How to manage your stress during interview season

The time spent waiting between submitting your medical school or residency application and hearing back from your schools can be stressful! For most, it can feel like an eternity because of all the effort and time put into preparing, researching, and then submitting your primary and secondary applications.

It’s interview season now for both medical schools and residency programs, and there’s still plenty of time for you to be offered school/program interviews. Try to stay patient and remember the best thing to do during this time is to prepare for your interviews.

When do interview invitations begin to roll out?

Let’s take a look at when you can expect interviews for medical school and when you can expect them for residency programs…

Medical school interviews

As hard as it is to be patient, with such a large number of medical schools and applicants, there’s no true universal timeline for application review, invitation, acceptance offers, etc. In the end, the entire process ends up taking nearly a year. The wait to hear back from programs can be a long one, but most of the time medical school interviews occur during October and January. There’s a wide variation from school to school, but interview season is only just beginning! (Don’t lose hope yet!)

The rolling admissions system is also a factor in the medical school interview invitation timeline. Those who apply first may have their application reviewed earlier and if you’re a highly competitive candidate who submits your secondary application quickly, you may hear back earlier in the interview cycle.

However, not every school reviews applications as they come in, so even if you submitted early and you haven’t gotten an interview invitation yet, don’t worry. It all just depends on the school.

Residency interviews

If you’re applying for residency programs, your interview dates will really depend on your specialty. According to AMA, six specialties offer standardized interview offer dates meaning their interview offers will go out on that date. These include:

  • Ophthalmology
  • Urology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • General surgery
  • Dermatology
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Otolaryngology

For all other specialties, interview invitations can go out as soon as programs have access to applications, which for the 2022-2023 cycle was September 28th.

Most offer invitations 2-3 weeks after receiving an application, with the bulk of programs sending invites out by Thanksgiving. However, you should keep in mind that the process continues into January.

What you can expect by December

By December, most residency programs are still interviewing, and some may be sending out last-minute invitations. You’ve likely been interviewing during the months of October and November, but it is very normal to have interviews continuing into the winter months.

According to data from the National Resident Matching Program, the median number of interviews for matched applicants last year was 14. If you have less than 10, consider thinking outside of the box and looking at programs you may not have previously considered to get a better chance of matching.

Accepting too many interviews though can also cause a headache. Although many interviews are still virtual, the cost can rapidly add up if you must travel to numerous in-person interviews. With the exception of highly competitive specialties, it likely will not improve your odds of matching significantly if you interview at more than 15 places.

For medical schools, if it’s December and you haven’t received a secondary application, it’s probably unlikely you’ll get one. If you have submitted a secondary application, there are a couple of things you can try to do to get an interview. First, ask an alumnus of the program to contact the school or call the admissions Dean on your behalf. You can also consider writing a letter of intent encouraging the school to give your application another look.

How Code Blue Essays can help

The best thing you can do over the next month or two is to be sure you are ready to ace your interviews!

We can help you prepare for both your medical school and residency program interviews and provide you with the skills and preparation you need to make this process look and feel more natural.

Our tool, Interview Genius, will help you gain expert insight into how to approach interview questions and how to make yourself stand out from other applicants. (Read our blog post on this for other tips as well.)

With Interview Genius you’ll get access to:

  • Unlimited mock interviews
  • Real interview questions
  • Video tutorials about communication techniques, what to wear, etc.
  • A physician coach who will give you personalized feedback

We also offer interview coaching to give you feedback on mock interviews before you do the real one(s)!

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