Letter of Intent Ethical Dilemma

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Universal Coverage, Apr 23, 2002.

  1. Universal Coverage

    Universal Coverage Junior Member

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    Hi everyone! I'm in a sticky situation and I want to do the right thing. In January I interviewed at a med school and loved it. I was sure I wanted to go there more than any other place so I sent them a letter of intent telling them they were my "top choice." In February they put me in on the waitlist and I felt really dissed so I decided to give up on it. They said I wouldn't know my position on the waitlist until May 15 and I didn't want to wait that long. I also felt I shouldn't go to a school that didn't really want me. I then sent a similar "top choice" letter to what was the #2 school on my list. I ended up getting in soon after and I'm grateful they accepted me. Since April though, I've become interested again in my first top choice school again. I've been looking at their website and reading up on it. I'm feeling the same excitement I did for it before, and so I guess it really is my top choice. I was just kinda hurt from the beginning that they waitlisted me. I think now I'd like to still try to get off their waitlist. I'm wondering:
    1. The letters I wrote only said they were my "top choice." I never said anything about withdrawing other applications if I got in or that I would go if accepted. Does that technically make my letter a little "softer" than a true letter of intent and give me some wiggle room?
    2. If I send a top choice letter to my waitlist school, my original top choice, that they are still my top choice, would that be unethical? Do I have an obligcation to attend my original second choice school because they accepted me after I told them they were my top choice?
    3. I never intended to deceived anyone. Each time I wrote the top choice letter I was sincere at that very moment. I guess I should have taken longer to think things over. But I don't think I have any chance of getting into the true school of my dreams without telling them again they are my top choice. Sigh.....this is sticky. I don't want to get in trouble with either school and I feel I owe the school that accepted me something.
     
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  3. SMW

    SMW Grand Member

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    Welcome to SDN!! :D (Gee, I haven't said that in a while!). To anwer your question, I don't think it's a real letter of intent unless you say, "If you admit me, I will definitely matriculate." Saying a school is your #1 choice is skating kind of close to the line, but many people don't really know their #1 choice until later in the game, after financial aid packages are announced, etc. So yes, I think you have "wiggle" room.
     
  4. WaitingImpatiently

    WaitingImpatiently Long Member

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    I agree with SMW. You chose your words carefully, so you've got some space to maneuver around. A very fine line, though.
     
  5. Doctora Foxy

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    I agree with the above advice.

    In december I made the same type of mistake. I thought it would be my only interview, so of course it was my first choice. After my interview, I promptly sent a letter stating that to my interviewer. However, now that the process is over, I'm writing a real letter of intent to my true #1, UF.....like "If accepted, I will immediately withdraw all pending applications and acceptances and matriculate at UF"

    I think you'll be ok. Because if you're not, then I'm not either! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" />
     
  6. Bradleyp

    Bradleyp Senior Member

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    I can't say you exactly the the right thing, you did say it was your top choice an it wasn't. Don't really worry about it because at the time it (the first school you really liked) was your top choice, you were then waitlisted and it was no longer your top choice because you were upset. You obviously feel bad about telling the schools they were your top choice, but thats all you can do. Go to the school you really want to attend and good luck. The important part is you know you were wrong, it is not a situation that I believe needs fixing or made right (this could back fire on you in a very bad way).
     
  7. Sammmeyeam

    Sammmeyeam Senior Member

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    I think people make a bigger deal of this "letter of intent" then it really is. It's not like a magic letter that will double your chances of acceptance. It is helpful if you're on the borderline of an acceptance...

    Also, it's not like the admissions office's sit down and mark who sent a letter of intent. They are so busy in dealing with hundreds of waitlisted and accepted students, that I bet they wouldn't even notice if you had sent a letter of intent and then withdrew.

    Think about it... the letter of intent is read by a member of the admissions committee. However, if you call up the school and tell them you want to withdraw, then you are talking to the secretary, and chances are the admissions committee will never even hear about you again...

    So, that's just what I think. I'm not saying that you should send out a bunch of letters of intents... that's not right. I just think that the magical letter of intent is given more credit than it deserves...
     
  8. otter

    otter Senior Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Sammmeyeam:
    <strong>Also, it's not like the admissions office's sit down and mark who sent a letter of intent. They are so busy in dealing with hundreds of waitlisted and accepted students, that I bet they wouldn't even notice if you had sent a letter of intent and then withdrew.

    Think about it... the letter of intent is read by a member of the admissions committee. However, if you call up the school and tell them you want to withdraw, then you are talking to the secretary, and chances are the admissions committee will never even hear about you again...
    </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I actually think that a letter of intent is a very serious thing that shouldn't be used liberally. I'm not sure how schools handle letters of intent, but I'm sure they're documented in some way. If you send a letter of intent to a med school, they're not going to sue you if you decide to withdraw afterwards. But the medical community is smaller than you think (my doctor tells me), and you never know how this might come to bite you down the road. Besides, as with anything in life, it's just not cool to promise and then renege.

    To Universal Coverage: Having said the above, I do agree with SWM and others that you're okay. You're especially okay if you said "a top choice," implying that it is one of the top choices. If you really want to get into that first school, you should really consider sending a real intent letter with promise to withdraw from other schools if they accept you.
     
  9. Universal Coverage

    Universal Coverage Junior Member

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    Thanks for the input everyone! I'll need to think all this over very carefully. I admire how everyone on this board also cares about doing the right thing. :)
     
  10. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Universal Coverage:
    <strong>I admire how everyone on this board also cares about doing the right thing. :) </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">You haven't been around here long enough. Check out the Lounge!
     

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