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Update Letter Recommendations and Template

This is your opportunity to highlight any key improvements to your resume since you submitted all your application materials. This is also an excellent way to express your interest in a program and get off a pre or post-interview waitlist. If you have been following the schedule, you will have completed your secondary's by September and should now be in the waiting phase. You are at the mercy of the medical schools and their will to grant you an interview or an acceptance. However, this period is not entirely passive, and you can submit an update letter to the programs of your choosing. Do your research and find out what schools on your list accept updates and find out how they accept them. The last thing you want to do is spend time creating a personalized update letter for a program that will reject your efforts.


Make sure the content you provide in the update letter is substantial and of the highest quality. Recent publications, an incredible patient experience, or a respectable new position in the hospital. This is a fantastic opportunity for a pharmacy student to broadcast their unique APPE rotations and demonstrate the clinical nature of their involvement. As you will see, some rotations will have you take on minimal responsibility, while others will have you work independently. These make for unique stories that the Admissions Committee will love to hear. Your PY4 year is also the time when much of your pharmacy related research will come to fruition. As pharmacy students, many of you will have been working towards presenting your work at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Mid-year Clinical Meeting. What is normally a showcase for residency and fellowship applicants can be a great opportunity for you to present a poster or give a stand-out presentation. This is yet another excellent opportunity to demonstrate your passion for research and the propagation of medicine, and certainly a worthy addition to your update letter.

Don’t send updates until you have given programs some time to process your application. You do not want to be that applicant who submits an update 20 minutes after completing the same school's secondary. They will wonder why you did not include that information on your recently submitted contents, and it may negatively impact you. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you how long that will be because everyone applies at different times, but generally November or December are reasonable times to submit. Here are a few examples of when you should consider sending an update letter.


  • If you have interviewed at the program and haven’t heard from them in a while.


  • If you have been placed on a Pre-Interview Waitlist, a letter may remind them that you still exist and are doing great things.


  • If you have had no updates about the status of your application since you finished your submission, an update letter might jolt them to look into your profile.


Lastly, even if you don’t have anything substantial to update your medical schools with (unlikely with your APPE Rotations), many programs will consider your letter a sign that you are still interested in their program. It will also serve as a touchpoint opportunity where you can contact the program again and let them know that you are “extremely excited to hear from them.” Sending update letters successfully moved me from at least one pre-interview waitlist. I think it was worth it!


Provided below is an example template of an update letter as well as a complete update letter that I produced and submitted during my application cycle. Feel free to use a similar style or this outline to get you started. Don’t forget to individualize the content to fit your personality and experiences.

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Please feel free to copy and paste the example below and adjust it to fit your needs!

For Information on How to Successfully Apply to Medical School, please browse our Blog, check out our Video Course or purchase the book "Pharm.D. to M.D."

John Doe
AMCAS ID#: 12345678       
123 S Towsen Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 12345
November 20, 2019
[XYZ] School of Medicine
Office of Admissions
987 Elmwood Avenue, Box 123A
Rochester, NY 98765
To Whom It May Concern,
I am writing today to provide The Admissions Committee with an update of my recent activity for the 2019 fall semester. As I continue to work towards my pharmacy doctoral degree, I have completed several new patient-centered clinical rotations since the submission of my secondary application in July. More specifically, these experiences encompassed five weeks of full-time work at an Outpatient Anticoagulation Clinic, and Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I have also completed a five-week rotation rounding in the Neurocritical Care Unit at the Cleveland Clinic, Main Campus, in Cleveland Ohio. During my anticoagulation clinic rotation, I had the incredible opportunity to conduct multiple patient interviews that focused on managing patient’s newly prescribed warfarin medication. I worked directly with my patients on a daily basis discussing medication interventions, dosage adjustments and adverse events under professional supervision. During my tenure, I found the extensive patient interaction in a primary care setting to be very rewarding as I watched my patients recover and learn while building professional relationships. All three of these rotations have broadened my understanding of medical practice and have allowed me to grow professionally and personally through actively working alongside patients and provider teams.
Additionally, while on clinical rotations, I conducted several formal case-based presentations to hospital staff. More specifically, three of my presentations were titled Ketamine Use for Refractory Status Epilepticus: A Case Review, Therapeutic Management of Endocarditis, and Acute Ischemic Stroke: Primary and Secondary Management. These formal presentations allowed me to evaluate guideline recommendations and practice standards of care to develop educational content.
Over the past few months, my research projects have come to fruition as I have been accepted to present two unique posters at The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting. This conference is the largest professional pharmacy gathering in the country and will be held this December in Las Vegas, Nevada. I am excited to take my clinical research findings and present them to the medical community. I believe that my passion for medical research aligns with The University of [XYZ] School of Medicine’s mission for research advancement.
Lastly, I would like to inform the admissions committee that my cancer research contributions have resulted in authorship on the manuscript, and it has been accepted for publication in The Journal of Cellular Biochemistry as of August 29, 2019: The publication can be found at the DOI: 10.1002/jcb.12345. The title of the publication is as follows; The Pharmacological inhibition of the MEK5/ERK5 and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways synergistically reduces viability in triple-negative breast cancer. 
I hope this update will assist the admissions committee as they continue to review my application for a seat in The University of [XYZ] School of Medicine Class of 2024. Thank you for your time and consideration.
            *Insert Signature Here*

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