Write a medical school letter of intent like a Pro with these few explicit tips all embedded in this post. As this phase is a very important part of the application process.
You have the pen and the hands, we at Jobreaders got the tips… So let’s stick together and produce magic!
There’s so much information passed around on the “right” way to approach this letter, that it just ends up being confusing (and hard to know who to believe).
Fortunately, jobreaders.org has been around the block when it comes to this sort of process.
We’ve helped hundreds of students get accepted into their school of choice and have provided guidance on countless letters of intent.
We will also help you understand what this document is, the purpose, the fundamentals of writing a letter of intent that is persuasive, specific, and eye-catching.
A letter of intent is a specific type of document that can absolutely (positively) impact your application, even if you’ve been waitlisted.
With the challenges presented by medical school acceptance rates, every student wants to maximize their chances of admission. A medical school letter of intent is a key tool for doing precisely that.
So we thought it would be helpful to share this info with everyone else. This guide will teach you the right way to write a medical school letter of intent.
What is a Medical School Letter of Intent?
A medical school letter of intent is a document that specifically states that you will accept an offer of admission to a particular school, if one is extended, over and above any other schools to which you’ve applied or at which you’ve interviewed or even accepted.
This is a single letter sent to one – and only one – school: your Top Choice. If you’ve interviewed at a school that is truly your first school, writing a letter of this kind allows you to show the school that you are a serious and enthusiastic candidate.
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When should I write a medical school letter of intent?
A letter of intent is generally written after applying to med school and about a month after your interviews, especially if you’ve been put on a medical school waitlist at your top choice school (though you may certainly write a letter of intent even if you haven’t been waitlisted).
As the letter of intent is meant to declare that this school is your first choice, this must be sincere, and the reasoning behind it must be clear, yet concise.
It’s best to write a bit later in the admissions season after you’ve interviewed at multiple schools (if you have done so) so that you can demonstrate that you’ve legitimately considered all the options available to you and that you are certain that this school is the one for you.
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Declaring your intentions to those making the admissions decisions indicates that you have given full consideration to the options in front of you, and demonstrates that you will be an eager contributor to their program and campus community.
The reason you must wait a bit into the cycle is precise to show that you have given this serious consideration.
Sending a letter of intent before interviewing, or even right after interviewing, suggests that you may be making such a decision hastily, without fully and deeply considering all of your options, which can reflect poorly on their perception of your maturity.
So, be sure to only send such a letter after you’ve interviewed (and don’t send a letter if you’ve not been invited to an interview) – if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to sit down with an interviewer, your letter will come off as disingenuous.
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Can I send a Medical School Letter of Intent to multiple Schools?
Medical schools want students who are eager to attend and expressing your particular enthusiasm and the priority you assign their specific program can go a long way. But, this must be genuine.
You cannot tell all the schools to which you apply that they are your “top choice”.
Not only is this dishonest and unethical, but it will also make for a good deal of awkwardness if you are given multiple offers.
A letter of intent isn’t a legally binding agreement, but it is a promise that you must demonstrate integrity and stand by your word.
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It may go without saying, but if there is anything from the school indicating that they do NOT want ongoing communication or updates from applicants, then do not send a letter of intent.
Go through your past communications with the school, as well as any emails they’ve sent you, to see if anything is indicating they do not want such letters.
This is generally rare – most schools are open to receiving updates, but you need to make sure that this is the case, to avoid making a faux pas.
What Does A Medical School Letter Of Intent Do?
Applying to medical school is a lengthy process that spans several months. During that time, you’re going to be completing your core AMCAS application, secondary application, letters of recommendation, and more. On top of all that, you have to face interviews.
Many applicants choose to take things a step further by sending a letter of intent.
Medical school letters of intent are not always a requirement, but they can do a lot to improve your chances of getting accepted.
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A letter of intent lets med schools know that you want to attend and plan on accepting an admissions offer. Typically, these letters are sent via email after the interview phase.
The point of a letter of intent is to communicate your interest. You can use the letter to explain why you would be a good fit for the school. However, its main goal is to tell admissions panels that the school is your top choice.
