post-interview or post-waitlist). Would the adcom more likely admit someone off the waitling list who wrote an LOI over someone who didn't? Does the adcom treat LOI's seriously?

    Also, are thank you notes really necessary? Does it affect an applican'ts evalution? Would you frown upon an applicant who didn't write a thank you note? I know they're common courtesy, but it seems kinda empty and meaningless if everyone wrote notes just saying "Thank you for interviewing me."

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. lynn42

    lynn42 Senior Member
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    I am not LizzyM nor REL, but I do know that at Mt. Sinai, they are more likely to accept someone off the waitlist if they've kept in touch with the adcom. The director of admissions suggested to write a LOI if he/she truly wanted to go there. I assume it does make a difference at MSSM. However, it may be different for every school.

    I have no idea about thank you letters. I only mail thank you's to individuals who I truly want to thank. At first, I sent thank you's. I was waitlisted at the school where I sent them to. I was accepted to another school I failed to send the thank you cards. I assume they have no weight on the acceptance/rejection process.
    :confused:
     
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  3. REL

    REL Senior Member
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    I cant speak for other schools. Since I keep up with all of the applicants on the Wait List (or try to every few weeks) by phone I generally have good knowledge of who wants to come here. In our case the LOI is not a very significant item. For those programs who dont have as much human contact or accessibility I would guess the LOI may have a more significant meaning. Of course we also have a ranked wait list and in my term here we have never violated the sanctity of that list.
     
  4. Shredder

    Shredder User
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    in that case arent all efforts by applicants futile?
     
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  5. TheMightyAngus

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    Interesting. Thanks for the response.
     
  6. crazy_cavalier

    crazy_cavalier T3-Weighted
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    Don't tell me you're buying into this "war on christmas" nonsense too.

    HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!!
     
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  7. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy
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    Yep, ridiculous, but is it really suprising to see a pseudo-libertarian like Shredder falling for it? I say seasons greetings!
     
  8. jebus

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    What really weirds me out about that avatar is that Shredder's Indian. I know there are Christian Indians, but I'm still weirded out by it.
     
  9. justskipee

    justskipee Senior Member
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    My favorite is, I go to this potluck lunch at the lab where I work, and there is this huge "HAPPY HOLIDAYS" banner up. How nice. its so pc. yet the banner is in red and green, there are christmas lights up all around the room, and someone taped ornaments to the ceiling. They're not fooling me, I know they watch Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ everynight and are secretly planning an attack on me and my chosen people.

    umm... so in conclusion, write thank you notes and if you are really freaking out, take time to write a letter to the schools you are waiting on (that you really like) and just reiterate how much you love the school blah blah.
     
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  10. USArmyDoc

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    Righttt....MERRY CHRISTMAS it is for me!! Sorry guys
     
  11. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy
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    i got no problem with merry christmas. however, i don't think you merry christmas folks get hassled that much about celebrating the dominant holiday of the dominant religion in the us.

    hey, and the christmas thing is a double-edged sword. i had this uber-christian lady try to tell me that i shouldn't celebrate christmas because i'm not religious. so, i guess i'm [email protected] if i say merry christmas and [email protected] if i don't. hey, though, i guess she thought i was [email protected] anyway, so whatever. ;)
     
  12. DropkickMurphy

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    Shredder's Indian? :shocked:
     
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  13. MollyMalone

    MollyMalone I'm a Score Quadruplet
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    :laugh: I kinda hope I never meet Shredder in real life... the cognitive dissonance might make my poor head explode.

    Oh, and, yeah, I'm kinda torn about whether or not I should send a LOI to my first choice school... they have a totally ranked list and I don't know that it would have an impact. But, by that same token, I suppose it wouldn't hurt me, either, so I think I'm going to draft one and send it.
     
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  14. SpeedRacer

    SpeedRacer Senior Member
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    hey darkside, did you ever see how my "i'm gonna fail my exam" thread turned out...
     
