It’s never too early to start brainstorming or drafting your letter of intent to the program where you interviewed for residency. This aspect of your application is a crucial element that provides a Program Director with unique insight on your personality, attention to detail, and the program. This is the place to express why a specific program is the perfect fit for you, and why you will be a great asset to their program.

Some key elements you should highlight include your personal experience at the program, including interactions with current residents and directors, and personal anecdotes from your interview. Additionally, mention how your specific skillset will fit into the mission of the program. What is unique about this program that drew you in? Are there any special projects or initiatives you could see yourself a part of? How will you specifically contribute to the program and help it grow and succeed? Each of these points will help your letter of intent stand out to readers. Think about how you would answer these questions to begin your letter of intent draft.

Remember to keep your letter concise and to the point. Below is a good example of a letter that clearly communicates why the candidate is ranking Program X as their top choice:

Dear Dr. X,

I interviewed at your program on January 6th, and am writing this letter to express my strong interest in Program X and to inform you that I am ranking it as my #1 choice for residency.

Program X offers several unique strengths that make it the right program for me. I am particularly interested in the clinical and research opportunities that Program X offers, including great subspecialty surgical electives, international mission trips with faculty, and diverse training sites. The chance to take a year off to pursue my research interests is something else in which I am interested. I also enjoyed meeting with Dr. Y and Dr. Z during my visit and learning about resident involvement with community and departmental initiatives. I plan to pursue leadership positions during and after residency, and Program X would help me achieve these goals.

During my visit, I also explored the city of X and became aware of its incredible diversity. Even though I will have limited free time during residency, the city’s cultural and culinary venues will offer valuable diversions. I would be excited to live in a new part of the country and learn how medicine is practiced there.

For these reasons, Program X is my top choice for residency. I would be honored to Match there. As a resident, I hope to learn from my attendings and offer the best care for my patients. I also hope to make meaningful contributions to the program. My desire to become an excellent surgeon, along with my current interests and future goals, make me an enthusiastic, motivated, focused, and excellent fit for Program X.


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