What can I do to get off waitlist?

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julianbashir

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What can I do to identify and address any areas of weakness that would hinder my ability to get off the waitlist?

I am willing to do anything I can do to try and get off the waitlist at my top choice, but I’m not sure what they want to see in an update.

For context; I graduated college ~3 years ago so I don’t have any upcoming grades that can be submitted, I’m currently working in a research position, and I volunteer in-person twice a week and online once a month. I currently only have patient contact one day per month, but I have had more direct clinical exposure in the past.

I’m not sure whether my clinical exposure is a weak point or whether adding in some last-minute shadowing will make a difference— I’m not really sure how to identify what my weak points are, or what can be done about them.

I know that my GPA, MCAT, late application, and subpar interview skills all held me back from getting that initial acceptance at this school, so I do know my key weak points, but those aren’t things that I can do something about in my current waitlisted position— what’s done is done. Now I have to figure out what, if anything, I can do to get off the waitlist!

The med school does accept update letters from waitlisted applicants and I have until early May when waitlist movement starts to do something update-letter-worthy that will make a difference in my competitiveness.

Are there any activities I can start that folks would recommend doing? I hope to combine a letter of update with a letter of intent.

Thank you all for your help & please forgive me if I posted in the wrong forum or used the wrong tags— I’m still new here and trying to figure it out!

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As you highlight, last minute shadowing isn't going to impress anybody, nor really is anything you could do in the next couple of weeks/months.

You have done everything you can at this point. Everyone wants what you want just as badly. If you have another acceptance, proceed as if you are likely attending that school. If you do not have another acceptance, then start preparing now for your reapplication so that "late application" does not hold you back again this year.
 
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Ah I see, thank you.
  1. State of residence: New York for first 6 months of 2023 and CT for the second 6 months of 2023.
  2. Ethnicity and/or race: Black
  3. Clinical experience (volunteer and non-volunteer): Administered Covid vaccine as EMT (188 hours), worked as patient navigator at a LGBT community health center (670 hours), post-surgical volunteer caregiver for transgender folks with a nonprofit (55 hours), full-time caregiver for family member with Alzheimer’s through college and after graduating until I finally got her placed in a memory care facility that her insurance covers ~2 months ago.
  4. Research experience and productivity: Undergrad summer research internship in bench chemistry (nothing to show for it), undergrad summer research internship in physics (nothing to show for it), summer research internship in psych after graduating (nothing to show for it), current job in research: a small handful of abstracts/posters, 1 middle-author publication.
  5. Shadowing experience and specialties represented: Shadowed in urgent care (92 hours) and a different LGBT community health center (72 hours), shadowing in urology clinic and OR through current job (hours not listed on AMCAS).
  6. Non-clinical volunteering: Led volunteer effort with my team in college (DII athlete), currently volunteering with trans caregiving non-profit, with current town’s Community Emergency Response Team, with trans-related research group, with an unrelated medical school as a standardized patient, and facilitate a biweekly support group with LGBTQ+ teens of color.
  7. Other extracurricular activities: Was a teacher’s assistant in chemistry during college, and worked on-campus in a student-leadership position overseeing student clubs.
  8. Relevant honors or awards: Nothing since college and nothing impressive during college (coach’s award for my sport, student leadership award, etc)
  9. Anything else not listed you think might be important: My research job is at my top-choice medical school where I am waitlisted but 90% of the time I work remotely.
Here’s my school list (only applied to 6 schools):
1)
Applied to and never heard back from: Tufts
2, 3) Applied to and interviewed and didn’t hear back after the interview: SUNY Downstate and Upstate
4, 5) Applied to and was waitlisted: Geisel (Dartmouth), UConn
6) Applied to and was accepted: Howard
 
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As you highlight, last minute shadowing isn't going to impress anybody, nor really is anything you could do in the next couple of weeks/months.

You have done everything you can at this point. Everyone wants what you want just as badly. If you have another acceptance, proceed as if you are likely attending that school. If you do not have another acceptance, then start preparing now for your reapplication so that "late application" does not hold you back again this year.

I know that there’s not a lot of genuinely impressive things to do within a couple of weeks, but I want to show them that I’m still making an effort in case having a new experience gives me an advantage by drawing their attention to me as it’s an unranked waitlist.

And I do feel like they must expect us to be doing something that’s update-worthy during this period or they wouldn’t emphasize that they accept update letters from waitlisted applicants!

This might sound like word soup, but I have my first first-author paper ready to submit on Monday, my second middle-coauthor paper was submitted on Friday, and I have my second first-author paper currently being reviewed by my coauthors for the first round of feedback and edits, so depending on how much feedback they share I should be ready to submit that manuscript within a month. I’m hoping that something is accepted before the waitlist movement starts so I can write that I have a paper in press.

I also plan on submitting an abstract for a conference but likely won’t hear back on whether it’s accepted before the waitlist movement. And of course there’s always the chance that it won’t be accepted.

