Letter of Interest/Intent-The Dilemma

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doc toothache

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This year, there have been several posts inquiring about letter of intent/interest. It should be a safe presupposition that there is interest in every school one applies to and intent on attending, should an acceptance be granted, although the sincerity may come into question when one applies to 51 schools. The knee jerk reaction to reach out for the phone/e-mail is understandable whether one is on a waitlist or has not gained acceptance to their "top choice". While there have been a number of claims that indeed the letter of interest/intent has resulted in an acceptance, it is unlikely that the call/letter was the sole factor responsible for the outcome. If it is reasonable to assume that all applicants are ranked on the basis of some criteria, it would be reasonable to expect a Dir/Dean of Admission to choose a class of the most qualified applicants for their purpose. It is unlikely that a D/D of A would bump an applicant a few notches based solely on letter/call since that would mean choosing a less qualified applicant from the pecking order.

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This year, there have been several posts inquiring about letter of intent/interest. It should be a safe presupposition that there is interest in every school one applies to and intent on attending, should an acceptance be granted, although the sincerity may come into question when one applies to 51 schools. The knee jerk reaction to reach out for the phone/e-mail is understandable whether one is on a waitlist or has not gained acceptance to their "top choice". While there have been a number of claims that indeed the letter of interest/intent has resulted in an acceptance, it is unlikely that the call/letter was the sole factor responsible for the outcome. If it is reasonable to assume that all applicants are ranked on the basis of some criteria, it would be reasonable to expect a Dir/Dean of Admission to choose a class of the most qualified applicants for their purpose. It is unlikely that a D/D of A would bump an applicant a few notches based solely on letter/call since that would mean choosing a less qualified applicant from the pecking order.

Thank you for posting this Doc., that is what I have been wondering and those were exactly my concerns. "How much does a letter of intent actually help, because if you applying to the school you are most certainly interested in the school and want to attend the school." Thank you for answering this question and shedding some light, it is much appreciated.
 
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I was told very specifically that "if you find yourself on the waitlist, the best thing you can do is let us know that you are serious about our program. Send a letter, tell me why you want to come here, etc."

Granted, this was at only ONE school (LECOM), but I thought it still bore mentioning.
 
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I was told very specifically that "if you find yourself on the waitlist, the best thing you can do is let us know that you are serious about our program. Send a letter, tell me why you want to come here, etc."

Granted, this was at only ONE school (LECOM), but I thought it still bore mentioning.

I think it was mentioned at NOVA as well
 
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It is called lip service; think of it as a pep rally kind of talk.
 
Working in admissions, albeit not dentistry, I can say for a fact that we care about how a candidate will fit in our program...not just test scores or GPAs. A letter of intent that demonstrates why you would be a good fit for a program could only help you. However, whatever effect the letter would have would be minimal in comparison to the interview. We view them in a similar way to well written thank you notes.
 
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It is called lip service; think of it as a pep rally kind of talk.

Granted and your initial points are all valid. I think its just a case of wanting to do everything within your power to help persuade the school, but one's expectations shouldn't be significantly raised by writing one.

I sent a letter of Intent to one school I really want to attend. My application is strong and my stats are well above that school's averages, but I didn't hear back from them. I had no illusions when I wrote the letter to them and I expected nothing much to come out of it. I still haven't heard from them and I don't much care anymore, but at the time, sending that letter of intent put my mind at ease. What I am trying to say is the LOI was more placebo than cure for one's admissions woes - write one to feel you've done the most you can, but don't think it'll magically make things better.
 
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I think it's important to note that Doc's post is purely opinion/anecdotal.

Doc has a tendency to post extremely reliable and data intensive information. I feel that reputation may carry over into this post. With that being said, I have a lot of respect for the time and effort he puts into this community. I also value his opinion.

---

I will admit that I sent a letter of intent to my state school after being waitlisted. I never received a response from the school about the letter. I don't know if it helped, but I feel confident it didn't hurt my chances.

Use your judgement. Every situation is different. Do what you feel is best.

Good luck guys!
 
