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Update letters vs submitting updates via the portal?

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MotherofDucks

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When I was finishing my AMCAS application and secondaries I did not have a job for the gap year because the lab I was set up to work in had their funding cut. Now I have recently started a new full time position about a month ago. When I asked m pre-med advising office they gave me this generic answer that update letter aren't sent until January. So my questions:

1. Is there any difference between sending an update letter versus submitting an update through the portal system to those schools that have that option?

2. Should I be sending an update to inform these schools I have started a full time position over my gap year or should I wait?

Thanks for the help guys!
 

gonnif

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When I was finishing my AMCAS application and secondaries I did not have a job for the gap year because the lab I was set up to work in had their funding cut. Now I have recently started a new full time position about a month ago. When I asked m pre-med advising office they gave me this generic answer that update letter aren't sent until January. So my questions:
the generic answer has no basis. If an applicant has a significant update, sending that information at any point in the cycle can done (should it be done is another question). I would suggest that earlier in the cycle is better (pre II review) as it could influence that. For example, you apply in june but you take 12 credits of hard science over the summer and get all A's or you finished a summer research spot, then an update in Late August is called for.

1. Is there any difference between sending an update letter versus submitting an update through the portal system to those schools that have that option?
No difference; they both get into your file. I would suggest that portal is the proper mechanism and is more likely to get into the file where many schools no longer have a process (or even accept) separate letters via regular mail.

2. Should I be sending an update to inform these schools I have started a full time position over my gap year or should I wait?

Starting a new full-time position is not significant. You need to show accomplishments done, not new opportunity. Exceptions to this would be starting a significant and prestigious position say NIH intern or Fulbright. And to paraphrase John D Rockerfeller about the cost of a yacht, if you have to ask if you position is prestigious or significant enough, it probably isnt
 
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