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The Medical School Wait List: Can Anything Be Done?

Just when you've completed your medical school interviews and feel that you can sit back and relax because – after all – the rest is out of your hands, you may be surprised by a wait list notification. What is the next step? What can you do?


First of all, realize that medical school admissions have become increasingly competitive of late – especially in this weaker economy. Competitive applicants who would have considered business or law school are now recognizing the stability of a medical career. The number of applicants has again increased this year. Being wait listed is better than being rejected, and thus a positive, despite the anxiety is causes.


A few things you can do:

  1. Send a letter of intent. Let the school know of your continued interest and your new accomplishments. Ensure the letter is well written, streamlined and brief. Be explicit about your enthusiasm, and if the school is your first choice, let the admissions committee know that.

  2. Ask the school if you can set up a second look. A second visit indicates to the institution that you are serious, and it offers you more data in making your decision if you are later offered a spot.

  3. Do not neglect your other options. Don't focus all of your attention on this institution to the exclusion of others: Ensure you are well-prepared for upcoming interviews at other medical schools.

  4. Plan for last minute notice. At some schools applicants are offered slots off the wait list throughout the summer. I've even heard of acceptances being offered the day before medical school was to begin. Would you be able to change your living situation, move your personal belongings and uproot if this were to happen?


Finally, consider working with a professional who can substantially improve your letter of intent and assist you with mock interviews.


Medical school admissions consulting companies come in a variety of forms. Some are bigger businesses that focus on admissions to several types of graduate programs – not just medicine. Others are smaller and provide a medical focus, but have a pool of consultants of varying quality. Finally, elite companies offer both the medical focus and a highly experienced consultant who works one-on-one with clients. These professionals are ex-admissions officers from highly respected medical institutions. They have the inside knowledge of how medical admissions work, providing individualized guidance to optimize applicants' personal statements, medical school applications and interview skills.


When choosing a medical school admissions consulting company, a candidate should verify the company's references and research its consultants. It is best if the company does not assign written materials to outside editors who cannot be evaluated. Elite companies that offer both the medical focus and a highly experienced consultant who works one-on-one with clients offer a large advantage for pre-medical applicants, especially during these competitive times.


Dr. Michelle Finkel is the author of this article.For more information about medical school interview, medical school consulting, medical school admission tips, medical school admissions consulting, medical school admissions, medical school applications, Please visit

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