Have you lately had an interview at your dream medical school? Have you been added to the waiting list? Is it the end of interview season and you still haven’t heard from your top-choice program?
If you responded “yes” to any of these questions, you should probably write a medical school letter of intent.
Medical school letters of intent are crucial papers in the admissions process. They allow you to express your desire to get accepted into a specific medical program. A powerful, well-written medical school letter of intent can persuade an admissions committee to accept your application.
This article will explain what a medical school letter of intent is, what it’s for, what to include and what to leave out, and answer some of the most often asked questions about them.
What is a Medical School Letter of Intent?
A letter of intent for medical school is a document produced by you that declares that you will accept an admissions offer if one is provided to you. You should only send one of these letters to your top choice of medical school since it communicates your preference for that school over all others.
A letter of intent should include a clear expression of interest, why you wish to attend the school, and your interest in faculty research or other career possibilities accessible via the medical school. As Princeton University points out, a letter of intent is often a one-page document, so you must carefully evaluate what information to include.
Purpose of a Letter of Intent Medical School
The goal of a medical school letter of intent is to state unequivocally that you want to attend your top choice medical school if you are offered admission. It should also restate your motivation for attending the institution.
A letter of intent may be a valuable complement to your application to the medical school of your choice. It not only expresses your preference for a particular medical school over others, but it also displays to the admissions committee your commitment to your dream school and willingness to make a good contribution to the program.
Although drafting a letter of intent to your first choice of school does not guarantee acceptance, it can help your application stand out by making it more competitive. Medical schools want to be able to anticipate their yield rates, or how many of the candidates who are accepted will really attend the school.
This is simplest to do when candidates exhibit a strong desire to attend the institution. Medical schools can modify their tuition based on whether their yield rates improve or fall if they can predict matriculation rates. High yield rates make medical schools more competitive and, as a result, more discriminating in those they admit.
However, when it comes to getting into extremely competitive colleges, every little bit helps, especially when you consider that only about 41% of applicants get into elite American medical schools. A letter of intent might help you stand out from the crowd of applicants to your top school of choice.
When one of two things happens during your medical school application process, you can send a letter of intent. When you’ve completed all or most of your medical school interviews, including your interview at your top preference school, you can send a letter of intent.
After finishing your interview, you can additionally send a letter of intent if you have been waitlisted at your preferred institution.
How is it different from an update letter or a letter of interest?
Although update letters may link your recent activities to the schools’ mission or opportunities, their primary purpose is to keep medical schools up to date on major accomplishments, involvements, and professional development experiences that they would not have seen in your primary or secondary application. It demonstrates to medical schools that you value self-improvement and have a growth mentality.
Letters of interest
This is a real and emotional letter that focuses on why the school is a good fit for you. This letter is usually written after you’ve submitted an update letter and haven’t received a response from the school. It should show how your beliefs, experiences, and objectives align with the school’s mission, opportunities, and activities.
When should I send a letter of intent med school?
Whether you’ve been put on the waitlist or haven’t heard back, we recommend writing a letter of intent a month following your interview (at least a month).
It’s fine to write a second letter of intent two months after the first, especially if you have significant new information.
Because the letter of intent is intended to indicate that this institution is your first choice, it must be genuine, and the explanation must be clear and succinct. It’s better to write later in the admissions season, after you’ve interviewed at a few other schools (if you have), so you can show that you’ve really studied all of your options and are positive that THIS institution is the right fit for you. Declaring your plans to those making admissions choices displays that you have carefully considered all of your alternatives and that you will be a valuable member of their program and campus community.
The reason you have to wait a little later in the cycle is to demonstrate that you have given this significant thought. Sending a letter of intent before or after an interview shows that you are making a hasty decision without fully and thoroughly examining all of your alternatives, which might reflect adversely on their assessment of your maturity. So, only write such a letter after you’ve had the opportunity to sit down with an interviewer (and don’t send one if you haven’t been asked to one) – if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to sit down with an interviewer, your letter will appear insincere.
Can I send a medical letter of intent before interviewing or right after interviewing?
You could do that, but it’s probably not the best option.
Sending a letter of intent before or after an interview might give the impression to the school that you’re making a hasty, frantic, nervous, or premature choice.
After you’ve interviewed, we recommend submitting a letter of intent. Try to be patient and think about your choices. If you send your letter of intent later in the interview season, it will be considered more seriously.
Is it acceptable to send a letter of intent medical to multiple schools?
No, this is neither ethical nor prudent.
You may go a long way by expressing your passion and intent, but you can’t tell every school on your list that they are your “first pick.”
