Medical school applicants often wonder whether they should update schools with new information. This “update letter” can serve as an important vehicle for keeping the medical schools informed as the application process unfolds.
Applicants often wonder what merits sending an update; only significant additions to your application should be reported. The following list includes the chief items of interest for the medical schools.
Honors or Awards: If an honor or award is achieved since submitting the application the medical schools should be informed.
Publications/Abstracts/Presentations at National Research Conferences: If research has culminated in a new publication, abstract, poster, or presentation this information should be provided to the medical schools.
Changes in Classes: If courses change and a class which was included in the application is dropped it should be reported to the medical schools, especially if the course is a requirement at a particular school.
New Jobs or New Responsibilities in the Workplace: If you switch jobs or assume more responsibilities/roles in a job it is worthwhile to update the schools.
New Grades: If enrolled in courses during the application cycle new grades should be reported to the schools.
Negative Developments: Applicants are also required to report any negative developments that occur after submitting an application. If any kind of disciplinary action is taken or if an applicant is arrested for any reason it must be reported. The rules in the AMCAS application stipulate that any infraction must be reported to the medical schools within 10 days of receiving it.
Only send update letters if there are real updates to report. The update letter differs from the “letter of intent” or “letter of interest” although updates can also be woven into those letters. Please see my other blog posts on letters of intent and/or interest.
It’s imperative that you keep an update letter to one page. Make your letter short and direct, while providing valuable information. You should also use the update letter as a vehicle to convey your reasons for wanting to go to a particular school.
If you’re not sure about the proper format of the letter or the contents that are specific to your situation, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Liza Thompson, Expert Medical School Admissions Consulting
Originally posted in 2013 and updated in 2014, 2015, 2018, 2020, and 2021.