Should You Introduce Yourself to a Medical School?

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Session 200

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I’m having meetups this October including one at the UC Davis Conference. Go to for more information. Catch me at these oxther events including one at the University of Florida (November), in Chicago (November 18), in College Station, Texas for AMSA’s PreMedFest (November 23), and at the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[01:05] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“I would prefer to remain local in Chicago and would like to attend University of Illinois Medical School. I will be applying late in the application cycle due to the timing of prerequisite and MCAT completion. 

Would it benefit me to introduce myself to the medical school in advance in any way? Is there a formal/informal process for doing this? What is this process? Or is this frowned upon?”

[01:40] What to Do Pre-Application

Reach out to the schools. Don’t just bother them by telling them you want to come to their school.

Try to dive in based on you and your journey in terms of what specific questions you have for that school. Maybe you’re missing prereqs, especially for nontrad students. Or your prereqs are older or that your timing is a bit off.

Reach out to the schools and tell them about yourself. Ask whether you should apply for this cycle or wait until the next cycle to be more competitive. The school will hopefully let you know and give you some good feedback.

Build that relationship and connections whether you’re a premed, medical student or a resident.

'Networking is huge and key to who you are as a person and where you will go in your life.'Click To Tweet

Really ask thoughtful questions based on your story and based on that school. Don’t call every school and ask potentially the same generic question. Don’t call the schools or email the schools and ask generic questions. Then the answers are just on their homepage.

[03:45] When You Think You Have Red Flags

Especially if you have red flags in your application, call and talk to the school. Most of the deans and directors for admissions of medical schools really want to get to know the students who are going to apply.

They’re there to help students, maybe not directly. Schools have faculty members who have volunteered to review an application before students actually submit their application. Most schools will have some setup to do that.

A lot of nontrad students have their spouse tied to a specific location or kids in school. They don’t want to displace them from their current schools and move them to a new school.

Because of this, you may want to be only in a specific school. It’s really hard to do that. But if you have the right application and you’re building the right connections and making the right conversations, then you can do it.

'If you're the right applicant to the right school with the right application and the right connections and conversations, it's doable.'Click To Tweet

[05:05] Having Conversations with Family

You can also ask your family that if you don’t get into one this cycle and then maybe you can apply more broadly. Then you can probably move as a family or you can go away for a bit to school and come home on the weekends. So these are the kinds of discussions you can have with your significant other.

[05:30] Reach Out to Schools

Reach out to schools. There is really no formal process for the schools. Make that phone call and do this pre-application.

Don’t do this while you are an applicant to medical school. Once you are an applicant to medical school, the rules of engagement are different. They’re less likely to talk to you or offer you any advice.

'Make that phone call and email asking to have a conversation with someone about your application.'Click To Tweet

[06:06] Networking Opportunities

Go to different conferences whether locally or nationally. There are so many events happening across the country all through the year. For instance, there’s the UC Davis Prehealth Conference, AAMC Minority Fair, AMSA Convention, and the AMSA PreMedFest.

'Go to these conferences. Reach out to schools and talk to them to get those connections.'Click To Tweet

A lot can happen when you go to events like these. I remember a student I’ve had on the Premed Years Podcast a few months ago. She wasn’t getting any interview invites.

She came to UC Davis conference in October and attended the AAMC Minority Fair in November. She got some interview invites because of going to the fair and ultimately got multiple acceptances.

Had she not put herself out there, her application could have just been sitting. Standing in front of the admissions committees at a conference really does make a huge impression on people.


Meded Media

The Premed Years Podcast

Nontrad Premed Forum

UC Davis Prehealth Conference

AAMC Minority Fair

AMSA Convention

AMSA PreMedFest