Apart from being dishonest, this might put you in an embarrassing position if you receive many offers. Of course, a letter of intent isn’t legally enforceable, but it is a commitment that should be kept.
Are there schools that don’t accept letters of intent?
Although it is uncommon, a few colleges refuse to accept any changes from candidates. If the school has indicated that they do not want continued communication, then certainly do not submit a letter of intent.
To prevent making an admissions blunder, go through all of your previous correspondence with the school, as well as the school’s website.
How To Write A Letter Of Intent For Medical School?
A medical school letter of intent begins with an address to the Dean or Director of Admissions, following a traditional letter structure. It’s a good idea to look up the name of the person to whom you’re writing and double-check that it’s the appropriate person. It’s acceptable to address it to the school’s admissions committee in some instances. Before you do anything, double-check by sending an email to the school’s admissions office.
In the opening paragraph, introduce yourself. Get right to the point by stating the letter’s purpose: to establish your intent to matriculate. In general, students include their name, the date of their interview, and the name of their interviewer if they like. Include a brief description of your positive interview experience or a piece of information you discovered about the medical school. Any extra additions can help you stand out from the crowd as long as it’s apparent in the opening line that it’s a letter of intent.
Explain in fully what about the medical school motivated you to write a letter of intent in the second paragraph. Why are you so adamant about attending? This component, of course, should be tailored to the institution. Avoiding ambiguous wording enhances your “argument” for attending. During the interview, for example, make a mental note of whatever you saw or recently learned about the institution. Dual enrollment programs, unique research possibilities, certain recognized academics with whom you’d like to collaborate, or tight links with specific hospitals are examples of this. If you actually want to matriculate at the medical school if approved, writing this portion may come naturally to you.
In the third paragraph, the spotlight shifts back to you. You will describe what you can guarantee to provide to the school in this section. What makes you a good match? Consider how you differ from other medical school applicant – don’t worry, everyone has something unique to offer. For example, you might talk about personal research or volunteer experiences, an extracurricular activity, or similar initiatives that can benefit the school. As a general rule, connect your successes to your purpose statement. What talents will you use to commemorate the school’s key values? Include any new successes or advancements since your original application.
Finally, go through the letter as many times as necessary. Keep in mind that a medical school letter of intent is entirely optional. The more time and effort you put into it, the better your prospects become.
What to Avoid in a Med School Letter of Intent
When drafting your letter of intent, there are a few things to avoid. To be clear, only send a letter of intent to a school if it is absolutely your first choice. Do not send several letters to different colleges in the hopes of receiving multiple admission offers. Doing so will reflect poorly on you. Medical schools communicate with one another, so it’s possible that you’ll be found out if you send letters of intent to multiple schools.
Furthermore, issuing several medical school letters of intent is considered dishonest and unethical. You are making a commitment to attend a school by sending a letter of intent to more than one school, and you will not be able to keep that promise if you send a letter of intent to more than one school. A letter of intent shows your commitment to a school, and you can’t commit to more than one medical school.
A letter of intent should be roughly one page in length as a general guideline. Avoid overloading your letter with facts about yourself that the admissions committee already knows from your interview. Your letter of intent should be brief and to the point.
The admissions committee will remember the letter of intent, thus it should be devoid of grammatical, punctuational, and syntactical problems. Before you send your finished letter of intent, you should have it reviewed by a competent expert.
Though letters of intent are frequent, it’s crucial to check the policies of the institution to which you’re sending them. Some medical schools, according to Johns Hopkins University, do not want candidates to send letters of intent at all, so if yours is one of them, do not send them an unwelcome letter, as it may hinder your medical school application more than help it.
Medical schools that do accept letters of intent have a variety of techniques for doing so. Some institutions may need letters of intent to be provided through regular mail, via email to a specified address, or by uploading them to the application site. It’s crucial to think about where you’ll submit your medical school letter of intent. If you submit your medical school letter incorrectly, it may reflect negatively on you.
Your letter’s format is also important. A letter of intent that you post to the school’s portal may just require written content, while emailed letters require extra considerations. Emailed letters should be included to the email as an attachment. The safest file type to choose for your letter is PDF, which is easy to open on all sorts of devices and won’t affect the formatting.
If you compose your medical school letter in the most recent version of Microsoft Office, but the Dean of Admissions opens your doc. prepared letter in an earlier version of Microsoft Office, some parts may shift around, and your medical school letter may not seem as you intended.
What if I don’t have any accomplishments?
If you think you haven’t accomplished something worthwhile to write about, reconsider. Try to recall your university achievements, even if you’ve never done research or volunteered. You may find good things to say about numerous victories in and out of the classroom.
