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Residency Letter of Intent

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Updated on March 16th, 2023

A residency letter of intent is written by an applicant to inform a residency program director that their program is the applicant’s top choice and why they believe they are a perfect fit for the program. The document should be concise and well-written; a one-page letter will help the applicant stand out from their competition. The candidate may use the letter to communicate their qualifications, experiences, achievements, and career goals to the residency program director.


 Residency Letters of Intent and The Match

A residency letter of intent is part of the application process for medical students ready to pursue a medical residency. These letters are sometimes referred to as residency “love letters” and are drafted in hopes that the writer will improve their ranking and increase their chances of being accepted for their preferred residency.

 The Match

The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) created The Match to help facilitate matching residency applicants with residency programs. The candidate must register for The Match and then send their residency application through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). Once this is complete, the residency programs interview their top choices.

 When to Send

After the interview, applicants must create their NRMP Rank Order List (ROL). Once the candidate has submitted their ROL, they may send their letter of intent to their top choice residency program. If the residency program director reads a letter from an enthusiastic and qualified applicant, they may rank them higher and increase the likelihood of a match.

It should be noted that the NRMP does not allow applicants or residency programs to exchange information about how they intend to rank each other, and any mention of such should be avoided in the letter.


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My name is [APPLICANT NAME], and it was a pleasure to learn more about [UNIVERSITY]’s [SUBJECT] Residency Program in my interview with Dr. [INTERVIEWER NAME]. I am writing you to show my enthusiasm for your residency program and to inform you that you are my number one choice, and will gladly accept if chosen for your program.

I am eager to take the next step in my career, and I believe your program perfectly fits my goals. During the time I spent at [MEDICAL SCHOOL], I have developed a strong passion for [SPECIALTY], and I have actively sought out clinical and research opportunities that align with this passion. I am impressed and eager to learn from the faculty and residents at [INSTITUTION NAME], and it would be a great honor to join this outstanding program. 

While I love several things about your program, I find the emphasis on patient care and interdisciplinary collaboration most appealing. These values align with my own and will help me continue my journey to be the best physician I can be. I aim to be a compassionate, well-rounded physician who can learn from this residency, and help add to its well-deserved reputation. 

I am confident that your institution’s [SPECIALTY] residency program will profoundly impact my future as a physician and help me achieve my aspirations. I assure you that I will be hard-working, eager to learn, and excited to contribute to the program in every way possible. I appreciate your time and consideration, 



Frequently Asked Questions

Is a letter of intent a mandatory part of the application process?

No. Sending a residency LOI is not mandatory. However, it may prompt a program director to take a second look at an application and give it a higher ranking.

Can I send multiple letters?

Though not strictly prohibited, sending out multiple letters could put the applicant in an ethically challenging situation if matched with various programs. Generally, sending one letter to the top choice program is considered best practice.

Who do I send the letter to?

The letter should be drafted for and sent to the residency program director, with a copy sent to the program coordinator. Ensure the letter is sent personally to the program director, not the general university mail.