Sending a letter of intent to your medical school of choice is a very important part of the application process.
However, it’s also commonly misunderstood.
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, we’ve been around the block when it comes to this process. We’ve helped hundreds of students get accepted into their med school of choice and have provided guidance on countless letters of intent.
So we thought it would be helpful to share this info with everyone else! This guide will teach you the right way to approach a medical school letter of intent.
Table of Contents
- What Does A Letter Of Intent Do?
- How Many To Send Out
- Writing In The Correct Tone
- The Recommended Length
- Who You Should Address The Letter To
- Components Of A Good Medical School Letter Of Intent
What Does A 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 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.
Basically, 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.
Quick Tip: Many students choose to send these letters after they have been waitlisted as well.
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 absolutely 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!
How Many To Send Out
Some people will tell you that you can send letters of intent to multiple schools you’re interested in. However, this strategy defeats the purpose of the letter and could ultimately backfire on you.
Letters of intent should be sent only to your top medical school. A simple letter isn’t legally binding, but it does demonstrate your integrity. If you were to send letters of intent to multiple schools, what are you going to do with schools that you don’t decide to attend?
It’s an awkward situation that will only reflect poorly on your character. Sending multiple letters is dishonest and shows a lack of professionalism even before you step foot into medical school.
The same can be said about sending letters too early. Ideally, it’s best to wait a month or two after interviewing. You should send letters of intent after you have completed all of your interviews.
Applicants learn a lot about schools during the interview phase. Take the time to truly decide which school is your top choice.
Sending letters of intent immediately after an interview shows that you haven’t really given the decision much thought. Again, this reflects poorly on your character and may make admissions panels think you’re not mature enough for medical school. Don’t be hasty!
Writing In The Correct Tone
It’s important to remember that every move you make is being judged during the application phase, and this includes the letter of intent. The last thing you want to do is treat the letter like a quick message on social media.
Your letter of intent needs to be professional, direct, and honest. It’s a formal letter and should be treated as such. That means following all professional letter standards.
The letter must be grammatically correct and well-thought-out. You need to address the recipient professionally and make sure that all names are spelled correctly.
Quick Tip: Treat this letter like it’s a supplementary part of the application. It should be formal and precise, not a letter of ramblings! Take time to review the letter multiple times before you hit the “send” button.
The Recommended Length
It can be easy to go overboard with the letter of intent. Schools receive these types of letters all of the time, and the recipient doesn’t want to spend ages reading a multi-page letter.
As a good rule of thumb, keep the letter to one page in length. It’s important to follow the formal letter structure as well, so keep that in mind while you’re writing. Edit the letter thoroughly and omit any unnecessary information that doesn’t contribute to your message.
Who You Should Address The Letter To
The goal is to get your letter of intent into the hands of the people making the admissions decisions at your medical school of choice. This means it should be addressed to the Dean of Admissions or the Director of Admissions.
You can usually find this information on the school’s website or online directory. If all else fails, you can always give the school a call to get contact information.
Don’t forget to triple-check addresses and names to ensure that everything is spelled correctly. Also, use your recipient’s full name and official title.
There’s no need to send this letter to the entire admissions committee. Doing so may actually reflect poorly on you.
That said, you can send a copy to an interviewer you connected with. Though, you should only do this if the interviewer is mentioned in the letter. You can do this if your experience with them helped to solidify your decision as well.
Components Of A Good Medical School Letter Of Intent
So, what makes up a good letter of intent? By now, the admissions board already has a good idea of who you are. They have all the information they need about you from the application, your personal essay, and interview.
Don’t parrot the information they already know. The letter should be concise and get straight to the point. Here are some basic components you can use to craft your letter.
1. Introduce Yourself
First things first, introduce yourself. Give the recipient your full name and let them know that you are applying to the school. You can also mention the date of your interview so that they can reference your other application material and put a face to the letter.
Then, get straight to the point. Say why you are writing the letter of intent. Clearly state that you fully intend on accepting an admissions offer from the school. It should be clear that you will attend the school if given the chance above all other medical schools.
Your introduction is important, so be direct. Chances are, this isn’t the first letter of intent the school has received. You want to make your intentions very clear from the get-go while also keeping the reader interested enough to continue.
2. Explain Why You’re Interested And Why They Should Pick You
In the next section, you need to explain your decision and give the school more reasons to accept your application. Take this opportunity to talk about why you connect with the school so much.
Maybe you learned more about what the medical school has to offer through your interview. Talk about it! Mention the things that stand out about the school and why those factors are central in making it your top choice.
There’s no shortage of ways to communicate why you’re interested. You can talk about the med school’s mission, it’s values, specific programs, or faculty members, and more. Touch on why those things appeal to you so that you can effectively communicate how much an acceptance letter means to you.
Be specific here. The recipient of your letter already knows about the school’s prestige and record, so get creative while sticking to your point.
You should also explain why you would be a good fit for their medical school. What makes you a good candidate for acceptance? What do you have to offer that other applicants don’t have?
There’s a good chance that this letter is going to be your last line of communication with the school before a decision is made. Use it to give the decision-makers one final thing to think about and leave a lasting impression.
3. Include Any Recent Notable Accomplishments They Don’t Already Have
Another important component to include in the letter is any updates about recent accomplishments. Several months have passed since you completed your initial application.
You may have many accomplishments since then that they don’t know about. Use the letter to let them know!
For example, maybe you won awards at school for your academic performance. Or, you could have published research or started a new leadership position. Even strides in your job or volunteer position are great to include.
All of those updates could make your application more competitive. Ultimately, the new accomplishments could sway the admissions decision in your favor.
4. Wrap It Up
Finally, wrap up your medical school letter of intent cleanly and professionally. Give one final statement that reiterates your intent to attend if accepted. Then, thank the reader for their time and consideration.
You should close the letter with a professional phrase as well. For example, “Sincerely,” or “Best Regards,” work well. Don’t forget to provide your full name. Also, you can add your application ID for easy reference.
Medical school letters of intent aren’t that challenging once you know how to approach them. In fact, 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!