In this episode, I’m discussing whether or not you should reach out to the medical school admissions committees before you apply or while you’re applying.
So, should you meet with admissions committees before applying to medical school? I recommend it. But you shouldn’t email every medical school you applied to just to say hello. You should contact your top school choices with specific questions pertaining to your situation, and build relationships.
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
[00:53] Which Medical Schools Should You Send Emails To
Find the schools that you are most interested in. Find the ones that, if you got an acceptance to that school, you’d be so excited—whether that’s because of location or education.
Find those top few schools and look at their requirements, prereqs, letter of recommendation requirements, the MSAR (Medical School Admissions Requirement) or the College Information Book (for DO schools). Look at those resources and see if there’s anything in there that you can ask a question about.
[Related episode: How Should I Use the MSAR to Look at Med Schools?]
[01:35] What Should Be in Your Email to Admissions Committee Members?
If for instance, you’re a nontraditional student, and the school wants a letter of recommendation from two non-science professors and you’ve never had non-science in ten years. What are you going to do?
So you call the school or email the school. Tell them you’re a nontraditional student. You’re applying next cycle and you’re really interested in going to the school. Then explain your situation and ask if an exception can be made for you. Ask if you can instead give a letter of recommendation from a volunteer supervisor or work supervisor, or research supervisor, or whatever it is.You're opening a door to a conversation by asking them a very specific question that pertains to you.Click To Tweet
Don’t ask a question that you can easily go and find online. Ask a question that is going to allow you to reach out to that school and to ask a very pointed question. This will allow you to show them who you are.
You can also ask other specific questions you have with the classes you’re taking, with your grades or your GPA. etc. For instance, ask for their recommendations to helpfully make you more competitive. Again, this is very pointed. This is specific to your situation.
[04:18] Start a Conversation with Admissions Committees Early
There’s really nothing you can do to fix things if they have certain recommendations that may require time. So you really need to start the conversations as early as a year to two years earlier. Ask for help because they are there to help you.The key to all of this is that you need to start these conversations early. You can't do them a month before you apply.Click To Tweet
Moreover, once you cross over into the applicant pool, then the help they can give you is completely different.
Before you’re an applicant, a lot of admissions committee members will help you as much as they can. But once you’re an applicant, they can’t help you as much because you’re now in the pool of students. They don’t want to seem like they’re helping some students who are applying.
[05:34] Building Relationships with Medical School Admissions Committees
Build those relationships. Relationships in this world are everything. Not by emailing those 50 schools general questions. But by emailing your top choice schools.
Figure out where you want to go to school. Figure out how you can reach out to them and ask for help with whatever it is you need help with. Ask for help and they will be there to help you.
Links and Other Resources
- Check out my Premed Playbook series of books (available on Amazon), with installments on the personal statement, the medical school interview, and the MCAT.
- Related episode: If I Can’t Get a 3.0 GPA, What Should I Do Next?
- Related episode: 7 Reasons Premeds Don’t Get into Medical School.
- Need MCAT Prep? Save on tutoring, classes, and full-length practice tests by using promo code “MSHQ” for 10% off Next Step full-length practice tests or “MSHQTOC” for $50 off MCAT tutoring or the Next Step MCAT Course at Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)!