How to write a medical school letter of intent

How To Write A Medical School Letter Of Intent

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Are you in need of an effective medical school letter of intent? In this article, I will provide tips on writing a strong letter of intent for your dream med school.

I assume you are reading this post because you are currently in the most common situation when applying for medical school. You are either interviewed in your dream school, placed on the school’s waitlist, or still waiting to hear from them after knowing the interview season is over. 

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If you fit in either of these categories, it may be time for you to write a medical school letter of intent. In this post, I will provide some writing tips to ensure you’ll get to do it right!

Before that, let me first give you an introduction to what a letter of intent is and how it differs from a letter of interest.

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What Is A Medical School Letter Of Intent?

A letter of intent is generally given to your top-choice medical school at the end of the interview season. It is a document that lets the school know that if they accept you, you will choose them above all other options.

The letter of intent should show your perspective on the school’s environment, academic curriculum, culture, student body, and other essential aspects. You can also convey your interest in contributing to the organization and how you plan to do it. 

Most medical schools aim to maximize their “yield,” or simply the percentage of students among those admitted who chose to enroll. They want to increase it as it impacts the school’s exclusivity, rank, and prestige. 

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Therefore, upon choosing candidates, they tend to favor the students who expressed their clear desire to attend the program if accepted. Usually, a medical school letter of intent is sent a month after the interview, whether you were put on the waitlist or haven’t heard from them yet.

You can also submit a second letter of intent after two months of not receiving feedback regarding the initial one and if you have meaningful updates you want to share. 

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Letter Of Intent vs. Letter Of Interest vs. Update Letter

The letter of intent is often used interchangeably with the letter of interest, but they are not the same. To understand their differences, let us look at the definitions of an update letter and a letter of interest.

Letter of Interest

A letter of interest is a sincere letter that focuses on your reasons why the school fits you perfectly. Typically, you send it only after not hearing back regarding the update letter you sent

It includes direct connections between your experiences, values, goals, and the school’s vision, mission, programs, and opportunities. Like the letter of intent, this letter of interest increases your chance of getting admitted to your dream medical school.

The main difference between the two is that a letter of interest is sent to express your strong desire to attend the school. Unlike the letter of intent, it does not convey your commitment to enroll in the school if you are admitted.

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Update Letter

An update letter’s primary concern is to let the school know of your significant accomplishments, professional development experiences, and involvements that they did not see in your primary or secondary application. It creates an impression to the school that you are dedicated to improving yourself and have a growth mindset.

How To Write A Thank You Note After A Residency Interview

How To Write A Strong Medical School Letter Of Intent

Just like the format of a formal letter, a medical school letter of intent starts with an address to the Dean or the Director of Admissions. I recommend you research the name of who you are writing to and make sure to get it right.

First Paragraph

Introduce yourself in the first paragraph and clarify that it is a letter of intent. Typically, students include their name, the interview date, and the interviewer’s name. 

You can also choose to narrate a brief part of your positive experience in the interview or some of the things you learned about the medical school you are writing to. Any additional enhancements on the letter will not hurt as long as you demonstrate your commitment to enroll if accepted.

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Second Paragraph

This is the most vital part of a letter of intent. In this section, discuss your intention and the things that sparked your interest in that medical school. Naturally, this part is specific to the school you are writing to. 

It is better that you avoid using vague language to elevate your argument. You can note any recent discoveries about the school and how they strengthened your desire to attend it.

You may include:

  • Exclusive research opportunities
  • Dual enrollment programs
  • Renowned professors you would like to learn from or work with
  • Close connections to hospitals

This section must smoothly flow if you intend to enroll in the school it is addressed to.

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Third Paragraph

This section will turn the focus back on you. In this paragraph, emphasize what you can promise to contribute to the school. Explain why you are a good fit and what sets you apart from the other applicants by mentioning at least one remarkable aspect.

One good tip is to share your volunteering and research experiences, extracurricular activities, and other relevant activities that might interest the school. The rule of thumb is to relate your accomplishments to the school’s mission.

Explain how your achievements and skills will benefit the school and how it will realize its core values. Also, include recent accomplishments or professional growth since your first application.

Double-check and proofread your writing as often as you need. Although it is not mandatory, the more time and effort you spend writing an effective letter of intent, the higher your chance of attending the school.

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What To Avoid In A Letter Of Intent

When writing a letter of intent, there are a few things you have to avoid. The first thing that you should never forget is to send it only to your top-choice school.

Do not address the letter to multiple schools to receive multiple admission offers. It may reflect poorly on you since most medical schools communicate and there is a chance of finding out that you sent a letter of intent to more than one school.

Moreover, sending a letter of intent to multiple schools is unethical and dishonest. A letter of intent expresses commitment to attending a school that you cannot fulfill if you send more than one of it.

