Letter of intent to first choice program?

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by exjersey, Jan 21, 2004.

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  1. exjersey

    exjersey Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    An open question to everyone in the Match this year:

    Do you think it is a good idea to explicitly state "I will be ranking your program as my first choice in the Match" in the letter to the PD of the program you are ranking number one?

    What have people heard from their Deans or PDs at their schools regarding this issue?

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  3. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

    Oct 1, 2002
    San Diego, CA
    This depends on the program and specialty. In ophthalmology, a letter of intent means very little. Most of the time, your fate has been decided before your letter ever gets there, i.e., the committee meeting occurs at the end of the interview day.

    I was also instructed not to send thank you letters. I did because I was over zealous, only to find out that these letters were toss or filed away. :(

    On the other hand, if there is any sort of negotiations, then the programs will contact you. Basically, don't call us, we'll call you policy. For instance, derm will call their top picks.

    It'll be interesting to have input from residents from other fields.
  4. ckent

    ckent Banned Banned

    Jul 31, 2000
    One PD at an a school that I interviewed at told me that if their school was their top choice, I could let them know by e-mail. My home school suggested that I schedule a meeting with my PD after I finished interviewing just so that they could see "what they could arrange". It's BS, it's actually illegal for PD's to ask you where you plan to rank them, but some do find ways around them. I've heard of one student who sent a LOI to one program and she received a letter back saying that although they couldn't officially tell her where they were going to rank her, they looked forward to working with her next year. I think that LOI's do play some role in where programs decide to rank you. One chief resident explained it to me in that if a program knows that you are really enthused about their program, you will be more likely to do a good job and complete residency at their program (drop-outs area huge pain for programs). I think PD's get together and compare how low they had to go on their rank list too, just as a sign of prestige of the program or something, no one wants to say to other PD's that they ended up with the bottom 20 of their rank list I guess. My thought is that it may push you up a notch or two on their rank list, and even if it doesn't, it's not going to hurt to send one. One program that I sent an e-mail of interest to sent me 2 hand-written post cards thanking me for visiting. I know that doesn't mean I'll be put high on their rank list, but I hope that it means that they will at least be ranking me somewhere or else they wouldn't have bothered sending out the post-cards. I'd go ahead and do it. The worst that could happen is that they could just throw it away once it arrived.
  5. delphynium

    delphynium Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 1, 2004
    A friend of mine was told the same - that he is a very competitive candidate on 2 of his interviews. Do program directors really mean it when they say it or are they being politically correct ? Is this a way of telling you - we will take you into the program?
  6. lurkerboy

    lurkerboy exhalted mystic ruler 7+ Year Member

    Dec 9, 2003
    Much of the time the interviewers have no idea whether you'll be ranked. I am sure they aren't lying to you about competitiveness, but I wouldn't use this as a basis for determining that you'll get a spot.
  7. amdap

    amdap Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 22, 2003
    Agreed - I think being told that you are a competitive candidate means that the interviewers will lobby hard for you during the ranking sessions - but there is no telling how better of a case other interviewers will make for their applicants . . . unless the interviewers have some prior knowledge or have been doing this for years and know how the system works, I don't think anyone can say with any certainty where you will end up on the rank list.

    Are people e-mailing the PDs with an "e-mail of intent," or are you all going the more traditional formal letter route?
  8. limabean

    limabean Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 25, 2003
    I emailed my 1st choice PD and he sent me a very positive response the same day. I debated if I should send a letter but one of the residents told me that they were putting in their list this week and I wanted to make sure he got it in time(not getting lost in some stack on his desk). If I had decided earlier I think I would have sent a letter.However I don't know that it would have made any difference...

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