  15. MollyMalone

    MollyMalone I'm a Score Quadruplet
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    :laugh: I just dug it up from page 2. :D
     
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  16. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    Well, I know that a friend of mine was accepted from the waitlist at almost exactly the time his LOI would have reached the school (Wake Forest). So, draw your own conclusions, I guess. Wake has an active waitlist though - you can get put on it even if you were the first applicant to be interviewed, and you can be accepted from it very early (he was accepted in November). In contrast, MCW doesn't utilize the waitlist until their entering class is full.
     
  17. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    "Thank yous" make no difference. The interviewers added their two cents to your file long before your pen hit the paper. Sometimes they make it to the file but often they do not (sent to interviewers mailboxes rather than admissions office mailbox) so the adcom can't judge whether or not a thank you note was sent and, frankly, there are other attributes that concern the adcom -- a thank you note isn't going to help or hurt.

    A LOI helps if the school does not work off of a ranked waitlist (if you are wondering, ask at the interview) and you are waitlisted. Save your 37 cents and spend 39 cents (rates are going up) in the Spring, after May 1. Until then, the school is waiting, hoping that it won't need to go to the waitlist (most often a school will accept far more applicants than it has seats and expect that most will go elsewhere) and doesn't really care much about the waitlist.
     
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  18. TheMightyAngus

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    Good to know. Much appreciated! Would a LOI have any effect at any other stage other than waitlist?
     
  19. bubbleyum

    bubbleyum Senior Member
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    what about UPDATE letters?
     
  20. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    An up-date provided at the interview is going to get mentioned by the interviewer in the narrative that the interviewer writes. That will get read. Anything else is going to sit in your file until the cows come home. The letters and up-dates that matter are sent after May 1. That's when the deans of admission start to look like a guy on the make at last call.
     
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  21. bubbleyum

    bubbleyum Senior Member
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    so i guess you are saying if you have any information to update your file you should bring it with you to your interview?

    but what if you are sending update letters to schools that you haven't heard from with hopes of getting an interview? that is the situation i am in. because i really think my weak point is not enough direct clinicals, and i've been doing a couple of hospital-related stuff since i submitted amcas in august...
     
  22. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    If the school interviews beyond Jan 31, it might not be too late. Otherwise, it is likely that all of the interview slots have been filled and unless the up-date includes 400 hours of clinical service, it might not be enough. The interview dates may have been filled with applicants who had all the t's crossed and i's dotted back in August. (Remember, only a small fraction of those who submit applications get interviews.)
     
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  23. bubbleyum

    bubbleyum Senior Member
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    well i guess that doesn't give me much hope. but i appreciate your input, lizzy.
    maybe i should start working on my 2007 application chances instead.
     
  24. bubbleyum

    bubbleyum Senior Member
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    also, just to clarify. in my case, i am a true "non-traditional" applicant in the sense that i am a late career switcher. i am not somebody who was a science major in undergrad who is working in a lab as a research person etc. so in order for me to get to the point of applying, i have had to take all the science prerequisite classes while making sure i held down a full-time job, paid all my bills including school tuition and expenses, plus study for the mcat, and volunteer within the past 2 years. there are only so many hours within a day/week/year, so this is an ongoing struggle to keep a balanced life while doing all the things required for being a med school applicant.

    so yes, i am somewhat weak in the number of my clinical hours, but i would hope that some of the adcoms would see that i have done my best given the circumstances, not that i am not uncaring or lazy. i am not scrambling to dot my i's and cross my t's after the fact. an update letter would mean that i am just acknowledging what i may be lacking compared to the other fresher, younger applicants and want to show that i am not sitting around hoping that they give me credit/make allowances for being a non-trad, but rather that i am making an ongoing effort to improve myself as an applicant.
     
  25. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Once your application is complete, you get your shot at getting one of the few interview slots available. (Only a small proportion of the applicants are chosen for interviews). The adcom isn't sitting around waiting to see if anyone adds to their application after it has been read by one or two adcom members. Once the "no interview" decision is made, the adcom is moving on to the next application. It sounds cold but you try reviewing several thousand applications, interviewing hundreds of applicants and making offers to a couple of hundred applicants (many of whom will say "thanks but I'm going elsewhere". ) Whether you are traditional or non-traditional you should submit a complete application that shows that you have all the ducks in a row. If some of the ducks are missing, it is better to wait for the next cycle.
     
