So, you haven't gotten an interview yet. What now?

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bananafish94

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Greetings!

So, it’s late November. And around these parts, this is right around the time where people start to get pretty despondent about not having received an interview invite yet. As you may know, I was in this exact position last year. I’ve gotten a decent amount of messages on SDN and even more in real life about how I handled this. So this is essentially an abridged summary of the advice I got throughout the process, and some things that I learned along the way.

1. Don’t panic.

Believe me, I know how you feel, and it's not pleasant. The looming uncertainty about your future may have you on edge, and the deafening silence from the medical schools certainly does not help. But the war is far from over. Interviews will still be sent out well into the spring.

That being said:

2. Identify the problem.

Remember that there are no absolutes in this process. You can’t say, “I have X GPA, Y, MCAT, and Z extracurriculars, therefore I have a good application.” It’s all relative and it’s all contextual. What might be gold at one school is zinc at another.

Start with the numbers. Are your stats just simply not competitive in general? Or are they not competitive within the context of your application? You might not think that somebody with a 3.9 GPA and a 90th percentile MCAT will have an issue, until you realize that they only applied to schools in the “Top 20.” (I know this person).

Think about your extracurriculars. Have you immersed yourself in experiences that demonstrate that you have proven to yourself that you want to be a doctor? Have you actually been around sick people for a significant amount of time? I know somebody with scores that any pre-med student would kill for, but all of his extracurriculars are related to engineering. He hasn’t had a whole lot of success. Of course, your problem could also be about context. Maybe you have seven publications but only applied to schools with a high priority on community service. Or maybe you only applied to research institutions but haven’t done a lick of research in your life.

Is it just about your application? Maybe you’ve done absolutely everything right, selected schools that are a perfect match for you, but your personal statement reads like a “Materials and Methods” section. I’ve met this person too.

Perhaps you’re at a total loss. Guess what? Lots of medical schools let you talk to an expert about why you weren’t accepted—use this resource to your advantage!

3. Make a plan to fix the problem.

If it’s just a matter of your essays being off or your school list being a bad match for your application, you’ve got yourself a pretty easy fix. If your GPA is too low, start looking into post-bacc programs or the like. If your MCAT is too low, start thinking about retaking it. If you are lacking in healthcare experience, there is a whole world wide open to you in a great many different fields. A college graduate can easily become a scribe, phlebotomist, EMT, CNA, etc. Do this! The best part? This solves that nagging feeling you have about the uncertainty of your future. Lining up a job post-graduation did wonders for me. A good friend of mine is currently doing a special masters program. There are very few things that are unfixable. Some just might take more time than others.

4. Keep doing the work!

Some of the most rewarding and wonderful things that I did in college were things that I did after I sent in my application, and I sent this stuff in to every school that would accept updates. Did it help me? I don’t know. But it certainly didn’t hurt. Plus, if that miracle interview invite does come in January, you’re going to want to talk about what you’ve been up to for the past few months. And if you have to reapply, you’re going to want to demonstrate to the schools that you have improved your application and never stopped “embracing the target,” as Joe Maddon would say. Even if it seems insignificant, every single little thing that you do to shift the odds ever-so-slightly in your favor will ultimately add up to something that matters.

5. Don’t despair.

Or do, for a little bit. Because this sucks. And despite the best efforts of your friends and family, it will continue to suck. But there is a lot of good that comes with the bad, even if you can’t recognize it until the whole thing is over, and this is not the time to sulk. Take it from someone who spent a whole lot of his senior year worrying and wallowing in the ugliness of this process: it’s not worth it. The medical schools aren’t going anywhere and neither are you. And this will make you a better medical student.

I wish all of you the very best of luck!

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At what mcat score is it too low to get an interview
 
And as a brightside.
I received 10 II's last year, 5 in January-March.
Three of these schools I was complete in September.
If you're curious: II's were to USF, VCU, EVMS, Albany, Dartmouth

I know you may feel complete despair right now, trust me. At this point last year, I had 3 rejections and a waitlist from 4 interviews. It did feel hopeless, you get that many rejections you feel like you have no shot, but things change, so don't give up!!
 
