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should i send interest letters? - not getting interviews!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Food, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. Food

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    Hi guys - Seriously - some advice needed

    I've only interviewed at U of Florida so far - my current undergrad institution. Most of my applications have been complete between 9/20 and 10/25. My stats are in MDProfile, but if you are too lazy to check, I have a 33R,38O, and about a 3.35 science probably...3.44 overall.

    I have received 3 rejections. Do you think it is a good idea to send out interest letters? I feel like now is a good time, since i'm about to get 1st semester grades...not that they're super amazing - but should increase my GPA slightly. I also feel I wasn't thorough in explaining activities in my AMCAS - In fact - I completely neglected to mention my physician shadowing (but mentioned it heavily in my PS). Is it a good idea to send out a letter sort of clarifying more details - saying that I would be really interested in the school? Of course - I was planning on sending one of these to every school that has yet to respond to me. If so, what format is best? Should I send it by snail mail or e-mail...?

    thanks!
     
  2. chiz2kul

    chiz2kul t.roll.ed for Banning
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    It wldnt hurt....
     
  3. Darkshooter326

    Darkshooter326 Senior Member
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    I would send a letter, but not so much an addendum to things already in your application. Only tell them about your new grades or new activities. It isn't likely some key info about your AMCAS activities is holding up your app. If it was, then they'd interview you and ask you more about it then.

    I like snail mail. It takes more effort and shows more interest? And definitely reiterate your interest, but not generically. Tailor your reasons to that specific school.
     
  4. ar2388

    ar2388 rads resident
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    some schools do prefer you send update letters and LOI's via email though. i know NYU is definitely one, but im sure there are more too
     
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  5. rjf

    rjf
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    Send the letters...it can't hurt.
    Also, I can't see how with your MCAT (despite your GPA) score you aren't getting some more interviews. I apologize if this is too blunt, but I think you may need to improve on your ECs. Get some experience in a hospital. How much meaningful volunteering have you done? I know that it isn't easy, but try to find something that will atleast put you on par with other strong applicants.

    Finally, how strong was your PS and secondary essays? I think many people neglect these...not saying that you have, but maybe they are a contributing factor to no more interview offers.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Food

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    Thanks for the responses guys. I think my PS was pretty good...I actually had an interviewer at University of Utah Med read it....(met him through the doctor I shadowed - did not apply to Utah...not a resident) - and he gave me a few suggestions on improvements, but generally thought it was pretty good.

    Hm...I'll try for snail mail for most schools...I'll search forums for other info.

    Any other suggestions or hints would be great...Is anybody else having trouble getting interviews? I really thought I'd have some invites by now. I figured I had an EC problem...but not a grave one. I did shadowing extensively, and also medically related volunteering that I thought was not as generic as working in a hospital. Either way I've been around a hospital setting for extended periods...honestly the only thing I haven't done is held a leadership position - but I figured I could argue that as an MCAT instructor for Kaplan...I have my fair share of leadership qualities...(the argument here being that teaching a class of 25 people of varying skill level while trying to keep everybody happy requires some effort!)

    happy holidays! (or Merry Christmas. I don't know which one is more politically correct these days - I suppose it depends on which news network you prefer)
     
  7. Kaya12

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    Hey Food,

    I noticed that you didn't finish applying/withdrew from USF and FSU? Just wondering why, as I feel that you would have a wonderful chance of interviewing/being accepted to these because they highly favor Florida students, especially since you attended UF for undergrad! Just curious, good luck with everything though! I'm sure that you will get some invites after the holidays are over.

    Kaya
     
  8. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Late application completion date with low uGPA is your main problem. Your MCAT score doesn't offset that GPA. You have a tough road ahead. Your best bet would have been to apply as early as possible.

    Letters of interest are not going to be particularly helpful for you as one could surmise that you would not have applied to any school that you were not interested in attending.
     
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  9. Food

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    Actually, the info on my MDprofile is probably filled in wrong...I did apply to USF and was complete there as of 10/24. I do regret not having applied to FSU - especially since it was a free application. thanks!
     
  10. Food

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    Does a strong upward trend not mean much either? How about difficult course loads? I've got friends in Nutrition with 4.0s and lower MCAT scores - I honestly thought I was a stronger applicant despite the GPA, given that many of the courses I took were not typical pre-med courses but advanced math / chem. I even ended up taking some grad level chem courses for my senior year. As far as the MCAT goes - I was hoping it would be evidence that I was acceptably competent in the core sciences and that I really did turn things around after a crappy first year.
     
