Residency Letter of Intent

A residency letter of intent is a formal document prepared by a candidate to convince the residency program of their choice to admit them into their training program. It is typically sent after the candidate has completed their residency interviews and wishes to improve their chances of being accepted as a trainee into their first choice institution.

The residency program is a crucial part of the medical profession as it allows you to receive your license and practice in your field of training. Because medical institutions see a lot of candidates every year, you can use this letter of intent to stand out from the crowd.

Why Should You Send a Residency Letter of Intent?

Sending a letter of intent will communicate to a residency program that they are your first choice and that you will rank them as so on your Rank Order List (ROL). Doing so can hold the following benefits:

  • It can prompt a re-review of your application
  • It can give you an edge in the competition

How to Send Your Letter

Consider the following when sending your letter:

Type: While an email may be faster, especially if you are pressed for time, a physical letter will help you stand out in an increasingly digital age.

Format: Use the block or semi-block format, with a clear subject line such as “Letter of Intent” and address the letter to the Program Director, by name.

Length: A concise letter will convey your interest regarding the residency without overwhelming the director. Try keeping your message to a single-spaced page or less of 200 to 300 words.

What to Include in Your Letter of Intent

An effective Residency Letter of Intent should include the following details:

  • Your identity, you can mention your name and when you hand your interview for the program
  • A statement expressing your intent to rank the program first on your ROL
  • Your reasons for applying for the program and why you believe it is the right fit for you.
  • Your qualifications and qualities that make you the right fit for the program.

What Not to Include

The NRMP imposes strict rules on residency applicants and programs. For example, as an applicant, you are prohibited from asking an institution how they plan to rank you. As such, you should avoid including anything in your letter that could be construed as trying to solicit this information.

Some of the statements you should avoid include, ‘I look forward to hearing from you’ and ‘I am awaiting your response’

Residency Letter of Intent Format


{Program Director’s Name}

{Institution’s Name}

{Institution’s Address}

{State, City, Zip Code}

Re: Intent to Train at {Institution Name}

Dear {Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr. Last Name},

I am writing to express my interest to join the {field name} residency program at {institution name}. I had an interview at the institution on {interview date} with {interviewer name}, and I am confident this program is the perfect fit for me.

Your residency program interests me because {explain why it is your top choice}. I studied at {school name}, where I obtained my {qualifications}. I also engaged in {mention extra-curricular activities}, and I believe this makes me a suitable candidate for your program.

Given the opportunity to join you, I will {make professional declaration of your goals}.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sample Residency Letter of Intent

7th April 2031

Helena Gilbert, MD

Director, Oncology Residency Training Program

Georgia National Hospital

009 President St.

Atlanta, GA 43109

Re: Intent to Train at GNH

Dear Dr. Gilbert,

I am writing to express my interest to join the Oncology residency program at Georgia National Hospital. I had an interview at the institution on 1 April 2031 with Dr. Garry Hernandez, and I am confident this program is the perfect fit for me.

Your Oncology Program is the most advanced in the country and has been solely responsible for over 30 percent of the advancements in the field. I believe training there will help me reach my best potential.

I studied at Harvard Medical School, where I obtained my M.D. I was also part of the Cancer Treatment Science Program that studied the effectiveness of radiotherapy for brain tumors.

Given the opportunity to join you, I will dedicate my time and energy to my training the advancement of science. Thank you for your time.


Mercy Griffin

Residency Letter of Intent (Word Template)

Residency Letter of Intent

Final Thoughts

The main purpose of a Residency Letter of Intent is to convince the program director that their residency program is first on your list of programs. It separates you from the pool of other potential trainees by highlighting your eagerness to join the institution of your choice.

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