Strategies for Sending the Best Letters of Interest to Residency Programs

Residency Letters of Interest

After applying to medical residency programs, sending follow-up Letters of Interest can be a great way to get your application and general candidacy noticed. They should be highly targeted, tailored, and specific for each program they are sent.

What is the Goal of Residency Letters of Interest? 

Generally speaking, the goal of Letters of Interest is to get your application looked at in further detail, and to get more interview invitations.

Sending such follow-ups to your top 5-20 program choices can sometimes result in a handful more of residency interviews!


Making Each Letter Specific

To begin, every single residency Letter of Interest needs to be mostly focused on the specific reasons for your interest in the residency program.

Remember, these reasons should not be generic or vague. For example, don’t just focus on the program’s Mission and Values, or the fact that they foster an atmosphere of teamwork and camaraderie. Only discuss these if you can vouch for such attributes through personal experience.

Of course, the more details you can add, the better. These could include specific research projects, training tracks, elective rotations, special opportunities, resident programs, and geographic preferences, as examples. Don’t forget, make sure to explore any topic you bring up in detail, rather than just listing attributes.

What to Include in Residency Letters of Interest

  • Opening with the specific names of those addressed
  • Most importantly, the specific reasons for your interest in the program
  • Next, the experiences and strengths you’re bringing to the table
  • Then, how you plan to contribute to the program
  • Finally, an invitation to look further into your ERAS Application and hopes for interview consideration
  • In signature, include:
    • Your Professional ERAS Photograph
    • Your AAMC ID
  • Optional: You may attach a version of your CV in the email for quick reference

Length: Should be about 200-500 words. Keep it concise, specific, and engaging
Address: Remember, it’s best to send to both the Program Coordinator and Program Director
When to Send: Ideally, send at least 3+ weeks after ERAS releases applications. If applying late, be sure to give programs at least 1-2 weeks before sending follow up Letters of Interest. Optionally, you can send Letters of Interest BEFORE the application season starts as well:



For more details, read our Complete Guide: Residency Letters of Interest, Thank Yous, & Letters of Intent

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