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  26. bubbleyum

    bubbleyum Senior Member
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    well who here can really say that their application is 100% "complete/perfect"?
    as i was saying before, i did try to have all my ducks in a row... i guess i just think of it as one of my ducks being smaller than maybe some other applicant's. and though you or other adcoms may think i should have waited a year, as i have already applied this cycle, there is not much i can do now but put the best effort in that i can for it.

    regardless, i understand what you are trying to say. i know adcoms work hard to process all the apps in a fair manner, and i do acknowledge that they don't sit around waiting for updates on my one file out of a few thousand... i wasn't trying to imply that they should.

    i will be preparing for 2007 as you suggested, if i don't have much luck this year. and i do appreciate that you spend time on this forum to give us your honest feedback. thanks.
     
  27. bug22catch

    bug22catch bug22catch
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    I'm a little bit confused because some people say the interview season is only 1/2 over and we still have plenty of time to hear from schools, but from your post it sounds like it's late and most schools have filled all there interview slots. Are January and February still busy months, in terms of getting interviews? Thanks!
     
  28. diosa428

    diosa428 SDN Angel
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    At some schools, the majority (if not all) of the interview slots are filled. At others, they will continue offering interviews for a couple of months. It just depends upon the school. I *think* that Lizzy is from a school that is almost done/completely done offering interviews for the year.
     
  29. jebus

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    Shhh, you aren't supposed to post where she's from (even if you're probably right). And I've got it narrowed down to 2 schools, neither of which I am applying to.
    For real, you should edit out that reference. She doesn't name names for a reason and you shouldn't either.
     
  30. REL

    REL Senior Member
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  31. REL

    REL Senior Member
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    Our interview season goes from the end of September to the middle of March. We will interview about 350 of 2100 applicants this year. We review completed applications and generally categorize them as Must Interview, Want to Interview if Possible, and Probably Wont Interview. We will ensure that the top group is invited and will constantly review the second group to fill in the interview days as we construct them. So, if a file has not yet been selected for an interview an update letter might help in raising a file into the top group.

    For those who have been interviewed and have received a admit/hold/reject decision from the Admissions Committee, an update letter is of no value.
     
  32. REL

    REL Senior Member
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    Our interview season goes from the end of September to the middle of March. We will interview about 350 of 2100 applicants this year. We review completed applications and generally categorize them as Must Interview, Want to Interview if Possible, and Probably Wont Interview. We will ensure that the top group is invited and will constantly review the second group to fill in the interview days as we construct them. So, if a file has not yet been selected for an interview an update letter might help in raising a file into the top group.

    For those who have been interviewed and have received an admit/hold/reject decision from the Admissions Committee, an update letter is of no value.
     
  33. Shredder

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    the gist i get from this thread is to fill out and send the apps and secondaries, do the interviews, and dont bother doing anything else at all. sounds good...maybe for once i tip my hat to the adcoms
     
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  34. jebus

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    Thanks for all of the info, REL. So, if one is placed in the "Want to interview if possible" pool, does that mean they will likely not be rejected until march (or whenever interviews are no longer offered)? That's how I read it.
    So, there are a few of you adcom members who post on these boards and I just want to say thanks. Your insights and help are invaluable in this process. I don't know how people dealt with med school applications before the internet. Thank you, Al Gore!
     
  35. REL

    REL Senior Member
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    You read correctly. We'll probably have about 400 applicants in the pool looking to be included in the last 3 interviews (48 slots) in March. Those not interviewed will then be advised that they will not be interviewed this year at our school. We usually make the offers for the March dates in the middle of February, or there-abouts.
     
  36. jebus

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    Good to know. Thanks, REL!
     
  37. thegenius

    thegenius Senior Wharf Rat
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    I think I'm going to copy all of REL's and LizzyM's posts on SDN and create a How-To-Apply-To-Medical-School book. I'll sell it on Amazon and only take a 20% commission fee. :) :)
     
  38. gujuDoc

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    There's actually an MD/MPH at UMaryland by the name of Dr. Paul Jung, who has done something very similar.

    His book is called "How NOT to apply to medical school" and is found on amazon, or b&n.com

    It is easily available via online order and is a huge hit. I saw him present on it at AMSA convention one year.
     
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