What is a Letter of Intent and When Should You Send One?

Hi everyone! It’s been a little bit since I have written on the pre-med side of medicine so I thought I would write a post! I was trying to think about a topic that might be helpful and I thought about letters of intent. Let me give some background information to those who are unfamiliar with this term!

Dictionary.com defines Letter of intent as, “a letter indicating that the writer has the serious intention of doing something, such as signing a contract in the circumstances specified. It does not constitute either a promise or a contract.” In the medical school application process, letters of intent are sent to schools where you may be on the waitlist for or waiting to hear back a decision.

My first time applying, I sent a letter of intent to 1/3 schools I was on the waitlist for – it was the school that I 100% intended on attending if I had received an acceptance. The additional letters or application updates go into your folder where it is reviewed by the committee when it’s time for them to make a decision. I don’t know how effective these letters of intent are but it really helped calm my mind – which is something very valuable in the stressfulness of applying to med school.

What goes in a letter of intent?
1. why you desire that specific program
2. why you are a perfect fit for that program
3. what attributes and qualities would you bring to that program
4. a statement of intent (saying you will attend if you are accepted, but stated more eloquently)
5. any updates to your application since applying
6. a thank you for the interview

When to sent your letter of intent? (couple of options)
1. after being placed on the waitlist*
2. right after interviewing (before a decision has been made)

*I chose this option.

1. Make sure any letter you send after your initial application is proofread and error-free.
2. Try not to bombard the admissions committee with letters and updates. I would recommend sending only the updates that truly and greatly improve your application (a new job, a new position, a new research experience).


Good luck to everyone applying to be a part of the class of 2023!



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