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And as a brightside.
I received 10 II's last year, 5 in Janury-March.
Three of these schools I was complete in September.
If you're curious: II's were to USF, VCU, EVMS, Albany, Dartmouth

I know you may feel complete despair right now, trust me. At this point last year, I had 3 rejections and a waitlist from 4 interviews. It did feel hopeless, you get that many rejections you feel like you have no shot, but things change, so don't give up!!
Holy ****. 5 interviews from January to March? Was your greatest accomplishment in the application encrypted and schools could only see it after January? You story is encouraging!
 
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Holy ****. 5 interviews from January to March? Was your greatest accomplishment in the application encrypted and schools could only see it after January? You story is encouraging!

I'm glad it is! :)
Never give up hope. This process can be absolutely draining, discourgaing, depressing and it wears you down.
@bananafish94 knows this for sure, spent the entire summer on a waitlist with no acceptance.

I guess something about my application was appealing to some adcom somewhere. (I was told this specifically at Dartmouth). Just don't hold out hope, continue to do what you were doing and things that are meaningful to you, and keep them updated if anything signifcant happens.

I wish you the best of luck!
 
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@ciestar
So since you didn't have any by Thanksgiving, the other 5 were from thanksgiving-January?
 
And as a brightside.
I received 10 II's last year, 5 in January-March.
Three of these schools I was complete in September.
If you're curious: II's were to USF, VCU, EVMS, Albany, Dartmouth

I know you may feel complete despair right now, trust me. At this point last year, I had 3 rejections and a waitlist from 4 interviews. It did feel hopeless, you get that many rejections you feel like you have no shot, but things change, so don't give up!!

Gotta ask. Did you have an offer of admission by February 9th?

And btw, thanks to @bananafish and @ciestar for such good advice about going forward with hope in trying circumstances.
 
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Gotta ask. Did you have an offer of admission by February 9th?

And btw, thanks to @bananafish and @ciestar for such good advice about going forward with hope in trying circumstances.
You smell that boys? Thats the sweet smell of LizzyM's Rule-making afoot.
 
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Gotta ask. Did you have an offer of admission by February 9th?

And btw, thanks to @bananafish and @ciestar for such good advice about going forward with hope in trying circumstances.

I got an offer of admission about a week before Christmas. I did do a follow-up with one of the places that rejected me and she basically derailed any hope. Told me I had zero shot at an admission anywhere and I better start work on my reapplication now (this was November). After 3 rejections post-interview, you start to wonder what you're doing wrong. After that comment, I had given up, even though I had one more school to hear from. Needless to say, I only got one acceptance and another rejection post-interview. My interview skills are apparently terrible, so in that situation, it generally doesn't matter how many II's you get, if you blow the interview, yes, your chances are low.

The point I was trying to make is that not all hope is lost. II's are given out in January and beyond. Don't let ANYONE tell you to give up and try again until that is the case. (Even if you think it is, working on a reapplication is not a bad idea, but this is not an end-all, be-all situation). The fact that I was told this by an adcom at a school I had interviewed with and was rejected from, that is why I felt completely hopeless. Yeah, I had II's before Thanksgiving, and had an offer of admission before February 9th, but obviously it looked very bleak by this point last year.
 
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I got an offer of admission about a week before Christmas. I did do a follow-up with one of the places that rejected me and she basically derailed any hope. Told me I had zero shot at an admission anywhere and I better start work on my reapplication now (this was November). After 3 rejections post-interview, you start to wonder what you're doing wrong. After that comment, I had given up, even though I had one more school to hear from. Needless to say, I only got one acceptance and another rejection post-interview. My interview skills are apparently terrible, so in that situation, it generally doesn't matter how many II's you get, if you blow the interview, yes, your chances are low.

The point I was trying to make is that not all hope is lost. II's are given out in January and beyond. Don't let ANYONE tell you to give up and try again until that is the case. (Even if you think it is, working on a reapplication is not a bad idea, but this is not an end-all, be-all situation). The fact that I was told this by an adcom at a school I had interviewed with and was rejected from, that is why I felt completely hopeless. Yeah, I had II's before Thanksgiving, and had an offer of admission before February 9th, but obviously it looked very bleak by this point last year.

