Facing Winter Break without a Medical School Interview

Is that a snow-Ben?

It’s not a very festive title for a blog post, to be sure — in fact, it almost sounds like a William Carlos Williams poem…if you spaced the words out a bit (actually, the doctor-poet went to Penn Med, and who knows when he interviewed).  All the same, if you haven’t had an interview as we move into mid-December, you may be feeling less than optimistic about your application to medical school.  And that can be hard on your spirits at a time when it can seem everyone is expecting you to be celebratory and sharing good news.  You’re telling people you haven’t heard or are “on hold” without even knowing what that means.  So, if this sounds like you, here are a few pointers to help you enjoy your break:

  • No news at this point doesn’t mean you aren’t going to interview and gain acceptance to medical school.  True, it may be looking tougher, but most people who get into medical school are accepted by one or two schools.  That’s all it takes and many people interview early in the calendar year.
  • Plan to see your pre-health advisor as soon as you return to campus for the spring semester (or make a phone appointment if you are off campus or an out-of-town alum: 215.898.1789).  You can save all your worries for the appointment.  You can tell inquisitive relatives that you are talking to your pre-health advisor as soon as you are back at school.  Then, if you make and keep the appointment (which we hope you will), you can come in and talk about your application and your plans in case it doesn’t work out.  This conversation can be more helpful in January than April if you need to research alternate academic or work plans.
  • Try not to transmit your worries to the medical schools.  The urge to DO SOMETHING to gain an interview can be very powerful, especially after you have been sitting tight for several months.  If you have a significant piece of information you want to share with an admissions office, and you feel like you should, it won’t hurt your application.  However, it can be very easy to give schools an “update” that communicates all of your negative emotions and that is not helpful.  You may end up writing another essay or taking a pleading or anxious tone.  It may seem like a good idea to drop in on the admissions office.  Remember, they are very busy — you are one of thousands.  Hurricane Sandy has left many offices even busier.  If you send a note sharing a useful piece of news, be upbeat, concise and informative.
  • Ruminating about what might have happened or spending lots of time reading on-line premed forums can be an outlet for anxiety that adds fuel to the fire.  Give yourself a break this time of year and connect with others, spending some time doing fun things you haven’t had time to do in a good while.  All you can do is wait, so make the best of it.

Your pre-health advisors are at Career Services until December 21st and will return January 2.  Have an excellent break!

Author: Carol Hagan

Carol Hagan is a pre-health and pre-grad advisor in Career Services. She has a Ph.D. in art history from Penn and did her undergraduate work at Wesleyan University.