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Generally, a letter of intent should only be a page long. Avoid writing too much, especially with irrelevant information that the admissions committee may have already known about you from the interview.

Your letter of intent will leave an impression on the admissions committee. Therefore, make sure that it is free of grammatical and punctuation errors by reviewing it before sending.

Additionally, although sending letters of intent is expected, check the specific policy of the school you are thinking of sending it to. Some medical schools do not accept letters of intent, and others have different methods of receiving them.

Lastly, follow the correct document format. Send your letter of intent as an attachment to an email and as a PDF file to avoid changing the format when opened on other devices. 

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Medical School Letter Of Intent Example

Dear [name of the dean of admission]:

I’m [Name], presently applying [School Name]. It was a great privilege for me to interview with [Interviewer’s Name] on [Date of Interview], visit your campus, learn more about your programs, and talk about my professional objectives. I’m writing to let you know that [School Name] is my first choice for medical school and that I feel like I would fit in well there.

I appreciate that my interview gave me a chance to learn. It further strengthened my desire to attend [School Name] after visiting the campus and learning more fantastic things about it. I got a sense of the faculty’s values through talking with [Interviewer’s Name]. After touring a lot of other institutions, I discovered that [School Name]’s opportunities were far beyond my expectations. I was pleased to find out about opportunities for student-led clinics, where I may get practical training.

I also realized how firmly [School Name] supports its mission statement to promote respect and provide unwavering support for medical students. I met a lot of students on campus who were knowledgeable and helpful, and I learned about [School Name]’s integrated learning approaches from them. As a multifaceted learner, I value having access to resources for individual and group study and generous faculty support. Overall, the atmosphere and setting convinced me that [School Name] is where I want to graduate.

I would love to contribute my abilities to support this school’s goals since it was founded on research and superior medical advancements. I regularly stay current on medical developments and have a website blog devoted to new research and medical breakthroughs. Additionally, I have volunteer experience working directly with patients in hospitals. If I were to work in the student clinic, I would uphold [School Name]’s patient-focused philosophy.

I’ll repeat it: I’m very serious about going. I appreciate your time and thought, and I’ll keep holding out, hoping that [School Name] will be my final destination this autumn.


[Full name]

how to write a letter of intent


Here are frequently asked questions about the letter of intent:

How Long Is A Letter Of Intent?

Generally, a letter of intent is only one page long. It translates to about 500 to 600 words, so keep it packed but brief and straight to the point.

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When Should I Send The Letter Of Intent?

The best time to send a letter of intent is at least a month after you are interviewed, whether you were on the waitlist or just haven’t heard back. You can also send a second letter two months after not hearing from the initial one and if you have any meaningful updates.

Although you want to send a letter of intent right after your interview, it may not be the wisest decision. It may appear to the admissions committee that you are deciding hastily, anxiously, or prematurely.

Should I Send My Letter Of Intent Through Snail Mail Or Email?

Today, the most convenient and practical method of sending a letter of intent is through email. However, check the school’s acceptance policy, as some schools provide portals where you can upload your letter.

I also recommend attaching a PDF document when sending a letter of intent as it appears more formal and ensures the intended format. For the email’s subject, you can write “Your Name – Letter of Intent” –  don’t overthink it.

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How Many Letters Of Intent Should I Send?

You should only send a letter of intent to the school that is your top choice. Sending letters to multiple schools is an unethical decision.

Although a letter of intent is not legally binding, it upholds your integrity as it is a promise you make to a school. 

Is A Letter Of Intent The Same As A Letter Of Interest?

No. The letter of intent and letter of interest’s main difference is the number of schools you can send them to. While the letter of intent can only be sent to your top choice school, you can send the letter of interest to as many schools you are interested in.

how to write a letter of intent

What Happens After Sending A Letter Of Intent?

After sending a letter of intent, you must wait for at least a month to hear back from the school. You can also send a second letter of intent during that time, especially if there are meaningful updates you can share with the admissions committee.

Such meaningful updates include:

  • Academic updates, especially those that improved your GPA significantly.
  • Achievements in presentations, publications, and prestigious awards.
  • Relevant job promotions
  • Other significant accomplishments (like research, clinical, or volunteer experiences with distinct achievements)

Bonus: Want to learn how I got a 3.9 GPA in med school using a simple-to-follow study strategy? Get access to my exact study method from med school for free here. 

Writing a letter of intent can impact your chance of getting into your dream school either positively or negatively. It is why you must learn how to do it properly and when and how to send it.

I hope that through this guide, I was able to help you take a step closer to attending your dream medical school. Please keep in mind these tips and I hope you can apply them in your future letter of intent.

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If you found this post helpful, I am sure you can also get some help from these posts:

Until the next one, my friend…

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