The Waiting Game: The Period Between Medical School Applications and Medical School Interviews

So, you’ve just submitted your application… Now what?

October 1st has come and gone, and you now find yourself in a new state of being – post-medical school application submission. Thinking and writing about medical school applications has taken up a lot of your time recently and now it’s finally over. You may feel relief, excitement and maybe even sadness. What do you do now? 

First of all, pat yourself on the back! You have worked very hard for very long and it is a huge accomplishment to have completed and submitted your applications. You are one step closer to your dreams of a medical career. Allow yourself to celebrate this major milestone. 

Next, take care of yourself. The process of writing and submitting medical school applications can be physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting. Some of you may have even written the MCAT at the same time or directly before starting your applications. Others may have been taking classes or working. Whatever the case may be, give yourself permission to rest and relax. Medical school applications may have taken up a lot of your time and mental space, and you may have had to put other aspects of your life on hold… Now it is time to do something that makes you feel like “you” again. What this looks like depends on what you need to feel refreshed – it could be as simple as treating yourself to a manicure, going out to eat with loved ones, or getting back on track with your exercise regimen. 

One of the most difficult parts of this journey is the pervading sense of uncertainty. Now that you have submitted your applications, there is not much you can do except wait – wait for medical school interview invites in a few months and then results almost a year away. It can be frustrating and nerve-wracking to be sitting in the dark while decisions about your future are being made by people you have never met. It is easy to feel anxious and to start to fixate on certain aspects of your application (“Why did I write that? Maybe I should have said this?”) and you may even feel discouraged (“I’m never getting in”). If you find yourself thinking along these lines, stop and take a deep breath. Remind yourself that you have done your very best with the time and resources you had available to you, that you are likely being too hard on yourself, and that beating yourself up now will not change the outcome. Remember that, regardless of what happens, your worth is not defined by the success of your application. Try to focus in on other aspects of your life, whether that may be friends, family, school, work, etc. I strongly recommend not reading your applications over again, at least until it is interview season. 

I am often asked whether it is worth preparing for medical school interviews before you have gotten an invite. I think it depends on who you are and what you need. For some people, early med school interview prep provides an outlet for devoting energy to feel productive while waiting and helps provide a greater sense of self-confidence, so they can feel readier when interviews roll around. For others, it may be too stress-inducing and unhelpful to start preparing so early on and may contribute to burn-out and a decline in motivation. How do you perceive your skills in interviewing? What are other demands on your time? What do you most value during this period? Consider all of these factors and act accordingly. Regardless of whether you decide to start preparing earlier or not, I do recommend staying on top of the news (healthcare and otherwise). Not only will this help provide a foundation for future interview prep, it will more importantly help you be a well-informed and socially-aware citizen. 

Congratulations on submitting your applications and best of luck with the journey to come! 

While you’re waiting, start your interview preparations for medical school interviews with our free resources including Q&A sessions with our medical student consultants.
Book your appointment with a medical student today to start your medical school interview preparations.