You may, for example, talk about difficult classes in which getting a good mark meant a lot to you. Perhaps your grades increased from one semester to the next. Perhaps you have received honors, scholarships, or have been named to the Dean’s list. You can also mention any major class projects in which you put a lot of effort and time. Anything goes as long as you show significant improvement or something you’re proud of and can connect it to the school’s principles.
Can I send both a letter of interest and a letter of intent?
You could, but it would undermine the letter of intent’s objective. Writing further letters of interest would be pointless because providing a letter of intent implies that you will only attend one institution regardless of any other acceptances.
If you’re in question, here’s what you can do. Do you have a certain medical school that you’d give anything to attend? Or are there two or three fantastic schools where you’d be content? Only send a medical school letter if you know which institution you want to attend. If that isn’t the case, stick to the letter of interest.
Format (How Long Should A Letter Of Intent Be)
Tone and address
Instead of a fast email, the letter of intent should be a well-thought-out and official letter. Before mailing your letter, make sure it’s grammatically right, that you’ve spelt everyone’s names correctly, and that it’s a polished, finished document. It must also be succinct and supported by logic. If you’re presently enrolled in a pre-med undergraduate program, see if your school’s Writing Center can help you write a letter that’s as clear, concise, and straightforward as possible. If you aren’t presently enrolled in school, check with your local public library to see if they provide services that will help you polish your letter.
Your letter should be sent to the Dean of Admissions or Director of Admissions; you’ll need to search this up to make sure it’s written correctly and submitted to the right address. You should not submit your letter of intent to the whole admissions committee or to your interviewer(s); instead, write to the individual who makes admissions decisions. You can gather the information you need by doing some web research and/or calling the school.
Structure and length
Your letter of intent should be no more than one page long and follow the format of a professional letter. Sending a multi-page letter is not a good idea. Remember that the person to whom you are writing has a million other responsibilities, and you are, in a sense, doing them a favor by sending them this letter to examine and consider. Don’t take up all of their time. Keep it short and sweet.
Begin your letter with a polite greeting that includes the addressee’s complete name and title. “Dear Dr. Jeffrey Anderson, Director of Admissions, XYZ University”.
Begin by stating your entire name, status as a current candidate to a certain school or program, and the date of your interview. Explain why you’re writing: to make this school your top option, to remind them why you’re a good match for the program, and to provide any updates or achievements you’ve had since completing your application (if applicable). You must affirm unequivocally and truly that if you are offered admission, this is the institution you will attend.
If you’ve received another offer, or numerous offers, you might say that while you’ve been accepted elsewhere, their school is still your top choice, and that if you’re accepted, you’ll attend their school.
Give your true reasons for selecting this institution as your #1 choice. What features of the program, curriculum, research opportunities, or other efforts stand out to you the most, and why are they so important to your choice to write this letter? Is there anything in particular about the school’s goal, vision, and values that appeals to you – for example, do they place a strong emphasis on global health, which is something you’d like to pursue as a future medical professional? Do they provide any programs or initiatives that you find more appealing than those offered by other schools? Is there a specific faculty member you’d want to collaborate with (and who wants to collaborate with you)? In any of these situations, state your argument.
You should also explain why you are the best choice for this institution and how you might contribute to their campus community in a unique way. Speak to specific curricular components, unique chances the school provides that fit your own abilities, organizations or clubs with whom you believe you can work effectively, and so on. You don’t have to (and probably won’t have time) to address all of these issues, but the key takeaway is to be precise. Don’t merely talk about the school’s or program’s prestige; they already know that. Why do you think you’d be a good match for the school, and why do you think they’d be a good fit for you?
Another thing to remember when you put up this part is that you will be getting a lot out of the university at this time of your study, but they will be getting a lot out of you as well. Help them understand why, when you graduate and their degree is on your wall, you would be a valuable contributor to their culture and a powerful ambassador for their institution. Look at the school’s mission statement for ideas on how to talk at the intersection of values. After your schooling is over, how will you continue to embody such ideals as a practicing professional?
If appropriate, include any developments since submitting your application and interviewing, as well as information on impending plans. Do you have a new or soon-to-be-released publication? Have you received any awards or recognition for your efforts at school, work, volunteering, or elsewhere? Are you giving a talk at a conference soon? Is there anything you’d like them to know about that’s happened since they last examined your candidacy? This is the spot where you can inform them! However, don’t rehash accomplishments that you’ve previously listed in your application. This is where you may provide fresh facts that they haven’t taken into account when considering your application.
