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Do the majority of successful applicants send letters of interest, updates, call the admissions office of the schools they are interested in/waitlisted at? I have not done any of that this cycle and have seen many people on SDN regularly emailing/calling admissions and staying in close communication with schools and then getting an interview/acceptance from them. Is it common to be accepted without doing any of that, or will schools I am interested in interviewing at/am waitlisted at take silence as disinterest and choose someone with more "expressed interest"? Thank you to all who can help clarify this. Just trying to figure out if this is something I ought to be doing.
 
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Do the majority of successful applicants send letters of interest, updates, call the admissions office of the schools they are interested in/waitlisted at? I have not done any of that this cycle and have seen many people on SDN regularly emailing/calling admissions and staying in close communication with schools and then getting an interview/acceptance from them. Is it common to be accepted without doing any of that, or will schools I am interested in interviewing at/am waitlisted at take silence as disinterest and choose someone with more "expressed interest"? Thank you to all who can help clarify this. Just trying to figure out if this is something I ought to be doing.
Do whatever you feel you need to do, but realize that SDN is a highly neurotic, overachieving microcosm of the applicant universe.

The vast majority of my friends and acquaintances who are successful do not participate in SDN (I'm pretty sure they lurk though :cool:), and simply meet deadlines, receive IIs, and later receive As. They don't call/e-mail with questions that are easily answered on the website, they don't send updates, LOIs, anything. They have strong apps and schools want them.

The people who do all of the things you are asking about are those who become anxious because they see others having successful outcomes while they remain in limbo. SDN wisdom is that there definitely are some needy schools who like multiple written indications of continued interest, but they seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

My advice would be to check out school specific threads to see if your schools are among the needy ones, and, if so, to act accordingly. If not, just try to sit tight, as difficult as that is. Hopefully you poured you heart and soul into your application, and there really is nothing else to do, unless you have a significant achievement that might move the needle. Then maybe send an update. Good luck!!!
 
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Aug 25, 2020
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Do whatever you feel you need to do, but realize that SDN is a highly neurotic, overachieving microcosm of the applicant universe.

The vast majority of my friends and acquaintances who are successful do not participate in SDN (I'm pretty sure they lurk though :cool:), and simply meet deadlines, receive IIs, and later receive As. They don't call/e-mail with questions that are easily answered on the website, they don't send updates, LOIs, anything. They have strong apps and schools want them.

The people who do all of the things you are asking about are those who become anxious because they see others having successful outcomes while they remain in limbo. SDN wisdom is that there definitely are some needy schools who like multiple written indications of continued interest, but they seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

My advice would be to check out school specific threads to see if your schools are among the needy ones, and, if so, to act accordingly. If not, just try to sit tight, as difficult as that is. Hopefully you poured you heart and soul into your application, and there really is nothing else to do, unless you have a significant achievement that might move the needle. Then maybe send an update. Good luck!!!

Thanks, it's just so hard to tell if schools really take these things into account or not when you read through their threads and so many people report about sending in updates and letters of interest and are regularly calling adcoms and posting about insights from those conversations, and then those students report acceptances. It's difficult to distinguish if that would have happened without those actions and the school doesn't even consider those things it or if it really did make the difference at that particular school. 🤔
 
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I see where you are coming from. My boyfriend is a software engineer. In his line of work, the people who get the jobs are the people who reach out to hiring managers after applying.

However, that is not the case when applying to professional schools. Communication with schools is a tricky topic that frequently can hurt more than help. You see a lot of people talking about it on SDN because it's such a proverbial minefield. Those people almost always would have gotten their acceptances without the communication.
 
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Thanks, it's just so hard to tell if schools really take these things into account or not when you read through their threads and so many people report about sending in updates and letters of interest and are regularly calling adcoms and posting about insights from those conversations, and then those students report acceptances. It's difficult to know if that would have happened without those actions and the school doesn't even consider those things it or if it really did make the difference at that particular school. 🤔
Agreed! I'm not an adcom (I'm going to be applying next cycle), but I'm pretty connected to premed advising at my school (which doesn't totally suck, since I have been going directly to the person running the office) and I am pretty plugged into the premed scene at my school.

My common sense tells me a lot of people here confuse cause and effect, and this is usually confirmed by the adcoms who post on the topic. I just find it hard to believe that most updates are ever even read (if they were, the cycle would never end, since literally hundreds of people are sending them to multiple schools EVERY week!).

