Besides the online application, secondaries, and recommendation letters, some med school applicants like to submit “letters of intent” (LOIs) to schools which, creatively enough, they intend to attend upon receiving an acceptance.
Do LOIs even get considered? Realistically, it depends on the school and how late in the application cycle they receive supplemental materials. Some schools may brush them aside entirely. Other schools may think an applicant is going “the extra mile” to impress the adcom. Either way, I suppose from a pre-med’s point of view, it can’t hurt; however, there are some ways you can make sure the LOI is effective.
First and foremost, don’t write a LOI before your interview! What’s the point?! Aside from looking desperate to an admissions committee, you really don’t have anything to write about until you visit the program.
Next, the content of the LOI should focus primarily on how you connect with the school. What can you bring to the table which will strengthen the upcoming class? Which opportunities (clinical, research, elective, etc.) did you learn about that you foresee yourself pursuing? Why – should – they – accept – you?! These things will become apparent to you after the interview, tour of the school, and interacting with current students.
Also, just as with everything else in the application process, you want to be timely about submitting your LOI. Call the admissions office a day or two after your interview and ask if an e-mail will suffice or if a hard copy needs to be faxed or mailed. Remember, this document will be added to your official application file, so be sure it’s free of any errors.
While there’s no guarantee that LOIs are taken into consideration, applicants who don’t get into their top school choices are left wondering – “well maybe if I had sent a letter of intent, they would’ve accepted me!” Just fire up your word processor and go for it! 🙂