Timing of LOIs

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Powdered Floor Queen
20+ Year Member
Dec 7, 2002
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Yeah yeah, I did a search, but reading several of the many many many pages of results didn't answer my question:

WHEN should a letter of intent be sent? Would it be wise to send it after an interview but before hearing from the school? Or does it only make sense to send a letter of intent after getting waitlisted?

If a LOI should only be sent after being waitlisted, what can be done after the interview? I've already sent my thank-yous. I don't really have anything new to add- I think my last update was part of what got me the interview in the first place.

I'm on pins and needles regarding my favorite school, but the interview went the worst of all my interviews, so I'm very nervous about their decision. On the other hand, the best interview I had (on my part) resulted in my first post-interview rejection, so who the heck knows.

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LOI= Letters of Intent are to get off a waitlist...I think it would waste your time to send it otherwise...do one LOI at a time, and do it after being waitliasted, like almost immediately after you get the "you're on a priority wait from hell list" letter.

Once they reject you, feel free to write a new LOI to the next school, etc. Hope that helps, I'm on two waitlists, but they are not my top choice, so no LOI for them...I am still waiting for my top choice to accept (PLEASE OH PLEASE) me or waitlist, so I can write that LOI myself, good luck.:)
I sent a letter of intent before getting a decision from Stanford. I told them that if I were given the opportunity to matriculate there I would withdraw my application from ALL the other schools I had applied to. More importantly I outlined why I felt I would thrive as a Stanford Medical Student and why their program was a great fit for me.

...Guess I'll find out this Thursday if it helped or not.

I guess my point is this...I think it is ok to send a letter of intent whenever you feel like it, even before a decision is actually made. A letter of intent is a letter telling the school that you really liked their school and will possibly(the degree of possibility is up to you to make clear) matriculate there. Why must it be written after a decision? It doesn't IMO.

I also did the same for Northwestern except I carefully stated that I would withdraw from all the schools I had ALREDY VISITED(based on the date I had postmarked and signed the letter I still had not interviewed at Stanford yet so I left myself some leeway)

...guess i'll find out about that one on the 21st.
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i did the exact same thing with yale as ucla man did with stanford... and i sent the letter at the end of january, however,
i also had an update to my file (a new publication) that i wanted to make sure was in there before they made a decision on me. also, i thought of the LOI as a tie-breaker - as in, if there were two identical candidates they were deliberating, one being myself, i wanted to be the one already with a guarantee that i would matriculate and withdraw all other offers should they give me the spot.

if i get waitlisted, they're getting another letter.
we'll see how it works out next week when i (hopefully) hear from yale. :)
You can send it whenever you feel like - you do not have to wait for the waitlist and to be honest I think they are better before (if you are very certain you would go there). When the committee meets they will make a decision on whether to admit you based on everything in your file. A LOI can only strengthen your file as they then know you will come there - and if you provide a reasoned arguments of the reasons why you felt you fitted the school and vice versa it gives you another opportunity to highlight yourself relative to the school in a positive way.

If you are very interested in the school but not sure about whether you will go there or not you can instead write a letter of interest - again stating all the reasons that you feel you are a good fit and vice versa - and stating that they are one of your (say) top two choices.
oh yeah...just wanted to add that the reason i sent to Stanford and Northwestern was because they are my top choices. Didn't bother to send LOIs to the others...only letters stating my continued interest in them and updating them of my activities. But nothing saying that I will matriculate there for sure. I wouldn't send LOIs to every single school. Furthermore, for a LOI to be effective you really have to outline why you would be a great fit for that school and each school is very different. Can't use a form letter IMO. So if it is a school you aren't too excited about it is kinda difficult to find justification for why you would be a great fit there IMO.