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It is called lip service; think of it as a pep rally kind of talk.

I completely agree. However, if they tell you to write one, what harm could there possibly be in doing so? Unless you're the slowest writer on the planet, it will take 30 minutes of your time. Make sure you proof it, have someone else proof it, and then proof it again. Writing a letter with grammatical or spelling errors....now that could hurt your chances!
 
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pecking order schmnecking order. i don't think such a thing exists at some schools
 
They want to accept people who will come to increase their yield and drive down their acceptance rates.
 

If they have a class of 100 and only have to accept 100 people (100% yield) then their acceptance rate goes down.

If they have a class of 100 but have to accept 200 people (50% yield) their acceptance rate doubles.

Obviously there is a fine balance between quality of accepted person and whether they will come. The school won't accept all *******es, but at the same time they want to accept people who will come because all schools are conscious of their numbers.
 
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If they have a class of 100 and only have to accept 100 people (100% yield) then their acceptance rate goes down.

If they have a class of 100 but have to accept 200 people (50% yield) their acceptance rate doubles.

Obviously there is a fine balance between quality of accepted person and whether they will come. The school won't accept all *******es, but at the same time they want to accept people who will come because all schools are conscious of their numbers.

Very true.
 
Working in admissions, albeit not dentistry, I can say for a fact that we care about how a candidate will fit in our program...not just test scores or GPAs. A letter of intent that demonstrates why you would be a good fit for a program could only help you. However, whatever effect the letter would have would be minimal in comparison to the interview. We view them in a similar way to well written thank you notes.

Assume that all the interviewed candidates send a letter. Do you want to be the only one who does not? If the admissions committee is not sure you liked the place, will they rank you on merit alone? It is hard to do that.
 
I am still waiting to hear back from a school I interviewed at pre-dec so should you only submit a letter if you have officially been notified as wait-listed?
 
I was put on the alternate list at my top choice. I sent a brief e-mail stating that they were still my top choice, why I was a good fit with the program, and a brief activity update since the interview. I was pretty bummed when I didn't get accepted, and sending the letter helped me feel like I did something to keep me from stressing more. Just a few days later, I got an email from admissions thanking me for the update and that they would keep me in mind. That was a very pleasant surprise! By the way, I did call the admissions office beforehand to make sure they accepted letters of interest.

Hope this helps!
 
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If they have a class of 100 and only have to accept 100 people (100% yield) then their acceptance rate goes down.
If they have a class of 100 but have to accept 200 people (50% yield) their acceptance rate doubles.

The "% yield" might be a concern, but it does not seem to be of any particular value if we eliminate the ego factor.
 
I was put on the alternate list at my top choice. I sent a brief e-mail stating that they were still my top choice, why I was a good fit with the program, and a brief activity update since the interview. I was pretty bummed when I didn't get accepted, and sending the letter helped me feel like I did something to keep me from stressing more. Just a few days later, I got an email from admissions thanking me for the update and that they would keep me in mind. That was a very pleasant surprise! By the way, I did call the admissions office beforehand to make sure they accepted letters of interest.

Hope this helps!

sending an email stating your interest DOES help. I sent letters of interest to some schools that haven't interview me yet. To my surprise they invited me a few days later.
 
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I was told very specifically that "if you find yourself on the waitlist, the best thing you can do is let us know that you are serious about our program. Send a letter, tell me why you want to come here, etc."

Granted, this was at only ONE school (LECOM), but I thought it still bore mentioning.

NYU and uop told me that as well. I was told, "squeaky wheel gets the oil." So can't hurt to try!

Sent from my Nexus 4 using SDN Mobile
 
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Subjective measurements like letter of intent, thank you letters, well placed phone calls etc. influence admissions.
 
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sending an email stating your interest DOES help. I sent letters of interest to some schools that haven't interview me yet. To my surprise they invited me a few days later.

Who do you address them to?
Thanks!
 
The "% yield" might be a concern, but it does not seem to be of any particular value if we eliminate the ego factor.

You forgot to qualify your statement by saying "in my opinion". Just like undergrad admissions the adcoms are aware of their admission statistics. Driving down the admit rate and increasing average class statistics is part of their goal.
 
