justAstudent

7+ Year Member
Apr 12, 2011
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How useful is a letter of intent? When is the best time to send one out? Anyone have advice on how to write one?
 
Dec 29, 2011
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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.
 
OP
justAstudent

justAstudent

7+ Year Member
Apr 12, 2011
803
492
California
Status
Medical Student
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.
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.
 

Pacna

Dyslexics, untie!
Jun 2, 2013
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Thank you note ASAP (within 48 hours or don't bother).

LOI when you get waitlisted IMHO.
 

JJMrK

J to the J
Moderator Emeritus
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Apr 27, 2007
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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).
 
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justAstudent

justAstudent

7+ Year Member
Apr 12, 2011
803
492
California
Status
Medical Student
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).
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.
 

DrEnderW

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Dec 5, 2012
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Will it help? No one can definitively tell you yes or no. It would probably also vary school to school.

Will it hurt? No.

You might as well send one because it can either: a) help and get your app another look, b) do no harm and leave you in the exact same place as before.