Bottom line -- there is no way to know what people are actually doing, and whether they are even receiving reported As, let alone whether there is cause and effect, since everything here is anonymous. You haven't said whether you are still in school, or whether you have a real life network of people to consult, but, I'm telling you, in the real world, most people are not participating in SDN, or pestering admission offices. They apply, wait, and then either enroll or prepare to reapply. No drama. No LOIs. No updates.

Med schools are evaluating around 60,000 people this year for around 22,000 spots. They don't care about how we continued our activities over the past few months, or took another 15 credits and received grades right around the same as all our other grades over the past 3 or 4 years. And they certainly don't care how much we really, really, really, really want to go to their school, especially when the people who send those letters send them to every school that hasn't rejected them yet (and some probably even send them to schools that did, begging for reconsideration :cool:).

If only it were that simple, we'd all be attending Harvard!!! This is just neurotic people looking for an excuse to have contact with the schools, and reinforcing their instincts through the echo chamber. The few schools that REALLY welcome this contact make that known through their websites or through information provided before, during or after interviews. It's not a secret for the select few curating information here.
 
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Communication with schools is a tricky topic that frequently can hurt more than help [...] Those people almost always would have gotten their acceptances without the communication.
Why do you say that it can hurt more than help? I mean I understand if a school explicitly says no communication and you email them with an update, then you've hurt your chances. But what about those schools which "welcome" updates? I've always heard that it can either do nothing or help a slight bit (but not hurt at all, unless you really wrote badly).
 
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Why do you say that it can hurt more than help? I mean I understand if a school explicitly says no communication and you email them with an update, then you've hurt your chances. But what about those schools which "welcome" updates? I've always heard that it can either do nothing or help a slight bit (but not hurt at all, unless you really wrote badly).
You heard right -- the calculus is weighing the chance of maybe receiving a slight boost versus the tiny chance of blowing yourself out of the water with typos, maybe sending them to more than one school and forgetting to change a name, bad grammar, inadvertently saying something that is perceived negatively, etc. You wouldn't risk it for a 0% chance of a boost, but people do it every day for a small chance of "helping a slight bit." I'm pretty sure that's all that was meant. In the vast number of cases, I'm pretty sure they neither help nor hurt.
 
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slight boost
0% chance of a boost
helping a slight bit
I guess what I'm confused about is the narrative that's being promulgated throughout SDN that update letters, LOI's, etc. at most only slightly may help. However, nearly every med student I've come across has sent a letter to get an II or get off the WL. Sure, it's not nearly as important as the primary or secondary, but given how selective the admissions process gets, I can't see why an update/LOI would not be a solid selection factor, particularly to get off a WL.

And I know the main argument against this is "You've submitted your application to the school; that shows the school you're interested enough." But I disagree with this. I'm sure med schools know that most people apply very broadly given that only 40% of applicants are accepted at all. I applied to some schools I'm not all that excited/care about, but I also applied to some schools that I would sacrifice my firstborn child for lol. Might as well convey to the schools I truly care about that I love them.

Again, these are just my thoughts. Feel free to correct me/disagree.
 

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I guess what I'm confused about is the narrative that's being promulgated throughout SDN that update letters, LOI's, etc. at most only slightly may help. However, nearly every med student I've come across has sent a letter to get an II or get off the WL. Sure, it's not nearly as important as the primary or secondary, but given how selective the admissions process gets, I can't see why an update/LOI would not be a solid selection factor, particularly to get off a WL.

And I know the main argument against this is "You've submitted your application to the school; that shows the school you're interested enough." But I disagree with this. I'm sure med schools know that most people apply very broadly given that only 40% of applicants are accepted at all. I applied to some schools I'm not all that excited/care about, but I also applied to some schools that I would sacrifice my firstborn child for lol. Might as well convey to the schools I truly care about that I love them.

Again, these are just my thoughts. Feel free to correct me/disagree.
How would you interpret a non binding contract from a desperate applicant?

Admissions Deans know from experience that these are lies.
There are plenty of SDNers who have trouble with the concept of cause and effect, and who think that just because they sent in a letter of intent, it led to their immediate acceptance
 
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Yeah to be frank the neuroticism and general atmosphere here is unnerving, to say the least; @KnightDoc has a point...maybe a thread should be pinned explaining that the box-checking, threshold-reaching approach to premed that is propagated by all of us on here is not necessarily the path to success all the time...
 
