Medical school applicants often wonder whether they should update schools. An “update letter” can keep medical schools informed as the application process unfolds.
Applicants often wonder what merits sending an update; only significant additions to an application should be reported and/or information that was not provided previously.
The following list includes 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/Presentations: If there is a new publication, abstract, poster, or presentation, relay this information.
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 Responsibilities in the Workplace: If you switch jobs or assume more responsibilities/roles it is worthwhile to update schools.
New Grades: If enrolled in courses during the application cycle, new grades should be reported.
Negative Developments: Applicants are also required to report any negative developments. If any kind of disciplinary action is taken or if an applicant is arrested it must be reported. The rules in the AMCAS application stipulate that any infraction must be reported within 10 days of receiving it.
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.
Keep an update letter to one page. Make your letter 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, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
–Liza Thompson, Expert Medical School Admissions Consulting
Originally posted in 2013 and updated in 2014, 2015, 2018, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023.