Most applicants like to send a thank you letter after a medical school interview. They represent an additional opportunity to remind the medical school admissions committee of your candidacy. You’ve had enough time to figure out how to prepare for a medical school interview, and have been given the chance to introduce yourself and expose the reasons why you think you should be selected and that is an excellent reason to be thankful. After having taken the time out of their day, the interviewer is most likely going to be expecting one, so you better choose your words wisely. But how do thank you letters work? Should you wait before sending it? What happens next? In this article we show you the structure of a thank you letter, what to include in it, tips, samples, and what to expect after sending it. We tell you everything there is to know about them so that you can make the best impression after your medical school interview!
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What Is a Thank You Letter?
Thank you letters are an excellent way to remind the admissions committee of your candidacy and intentions after an interview. If you create a great impression with your interview and thank you letter, you may be able to improve your chances of getting accepted to your dream medical school. Especially after a one-on-one interview, expressing your gratitude and your enthusiasm for being given that opportunity is a gesture anyone would appreciate.
Even if your interview was an MMI, you should send a thank you letter to the dean or admission officers of the medical school where you interviewed.
Additionally, sending a handwritten note or an email will guarantee that you will stay on the interviewer’s radar, thus improving your chances of success.
When to Send a Thank You Letter
You should send your thank you letter soon after the interview, ideally within 24 hours, when the interviewer hasn’t had time to discuss your profile with the admission committee or write a formal evaluation. Receiving a thank you letter might influence their perception of you, so reminding them of your candidacy, strengths, and personality might further positively affect your chances for acceptance.
How Long Should My Thank You Letter Be?
A thank you letter is not a cover letter or a recommendation letter. Its purpose is merely to express gratitude, enthusiasm, and to leave a good impression on the interviewer. Remember that you don’t want to steal any more of their time, so cut to the chase and make it elegant and memorable.
The perfect thank you letter should be 100 to 200 words long or take less than a minute to read. Structure it like you would structure any email or formal letter, with a polite greeting, a concise body, and a closing. If you choose to write an email, make sure your subject line is concise and conservative. There are no extra points for creativity here. Something like “thank you for the interview” is more than enough.
Email vs Handwritten Letter
Nowadays, everything takes place online. It is even possible that you had a video interview. But even if you did not, an email thank you letter will never be the wrong choice. However, keep in mind that handwritten letters tend to be more personal. Among hundreds of identical emails, your handwritten letter will definitely stand out. Many interviewers will really appreciate you taking the time to write a thank you note by hand and you will most likely be remembered for this gesture. But it’s important to remember that an email thank you is just as good of an opportunity to make an impression.
If you're prepping for a video interview and looking for tips, take a look at this video:
If you choose to send a handwritten letter, make sure to find an elegant card and a nice envelope. If you don’t trust your handwriting skills, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to practice writing out your thank you letter on a separate piece of paper beforehand.
Although a handwritten letter does sound like the winner option here, there are some clear disadvantages to keep in mind. First of all, emails are fast and reliable. You can rest assured that your email will always reach its destination and you will most likely get an answer, even if it is an automatic one. Everyone in academic medicine is connected via email and checks their inboxes several times a day. Letters can take days to arrive or get lost or misplaced, or even end up in the garbage, and you won’t find out about the interviewer’s impression until you hear back from them.
While a handwritten letter may be more memorable, we would advise sending an email. This way, you can be certain that your thank you was received and has a chance to affect your profile review.
Structure of a Thank You Letter
You will most likely attend several interviews, not just for medical school but in your life in general. Writing thank you emails or letters after any kind of interview is an excellent habit. For this reason, creating a general thank you template will make things slightly easier for you. It will prevent you from staring at a blank page for 20 minutes before you can come up with what to say. Any quality thank you letter includes the following items:
Less is more, there is no need to think outside the box here. A simple “Dear Dr. X” will do the trick. Make sure to include their title and avoid calling them by their first name. Conservative, appropriate, and polite. You can’t go wrong!
