Thanks! The school I want to write one for is far and away my number one choice. I feel like it's a perfect fit for me and everything about it aligns with my personal beliefs and values. I would definitely attend this school. In fact, if I were accepted today, I would withdraw all my other IIs right now.Some of the faculty on SDN may tell you that a letter of intent is not very useful, and for all I know they may be correct.
Having said that, I sent a letter of intent to my top choice (which is non-rolling) 1.5 months before decisions were released, and was accepted in March. I have no idea how much the letter of intent actually helped. My application was clearly strong enough to garner serious consideration by the admissions committee on its own. But when you are trying to par down 1000 interviewees to 250 or so acceptances, I would like to think that intangibles like enthusiasm can help somewhat. My school also looks at how an applicant will fit its mission (duh) and how an applicant will utilize the resources available. In my letter of intent, I clearly laid out why I was a good fit for the school and why the school was perfect for me.
My advice would be to write a letter of intent if the school is truly your number one choice. I feel that it is incredibly disingenuous to lie about something like that, although there is nothing technically binding about such a letter (this is why some would argue letters of intent have marginal value). Moreover, your passion about the school will come across in the letter.
I actually read through that thread. I couldn't find any information on the ideal timing for this type of letter? Should I send one out post-interview? Or wait until I'm waitlisted? I'm leaning towards just sending one out ASAP.
I haven't been wait listed yet, but this school is clearly my top choice. I would accept and withdraw all my other apps and interviews if given the chance.At some places it may make all the difference. Others won't care at all. If you're waitlisted it probably can't hurt (unless the school told you specifically they don't want to hear from you).