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How would you interpret a non binding contract from a desperate applicant?
I mean if I were an AdCom, and an applicant wrote a specifically tailored LOI (not just "This school will make me a great doc"), I would put value to it. Sure, it's possible that an applicant sends tailored LOI's to multiple schools, but that's just so much work compared to an update letter that you can just modify the name of the school at the top. At least from personal experience, writing a good LOI is hard, and I could never be motivated enough to fake a LOI out of desperation lol.

But I somewhat get what you're saying. There just seems to be a disconnect between the SDN AdComs and from what I've heard from admissions at certain MD schools.
 
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I guess what I'm confused about is the narrative that's being promulgated throughout SDN that update letters, LOI's, etc. at most only slightly may help. However, nearly every med student I've come across has sent a letter to get an II or get off the WL. Sure, it's not nearly as important as the primary or secondary, but given how selective the admissions process gets, I can't see why an update/LOI would not be a solid selection factor, particularly to get off a WL.

And I know the main argument against this is "You've submitted your application to the school; that shows the school you're interested enough." But I disagree with this. I'm sure med schools know that most people apply very broadly given that only 40% of applicants are accepted at all. I applied to some schools I'm not all that excited/care about, but I also applied to some schools that I would sacrifice my firstborn child for lol. Might as well convey to the schools I truly care about that I love them.

Again, these are just my thoughts. Feel free to correct me/disagree.
Come across live, in person, or here on SDN? I ask because here, I realize people swear by them, but offline, I don't know anyone who admits to having sent updates or LOIs, so I really don't think they make a difference EXCEPT at schools like Mayo and Jefferson that actively solicit them.

I wouldn't hesitate to send one if I were on a WL and wanted to try to provoke some movement when the time came (once WL movement begins), but most people are now asking about updates or LOIs to generate an II, and nothing I have seen or heard from anyone has led me to believe that schools issue IIs based on last minute additions to an application that are probably not even looked at once an application has been reviewed, or by, as @Goro puts it, based on how desperate someone is for an II in January. If anything, that's probably a real turn off for a school (I have no other options, pleeeeeeze send me an II).
 
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FWIW, received one II before Halloween. Sent an update to about half of school list in early Nov and got three II's between mid-Nov and Christmas --- all from the group that received updates. Not saying the action / result are related.
 
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Yeah to be frank the neuroticism and general atmosphere here is unnerving, to say the least; @KnightDoc has a point...maybe a thread should be pinned explaining that the box-checking, threshold-reaching approach to premed that is propagated by all of us on here is not necessarily the path to success all the time...
And you think that will prevent new threads asking same question :)
 

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I mean if I were an AdCom, and an applicant wrote a specifically tailored LOI (not just "This school will make me a great doc"), I would put value to it. Sure, it's possible that an applicant sends tailored LOI's to multiple schools, but that's just so much work compared to an update letter that you can just modify the name of the school at the top. At least from personal experience, writing a good LOI is hard, and I could never be motivated enough to fake a LOI out of desperation lol.

But I somewhat get what you're saying. There just seems to be a disconnect between the SDN AdComs and from what I've heard from admissions at certain MD schools.
if you were an admissions committee member, you would also know from experience that your school gets tons of these letters, and when crunch time comes, these people don't show up.
 

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I certainly wouldn't do it frequently, but if you're waitlisted at a program, you should email to express interest (it's how I got accepted where I go now), and if you have MAJOR updates, it's worth sending an email to all your schools. Doing much more than that might come on a bit too strong.
 
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Haha, this thread reflects exactly why I was confused and posted this question! It seems the advice/experiences are all over the place when it comes to this topic...
 

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You're not wrong. I'd just say, think of what you'd want if you were trying to figure out who to admit. Would you want to know who's actually really interested of the waitlist, or have to worry about sending acceptances once you know how many slots you have, getting rejected by them, sending to a new set of applicants, etc? Similarly, might it influence your decision if something big changes in an applicant's file, particularly if you're on the fence about whether to accept them? Most would probably answer yes to both of those. The only time it might seem annoying to them is if they're not really interested in you in the first place, in which case, it didn't really hurt you to send it, that being how they felt anyway.

On the flipside, do you want to hear from an applicant 10 times over the course of the season, with every tiny little detail that may have changed in their app? Probably not. That would be annoying, and more likely to hurt than help.
 
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