Keep in mind that the person who conducted your interview has most likely spent a considerable amount of time reviewing your application, and also took time out of their busy agendas to give you the opportunity to introduce yourself. Appreciating this dedication is the very least you can do after your interview. Although it might seem like a simple act of politeness, a thank you letter after a medical school interview can say a lot about its sender. It demonstrates respect and thoughtfulness and will make you more memorable to the interviewer, who will most likely have interviewed many other candidates as well.
Bring Up Something Mentioned in the Interview
Show them that you were genuinely engaged in the conversation and by mentioning something that was discussed in the interview. The interviewer will note that you paid attention and that you truly are an invested candidate. It will also prove that you took the time to write a personalized letter and didn’t just use a generic template.
Be specific. Include details of a specific moment or topic in the interview that makes you easier to identify. Make sure it is something positive and relevant in order for the interviewer to remember your conversation, like a research topic you found interesting, a publication, or an event you plan on attending. However, depending on how the interview went, it could be something slightly more informal as well, like a reference to something you and the interviewer found out you have in common, like a hobby or your hometown.
Express Interest in That School
Another way to personalize your letter to prevent it from sounding generic is to mention what interested you about that specific program, or what excites you about the idea of being accepted at that specific school. Interviewers want candidates to show enthusiasm, initiative and determination. Convince them that you didn’t just pick that school randomly. A good idea is to mention a particular aspect of the program and link it to a professional goal of yours.
However, at this stage there is no need to overdo it. You probably had enough time to talk about this during the interview, so a quick mention of it in your thank you letter will serve as a confirmation.
Offer to Provide Additional Info
Express that you are open and available to provide any additional information or documentation they might require in order to reach a final decision regarding your application. It always helps to know that the candidate is easily accessible and willing to do everything in their power to meet the school’s requirements. Something short and simple such as “please let me know if there’s anything else you need to review my candidacy” will go a long way.
The closing of your letter should match the style of the greeting. Make a brief comment restating your gratitude and enthusiasm, like “I would be honored to become a part of this institution and learn from the best professionals in my chosen field” and finish with a simple “sincerely” or “best regards”.
Thank You Letter Examples
I want to thank you for your time during our interview yesterday. I enjoyed touring the campus and getting to discuss my potential future at this university. After carefully reading the program description several times, I realized it would give me the opportunity to achieve my professional goals, and I sincerely believe I have the potential to make an important contribution as a student in [a certain aspect of the program].
I greatly appreciated the opportunity to listen to your experiences in this school, which remains my top choice amid all the medical schools I applied to. It was especially encouraging to find someone from [a certain town in common] with such an impressive career in this university, and it would be an honor for me to become part of it.
Please let me know if there’s anything else you need to evaluate my candidacy.
[Applicant's full name]
Thank you very much for the interview with me earlier today. I found our conversation enlightening and informative. I especially enjoyed discussing ______ [a certain aspect of the program], since one of my goals if I happen to be granted the honor of becoming a part of this school is to participate in _______ [a certain academic activity] and develop further knowledge in _______ [a certain area].
I was also highly impressed by the campus and fascinated to hear more about all that ______ [name of the school] has to offer. I was thrilled to find out it will suit my learning style and my academic interests perfectly.
I am looking forward to hearing from the admissions office regarding my application.
[Applicant’s full name]
Tips for Writing the Best Thank You Letter
Make It Unique
You will not be the only candidate sending a thank you letter after a medical school interview. Medical school admissions involve a very competitive process and you must do everything in your power to stand out. Generic letters are not just boring, but also disappointing and forgettable. If you stick to a template and don’t add your personal touch to it, you will hardly be remembered as an outstanding candidate.
Add What You Forgot to Mention
Before the interview, you probably went over practice medical school interview questions in your head over and over again. You probably fantasized about what to say even in your sleep. Even if you thoroughly prepared for the interview, by the time you write your thank you will likely realize you left out something important. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to add any missing information briefly. Add anything that you consider relevant for the interviewer to make a final decision, or that has to do with something that was discussed during the interview. It is also valid to provide updates on something that might have been taking place during the interview process, like the result of an exam, or your attendance at an academic event.
It is common to be nervous before an interview and expect the situation to be extremely serious and formal, although sometimes the interviewer turns out to be much more casual and relaxed than what you had pictured in your head. Those cases are the best, since you can feel free to be yourself and release some of the pressure that you were carrying prior to the interview. A good interviewer can play a big role in your own performance and make you feel like you aced the interview.
