It is the middle of the interview season, and you haven’t heard from a number of programs you applied to. With the pandemic shifting the normal schedule of interviews, it is unclear to you whether programs are delaying sending out invites, or if you missed the cut. Either way, you know you have to resort to whatever means necessary to try and obtain an interview to that program you’ve been dreaming of since entering medical school. You decide to shoot your best shot in the game at this point, which is the Letter of Interest (LOI). The LOI is essentially a love letter to the program, but should contain several key components in order to be effective and worth sending:
- Background – After a brief introduction, you should communicate why you are an excellent candidate for the program based on your professional and personal background. This can include elements from your CV, personal experiences, or something not captured in your application. Sometimes, programs may glaze over applications and miss these portions of your application that you would like to emphasize.
- Program Interest – Since you are taking the time to write a letter of interest, it is only natural that you should detail why you are interested in this specific program. Instead of focusing on the basics of the residency program (i.e. curriculum, call schedule, general research opportunities), it is beneficial to get specific here. What is unique about this program that draws you to it? Is there a particular field of research that the institute specializes in, is it in a region that you have personal ties to, etc.
- Personal Fit – To tie the two bullet points above, it will be nice to outline why you are a great fit for the program. Does the program have academic pathways that you certainly will pursue? Is their mission in line with your passion for medicine? Does your robust research background correlate with their heavy research emphasis?
Overall, the purpose of this letter is to convey your strong interest in the program and rehash your qualifications for an interview. It is important to be concise, yet effective in illustrating why you feel you deserve to be considered.