When do schools that are not rolling admissions make their decisions?

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Yasuo23

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Basically when schools say they’ll release a batch of decisions in September and March.

When do they finalize a decision on a particular applicant? If I have an update, when would it be to late or pointless to submit that?

I recently emailed a school I interviewed with and they said they do accept update letters and that letters of intent do not directly impact the decision. So should I not even send one even if it’s my top choice?

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Each school is different. There is no “right” answer, and on some level you should recognize that none of this is likely going to determine whether you get in or not. Your initial application and your interview performance have likely already pretty solidly informed their opinion of you, so unless you have a truly impactful update any of these letters is likely just to treat an applicant’s anxiety more than anything.

I would avoid sending more than one update, so save it for something important. This would be basically a major award or a new publication. There is little point in sharing minor things like starting a new job or getting more hours in an experience they already know about.

Aside from the handful of schools that are known to like having their ego stroked (and they tend to let you know, so it doesn’t sound like this is one of those schools) I firmly believe that a letter of intent does nothing. Again I would avoid sending multiple letters, so if you’re going to do it because you want to “make sure you do everything you can” save it to pair with an update.
 
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Each school is different. There is no “right” answer, and on some level you should recognize that none of this is likely going to determine whether you get in or not. Your initial application and your interview performance have likely already pretty solidly informed their opinion of you, so unless you have a truly impactful update any of these letters is likely just to treat an applicant’s anxiety more than anything.

I would avoid sending more than one update, so save it for something important. This would be basically a major award or a new publication. There is little point in sharing minor things like starting a new job or getting more hours in an experience they already know about.

Aside from the handful of schools that are known to like having their ego stroked (and they tend to let you know, so it doesn’t sound like this is one of those schools) I firmly believe that a letter of intent does nothing. Again I would avoid sending multiple letters, so if you’re going to do it because you want to “make sure you do everything you can” save it to pair with an update.
Thank you for the advice and the info, my anxiety has now peaked lol

I was really asking this because I feel like I did not do amazing on my interview here as I was so nervous and what not. I guess I'll just have to wait it out and see what happens.
 
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Thank you for the advice and the info, my anxiety has now peaked lol

I was really asking this because I feel like I did not do amazing on my interview here as I was so nervous and what not. I guess I'll just have to wait it out and see what happens.
Many people overanalyze how the interview went and read into subtle interviewer behaviors or reactions that in reality likely mean nothing. You probably did fine.

Regardless, if in fact you did not do amazing, writing a nice letter is not going to change their impression. Try to move on and do as well as you can in your remaining interviews.
 
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Thank you for the advice and the info, my anxiety has now peaked lol

I was really asking this because I feel like I did not do amazing on my interview here as I was so nervous and what not. I guess I'll just have to wait it out and see what happens.
You got the interview which is a major step forward. Whatever the school’s system, notes made about your interview will be considered with everything else about you when a committee meets to discuss students who have made it this far.
Take their cue when they say more updates will not tip the balance, and know that you have done all you can for this school
 
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My staircase analogy puts this in perspective. Your application is assessed and you and other applicants are placed on a broad staircase with more than one applicant on each stair, in order by score. Those at the top of the staircase get in the door for interview with more people joining the staircase as their applications are received.

Once you are in the door, you are on an equally broad staircase, in the same order as before you entered. Interviews take place. You might return to your original place on the staircase based on your interview performance, you might move up a few steps, or you might move down one step or many. Whenever offers are made, they'll be made starting at the top of the staircase.

As you can see, your place on the staircase is determined shortly after your interview. For an update letter to influence your place on the staircase, it would need to be quite extraordinary.
 
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I recently emailed a school I interviewed with and they said they do accept update letters and that letters of intent do not directly impact the decision. So should I not even send one even if it’s my top choice?
Sending something when a school told you not to is unlikely to make them look favorably on you, so no.
 
