The Medical School Interview: Writing Thank You Notes

Once your AMCAS and secondary essays have been submitted, getting into medical school kicks into high gear with the interview season. Because medical school admissions have become so competitive of late – especially in this weaker economy –
the medical school interview has become critical.

Thank you notes can be good ways to alert institutions of your interest. They can also serve as reminders to your candidacy.

The thank you note should follow these rules:

  1. It should be sent immediately after your interview. Because you don’t know when your medical school application will be considered, the sooner the better.
  2. It should be hand written. An emailed thank you note looks lazy and may be deleted. The reader should not need to take the extra step to print out your note to place it into your file. One that is written by hand shows consideration and interest.
  3. It should be short. Keep it to four or five lines. Otherwise it will be skimmed – not read.
  4. It should be written in a formal format. Even if someone tells you to call her by her first name, the thank you note should include the person’s title, e.g. Dr. Smith.
  5. It should be sent to everyone with whom you interviewed.
  6. It can be personalized. If you spoke about your mutual interest in ballet, it’s smart to include that to distinguish yourself.

One would never take the MCAT without practicing first and yet, countless applicants go to interviews without preparing. Consider working with a professional: Because applicants can unknowingly undermine their chances of success with poor interview skills, a qualified, personalized medical school admissions consultant provides a great advantage.

Medical school 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 school admissions work, providing individualized guidance to optimize applicants’ personal statements, applications and interview skills.

When choosing a medical school admissions consulting company, a candidate should verify the company’s references and research its consultants. 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.

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Dr. Michelle Finkel, a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Medical School, founded Insider Medical Admissions as a way of leveling the playing field for applicants to selective medical programs. As the former Assistant Residency Director for the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency, Dr. Finkel repeatedly observed candidates who undermined their chances of success with poorly compiled application materials, underdeveloped personal statements and inadequate interview skills.

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About Dr. Michelle Finkel

Dr. Michelle Finkel

Dr. Finkel is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Medical School. On completing her residency at Harvard, she was asked to stay on as faculty at Harvard Medical School and spent five years teaching at the world-renowned Massachusetts General Hospital. She was appointed to the Assistant Residency Director position for the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency where she reviewed countless applications, personal statements and resumes. Read more

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