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Medical School Interviews Letter of Intent

Posted Feb 26 2011 9:59am

Some rolling medical school admissions have already given you their decision. You may be on waitlists or have not heard anything from schools yet. This time of year, the question often arises: "Do I tell my top choice that they are my top choice?" The answer is yes.

If you have an absolute top choice and have not been accepted, writing a "letter on intent" can improve your chances of acceptance. Medical schools want students who want them. You can only tell one school that they are "the one," so be sure it really is your top choice.

Write a letter to the dean of admissions explaining why the school is your top choice. Include specifics on why the school is your top choice (curriculum, research opportunities, location, etc.) and reiterate your strengths. This should be a short letter and can be hand-written on a card or more formally typed.

Many medical school applicants ask if they can send a letter of intent to multiple schools. By strict definition, a letter of intent should only be sent to your top choice. However, this does not mean you cannot send an update letter to other schools that are in your top 5 or 10. Such a letter will follow a similar format to the letter of intent but will not state outright that the school is your top choice and will focus more on updating the school on your recent progress. Such updates can include a recent publication, new grades from a post-bac program, an international experience from the Fall, or a new leadership position you gained, just to name a few. Keep these letters short (definitely less than a page).

Avoid Burnout

Are you one of the few who have more interviews than you know what to do with? Are you finding school or work slipping because you are always flying off to an interview? Do you think your performance in interviews is slipping due to fatigue? If so, you should be very grateful. And you should also think about canceling some of the interviews to avoid burnout.

Look at the list of medical school interviews that you have left. Be sure to only attend interviews of schools that you will seriously consider attending if accepted. For example, you have already been accepted to one of your top choices and have a few "safety school" interviews in February. Do yourself and the admissions committees a favor and call to cancel those interviews.

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