Updated on March 20th, 2023
A letter of intent for medical school is sent by an applicant to the admissions committee of a medical school to express interest in becoming a student. The contents of an LOI include reasons for choosing this particular school, the student’s suitability to the school/program, notable achievements, accolades, volunteer work, etc., and how they might contribute to the institution.
A medical school letter of intent should only be used to apply to the prospective student’s top choice of medical school.
Purpose of a Medical School LOI
A medical school LOI aims to clearly express an applying student’s interest in attending their preferred school. Even though the student might apply to multiple schools, only their first choice should receive a letter of intent. These letters demonstrate to the admissions committee that the applicant is committed to the school and believes they would be well-suited to the community and the programs they offer.
Letter of Intent vs. Letter of Interest
Letters of intent and letters of interest are similar in their subject matter and purpose, which is to communicate interest in attending a medical school. However, a letter of intent is saved for an applicant’s preferred choice, whereas a letter of interest can be sent to multiple schools.
Even when sending out more than one letter of interest, the contents of each letter should reflect the school’s distinct characteristics and the admissions committee’s formatting requirements.
Letter of Intent vs. Update Letter
An update letter is reserved for situations where a medical school applicant has new information for the admissions committee that wasn’t previously submitted with their application package. This could be a recent award, achievement, academic publication, job promotion, etc.
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MEDICAL SCHOOL LETTER OF INTENT
[SENDER STREET ADDRESS]
[SENDER CITY, STATE, ZIP]
[RECIPIENT NAME], [RECIPIENT TITLE]
[SCHOOL STREET ADDRESS]
[SCHOOL CITY, STATE, ZIP]
Dear [RECIPIENT NAME],
It is with great enthusiasm that I submit this letter of intent to the admissions committee of [SCHOOL]. I’m a dedicated and studious person with a passion for the human body and therapeutic medicine and am confident that the program in occupational therapy aligns perfectly with my goals.
Ever since I was young, I’ve been fascinated by human anatomy and the ability of modern science to heal such a myriad of complications. Through my undergraduate courses and clinical and research experiences, I’ve built a solid foundation in the sciences associated with occupational therapy and an appreciation for the critical relationship between the anatomical and psychological aspects of human recovery.
I am most impressed by [SCHOOL]‘s emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration and community engagement to address health disparities. I appreciate the OT program’s extensive research opportunities and curriculum design that aim to prepare students to become leaders in the field of occupational therapy and be able to address the evolving needs of diverse populations.
Aside from the time I spent shadowing [DOCTOR] at [CLINIC], as mentioned in my application, I have spent [#] hours visiting different sites to experience the diversity of the practice of occupational therapy. One of my main goals is to focus on serving my community and promoting equal opportunities for healthcare. I’m currently volunteering as a camp counselor for children with disabilities at [CAMP]. I intend to maintain a volunteer position even when enrolled in your OT program, albeit in a less time-consuming capacity.
I am very excited about the prospect of working with the experienced faculty members at [SCHOOL], who are dedicated to advancing the field through cutting-edge clinical practices and research. Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to the already stellar reputation of this fine institution.
When to Send
It is generally advised that a letter be sent a month or so following the applicant’s interview with the admissions committee. If the candidate is notified that they are on the waitlist, this can also be an appropriate time to send a letter of intent.
Furthermore, waiting until nearer the end of the interview season to send the letter can be worthwhile. This demonstrates that the applicant has carefully considered all their options and is thoughtful about the timing of the whole application process.
When Not to Send
Most, but not all, medical schools encourage applicants to write letters of intent to the admissions committee. The following list contains a few circumstances where they should not be sent to schools:
- No Interview. If the potential student has not yet had an official interview, sending the admissions committee a letter of intent is usually a poor decision.
- Admissions Guidelines. Applying students should refer to the admissions guidelines to see if their school encourages letters of intent. If they don’t, students should avoid sending a letter as it will most likely hurt their chances of admission.
- Multiple Schools. As previously mentioned, only one school (the applicant’s top choice) should receive a letter of intent. Medical schools often communicate with one another and will find out if someone has sent more than one LOI, which can damage the likelihood of acceptance.
How to Send
After drafting a letter of intent, applicants will want to make sure the letter gets to the right person at the right time. Before sending it off, the following details should be considered:
- Formatting. The letter should be formatted professionally and to the specifications of the receiving school. To find out if there are any requirements, applicants can go online or call the admissions office.
- Recipient. The recipient of the letter is typically the person (or persons) who conducted the interview. Instead of simply writing “Dear Admissions Committee,” the interviewer’s full name should be used.
- Method of Delivery. Letters of intent can usually be sent by mail (postal or courier service), email, or the school’s online admissions portal. Applying students should first review the school’s sending requirements.
- Sending Online. When sending a letter of intent online or by email, the form should be uploaded as a PDF (unless otherwise specified). This allows the recipient to open the file on any type of device, and the original formatting of the letter will remain unchanged.