Factors to consider when writing a letter of intent – Part 1

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Student in Tanzania A letter of intent is a letter that you can send to the admissions office of a medical school to let them know that you are serious about joining their school. Sending a letter of intent is not mandatory and neither is it common practice, but if you are very keen on joining any particular school, it does help to send them this letter. The reasoning is, all med schools know that candidates apply to multiple schools and many succeed in getting admissions to more than one school. So there is a chance that if the school does give you admission, you may turn it down in favour of another school, wasting their time and forcing them to go through the shortlist process again.

 

Sending them a letter of intent tells them that they are your first choice and the chances of you turning them down are slim.    

The letter of intent is usually sent after the interview is over as this is the time when the authorities begin the final admissions shortlist.

 

Length of the letter

A letter of intent should not go beyond one page. Regardless of how much you want to go on about your many achievements, make sure that it all fits into one page. Cut out all unnecessary details and extraneous words. Keep it short and simple and to the point. Do not use very long sentences that get confusing. Emailing the letter is usually the best option since most people today check their email more frequently than any other form of communication.

 

Addressing the letter

The letter should ideally be addressed to the Head of the Admissions Office of the medical school or to the Dean of the school. If you are not sure who the letter needs to go out to, make it a point to call the admissions office and ask them who you should address the letter to. It is very important that your letter is sent to the right person as your admission depends on it. Sending it to the wrong person could cost you your admission, as the mail could be misplaced or worse still, thrown away.

It is equally important that you get the all the details right when addressing your letter, from the person’s correct title to the correct spelling of their name. It’s the little things that count and you cannot afford to be careless and let it all slip away at this stage when you are just one step away from realising your med school dreams.

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