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Find out who the decision maker is and send it to them. Likely the admissions director.

So in this scenario, the dir/dean, who in all likelihood has had no contact with the applicant, will be so impressed with the letter of intent/interest that he/she will simply choose to ignore the recommendation of the adcom. What happens in cases where the number of letters received far outnumbers the number of slots available, let alone the number of those interviewed?


To think that subjective measurements such as letter of intent, thank you letters, well placed phone calls etc. doesn't influence admission is outlandish. If it is true then DS is the only selection process, among all industries, that isn't influenced by the decision makers perception of the applicant.

Most industries do not rely on measurable criteria (gpa/DAT/MCAT/PCATOAt) to gauge their applicants, whereas professional schools do.


You forgot to qualify your statement by saying "in my opinion". Just like undergrad admissions the adcoms are aware of their admission statistics. Driving down the admit rate and increasing average class statistics is part of their goal.

You mean in a personal post it is possible to express someone else's opinion? There is a world of difference between undergrad and professional schools admission.
 
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I agree with you doc. Always so objective in your conclusions. Love it.

However, if it's really bothering you, just send it. It takes a couple of minutes and can't hurt you. Chances are won't help you either lol. But it will make you feel better that you did everything in your power to get accepted.
 
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I agree with you doc. Always so objective in your conclusions. Love it.

However, if it's really bothering you, just send it. It takes a couple of minutes and can't hurt you. Chances are won't help you either lol. But it will make you feel better that you did everything in your power to get accepted.

^This.
 
So in this scenario, the dir/dean, who in all likelihood has had no contact with the applicant,
I haven't been to an interview where I did not meet the dean of admissions, and was interviewed by this individual at all but 2 of my interviews. The admissions office I work in also never interviews an applicant without our director meeting the applicant, and time permitting she interviews all candidates as well (about 80% of the time). Also, it's not as if only the person you addressed the letter to would see it; it becomes part of your application file so it wouldn't really matter if the dean didn't meet the applicant.
will be so impressed with the letter of intent/interest that he/she will simply choose to ignore the recommendation of the adcom.
I can only speak with any confidence about where I work, but assume this may be how other admissions offices work. The letter of intent is noted as a thank you letter would be. It is minimal in consequence, but it's possible the letter would come into play. We care about how likely an applicant is to attend our program and that can affect our view of said applicant. My experience is possibly skewed because of the nature of the 'ranking' system we use that doesn't exist in dental school admission.
What happens in cases where the number of letters received far outnumbers the number of slots available, let alone the number of those interviewed?

Letters of intent that I was speaking about were for those whom have interviewed, so they will not outnumber those interviewed. Also, as previously stated, the letter is of minimal overall importance but may come into play when deciding between marginal candidates. The number of slots available is not significant to the purpose of the letter.
 
If a letter of interest/intent is so effective, one wonders what amount of "oil" would be needed to really "grease the wheel"? Otherwise, the net loss might only be a few trees and a few gazillion electrons.
 
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If a letter of interest/intent is so effective, one wonders what amount of "oil" would be needed to really "grease the wheel"? Otherwise, the net loss might only be a few trees and a few gazillion electrons.

What the hell are you talking about? If anything you're so long removed from the admissions process, your opinions are worthless. Go back to pirating the ADEA Guide and copying their data for your spreadsheets.
 
What the hell are you talking about? If anything you're so long removed from the admissions process, your opinions are worthless. Go back to pirating the ADEA Guide and copying their data for your spreadsheets.

Rough day at the "office"?
 
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what the hell are you talking about? If anything you're so long removed from the admissions process, your opinions are worthless. Go back to pirating the adea guide and copying their data for your spreadsheets.

+1, pure arrogance pours out of his mouth. Easy to be a bully from behind a keyboard. I wrote a LOI to all the programs I interviewed at...which resulted in acceptances from all. Never second guess your instincts. Go with your gut, it can't hurt. Good luck to all
 
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Doc Toothache, do you feel the same way about "update letters"? What would you say is worth updating schools on (other than the academic update, of course)? Publications? I can see how extra shadowing and volunteering hours wouldn't be a big update.
 
