There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to calling medical school admissions teams. For nervous applicants awaiting confirmation or rejection, that’s understandable. But…
Should applicants be calling the medical school admissions office to ask about their status?
No, not really. There is little point in calling to see about your status, beyond wasting your own (and the team member the other side’s) time. If you’ve missed something from your application, then maybe, but even then a likely response is that your application is “still under review.”
Calling, in some cases, can only serve to irritate very busy teams instead!
But there are some nuances to calling medical school admissions, as this article hopes to explore.
Here’s what else we’ll cover:
- The best way to contact admissions offices
- Important dos and dont’s
- Cases when you should/shouldn’t call
As a med student myself who understands the anxiety involved in applying, I hope this helps clear up some of these big concerns!
Ready to get started? Let’s go.
What’s the biggest thing to think about when calling medical school admissions?
Probably the biggest thing to consider is the person on the other end. Medical school admissions teams are small. And the members that help make them up are often busy thanks to the long process (interviews, processing, vetting, etc) involved.
Usually, there isn’t a dedicated person manning the phones 24/7 to help answer any queries or requests!
Next to this, the second biggest thing to consider is the point of your call.
What do you hope to get out of contacting medical school admissions?
Reassurance? That’s impossible to get, given the level of competitiveness.
The hope of being seen as “enthusiastic”? You could be taken quite the opposite way!
Think carefully about your reason for calling in the first place.
If you can find the answer via the medical school’s website, or via Google, you definitely shouldn’t be calling.
Respect the process
Possibly the best practice when it comes to calling medical school admissions is to only do so if it’s absolutely necessary, urgent, and can’t be answered via other means.
It’s important you respect the selection process as the number of applicants to specific schools typically runs in the thousands.
Be patient during the application period and resist the temptation to call where possible.
And if you do have to call, make sure you don’t do anything to jeopardize the way you could look!
When is it OK to call medical school admissions?
The following circumstances probably mean that it’s OK to call the admissions team:
- To confirm interview timings/days (or anything related to scheduling after hearing from admissions first)
- To discuss any other post-secondary queries (legitimate questions after interviewing)
But again it’s not entirely necessary to call in these cases either. Use your power of rationalization.
If you wouldn’t want someone calling you about something (because the information is already out there), do you think they’ll want the same?
Is it OK to call, judging by the cost of my application?
Some med students have the attitude of “it’s my right to call given the $100 (or so) cost of my application.”
In my opinion, this is a dangerous state of mind to be in. And a level of arrogance that’ll probably lead to you becoming unstuck (or found out) during the interview process. Should you get that far!
But there’s also the assumption that the person taking your call will actually know anything (including the intrinsic details) about your application.
Generally, there’s no order to how applications are processed. And no guarantee they’ll know who you are on what’s on your application.
Contacting medical school admissions: important dont’s
As for what to definitely not do, here are some important points:
- Don’t demand anything (answers, confirmation, acceptance)
- Don’t be impolite or rude
- Don’t make repeated calls (or leave repeated messages)
- Don’t try to find the personal contacts of adcoms members and reach out to them privately
- Don’t assume calling will show your enthusiasm (your application/interview already does that)
- Don’t call if sending an email is more appropriate
Following these general rules should mean you at least avoid deliberately irritating or angering admissions teams.
Therefore keeping your application status intact!
How do you call medical school admissions?
Go to the individual website of the school you’re intending to apply to and find their contact information.
Typically you’ll find this information published in their application section. Especially around the topic of secondary applications (after submission of your AMCAS application).
Here’s Loma Linda’s section on it, for example…
Invitations to submit the secondary application are sent to all our applicants. Upon receipt of an AMCAS application (allowing up to six weeks after submission of the application to AMCAS), an email is sent inviting the applicant to complete the secondary application. If this email invitation is not received within two weeks after notification from AMCAS that an application is verified, please call the Office of Admissions at 909-558-4467.(Source)
Failing that, Google it.
Once you have the information, respect the methods of contact the school provides. Don’t go hunting down private or personal numbers.
If the school suggests email as the preferred point of contact, use that.
Typically they’ll have a more efficient system for dealing with your request through that channel as a result.
When you call make sure you do it in a respectful manner. Start with who you are (full name), the date of your application, etc., and then lead in with your query.
Don’t feel dejected if you’re dismissed or referred elsewhere. As long as you behave professionally (and with common sense), it shouldn’t have a negative impact on your application status.
Is it bad to call admissions offices?
Only in the cases suggested above; when you can easily find the answer to your question elsewhere or you run the risk of annoying someone in the adcoms team.
Of course, this assumes you’re already in the pool of applicants.
Before you apply, the situation is rather different. In this case, admissions offices are usually more receptive to taking calls in the hope of encouraging you to apply and answering any questions you may have about the process.
This is when admissions can still help you fix things and offer recommendations before the finalization of your application.
Especially when it comes to things like prereqs, grades, extracurriculars, and the like.
Calling adcoms can sometimes give you invaluable insight in this regard!
Should you get a doctor to call a medical school on your behalf?
No. In almost all cases it won’t make any difference to the status of your application.
It may be sensible after receiving a secondary application to have a doctor call, but probably only in the following situations:
- To clear up details of a letter of recommendation (LOR)
- To help validate any inconsistencies in volunteer/shadowing hours you declare
- To provide specifities about research projects you’ve been involved in
- To confirm your past/present experiences as a healthcare employee
But usually, these are only necessary if you’ve been asked to provide further detail. Or are aware of a mistake you need to rectify.
Pre-secondary, getting a doctor to call a medical school for you makes very little sense.
How to email medical school admissions
Emailing medical school admissions should be much the same as contacting them.
Be professional in tone. Introduce yourself formally. Get directly to the point.
Don’t spend needless text meandering around your reason for emailing. That’ll only irritate or confuse adcoms.
Definitely quickly proofread your email before sending it out too. Especially in terms of grammar and clarity.
The tips in this article below apply…
Definitely don’t try to contact anyone from medical school admissions via social media.
That goes for the more formal channels like LinkedIn, just as much as it does for Facebook, Twitter, etc.
You need to go through professional channels. And follow the protocol set by each medical school.
Do medical schools call
You may well be tempted into calling medical school admissions given the importance and work involved in putting together a competitive application.
9/10 times, however, it’s not the done thing to do and could only risk your application being seen in a neutral or positive light.
Use your common sense. Don’t aggravate adcoms with needless calls. And definitely don’t think it’s going to help your application (once submitted) in any way!
Born and raised in the UK, Will went into medicine late (31) after a career in journalism. He’s into football (soccer), learned Spanish after 5 years in Spain, and has had his work published all over the web. Read more.