You had interviews before Thanksgiving and an offer before Mardi Gras. Hindsight is 20/20 but this crop of applicants should learn from you and relax if they meet the Thanksgiving rule with the expectation that the Mardi Gras rule will hold.

Those with no interview invites before Thanksgiving should start getting their ducks in a row for a reapplication cycle just as soon as the turkey is off the table.
Ditto those with no offers by Mardi Gras should start thinking about what comes next for them (reapplication cycle, or something else) if they haven't received an offer then.
 
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You had interviews before Thanksgiving and an offer before Mardi Gras. Hindsight is 20/20 but this crop of applicants should learn from you and relax if they meet the Thanksgiving rule with the expectation that the Mardi Gras rule will hold.

Those with no interview invites before Thanksgiving should start getting their ducks in a row for a reapplication cycle just as soon as the turkey is off the table.
Ditto those with no offers by Mardi Gras should start thinking about what comes next for them (reapplication cycle, or something else) if they haven't received an offer then.
If someone has DO interviews but no MD interviews before thanksgiving, what can they expect
 
If someone has DO interviews but no MD interviews before thanksgiving, what can they expect

Well, if you are good enough to get a DO interview by Thanksgiving, is there any reason to expect that your application is so bad that you won't have an offer by Mardi Gras? If you get into a DO school is there any point in planning to reapply? (Of course, every year we have people who debate declining an offer from a DO school for the opportunity to reapply to MD schools.)
 
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State and school-specific, but the very rough rule of thumb is 30, or ~509/510 on the new exam.
Hope people don't see this as nitpicking, but a current 508 is 79th percentile and the historical 30 is also 79th percentile.
:)
I'm currently weighing my options for retaking the MCAT
 
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I applied to 18 schools back in July, Lizzy M mid-75, MCAT 95% percentile! 3 rejections, a couple of holds and radio silence from 13 schools. I know that the numbers are not everything, but I thought with decent stats such as mine I'd be sitting at quite a few interviews by now :/ I am Canadian but that should not matter much since I applied mostly to private schools.
 
I applied to 18 schools back in July, Lizzy M mid-75, MCAT 95% percentile! 3 rejections, a couple of holds and radio silence from 13 schools. I know that the numbers are not everything, but I thought with decent stats such as mine I'd be sitting at quite a few interviews by now :/ I am Canadian but that should not matter much since I applied mostly to private schools.

What's your school list? Just because a medical school is private doesn't mean they are receptive to international students.
 
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Hope people don't see this as nitpicking, but a current 508 is 79th percentile and the historical 30 is also 79th percentile.
:)
I'm currently weighing my options for retaking the MCAT

507 with 2 acceptances.. n=1 but I know some people that have had alright cycles with slightly below the 509/510 mark
 
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I applied to 18 schools back in July, Lizzy M mid-75, MCAT 95% percentile! 3 rejections, a couple of holds and radio silence from 13 schools. I know that the numbers are not everything, but I thought with decent stats such as mine I'd be sitting at quite a few interviews by now :/ I am Canadian but that should not matter much since I applied mostly to private schools.
What does your school list look like?
 
What's your school list? Just because a medical school is private doesn't mean they are receptive to international students.
I know a few state schools that are pro eh.
 
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This is a good thread. I remember freaking out with bananafish last year, and we were pretty much in a similar situation. I think the most important point is persistence and patience. I didn't receive an interview invite until January, even if I did apply early. Also, keep sending those updates. My stats are pretty much average (average matriculants).
 
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This is a good thread. I remember freaking out with bananafish last year, and we were pretty much in a similar situation. I think the most important point is persistence and patience. I didn't receive an interview invite until January, even if I did apply early. Also, keep sending those updates. My stats are pretty much average (average matriculants).

What did you update with?? What time periods (December, March, etc) did you send them? Did you send them to all schools that were still considering you or just top choices?
 