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I recently emailed a school I interviewed with and they said they do accept update letters and that letters of intent do not directly impact the decision. So should I not even send one even if it’s my top choice?
Thought experiment: you ignore basic directions and send a letter. How should the school interpret this action?
 
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I recently emailed a school I interviewed with and they said they do accept update letters and that letters of intent do not directly impact the decision. So should I not even send one even if it’s my top choice?
This reminds me of a movie...

star wars 107 facts GIF by Channel Frederator


And hopefully your response...
star wars love GIF
 
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My staircase analogy puts this in perspective. Your application is assessed and you and other applicants are placed on a broad staircase with more than one applicant on each stair, in order by score. Those at the top of the staircase get in the door for interview with more people joining the staircase as their applications are received.

Once you are in the door, you are on an equally broad staircase, in the same order as before you entered. Interviews take place. You might return to your original place on the staircase based on your interview performance, you might move up a few steps, or you might move down one step or many. Whenever offers are made, they'll be made starting at the top of the staircase.

As you can see, your place on the staircase is determined shortly after your interview. For an update letter to influence your place on the staircase, it would need to be quite extraordinary.
Would work as a residency program coordinator at your top state school be noteworthy enough to send an update letter? It’s certainly more administrative but view it as showing passion for education (GME) and a leadership position. Also, already have ~2000 clinical hours
 
It would not move the needle for me.
Interesting, thanks for the response. So is there a pre-med available job that you would view as noteworthy of an update?

Surely there are not too many applicants that have had experience keeping a residency program afloat alongside a PD. Do you view it as a “cookie cutter” experience like research and nurse tech?
 
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Interesting, thanks for the response. So is there a pre-med available job that you would view as noteworthy of an update?

Surely there are not too many applicants that have had experience keeping a residency program afloat alongside a PD. Do you view it as a “cookie cutter” experience like research and nurse tech?
It's not that, @TennCare, it's more that schools are going to look at your total application as it was at the time you applied, for the array of jobs and activities. Application platforms have to draw a line somewhere for application completion. Neither AMCAS nor TMDSAS allows applicants to add in more activities or update the hours on old activities after submitting.
A new job that you added since turning in your application, that you have only been working at for a few weeks, will not have a big impact.
At an interview you can talk about it all you want.
 
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It's not that, @TennCare, it's more that schools are going to look at your total application as it was at the time you applied, for the array of jobs and activities. Application platforms have to draw a line somewhere for application completion. Neither AMCAS nor TMDSAS allows applicants to add in more activities or update the hours on old activities after submitting.
A new job that you added since turning in your application, that you have only been working at for a few weeks, will not have a big impact.
At an interview you can talk about it all you want.
Makes sense, thanks for the insight @wysdoc
 
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You are an administrative assistant. You schedule things. You book rooms, maybe you arrange for travel and refreshments. I would not be impressed that the people you interact with are resident candidates, residents, and clinical faculty. It is still a clerical job. (No offense intended.)
 
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You are an administrative assistant. You schedule things. You book rooms, maybe you arrange for travel and refreshments. I would not be impressed that the people you interact with are resident candidates, residents, and clinical faculty. It is still a clerical job. (No offense intended.)
Yes it is an administrative role, but you’re undermining the responsibilities and opportunities. There’s a reason why when a program is flagged, the ACGME don’t point fingers at faculty/residents but look directly to the PD and PC. You get to attend grand rounds, patient case meetings, CCC, among other learning opportunities. Networking doesn’t impress me either, but it demonstrates that you’re likeable enough to people in medicine. I’m not at all saying the job is special or some “x” factor, and after @wysdoc gave a great explanation I understand why you wouldn’t send an update letter about it. My assumption is that it is a more unique EC though when you’re comparing apples to apples (which from posts of sdn members on adcom committees seems to often be the case)
 
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Most coordinators I know are nice people but they aren't med school material. I do not intend to undermine the role but you may think that I am underestimating it.
 