Doc Toothache, do you feel the same way about "update letters"? What would you say is worth updating schools on (other than the academic update, of course)? Publications? I can see how extra shadowing and volunteering hours wouldn't be a big update.

i mentioned my additional courses after graduation.
 
+1, pure arrogance pours out of his mouth. Easy to be a bully from behind a keyboard. I wrote a LOI to all the programs I interviewed at...which resulted in acceptances from all. Never second guess your instincts. Go with your gut, it can't hurt. Good luck to all

Why do you attribute your success to the LOI instead of your GPA/DAT/Essay/Interview?

But, I agree. It can't hurt.
 
Why do you attribute your success to the LOI instead of your GPA/DAT/Essay/Interview?

But, I agree. It can't hurt.

Not attributing my success to that alone, my GPA was over 3.5o, & over 3.6s, dat's 19/20/21, nothing spectacular IMO. Interviews went really well, I wanted to get the LOI's out before they had a chance to seal my fate. There's no right or wrong answer to this question. It certainly won't hurt your chances. If you have more specific q's, feel free to pm me, I'd be happy to help
 
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If a letter of interest/intent is so effective, one wonders what amount of "oil" would be needed to really "grease the wheel"? Otherwise, the net loss might only be a few trees and a few gazillion electrons.

Looks like Doc Toothache is losing it.
 
Looks like Doc Toothache is losing it.

Prospective applicants are desperate for answers and hes antagonizing them with smart***** remarks....yea, what a mentor and contributor! Thanks for the spreadsheets and all, but stop picking on these posters, maybe "you're" having too many bad days at the office??
 
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If a letter of interest/intent is so effective, one wonders what amount of "oil" would be needed to really "grease the wheel"? Otherwise, the net loss might only be a few trees and a few gazillion electrons.

I think you all took this comment more seriously than intended. I am pretty sure he is just saying its not going to hurt anything, other than wasting a little paper or energy on an email. Essentially it's neutral, if I am understanding 'toothachese'.
 
I think you all took this comment more seriously than intended. I am pretty sure he is just saying its not going to hurt anything, other than wasting a little paper or energy on an email. Essentially it's neutral, if I am understanding 'toothachese'.

Pay attention to the tone of his responses...that of a know-it-all child
 
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Doc's opinion is that of one dentist. He has his own views, and it does not make them right or wrong, it simply makes them his. He is one of the only dentists to regularly post on this forum, but this does mean that he has a voice for all the dentists (which he does not imply).

So take whatever he says with a grain of salt and realize that it is his opinion, even though he sometimes posts his opinion in a pompous and childish way :)
 
Does writing a letter of intent bind you to that school if accepted? I mean is there an obligation to attend the school, if accepted of the waitlist.
I was accepted to UB and waitlisted at NYU. I want to send a letter of intent to NYU since it is my #1 and pray to get accepted. But UB seems to be a better choice bc of cost, from tuition to costs of living. I'm stuck Btwn these 2 choices. Any1 have any advise or suggestions?
 
Does writing a letter of intent bind you to that school if accepted? I mean is there an obligation to attend the school, if accepted of the waitlist.
I was accepted to UB and waitlisted at NYU. I want to send a letter of intent to NYU since it is my #1 and pray to get accepted. But UB seems to be a better choice bc of cost, from tuition to costs of living. I'm stuck Btwn these 2 choices. Any1 have any advise or suggestions?

Im accepted to NYU, alternate at UB. Wanna trade? ;)
 
Time to resurrect this post for those with itchy fingers.
 
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Any thoughts on sending a LOI to a school where you have not yet been invited to interview if it is, in fact, my top and likely, my ONLY practical choice.
 
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What is an example of a letter of intent? Like is there some type of template?
 
Any thoughts on sending a LOI to a school where you have not yet been invited to interview if it is, in fact, my top and likely, my ONLY practical choice.
In other words, should you send one if you are really desperate?
 
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