Medical schools can only offer so many seats. Prospective students apply to several schools during an admissions cycle, so not every offer is going to be accepted. Schools want to accept students that will attend the school and matriculate.
By sending a letter of intent, you’re telling the school that you will attend if given the chance.
Thus, the letter can increase your chances of getting in. These letters help guide admissions boards in the decision-making process and project yield rates.
While there are no guarantees, a letter of intent could make a big difference. It could even get you off the waitlist and help you receive a full admissions offer!
Quick Tip: Many students choose to send these letters after they have been waitlisted as well.
Medical School Letter of Intent: Tone and Address
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The letter of intent should be a well-thought-out and formal letter, not a quick email.
You must ensure your letter is grammatically impeccable, that you’ve spelled everyone’s names correctly, and that it is a polished, final product before sending it off. It must also be concise and backed by reasoning.
If you’re currently enrolled in a pre-med undergraduate program, consider reaching out to your school’s Writing Centre for assistance in ensuring your letter is as clear, precise, and direct as possible.
If you’re not currently enrolled as a student, consider calling around to local public libraries, as some may have services that can help you perfect your letter.
Your letter should be addressed to the Dean of Admissions or Director of Admissions – you’ll need to look this information up to ensure your letter is addressed appropriately and sent to the correct address.
You should not send a letter of intent to the entire admissions committee or your interviewer(s); rather, you need to write to the person making the decisions around admissions.
Some online research and/or a phone call to the school will help you get the information you need.
Letter of Intent: Length and Structure
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Your letter of intent should be a maximum of one page and should follow the formal structure of a proper letter. Do not send a letter that spans multiple pages.
Remember, the person to whom you are writing has a hundred other duties and – in a sense – you are asking a favor of them in sending them this letter to review and consider. Do not monopolize their time. Be concise and to-the-point.
Open your letter with a formal greeting, using the addressee’s full name and title: “Dear Dr. Val Jefferson, Director of Admissions, University of Arizona”
Start by introducing yourself by full name, as a current applicant to a specific school or program, as well as the date of your interview.
Explain your reason for writing – to establish this school as your top choice, to remind them of why you are a good fit for the program, and to offer any updates or describe any accomplishments you’ve had since submitting your application (if applicable).
You must clearly and sincerely state that, if you are given an offer of admission, then this is the school you WILL attend.
If you’ve received another offer or multiple offers, you can state that even though you’ve been accepted elsewhere, their school remains your top choice and that you will attend their school if you are extended an offer of acceptance.
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Provide your genuine reasons for choosing this school as your top preferred school.
What aspects of the program, curriculum, research opportunities, or other initiatives particularly stand out to you, and why are these central to your decision to send this letter?
Is there something about the school’s mission, vision, and values that are particularly meaningful to you – for example, do they prioritize global health, and that’s something that you’d like to pursue as a future medical professional?
Do they have specific programs or initiatives that appeal to you, more so than those offered at other schools? Is there a particular faculty member you want to work with (and who wants to work with you)? In any of these cases, say so!
You should also demonstrate why you are an ideal candidate for this school and discuss the ways you could uniquely contribute to their campus community.
Speak to specific components of the curriculum, to unique opportunities the school offers that match your skills, to groups or clubs you think you can work with effectively, and so on.
You don’t need to (and likely won’t have room to) speak to all of these things, but the main takeaway here is to be specific.
Don’t just speak to things like the prestige of the school or program – they know this already. Why are you a good fit for the school, and why are they a good fit for you?
Inputting together this section, another thing you may want to consider is this: at this stage of your education, you will be getting a lot out of the university, but they’ll be getting a lot out of you, as well.
Help them see why you would be a beneficial addition to their culture and a strong ambassador for their program after you graduate and their degree is on your wall.
Consider looking at the school’s mission statement, so that you can speak at the level of intersecting values. How will you go on to live such values as a practicing professional, after your education has concluded?
Paragraph 3 (Optional)
Provide any updates since you’re submitting your application and interviewing, or give information on upcoming plans, if applicable.
Do you have a new publication or one about to be released? Have you had any acknowledgments or accomplishments in school, work, volunteering, etc.?
Are you presenting at an upcoming conference? Is there anything that’s happened since they last reviewed your candidacy that you’re just dying for them to know about? .