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Most coordinators I know are nice people but they aren't med school material. I do not intend to undermine the role but you may think that I am underestimating it.
Fair enough, thank you for the feedback. 3 ii’s so far but of course n=1
 
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So based on the staircase model @LizzyM if I interview now (pretty early in the process) but the school doesn't release admissions till mid-February, am I constantly being moved around and compared to other applicants they are interviewing in say, Nov, Dec and Jan?

Or do they make a decision on my file pretty soon and then basically give me a spot (or not) early in the process that is secure. Seems to me that if they are reshuffling candidates till the very end, people interviewing early on are at a disadvantage in schools that announce their class late (like Einstein and Mayo and Duke and so on). It's like they are waiting for someone better than dear old me... and then boot me as soon as that happens....
 
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So based on the staircase model @LizzyM if I interview now (pretty early in the process) but the school doesn't release admissions till mid-February, am I constantly being moved around and compared to other applicants they are interviewing in say, Nov, Dec and Jan?

Or do they make a decision on my file pretty soon and then basically give me a spot (or not) early in the process that is secure. Seems to me that if they are reshuffling candidates till the very end, people interviewing early on are at a disadvantage in schools that announce their class late (like Einstein and Mayo and Duke and so on). It's like they are waiting for someone better than dear old me... and then boot me as soon as that happens....
TL/DR: yes. Depends on the program.
 
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So based on the staircase model @LizzyM if I interview now (pretty early in the process) but the school doesn't release admissions till mid-February, am I constantly being moved around and compared to other applicants they are interviewing in say, Nov, Dec and Jan?

Or do they make a decision on my file pretty soon and then basically give me a spot (or not) early in the process that is secure. Seems to me that if they are reshuffling candidates till the very end, people interviewing early on are at a disadvantage in schools that announce their class late (like Einstein and Mayo and Duke and so on). It's like they are waiting for someone better than dear old me... and then boot me as soon as that happens....
Eh you could look at it another way though. If they interview you early, you are likely more competitive at that school. Sure there may be some superstar late applicants that could take your spot, but I think by and large it will usually be people less competitive at that school, no?
 
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Eh you could look at it another way though. If they interview you early, you are likely more competitive at that school. Sure there may be some superstar late applicants that could take your spot, but I think by and large it will usually be people less competitive at that school, no?
In recent years, there has been no decline in quality later in the cycle compared with the early weeks.

Shortly after the interview, you get assigned to a stair. That's it.

Now maybe there are only 10 people on the stair you are on and there are 20 people on the stairs above you. You would certainly get in but many more applicants are coming along and will get assigned to your stair and the stairs above you. Some will be assigned to stairs below your stair. Will you be close enough to advance through the door before the school hits its maximum and closes the door? No one knows until the cycle ends.

That said, some schools will know that anyone on the very top step will get an offer because the number of applicants who will end up on that stair does not exceed the number of offers that can be made. So, some schools will make those offers early but wait to see how the mushy middle shakes out. Some years the people on stair 6 will get in and some years no one below stair 5 will get an offer. Make sense?
 
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In recent years, there has been no decline in quality later in the cycle compared with the early weeks.

Shortly after the interview, you get assigned to a stair. That's it.

Now maybe there are only 10 people on the stair you are on and there are 20 people on the stairs above you. You would certainly get in but many more applicants are coming along and will get assigned to your stair and the stairs above you. Some will be assigned to stairs below your stair. Will you be close enough to advance through the door before the school hits its maximum and closes the door? No one knows until the cycle ends.

That said, some schools will know that anyone on the very top step will get an offer because the number of applicants who will end up on that stair does not exceed the number of offers that can be made. So, some schools will make those offers early but wait to see how the mushy middle shakes out. Some years the people on stair 6 will get in and some years no one below stair 5 will get an offer. Make sense?
Yea, that does. Welp there goes my coping strategy...
 
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