  11. Food

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    Also - by your logic there is no point in sending interest letters whatsoever - regardless of an applicant's status. If that is the case why do people send them at all? To feel better about their chances? Sorry - I just don't see how the fact that "one surmising" that I would not have applied to any school that I was not interested in attending - would have any bearing on the objective of an interest letter.
     
  12. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer
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    If there's one thing I've learned in the past two application cycles it's that a strong MCAT will not replace or erase a low uGPA. The low GPA will still hurt you.

    Your MCAT will help you in the ways that you have described, but it will take some effort, convincing and motivation to help allay fears about your uGPA. The MCAT will get your foot in the door at some places, but then your application is going to have to be stellar otherwise to get you that interview. We're in similar boats (High MCAT, low GPA, strong upward trend) and I can say that last year I did not get an interview anywhere.

    Having a consistent and focused theme with your application and finishing out school very strong will help you tremendously. Just for disclosure's sake check out my MdApps. (MDapps is down so here are my stats for the current year):

    40S MCAT
    3.39 uGPA
    3.4 sGPA

    I applied extremely broadly this year (40 schools) and have 14 interview invites a few accepts and about 5 rejects. Last year I applied late to about 20 and had zero invites. There are definitely schools that will screen you out solely based on your GPA, so you need to play the numbers game and apply broadly and super duper early next time if you don't get in this year. If you apply early, then you might catch schools when they aren't fatigued from reading the thousands of apps. Then, you have a better chance of an adcom member thoroughly reading your app and considering your entire story.

    I think this varies from school to school and faculty member to faculty member. Some have told me that they don't consider updates at all, and others have told me that they definitely do consider them and that they have even invited students because of them. I don't think it can hurt your app unless the school specifically says not to send supplementary info. So go for it, I did, and I think it resulted in an interview in one case. Maybe it was just coincidence, but who knows?

    All in all, I think you have a great shot, especially if you interview well. You'll make it there eventually, but if you don't this year, just do the things that will make your app more solid and you'll be golden! GL.
     
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    #12 Vihsadas, Dec 20, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2008
  13. Darkshooter326

    Darkshooter326 Senior Member
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    Then why delete other people's posts? People are giving their honest OPINION. Opinions, take them or leave them at your choice. But leave them for others reading the thread

    From what I've heard, trends don't matter as much as you want them to
     
  14. student1799

    student1799 "Señora” to you, hombre
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    Food didn't delete anyone's post--it's not possible for one member to delete another's posts. If you are referring to the post that followed his on the thread last night, it disappeared because of a technical glitch on SDN. This happened in a lot of threads: if there were new posts between about 4 pm and 6:30 pm, when the site was being repaired, those posts were lost.
     
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  15. Food

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    Thanks again, V. I actually read up on your file before applying this cycle, and was actually thoroughly discouraged when I saw you had no interview invites last year...personally - I attribute this to an inherent flaw in the system.

    I've always struggled with a low GPA and I suppose it reflects a lack of motivation on my part. So I've done my best to allay those fears in my PS and secondary essays, and in the ONE interview I have given so far. Thanks for your feedback as always, and for the luck. :)

    Also - what time frame was "late" for you last year?
     
  16. Food

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    haha thanks. People are quick to jump the gun these days. It's funny - because I spent a lot of time actually looking for that one post, before I saw the thread on deleted posts.
     
  17. Food

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    So this opinion of yours...it's somewhat baseless. Especially since it's "from what you've heard". If you look at half of the e-mails that all med-schools send out along with their secondaries, they make some mention of GPA trends. Are we wrong to assume that they are a factor to be taken into consideration?
     
  18. URHere

    Physician PhD 10+ Year Member

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    I think what njbmd meant was that most people who send Letters of interest (and have them make some impact) do it post-interview. After an interview, applicants have a much better idea of how much they like a given school, how it compares to other schools they have visited, and how likely they are to attend. In general, a LOI means much more coming from a student who has been informed about things like the curriculum, facilities, and financial assistance than from one who has not even visited the school.

    At this point in your application process, a school will probably already assume that you are interested in their program - of course you are, if you applied there in the first place. A LOI probably won't make much of a difference until after you have been interviewed, but like others have said, it really can't hurt you either.
     
