When and How Should You Contact Medical Schools

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ADG 141: When and How Should You Contact Medical Schools

Session 141

Wondering when is an appropriate time to contact medical schools? In this podcast episode, I answer that question and more!

Ask Dr. Gray: Premed Q&A is brought to you by Blueprint MCAT. Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

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[00:22]  Question of the Day

“For a lot of people who didn’t do so well in undergrad and they can’t get their undergraduate GPA above the 3.0 GPA, you said to advocate for yourself. 

My question is when is the appropriate time to ask medical school admissions committee members? 

And when they’re not so busy reviewing applications, interviewing people getting ready for the next cycle so that I don’t bother them at an inappropriate time. But also, so that I can get an answer that’s not like please check their website?”

[01:40] When to Reach Out

'The rules of engagement are different pre-application and, and post application.'Click To Tweet

Medical schools are typically more willing to have a conversation with you, pre-application, which means right before you are an actual applicant to their school. You can reach out to them and be strategic.

Don’t just email 100 schools, but be strategic. Tell them how you’re interested in their school because of XYZ and talk a little bit of your story. And that you’re worried that because of XYZ, you’re going to be filtered out, even though you have this prolonged upward trend. Ask for their advice.

Be strategic with who you’re asking and why you’re asking. And give a little bit of the story, and not your entire biography. Now, see if they’ll respond to that.

A lot of students, unfortunately, either give way too much information and medical schools don’t have time to read it. Or students give too little information and they don’t give the schools an opportunity to actually provide decent advice or information specific to you.

Our student is planning on taking a postbac and wondering if it would be too early to reach out to medical schools. But I don’t think it’s ever too early to start having those conversations with medical schools.

[05:46] Taking a Formal Postbac vs.Community College Postbac

Undergraduate coursework seems to be more heavily weighted among medical schools. And so, that’s not to say that you can’t go do a hard sciences master, do well, and really help overcome your undergraduate GPA. Obviously, you can still do that. It may just limit the schools that are going to look at that or give you an opportunity.

Now, our student’s masters is a little bit weird because it has that law part in there. Schools may wonder if it’s really the hard sciences and how much weight should they be giving it. In her case, a postbac may be right for her.

There may be some schools out there that may question taking it at a community college and wonder if you’re doing it because it’s easier.

That being said, I don’t like to tell students to go to the formal postbac because that’s a lot more money than just going to a community college. Going to community college provides more flexibility to keep a job or keep doing research, whatever it is you’re doing. Because the courses or the class schedule is a little bit more flexible, than a formal postbac.

Ultimately, look at your situation and your life circumstances. Can you afford it? Does your current situation allow you to do that? Or are you putting yourself in a hard situation and sacrificing a ton to go to this formal postbac when you’d be happier doing a community college postbac?

[09:52] MCAT Prep

When asked about her MCAT prep, our student is listening to The MCAT Podcast, and using Blueprint MCAT and Anki flashcards. A little announcement though that Blueprint is soon going to have their flashcards as well. So stay tuned for that!


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