How to Write an Effective Letter of Intent for Residency

Crafting a strong Letter of Intent for residency can help you get your strongest Match. The purpose of a Letter of Intent is to reinforce the notion for programs that you are truly interested. Moreover, you intend on ranking them highly. As such, they should feel more comfortable and confident in ranking you highly as well.

However, what should Letters of Intent for residency include? How should they be written? Below, we’ll discuss the main points you need to keep in mind.


What is the Purpose? 

The purpose is to confirm with top programs you’ve interviewed at that you intend on ranking them highly. Additionally, you may also consider specifically signaling your number one program.


When and to Whom to Send?

Send approximately 2 weeks before the Rank Order List opens to 2 weeks before the Rank Order List Deadline to the top 3-7 programs on your Rank Order List.


When NOT to Send Letter of Intent for Residency?

Do NOT send a Letter of Intent if you do not intend on ranking the program or are unsure if you will. Additionally, don’t send Letters of Intent to residency programs that may be on your Rank Order List, but you have a number of programs you would strongly prefer to Match with.


What is a Good Subject Line? 

As with most residency letters of communication, straightforward and professional subject lines are best. In this case, they may include:

  • A Letter of Intent from Jane Doe
  • A Letter of Intent to Rank Highly from John Doe


What Should You Write in Your Letter of Intent? 

  1. A reminder of when you had your interview.
  2. An announcement of your intention to rank highly.
  3. Specific details you like about the program that you have not mentioned in previous correspondence:
    • ex. facilities, amenities, faculty, location
    • Draw your details from your actual experience with the program, people you met with, and the things you saw during the interview
    • Don’t just tell the program you love them, demonstrate your knowledge and familiarity with concrete examples
  4. Any other reasons you are interested in the program.
  5. Any additional strengths you have as an applicant that you feel would benefit the program.
  6. Close by reaffirming your intention to rank highly and desire to work together in the near future.


What NOT to Include? 

Now, let’s talk about a few things you should avoid including in your Letter of Intent for residency programs:

  • Unless they are your only #1 choice, do not tell them exactly how you will rank them (ie – “You are #3 on my list of 15!“)
  • Do not ask a program how they intend to rank you
  • Do not send content that lacks structure, organization, and/or proper spelling and grammar


The Ideal Letter of Intent for Residency

Finally, let’s talk about what the best Letters of Intent entail. Such letters would adhere to the following points:

  • Sent approximately 2 weeks before Rank Order List opens to 2 weeks before Rank Order List Deadline
  • Sent to Program Director and Program Coordinator
  • Appropriately addressed (use full formal names when addressing!)
  • Professionally written and perfectly edited
  • Between 200-500 words (max!)
  • Includes your ERAS Photograph and AAMC ID in the signature area

Use these key points, and your letters will be sure to reinforce a positive outlook on your candidacy.

Want Help with Your Letters? 

If you’d like assistance putting the polishing touches on your Letters of Intent, Residency Experts is here to ensure maximum impact.

Learn more about our Document Editing Service, which will help edit and craft your Letters of Interest, Thank Yous, and Letters of Intent to perfection.

Or, view our Complete Letter of Communication Guide here.