My Answers to some common Premed Questions
Last edited July 31, 2001


There's two ways a medical school can use the waiting list. Many medical schools will put a select number of people (eg. 40-50) on the waiting list. Many of the applicants they have accepted will end up declining their acceptances in favour of another school. At this point, the medical school looks at the highest-ranked person on the waiting list, and sends them good-news in the form of an acceptance letter. If this is how your medical school operates, then you've got a decent chance.

However, other medical schools have been known to put every applicant who was not accepted onto the waiting list. In this case, your chances drop dramatically, since the pool of wait-listed "potential acceptees" increases markedly.

Unfortunately, I don't know which system that school uses and they almost certainly won't tell you if you ask. Rankings on the waiting lists are one of those things that are almost universally kept confidential. I understand your frustration; us med students refer to it as "mailman tag" where you try to intercept the mailman at the mailbox, and frantically flip through all the useless junk mail... and wouldn't you know it, hellfire and damnation, but there's no news. We've all been through it, and it sucks.

What I can tell you, in case you aren't accepted this year, is that you are in great shape for next year. You now know that you are academically (GPA and MCAT) competitive, to gain the interviews. And when you think about it, there is pretty much no difference between the last applicants accepted, and the following people put onto the waiting list. In that year, you can work on all the little intangibles, and you'll have a very good chance at being accepted next year.

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