No Medical School Interviews Yet?

Once January comes, med school applicants who do not yet have an interview often start to worry that it is “too late.” If you are in this position, here are the answers to some questions that you may have as you await an interview offer:

Is it really too late to be offered an interview?

Although much of the scheduling and actual interviewing take place in the fall, things are not over yet. Many interviews occur in January, February and even through early spring at some schools. The second half of December tends to be quiet as things slow down for the holidays and then the pace picks back up in January. However, if you sent in your application early and have not heard anything from the schools yet, your application may be on “pre-interview hold.” This usually means that the school has evaluated your application and did not find it competitive enough to offer you an interview immediately, but may do so later in the cycle.

Should I make a back-up plan?

While you certainly could still get an interview and acceptance at this point, it is a good idea to think about your options for next year early on, just in case. If you don’t end up utilizing these plans since you are safely ensconced in med school next fall, fine. If you do end up having to reapply though, you will not be left scrambling to figure out what to do next. The first step you should take is to determine any weaknesses in your application and to plan to address them in time for the next application cycle if you plan to reapply right away. That way, you can gain the additional clinical experiences you need, retake the MCAT or take other steps in time to have that new information be a part of your application by next summer. See my post here for ideas about how to spend a gap year. If your academic record needs significant work, consider a enrolling in a post-baccalaureate program. More information about these programs can be found here.

Is there anything I can do except wait?

Yes, you can send the schools an update letter and copies of your transcripts with your fall semester grades. This additional information may help the school to render a decision about your application. In your update letter, include any new volunteer work, awards, jobs, research or other activities that you have not already listed in your primary or secondary application. Also, briefly reiterate your reasons for applying to the school.

Hopefully, the coming weeks will bring you the interview invitation you have been waiting for. In the meantime, work on your update letters, start investigating the possibilities for next year and keep working to strengthen your application.

5 thoughts on “No Medical School Interviews Yet?”

  1. I sent all of my secondary applications in by the end of July. I have a 4.0 and my mcat is a 34. When should I start hearing from the schools about interviews?

  2. Dear Dr. Eaton,

    Is it appropriate to send an update letter earlier on in the admissions process? I am in the process of writing secondary applications and recently received a significant promotion. I will include it in the secondaries I have not finished, and am considering sending letters to the schools where my applications were already submitted.

    I am also considering including a correction to an experience start date which I very regrettably mis-typed in my AMCAS application, creating a gap of 1 year in my history. Do you generally advise for or against corrections of this sort? I am trying to make the correction in secondaries when possible. Is a letter the appropriate alternative avenue? Aside from this upsetting mistake, I had considered myself a strong applicant.

    Thank you,

  3. With a 33Q and 3.95 from a highly regarded school, I though I would receive a good number of interviews. My school’s “committee letter” held things up for one month, with secondaries finally being submitted in late August through mid Sept.

    I see many applicants with lower stats being accepted to schools I never received an invite
    to. Was I just too late in the cycle to expect any better?


  4. I just got an impromptu email from a medical school saying that due to cancellations, a slot has opened up for an interview on Jan 3. I got this email today (hardly a week before the actual interview). People tell me that they are just trying to satisfy interview quota and that most likely the class is full and even the alternative list has been made. I would have to fly in and the trip would be a huge hassle (change of plans and expensive). Is it worth it?


    1. The later in the cycle it is, the greater the chances that spots in the class are filled; however, even if the class is full and you are interviewing for the waitlist, you could end up getting admitted off of the waitlist. Whether or not you should take this is not something I can advise you on without knowing if you have an acceptance elsewhere already or how high of a priority this school is for you. Earlier is better of course, but I have worked with applicants who have interviewed as late as March and ultimately were accepted to the school. That is anecdotal, but if you are interested in this school or don’t already have an acceptance in hand, you may want to consider going.

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