Is LOI legally Binding?

Gleevec

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    Originally posted by Ooops
    Hi everyone I just wanted to know if an LOI is legally biding? Can you write more than 1 LOI? ie: 2 schools your waitlisted for

    You can't write a letter of intent to more than 1 school. Schools talk to each other, and you risk being discovered and booted from both med schools.

    A letter of interest, where you dont commit to going to a school if accepted, is probably what youre looking for if youre trying to get into both schools.
     
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    jlee9531

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    1. Attending Physician
      Originally posted by sunkists
      if the issue were to ever come up in a court of law, a letter of intent would be legally binding. verbal contracts are too - just harder to verify.

      good points sunkist...even though people will say they are not legally binding...technically they are...

      esp. here in cali since the OP is from LA. (tho im not sure about other states' laws)
       
      F

      ForensicPath

        Originally posted by sunkists
        if the issue were to ever come up in a court of law, a letter of intent would be legally binding. verbal contracts are too - just harder to verify.

        There was a recent thread on this topic and I said this and no one seemed to believe me. If you make a statement saying that you will definitely attend X school if accepted, sign the document, and then attend another school, X school could definitely bring it up in a court of law. I doubt they would go through the hassle, but the potential is still there. I wouldn't write more than one letter of intent.
         

        viking1224

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          Originally posted by ForensicPath
          There was a recent thread on this topic and I said this and no one seemed to believe me. If you make a statement saying that you will definitely attend X school if accepted, sign the document, and then attend another school, X school could definitely bring it up in a court of law. I doubt they would go through the hassle, but the potential is still there. I wouldn't write more than one letter of intent.

          I think ForensicPath is on the money. However, if somebody is faced with this dilemna, I don't think all is lost. Be honest, and contact the director of admissions about the change in your circumstances, especially if the other acceptance was very unexpected (long-shot school, great scholarship, off the waitlist, etc.). Most of them want their students to attend by choice, and I suspect you may be able to convince them to let you go. After all, they have long waitlists of other highly qualified applicants to take your place. But as far as sending out more than one Letter of Intent at a time, that's dishonest and almost certainly of questionable legality.
           

          CalBeE

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            I'd say go for a letter of interest unless you basically received all decisions from schools, and got waitlisted at your obvious first choice.

            I sent some letters of interests to a few schools, and I just say "XXX is a top choice for my medical Education," then went on saying why I like the school.

            However, now that I know which my first choice is and I've been waitlist there, I'll send a letter of Intent to there, saying that it's my first choice and I'll withdraw from all the other schools if accepted.
             

            cornell2004

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              Now, what if you get into a school off the waitlist right before the beginning of classes that you've sent a letter of intent to, but had already decided on another school and even gotten a place to live and move in. Can the school automatically expect you to go to their school because of the letter of intent? Basically, can you winthdraw a letter of intent before you are given an acceptance?
               
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              ForensicPath

                Originally posted by cornell2004
                Now, what if you get into a school off the waitlist right before the beginning of classes that you've sent a letter of intent to, but had already decided on another school and even gotten a place to live and move in. Can the school automatically expect you to go to their school because of the letter of intent? Basically, can you winthdraw a letter of intent before you are given an acceptance?

                I would assume that the letter of intent would no longer apply in these circumstances. As for myself, I have sent out 2 letters of interest and 1 letter of intent. I will be choosing an arbitrary date where I will withdraw from waitlists if I have not been accepted at that point. I basically want to prevent myself from being accepted to a school 2 weeks before classes and creating all sorts of headaches in life.
                 

                ZephyrX

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                  A letter of intent is not legally binding and in most cases it is useless. The only binding thing is sending in your tuition deposit after May.

                  A letter of intent in some cases can move you up from a waitlist and in the other cases it doesn't help at all. If you only knew how many people sent letters of intent to the school that i attend and how many of them got rejected.
                   

                  viking1224

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                    Originally posted by ZephyrX
                    A letter of intent is not legally binding and in most cases it is useless. The only binding thing is sending in your tuition deposit after May.

                    A letter of intent in some cases can move you up from a waitlist and in the other cases it doesn't help at all. If you only knew how many people sent letters of intent to the school that i attend and how many of them got rejected.

                    But what if an applicant sent in a LOI and was accepted? Does your school just let them go without a fuss if they change their mind? Thanks for the info! :)
                     
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                    1. Attending Physician
                      Originally posted by viking1224
                      But what if an applicant sent in a LOI and was accepted? Does your school just let them go without a fuss if they change their mind? Thanks for the info! :)

                      i would think they wouldnt be too happy they got duped esp if they believed your LOI and took you off the WL.
                       

                      SaltySqueegee

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                        On this same note. I think I may have gotten myself into a small bind that is subject to interpretation.

                        In one letter to school x (my first interview), I wrote them saying how much I loved their program and that they were my first choice. (p.s. I did not say I would withdraw from any other programs, nor did I say it was a letter of intent; just your typical I think this school x is tops and first choice for a, b, and c reasons).