However, even if you felt like you had good chemistry with the interviewer and really hit it off, your thank you letter should always convey a formal tone.
Double Check Format and Grammar
Typos, spelling and grammar mistakes lower the quality of absolutely any kind of writing automatically. No decent academic note should contain such errors. Double or even triple check your letter before you send it. It would also be smart to run your text through an online grammar assistant, which may highlight things that would typically go under the radar of the average writer. If you have that possibility, you could use a second pair of eyes as well, maybe someone you know who has great writing skills and good judgment. They can proofread your letter and point out any issues with grammar and syntax.
What to Expect After a Med School Interview
So, you had your interview and you felt quite good about it. You might be still replaying some of your answers in your head, wondering if they were the right thing to say, and remembering stuff you forgot to mention. But when do you hear back from medical schools after an interview? Just like when you were waiting to hear back from them after sending your application, the wait can be long.
There are three possible outcomes to the interview: you can be accepted, waitlisted or rejected. If you get a medical school rejection there is not much else to do except moving on. Your interview performance for this particular school might not have been strong enough, which is something that can happen to anyone. The smartest move is not to panic and shift your energy to other schools you applied to.
However, if you are contacted saying that you have been put on the medical school waitlist, which is a common outcome, there is still hope. One of the options here is to write a medical school letter of intent. Use this letter to express your desire to become a part of that school. Mention the reasons why you should be given a second chance and why you feel so enthusiastic about their program.
Do you need to write a letter of intent? Check out the tips in this infographic:
The answer might take weeks to arrive, which can make most applicants anxious, and it is understandable. No matter how long it takes for them to give you a response, don’t bug them with constant check-ups. They did not just forget your application. Insisting several times will give you a bad image.
Don’t underestimate the importance of sending a well-written thank you letter after a medical school interview. Even though they might seem unnecessary or annoying, they have the potential to play a major role in how the admissions committee perceives you as a candidate. Send your letter promptly, respect the format, check your grammar and make it formal. Don’t overthink it. By keeping it simple and following our tips you will be able to write the best thank you letter in the future and highly increase your chances of succeeding in your chosen program!
1. Why is it important to send a thank you letter?
They have 3 main purposes:
- To genuinely express your gratitude as a sign of respect and politeness.
- To add some piece of information you might have forgotten to mention.
- To make yourself more memorable and stay on their radar.
2. Who should it be addressed to?
Address your letter directly to the interviewer. Refer to them using their title and last name, and be formal even if you hit it off during the interview. If you had an MMI interview or were interviewed by a panel, you can always address your letter to the admission committee or whoever sent you the interview invitation.
3. How do I contact the interviewer?
Asking your interviewer for a business card before you finish the interview is a smart move. Send your thank you letter to the email address that appears on the card. If you forget to do this, you can always get in touch with the school by phone or email.
4. What’s the difference between a thank you letter and a letter of intent?
A thank you letter is a brief note with the purpose of thanking the interviewer for having taken the time out of their day to interview you, while a letter of intent is meant to express your determination to attend that school should you get accepted. A letter of intent is usually sent after getting waitlisted.
5. How long should my letter be?
It should be short and concise. The perfect length is between 100 and 200 words. It usually consists of one or two short paragraphs and should take less than a minute to read.
6. How long should I wait to send it?
Try to send it within the first 24 hours after your interview. If you wait too long, it is not going to make you look good. If you decide to write the letter by hand, keep in mind that it will not be sent instantly like an email. It should take around 2 days to be delivered by post, which is still fine, as the interviewer will also consider this and appreciate the fact that you went the extra mile.
7. What should be the subject of the email?
Keep it short and conservative. A simple “Thank you for the interview” will be more than enough.
8. Will I receive an answer to my thank you letter?
It is more likely to receive an answer if you choose to send an email instead of a written letter. Emails open dialogues, and they only take seconds to write. Some people even have automatic responses, so you will at least know they received your letter. However, don’t panic if you don’t get any response at all, as it is not an indicator of a rejection.
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