I would be hesitant with sending updates to all schools, unless what you've done is significant. I've heard that a lot of adcoms view them as fluff and padding of your application. Some even come off as groveling. I sent updates last year and looking back at my letter is didn't add anything significant to my application.

What did you update with?? What time periods (December, March, etc) did you send them? Did you send them to all schools that were still considering you or just top choices?
 
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What did you update with?? What time periods (December, March, etc) did you send them? Did you send them to all schools that were still considering you or just top choices?

I updated schools with new activities and also with LORs from non-clinical volunteering activities. I sent two update letters and 3 LORs, one in November and one in late December. I started two new volunteering activities after I sent my application, so that's what I used. I sent them to all of the schools who were still considering my candidacy, because I didn't have any IIs until January.

It worked out in my case because during the interview these two activities were mentioned in three of my interviews (out of four).
 
I updated schools with new activities and also with LORs from non-clinical volunteering activities. I sent two update letters and 3 LORs, one in November and one in late December. I started two new volunteering activities after I sent my application, so that's what I used. I sent them to all of the schools who were still considering my candidacy, because I didn't have any IIs until January.

It worked out in my case because during the interview these two activities were mentioned in three of my interviews (out of four).
Were you lacking similar volunteering activities prior to submission?
 
Were you lacking similar volunteering activities prior to submission?

No. I had my bases covered. I should also add that I was a reapplicant, so my chances of receiving an interview invite and an admission was lower than the first time applicants.
 
I updated schools with new activities and also with LORs from non-clinical volunteering activities. I sent two update letters and 3 LORs, one in November and one in late December. I started two new volunteering activities after I sent my application, so that's what I used. I sent them to all of the schools who were still considering my candidacy, because I didn't have any IIs until January.

It worked out in my case because during the interview these two activities were mentioned in three of my interviews (out of four).
What kind of format did you use in your update letter to the schools? I would love some help crafting an email to send to all my schools since my only update is that I've been working night shift as a PCT in med/surg and it's been a hell of a good clinical experience and definitely opened my eyes to the plight that people in underserved areas face regularly. I probably have around 8 weeks so far going on my 9th at about 24 hrs/week.
 
What's your school list? Just because a medical school is private doesn't mean they are receptive to international students.

What does your school list look like?

I understand that. I did a lot of research when choosing my school list to make sure they are receptive to Canadian students. Here is my school list:
Boston, Albert Einstein, Maryland, UVA, VCU, Yale, Columbia, Case (CWRU), Dartmouth, Rosalind Franklin, Tulane, SUNY Upstate, Stony Brook, Mayo (MN), Mayo (AZ), OUWB, Jefferson and George Washington
 
What kind of format did you use in your update letter to the schools? I would love some help crafting an email to send to all my schools since my only update is that I've been working night shift as a PCT in med/surg and it's been a hell of a good clinical experience and definitely opened my eyes to the plight that people in underserved areas face regularly. I probably have around 8 weeks so far going on my 9th at about 24 hrs/week.

First paragraph included my purpose of the letter. Subsequent paragraphs were more detailed descriptions, what I learned, and how it has impacted me. Finished off with my desire to attend their medical school. Sounds cheesy and standard but I received 4 Interview Invites and 3 acceptances.
 
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I understand that. I did a lot of research when choosing my school list to make sure they are receptive to Canadian students. Here is my school list:
Boston, Albert Einstein, Maryland, UVA, VCU, Yale, Columbia, Case (CWRU), Dartmouth, Rosalind Franklin, Tulane, SUNY Upstate, Stony Brook, Mayo (MN), Mayo (AZ), OUWB, Jefferson and George Washington

Hey as a fellow Canadian I thought I'd give my list. You're missing all three schools where I currently have acceptances:
University of Kentucky, Wayne State, Saint Louis University


On your list, I was:

Rejection: Case, Rosalind Franklin, Mayo (MN), OUWB, VCU

Interview Invited: Mayo (AZ), Jefferson, Boston
 
I understand that. I did a lot of research when choosing my school list to make sure they are receptive to Canadian students. Here is my school list:
Boston, Albert Einstein, Maryland, UVA, VCU, Yale, Columbia, Case (CWRU), Dartmouth, Rosalind Franklin, Tulane, SUNY Upstate, Stony Brook, Mayo (MN), Mayo (AZ), OUWB, Jefferson and George Washington

What's are you ECs?