                        Time passed, and I came across school y that matched me very well, I recently sent them a letter that said they were my first choice, and I explicitly said that I would rescind all other applications from other schools if they were to extend an offer to me.

                        In my mind school x has become 2nd place after visiting school y, which is now 1st place.

                        Is this okay. Can the first letter to school x be considered a letter of interest, or will it be interpreted as a letter of intent. Thoughts?
                         

                        JohnHolmes

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                          This is a great question, and one that can be well understood within the context of the show: The Simpsons.

                          During the first Halloween episode, homer trades his soul for a donut. The deal is, when he finishes the donut, his soul belongs to evil Flanders (ie satan).

                          The donut is much like a LOI you send to a med school. In exchange for accepting you, they get your soul (promise to attend).

                          The caveat that Homer caught on to was, if you don't EAT the ENTIRE donut, you have in essence, beat the system, and he could keep his soul.

                          Analogously, if you do not ACCEPT the med schools offer, after you have sent the LOI, you have beat the system, and the LOI (your soul) will still be yours even though you got the donut (the offer of acceptance).

                          Best of Luck to you,
                          Coops
                           
                          E

                          Eraserhead

                            Great analogy. I've been saying for weeks now that I promised my soul to Cornell without any reservations or shame involved. The only thing is a genuine LOI says you will attend if offered admission, so you can't really say no after that... unless you are attending no medical school period.

                            I don't know, its a nice feeling though... if Cornell doesn't offer me the donut in the end at least I'll know they really really knew how hungry I was for it and I shall starve (most likely in Southern CA).


                            Originally posted by Cooper_Wriston
                            This is a great question, and one that can be well understood within the context of the show: The Simpsons.

                            During the first Halloween episode, homer trades his soul for a donut. The deal is, when he finishes the donut, his soul belongs to evil Flanders (ie satan).

                            The donut is much like a LOI you send to a med school. In exchange for accepting you, they get your soul (promise to attend).

                            The caveat that Homer caught on to was, if you don't EAT the donut, you have in essence, beat the system, and he could keep his soul.

                            Analogously, if you do not ACCEPT the med schools offer, after you have sent the LOI, you have beat the system, and the LOI (your soul) will still be yours even though you got the donut (the offer of acceptance).

                            Best of Luck to you,
                            Coops
                             

                            MErc44

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                            1. Attending Physician
                              this might seem like a dumb question but is it ok to attend an interview even after you send an LOI to a different school? For some reason when i think about this it seems bad. I think med schools can see where and when you interview. I am planning on sending the LOI pretty soon and will be attending an interview at the end of April.
                               

                              juddson

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                                Originally posted by ZephyrX
                                A letter of intent is not legally binding and in most cases it is useless. The only binding thing is sending in your tuition deposit after May.

                                A letter of intent in some cases can move you up from a waitlist and in the other cases it doesn't help at all. If you only knew how many people sent letters of intent to the school that i attend and how many of them got rejected.

                                This is the only true thing said on this thread so far.

                                Judd
                                 
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                                ForensicPath

                                  Originally posted by MErc44
                                  this might seem like a dumb question but is it ok to attend an interview even after you send an LOI to a different school? For some reason when i think about this it seems bad. I think med schools can see where and when you interview. I am planning on sending the LOI pretty soon and will be attending an interview at the end of April.

                                  Yes it is ok. I did it. You have not been accepted yet, so you want to keep all of your other options open.
                                   
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                                  ForensicPath

                                    Originally posted by ZephyrX
                                    A letter of intent is not legally binding and in most cases it is useless. The only binding thing is sending in your tuition deposit after May.

                                    A letter of intent in some cases can move you up from a waitlist and in the other cases it doesn't help at all. If you only knew how many people sent letters of intent to the school that i attend and how many of them got rejected.


                                    Anytime you sign your name to a document saying you will do something it could potentially be brought up in a court of law. Do I think it would ever come to that? Absolutely not. They keyword is potential.

                                    As for its purpose, I think it depends on the school. However, it takes about 10 minutes to do and it certainly can't hurt.
                                     

                                    Spitting Camel

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                                      Originally posted by juddson
                                      I'm going to give ForensicPath $5 on April 15.

                                      [signed] Justin W. Havemann, Esq.

                                      Not legally enforceable. Never had been, never will be.

                                      Judd

                                      That was just dumb and totally different than what we are talking about. Now, replace his sn with his real name, add what you are giving him the $5 in exchange for, and sign it and there you go: a freaking contract. I guess this would be the second true thing on this thread.
                                       
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                                      ForensicPath

                                        Originally posted by juddson
                                        I'm going to give ForensicPath $5 on April 15.

                                        [signed] Justin W. Havemann, Esq.


                                        Awesome. Should I send you my address or can we do it by paypal?

                                        There is bar near me that has $0.25 drafts during happy hour. Let's see..... that will be plenty for me to have a good time with. Thanks.
                                         

                                        juddson

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                                          Originally posted by AlreadyInDebt
                                          That was just dumb and totally different than what we are talking about. Now, replace his sn with his real name, add what you are giving him the $5 in exchange for, and sign it and there you go: a freaking contract. I guess this would be the second true thing on this thread.