  19. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer
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    Yeah man, don't sweat it so much. I know how that frustration feels. From what I've been told directly most of my interviews, my academic history ceased to be an issue when they realized the chronology of what I've accomplished in the past three years. So I am confident in thinking that you have a solid shot even if you don't do it this year. But your points about the inherent differences in the system among schools is exactly why I firmly believe that applicants like you and me need to play the probabilities. Apply to as many schools as you can afford from top tier to bottom tier and somewhere along the way someone will read your file and see your story. Just keep on living that mantra that you and I picked up (the one about doing everything in your power so you don't live with regrets. :))

    In terms of lateness, it was very late. I took my MCAT in September received scores in october and was complete at all schools by like late November if I remember correctly.
    Here's more anecdotal evidence. One admissions committee member I was interviewed by told me point blank that he remembered my file from last year, but the admissions committee decided not to interview me largely because my application was so late. The second reason he stated was that my post bacc wasn't complete yet. It seems to me that lateness really does matter. If I had to speculate why I did better this year, I'd list the following reasons as the most likely candidates:

    1) Much earlier app
    2) Finished out my post-bacc (So I had about 60-70 credits of an extremely high GPA).
    3) My PS and secondaries were more well-written, and I had more time to really present myself on paper in the best way possible. One thing I definitely focused greatly on was having a coherent "thesis" of sorts to my entire application.
    4) Continued my commitment to the field in my year off and had many more significant activities to list on AMCAS.
     
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    #19 Vihsadas, Dec 20, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
  20. medseek1

    medseek1 New Member
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    Hi, I know some people have regional preferences. But if you don't have one, you could probably still apply to these to improve your chances

    1.) SUNY Buffalo
    2.) Univ. of Toledo
    3.) Wayne State
    4.) NYMC
    5.) Rosalind Franklin
    6.) Temple
    7.) Tulane
    8.) SLU
    9.) Albany
    10.) Vermont
    11.) Penn State
    12.) Creighton
    13.) Drexel
    14.) FSU, FIU
     
  21. Food

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    Thanks - I've actually applied to roughly around 1/3 of those already. Are those schools whose deadlines have not yet passed? I don't know...it might be too late.
     
  22. Food

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    So here's my question to you. Let's say I get accepted this year at my undergrad institution (U of Florida) - but it's the only place I get accepted. Do you think I should go ahead and take it, or do a much better job of applying, + do more stuff for next year? I suppose it's a personal decision...but let's say you were accepted at around 1 place last year...after 1 interview. Would you have gone there? (if it were a mid-tier school)
     
  23. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer
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    It's definitely a personal decision, but be aware there's a sense (could be heresay, but I wouldn't risk it), that being accepted in a past year and then turning it down to re-apply is a very bad mark on your app. i.e. someone might wonder why you would reapply if you were already accepted. I do believe that they ask you this on your AMCAS, so it's not implausible that schools could look at that.
    Personally, I was focused on getting in to basically any school last year, and along that vein I only applied to schools I knew I would attend. I definitely would have accepted the mid-tier/low-tier acceptance. Here's an extension of it: Your medical education and your success will be more related to your own personal effort, than to what school you go to, IMHO. Sure, going to a top-tier school may provide more opportunities, but you really have a lot of power in your medical education. Most poignantly, the boards you can self-study for, and there are many individual projects you can do to distinguish yourself. If you do get in this year man, that's a huge accomplishment. You keep up that attitude of doing everything in your power as you go through medical school, and you'll do just fine no matter where you go. And I don't have to be a medical student to know that, because that fact applies to any venture. :)
     
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  24. Gut Shot

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    Hell yes. You would be certifiably insane to subject yourself to this process again, especially if you have an acceptance to a great school.
     
  25. diosa428

    diosa428 SDN Angel
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    I think if you get an acceptance this year you should take it and run. Your GPA just isn't that good, and the pool is getting more and more competitive every year. Some schools have cut-offs and if you don't make it, you don't make it, no matter what your MCAT or whether or not you have an upward trend. Other schools will look at the whole package. But unless you think you can bring your GPA up to 3.6+, your chance of getting into a top school really isn't that great when they have hundreds of applicants with your MCAT score and a GPA that is much, much higher. Also, if you would rather re-apply next year than take an acceptance at UF, you should withdraw your application before they make a decision on it, because as it was already pointed out, medical schools do not want to take someone who was accepted somewhere the year before and turned it down.
     
  26. Food

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    *whew* That's what I was hoping people would say :)
     
  27. Food

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    good - I just wanted to hear other opinions on this - but this is basically what I was thinking.
     
  28. Jolie South

    Jolie South is invoking Domo. . .
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    you would be dumb not to take it. we're not talking about a carribbean school here. this is an accredited US allopathic school and not a bad one at that.

    you shouldn't jeoparidize that for some dubious benefit that you might get from a top tier school.
     
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  29. Food

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    yeah, and now i'm realizing how dumb my question was :)
     

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