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What Exactly is a Letter of Intent?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by LolaLee, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. LolaLee

    LolaLee Member
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    Sorry, this might be a stupid question, but I was just curious what a letter of intent is exactly. Does it help you to get in? Do you notify the other schools about too? Thanks!
     
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  3. crazy_cavalier

    crazy_cavalier T3-Weighted
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    A letter of intent is like a marriage proposal. Think of applying to med schools like a courtship game... you're looking into a lot of potential suitors, but in the end you can only wind up with one. Letter of intent is you declaring to that one school that you will commit only to that school, if accept there, and you will withdraw applications (or acceptances) from other schools once accepted.

    That said, no you are not obligated to send a notice to other schools telling them you've sent a LOI to another school. In fact, that would be a dumb move. *However*, you may not send more than one LOI. You're obligated (by means of ethics/morality) not to send numerous LOIs.

    At some schools a LOI can have more of an impact than at others. Thus, you should probably contact the admissions office of whichever school you want to send your LOI and ask them how they view such letters. If they say it factors strongly in their consideration, then by all means, send it. If not, reconsider sending it to that school (since it wouldn't have much of an impact) and think about your second-choice school a bit harder.

    Good luck to you! It's getting around that time of the year huh? :)
     
  4. zurned

    zurned Senior Member
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    wait, wut happens if u send a letter of intent to numerous places and if you choose one when you get into all of them? It's not like if i send a letter of intent, I have to go there right? I'm thinking of sending one to my 2nd choice cuz i was waitlisted, but if i get into my top choice, then wut?
     
  5. USArmyDoc

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    I mean that sounds all nice but I bet a whole bunch of people send a LOI to at least their top five schools.
     
  6. buffyfan23

    buffyfan23 Junior Member
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    A letter of intent is your commitment to going there if you get accepted. If you back out of your agreement, the school will rightfully be annoyed and it is on your own conscious. You can, however, send a letter of interest, without stating that you plan to attend X school.
     
  7. SpeedRacer

    SpeedRacer Senior Member
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    yeah they might be pissed, and it might be "on your conscience," but i feel like the consequences stop there. they'll be happy to pick up another person who will pay 100 grand to go to their school i think.
     
  8. hanjoko

    hanjoko Senior Member
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    I got another question...

    If I send a letter of intent to school x BEFORE they make any decisions, but later get waitlisted...can I still go to another school? Or does this letter mean that I can only go there even if I am waitlisted??
     
  9. SpeedRacer

    SpeedRacer Senior Member
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    what are they gonna do? sue you?
     
  10. veenut

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    absolutely...if a school gets your LOI and waitlists you, IMHO they are effectively saying "sorry, but no dice" and you're free from your virtual contract
     
  11. superseif

    superseif Member
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    Actually that's a really good question and I wish someone could answer it. I have a dilemma... my number 1 choice (not a great school) has placed me on hold pre-interview, so I'm not sure if I should send them a letter of intent. The problem is I have interviewed at Univ of Mich. and I loved it, but got placed on waitlist and I'm not sure if I should send them a letter of intent. Basically, the question is, should I waste my letter of intent on my top choice, and risk not getting an interview, or should I use the letter at University of Michigan to try and get out of the waitlist?

    Please let me know what you think...
     
  12. SpeedRacer

    SpeedRacer Senior Member
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    you aren't signing like a legal contract...seriously...are they going to sue you? no. it might be mean or "unethical" but people change their minds...
     
  13. veenut

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    from what i know, the LOI isn't going to make much of a difference at a school where you were placed on hold pre-interview. it's like asking a girl out, having her say no, and then asking her to marry you. probably not going to work.

    BUT, if you go out on a date with a girl and then she dumps you in favor of a better looking/smelling/money-having guy, and THEN you ask her to marry you, she might choose to reconsider kicking you to the curb. especially if you lure her with promises of cars and mansions and waterbeds.

    so, in closing, don't waste your time sending an LOI to a school pre-interview. for one, it will look suspicious that you could love a school so much without having actually, you know, seen it. if you know you'd be happy at UMich, then send them an LOI.
     
  14. hanjoko

    hanjoko Senior Member
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    So...what if they waitlist you and then decide to accept you in the end (say June)? And by that time, you have already got acceptance from another school?
     
  15. veenut

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    well, you're basically supposed to pick a school by may 15. so i would say that if you send an LOI to a school, you are indebted to them until that date and should attend if taken off the waitlist. if they accept you after that, all bets are off and you don't have to honor your LOI anymore
     
  16. PhotoMD

    PhotoMD Rad!
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    Just a few words of advice from someone who has been through this process: you should only send one LOI. You should only do this post-interview. What are the consequences of sending it to more than one school? It should tell you that you feel like you have to cut ethical corners to get to where you want to be. You are an "ends justify the means" kind of person. If you're comfortable with that, then fine.

    Secondly, paranoia aside, admissions officials do talk to each other, and they do discuss applicants. If it is discovered that you have sent an LOI to more than one school, forget about getting into either school. Besides being in poor taste, most schools will consider this an ethical lapse, which is not something you want schools to think this early in the game.

    How do I know officials talk to each other? Because this is what they have told me when I have interviewed, and after the fact now that I am in. Keep this in mind.
     
  17. hanjoko

    hanjoko Senior Member
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    I am wondering about the same thing. I think I'll go to the school that I sent a LOI to if they decide to accept me BEFORE May 15th...but not sure what to do after that...
     
  18. PhotoMD

    PhotoMD Rad!
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    Well, it's my personal advice that you not send an LOI to a school unless you are on the wait list. It seems to me that an LOI is not so powerful that it will raise your application from "definite reject" to "definite accept." My philosophy is that LOIs are used to tell a school that is on the fence about you (i.e. have placed you on the wait list) that they are your #1 choice and you will definitely fill a slot for them with minimal hassle. What I mean by minimal hassle is that they won't have to scramble to find someone for the slot come September.

    That being said, I'd only send the letter to your top choice. That way, if they do accept you in August, you'll be happy to go because they are your top choice. The best way to combat the scenario you describe is not to let that be a possibility. If your worry is having to radically alter plans in August, then withdraw from your LOI school once you've settled on another one.

    A withdrawl is an ethical and practical way to extricate yourself from your half of the LOI "contract."
     
  19. liger

    liger Senior Member
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    does anyone know how much of an impact letters of intent have? i recently interviewed at a school with higher ave stats than my own, and am wondering if it would help me to write a letter of intent. do so many people write them that it looks bad if you don't or do they not really have much of an effect?
     

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