                                          Obviously I can only go so far with this example because I don't know his real name. Surely you would agree I could say,

                                          "I promise to give that person who goes by the username ForensicPath" on SDN $5 on April 15".

                                          Or, suppose ForensicPath PM's his real name to me, and I insert it on the contract. Hence,

                                          "I promise to give [insert name here] $5 on April 15".

                                          In any event, I assure you that not having his real name is TOTALLY irrelevant to the issue of enforceability. Contracts are enforced between people using aliases all the time.

                                          As to what I am giving it to him for, I'll make it explicit.

                                          "In light of his hard work in preparation for medical school, I promise to give that person who goes by the username ForensicPath $5 on April 15."

                                          Finally, as regards my signature. I assure you that what I wrote "[signed] Justin W. Havemann" is perfectly enforceable as a signature in both common law and according to statute (Clinton's cyberlaws included provisions to this effect). And in any event, a signature is NOT necessary for an enforceable contract unless required specifically by a statute of frauds (which requires SOME contracts to be in writing, but even then not necesarily requiring a signature). generally a purely oral contract is perfectly enforceable (although harder to prove, as somebody above mentioned).

                                          Still, after all these considerations, my promise to ForensicPath is not enforceable.

                                          Judd
                                           

                                          Andrew_Doan

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                                          1. Attending Physician
                                            Originally posted by ZephyrX
                                            A letter of intent is not legally binding and in most cases it is useless. The only binding thing is sending in your tuition deposit after May.

                                            A letter of intent in some cases can move you up from a waitlist and in the other cases it doesn't help at all. If you only knew how many people sent letters of intent to the school that i attend and how many of them got rejected.

                                            I agree. Many people in this forum place too much importance in a letter of intent. I asked a few admissions officers at Iowa and they don't care nor do they read these letters. In fact, they don't even see them.
                                             

                                            CalBeE

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                                              Originally posted by Andrew_Doan
                                              I agree. Many people in this forum place too much importance in a letter of intent. I asked a few admissions officers at Iowa and they don't care nor do they read these letters. In fact, they don't even see them.

                                              It seems like some schools specifically ask you to send in updates and letters to show your interest, after you're placed on waitlists. I'm assuming that in these cases, they'll actually at least skim through the letters right?
                                               

                                              Andrew_Doan

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                                              1. Attending Physician
                                                Originally posted by CalBeE
                                                It seems like some schools specifically ask you to send in updates and letters to show your interest, after you're placed on waitlists. I'm assuming that in these cases, they'll actually at least skim through the letters right?

                                                Skim is about it. However, it's hard to generalize because not all schools have the same policy.

                                                If you think about it, unless your updated letters have some substance, e.g. new publication, last semester with all A's, Olympic medal, etc..., LOI's carry little weight. :(
                                                 

                                                CalBeE

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                                                  Originally posted by Andrew_Doan
                                                  Skim is about it. However, it's hard to generalize because not all schools have the same policy.

                                                  If you think about it, unless your updated letters have some substance, e.g. new publication, last semester with all A's, Olympic medal, etc..., LOI's carry little weight. :(

                                                  I feel the same too...but it's like if most other people on the waitlist send in LOI, I feel that I'll be bumped down if I don't send in one...it's probably the lack of LOI that makes a difference huh?

                                                  That just concerns me more b/c all the waitlists I'm on are "unranked". Now I believe that they do assign a score or something to the application, so as to review waitlist applicants easily, but lack of LOI may hurt...that's what I believe.
                                                   

                                                  MErc44

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                                                  1. Attending Physician
                                                    Originally posted by Andrew_Doan
                                                    Skim is about it. However, it's hard to generalize because not all schools have the same policy.

                                                    If you think about it, unless your updated letters have some substance, e.g. new publication, last semester with all A's, Olympic medal, etc..., LOI's carry little weight. :(

                                                    All schools are different. Tulane wants you to want to go there. i was told to send an LOI and call often, this is in addition to good grades. However, I can't get straight A's all the time. i go to a quarter system school and i got straight A's in the fall, I sent these, this quarter i'm looking at a 3.4 or 3.5. While this isn't bad as I am taking 15 units of upper division bio I was told to not send the grades if i get a 3.5 and just send a LOI. If you ask me it's pretty weird, I guarantee they got the impression that I really wanted to go there at the interview. i told my interviewer that i would attend if I was accepted and this was at the beginnig of October. An LOI would basically be the same thing I said in my interview and I'm assuming the interviewer took notes and included my statements in his review of me.
                                                     
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                                                    ForensicPath

                                                      To argue over the legality of a letter of intent is silly because by all practical purposes, it will never come up. However, I have been told by several adcoms to "keep in touch" with the school if you want to go there and are waitlisted. If it comes down to two applicants, one who has sent a LOI and one who hasn't, the choice for the adcom is easy. As for myself, I do not just send letters groveling to let me in. I use the LOI as a vehicle to update my application (i.e. grades, publication, awards, etc...).
                                                       
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