Reiterate your passions and express your gratitude for taking the time to read your message. Close professionally with a phrase like “Sincerely,” “All the Best,” or anything like. If you’re applying from the United States, you can include your AAMC ID number in your closing.
You may send the letter as a PDF attachment or enter your message into an email. Use an attachment type that anybody can access rather than a specific format like.pages (PDF is the safest bet, and this will ensure your formatting stays exactly the way you want it). Your entire name should be in the email subject line, followed by “Letter of Intent.” Include the date of your interview in your letter, as well as the name(s) of people you interviewed if feasible (this won’t be possible with a multiple mini interview or other forms of panel interview).
Finally, it is beneficial and typically appreciated if an adviser, professor, research supervisor, or other person is ready to write or phone to underline your “excellent match” for the institution.
Letter of Intent Medical School Samples
Dear Dr. Jeffrey Anderson, XYZ University’s Director of Admissions,
My name is Terry Student, and I am a current candidate to the ABC School of Medicine at XYZ University. During my interview with Dr. Sarah Parker on September 15, 2018, it was a pleasure and an honor to visit your school, learn more about your campus community, and explore the confluence of my personal aspirations and those of your medical program. I’m writing to convey my great desire to join your university and to offer an update on my previously submitted application papers. As someone who is enthusiastic about providing healthcare to underprivileged groups, and as someone who has worked in rural regions as a volunteer and shadowed a physician, the importance your school places on such initiatives has convinced me that your institution is my top option. If I am accepted into your program, I can confidently declare that I will accept it. Despite the fact that I have already received admission offers from ABC University and MNO University, I am confident that your institution’s beliefs, curriculum, and priorities align with my personal aspirations as a physician.
I’m interested in medicine because of my personal experiences working in a healthcare setting with underprivileged rural areas. As stated in my application, I have been conducting considerable volunteer work in [geographical region] through a mobile clinic for the past three years, which has exposed me to the existing gaps in care that now prevent many rural patients from receiving the treatment they require. Working with a small team under the direction and supervision of Dr. Sylvia Wong, and hearing about their experiences in this type of clinical setting, has provided me with a unique perspective on the intricacies and problems of rural medicine. Speaking with rural patients and shadowing Dr. Wong in her patient-physician interactions has also instilled in me a feeling of purpose and a desire to commit my life to actively fighting the inequalities of our current system. It is my ambition to build a similar mobile clinic once I finish my study, in order to forward Dr. Wong’s vision of accessible treatment. The curriculum and mission of XYZ University’s ABC School of Medicine will help me accomplish that objective in ways that no other program can, with courses, clinical experiences, and campus groups that all address these concerns and difficulties in different ways.
As a quick update to my current application materials, I’d like to let you know that an article I co-authored with Professor Wilma Rice, Ana Chartres, and Asad Khan, titled [“Title of Essay,”] was just approved by [Journal Title] and will be published in their forthcoming January 2019 edition. In addition, I’ve been hired as a Research Assistant in Professor Rice’s lab for next semester, where we’ll be expanding on the work described in the aforementioned paper.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I hope you will be able to give my application a favorable review and accept me into your campus community. I will gladly take the chance if it is offered to me. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.
Why can’t I send the letter of intent med school immediately following my interview?
Please keep in mind that colleges want to see that you’ve given some thought to which school is your first pick. Sending this shortly after your interview may indicate that you are rushing through the process and are not truly reflecting on the other institutions to which you applied and were interviewed. So, don’t feel obligated to turn this in right after your interview; instead, take your time and think about what your first option is and why.
How should I send my letters of intent?
You can send your letter of intent to the Director or Dean of Admissions through email, whether you’re applying to DO or MD institutions. In other situations, schools may instead offer a site where students may post their letters. Check the program’s prerequisites ahead of time. Don’t just send it to firstname.lastname@example.org; take your time to make sure you’re sending it to the right person among the numerous emails a school receives every day.
Will a letter of intent guarantee me a spot in my top choice school?
Unfortunately, no, but it can surely help you increase your chances of medical school admissions, and isn’t it necessary to do everything you can to increase your chances of medical school admissions? A medical school letter of intent’s objective is to inform your top preference school that they are your first option and that you will attend their school if given the chance.
Medical schools have a tough time predicting which candidates would accept or reject their acceptance offers. Because of this, schools may find themselves with open spaces while accepting waitlisted applications. As a result, delivering a letter of intent may provide you an advantage over other candidates because you’re informing a school that if you’re admitted, you’ll be a guaranteed student in their incoming class.
Letters of intent are critical papers that, if written wisely and carefully, can improve your chances of getting into your dream medical school. A letter of intent should be brief and just include the facts that will distinguish you from other candidates.