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Most of them at the beginning of August, but for about ten of them it wasn't until September.
As someone who wasn't complete until the end of August, this gives me hope.
 
Hey as a fellow Canadian I thought I'd give my list. You're missing all three schools where I currently have acceptances:
University of Kentucky, Wayne State, Saint Louis University


On your list, I was:

Rejection: Case, Rosalind Franklin, Mayo (MN), OUWB, VCU

Interview Invited: Mayo (AZ), Jefferson, Boston

I did not apply Kentucky as I did not have one year of study in the US. Did not apply to Wayne since I was not willing to move to Detroit at first (but now I regret not applying there :(), and did not apply SLU since they require 4-years of escrow if I'm not mistaken, which I cannot afford.

I have been rejected from Boston, Rosalind Franklin and Tulane, and on hold for SUNY Upstate and Maryland.
But dayumn!! You're killing it!! ;)
 
What's are you ECs?


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My ECs are decent IMO! 3-4 years of research with lots of conference presentations (no pubs tho), long-term volunteering with hospital and a few charity organisations.
 
I did not apply Kentucky as I did not have one year of study in the US. Did not apply to Wayne since I was not willing to move to Detroit at first (but now I regret not applying there :(), and did not apply SLU since they require 4-years of escrow if I'm not mistaken, which I cannot afford.

I have been rejected from Boston, Rosalind Franklin and Tulane, and on hold for SUNY Upstate and Maryland.
But dayumn!! You're killing it!! ;)

If you do have to re-apply, I would consider Kentucky. I have studied in Canada all 4 years of undergrad. I'm not sure if that is a new requirement or not, but it wasn't an issue for me this year :).

I totally feel you on the SLU front, I just got the "that'll be 237k please" email, it's kind of ridiculous
 
If someone has DO interviews but no MD interviews before thanksgiving, what can they expect

Depends on the DO-- some DOs are pretty stat heavy-- if you're getting love from CCOM, AZCOM, KCUMB, DMU, etc. any established programs then it's possible that you overlap with your state MD and other MDs in that gray zone.
 
Depends on the DO-- some DOs are pretty stat heavy-- if you're getting love from CCOM, AZCOM, KCUMB, DMU, etc. any established programs then it's possible that you overlap with your state MD and other MDs in that gray zone.
cool, i am so I guess I'll wait
 
If you do have to re-apply, I would consider Kentucky. I have studied in Canada all 4 years of undergrad. I'm not sure if that is a new requirement or not, but it wasn't an issue for me this year :).

Oh wow! I guess it is not a strict requirement then. I'll definitely consider it next year then!!
 
I have a friend who applied to 20 MD programs. He has ZERO interviews so far despite:

University of Michigan undergrad
522 MCAT (99th percentile)
3.85 sGPA
3.83 oGPA
ECs: Student gov rep, hospital shadowing, several clubs, 2.5 years of mouse lab research
Bilingual and URM
Applied in July 2016

Someone please explain why 0 interview offers? (He did however apply to 17 elite schools and only 3 back-up schools).


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I'm guessing this is why, but he seems tempting for even elite schools
Especially as a URM
Only God knows tbh, good luck to your friend anyway
 
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I have a friend who applied to 20 MD programs. He has ZERO interviews so far despite:

University of Michigan undergrad
522 MCAT (99th percentile)
3.85 sGPA
3.83 oGPA
ECs: Student gov rep, hospital shadowing, several clubs, 2.5 years of mouse lab research
Bilingual and URM
Applied in July 2016

Someone please explain why 0 interview offers? (He did however apply to 17 elite schools and only 3 back-up schools).


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Why all top schools tho? That gets top students all the time. Too top heavy.
 
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