This is your opportunity to tell them but don’t repeat accomplishments already provided in your application rather seize the medium to offer new information, which they haven’t yet considered in evaluating your application.
Reiterate your interests and offer sincere thanks for taking the time to review your letter.
Close professionally with something like “Sincerely”, “All the Best”, or a similar formal closing. If you are a U.S. applicant, you can include your AAMC ID number beneath your name in your closing.
Medical School Letter of Intent: Additional Details
You can type your message into an email, or attach the letter as a PDF. Don’t use a specialized format like .pages – ensure it’s an attachment type anyone can open (PDF is the safest bet, and this will ensure your formatting stays exactly the way you want it).
The email subject line should be your full name followed by “Letter of Intent”. In your letter, ensure you include the date of your interview, and – if possible – the name(s) of those with whom you interviewed (this won’t be possible with multiple mini interviews or some types of panel interview).
Finally, if an advisor, professor, research supervisor, etc., are willing to write or call to emphasize your “good fit” for the school, which is also helpful and usually welcomed.
Letter of Intent Sample
Dear Dr. V, Director of Admissions, University of Arizona,
My name is Wendy and I am currently applying to the [name of university] School of Medicine.
It was a privilege to discuss my goals and learn more about your DO program during my interview on [date of interview]. I am writing you this letter to express my intention to rank your program as my number-one choice and to provide you with a brief update to my application.
I am pursuing a career in osteopathic medicine because I strongly believe my life experience and cultural background resonate with the holistic approach of osteopathic medicine. During the time I volunteered in [name of countries], I witnessed how advancement in medical diagnosis technology helped medical providers fight healthcare disparities in rural communities. As well, as much as I enjoyed contributing to the research effort in advancing medical diagnosis methods, I felt that research lacks the humanistic component that I want to embrace in my career. During my discussion with [name of doctor], we talked about how [name of university] envisions graduates to practice medicine with humanity in mind. I agree wholeheartedly with the vision and I aspire to partner with my future patients to tackle their illnesses and to bear the burden of struggle together.
I am a strong believer in collaboration and have been very lucky to meet many mentors and colleagues who nurtured my growth and helped my career development through my upbringing. During my years at [name of institutions], I enjoyed working together with my colleagues for the common goal of making the world a better place. In fact, during my campus visit during the [name of conference] and throughout the application cycle, I am truly thankful for all the tips I got from [name of university] staff and students.
I could not help but notice how genuinely staff, faculty, and students care about each other in the effort to train competent graduates to serve the community. The type of collaborative environment is what I see myself striving in with my peers in the next few years of my career in medicine. One day, when I become more experienced as a practicing physician, I aspire to mentor younger medical students to pay it forward.
In conclusion, I would like to provide a brief update on my application materials. Back in [month, year], I was invited to give a presentation on [name of research] to an audience of approximately one hundred people at the annual conference of [name of conference].
Thank you so much for your consideration. I would be honored to become a member of your campus community. If granted the opportunity, I will most certainly accept the offer. I hope to see you and the rest of [name of university] community soon.
What types of Medical Schools like to receive Letters of Intent?
We realized letters of intent make a difference. After people have written persuasive and heartfelt letters of intent to medical schools, where they are waitlisted, they’ve been accepted to those schools.
This applies to all ranges of schools, from the best schools or most competitive schools in the country to the least competitive schools. However, all medical schools should be viewed as competitive.
Medical School Update and Letter of Intent: Do’s and Don’ts
- To send a letter of intent to the top choice school where you are waitlisted. This is extremely important.
- Do send update letters on any recent accomplishments.
- Don’t send a medical school letter of intent before an interview.
- Don’t send multiple letters of intent to medical school.
Below are some recommended institutions to consider:
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Drexel University, College of Medicine
- David Geffen School of Medicine
- Harvard Medical School
- Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Medical school letters of intent aren’t that challenging once you know how to approach them. Most of the struggle is simply finding out where to start!
As long as you stick with our recommendations and don’t overthink it, you should have no problem creating an effective letter of intent that improves your chances of attending your school of choice.
If you have any questions about the process or want a little extra help, visit our contact page and send us an email.