I want to try to do something non-research related too, especially because I can’t control how long peer review will take or whether the papers will be accepted before the optimal update window, so is possible all of that work won’t be something I can mention.

If I’m able to figure out what updates people typically send in these letters, then I can try to start a new activity that would lead to having the desired type of update, if that makes sense.

I know shadowing won’t make a big difference at this point in terms of raw clinical exposure due to the limited amount of time left, but if I shadow with an attending affiliated with their medical school for a solid week or something then ask for a letter of recommendation, would that have any impact?

The physicians I’m thinking of asking have met me before (we email and we’ve had monthly meetings on Zoom for the past ~2 years and I presented at a conference with them in-person once) so they know me even though I don’t work directly with them, and one of them reached out to ask how my application cycle was going earlier this week so I feel like she might be willing to let me shadow if I asked her, but I don’t think she or any of the others know well enough for me to feel comfortable asking them for a letter of recommendation without having had more time to interact in-person.

This is my first and only time applying to medical school— I do have a single acceptance so far and don’t plan on turning it down to reapply elsewhere, which means I don’t need to spend any time getting prepped for next year’s cycle.

And for the first time ever, I have the ability to go balls to the wall in doing premed things now that I’m not also a full-time caregiver for a family member, so I want to take advantage of the next ~2 months and am willing and able to give up some hours at work (currently working full-time) to do so if it means having a better chance of getting off the waitlist!

So while I know that the activity won’t be super impressive because of the timeframe, I’m hoping I can do something that’s at least worth mentioning in an update letter.

Any help in trying to figure out what the highest-impact activity would be for me to do that would address my weak points as an applicant (and is feasible to do in the next months) would be appreciated!
 
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I know that there’s not a lot of genuinely impressive things to do within a couple of weeks, but I want to show them that I’m still making an effort in case having a new experience gives me an advantage by drawing their attention to me as it’s an unranked waitlist.

And I do feel like they must expect us to be doing something that’s update-worthy during this period or they wouldn’t emphasize that they accept update letters from waitlisted applicants!

This might sound like word soup, but I have my first first-author paper ready to submit on Monday, my second middle-coauthor paper was submitted on Friday, and I have my second first-author paper currently being reviewed by my coauthors for the first round of feedback and edits, so depending on how much feedback they share I should be ready to submit that manuscript within a month. I’m hoping that something is accepted before the waitlist movement starts so I can write that I have a paper in press.

I also plan on submitting an abstract for a conference but likely won’t hear back on whether it’s accepted before the waitlist movement. And of course there’s always the chance that it won’t be accepted.

I want to try to do something non-research related too, especially because I can’t control how long peer review will take or whether the papers will be accepted before the optimal update window, so is possible all of that work won’t be something I can mention.

If I’m able to figure out what updates people typically send in these letters, then I can try to start a new activity that would lead to having the desired type of update, if that makes sense.

I know shadowing won’t make a big difference at this point in terms of raw clinical exposure due to the limited amount of time left, but if I shadow with an attending affiliated with their medical school for a solid week or something then ask for a letter of recommendation, would that have any impact?

This is my first and only time applying to medical school— I do have a single acceptance so far and don’t plan on turning it down to reapply elsewhere, which means I don’t need to spend any time getting prepped for next year’s cycle.

And for the first time ever, I have the ability to go balls to the wall in doing premed things now that I’m not also a full-time caregiver for a family member, so I want to take advantage of the next ~2 months and am willing and able to give up some hours at work (currently working full-time) to do so if it means having a better chance of getting off the waitlist!

So while I know that the activity won’t be super impressive because of the timeframe, I’m hoping I can do something that’s at least worth mentioning in an update letter.

Any help in trying to figure out what the highest-impact activity would be for me to do that would address my weak points as an applicant (and is feasible to do in the next months) would be appreciated!
They do expect you to be doing things during the application process. This is why none of these updates, save maybe the pubs, will move the needle.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you applied with glaring holes in your application such as a lack of clinical hours, then this is also something that is not fixable in two months.
 
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Applied to and interviewed and didn’t hear back after the interview: SUNY Downstate and Upstate
Applied to and was waitlisted: Geisel (Dartmouth), UConn
Applied to and was accepted: Howard
First, congratulations on your A. I don't know what I can say about the other WL's, but wait it out. Things will work out. Do NOT turn down the A you have unless you know for sure the others are worth going.

Not sure which one is your top choice or what your reasoning is for wanting to go there, but it's no surprise that you contribute to the diversity of any incoming class (so you don't have to remind them there). You can check in to be sure if WL movement is likely, but don't tip your current acceptance or any other clue of desperation.

Many people will be envious of you going 5 for 6 on application II's. Trust the process.
 
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You may just need to send a short letter of intent if the school is known for being receptive to those. Dartmouth is private and may take it into account, but UConn is a public school and they usually will have a ranked waitlist that is set in stone after your interview.
 
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