Why Write a Follow-up Letter?
It is medical school interview season. Medical school applicants are traveling around the country visiting cities that may become their home for the next four years. A medical school applicant may meet with five or more people at a single school. With the average applicant applying to over ten schools, this can mean a lot of interviews and a lot of people to meet. Therefore, many applicants wonder if they really must write a thank you letter to every person they interview with. The answer is yes. There are many reasons for writing a follow-up letter. First, it shows that you have good manners. In addition, it refreshes your interviewers memory about who you are. Most importantly, a follow-up letter gives applicants the opportunity to remind the school why they should be admitted.
Follow-up Letter Format
Today, most people communicate electronically. Therefore, the first impulse for most medical school applicants is to sent follow-up letters via email. Although, there is nothing technically incorrect about sending an email message to your interviewer, they may not notice it. Like most people, admissions committee members are inundated with spam and unwanted email. Therefore, an email follow-up letter runs the risk of being deleted without being read. Instead, it is preferable to send a hand-written note on nice stationary or letterhead. This may seem old fashioned, but this method creates a tangible and memorable document for your interviewer. Choose a high-quality paper and a nice blue or black pen to write your letter. Make sure that your handwriting is neat and legible.
Make it Personal
You should write a personalized medical school follow-up letters. You may save time by sending a form letter to all your interviewers, but you will not gain any benefit from your letters. For example, if your letter, is similar to the example below you should strongly consider rewriting it.
Dear Dr. ____
Thank you very much for meeting with me on [date]. It was an honor to speak to you about my career goals. I very much enjoyed my visit to ______ school of medicine, and hope to have the opportunity to become a student.
Ill-informed Med School Applicant
The problem with this example is that it is completely generic. This letter could be sent to virtually any interviewer at any school. In addition, it does not provide any information to the interviewer. The purpose of the follow-up letter, besides showing good manners, it to reiterate to your interviewer why they should vote to offer you admission.
The people who serve on an admissions committee for a medical school are busy people. Therefore, it is important to be considerate of their time. It is for this reason that it is vital to keep your follow-up letter brief. If your interviewer can not read your follow-up letter in a minute or two, they are unlikely to complete it. You had the opportunity to give a detailed account of your talents in your personal statement and secondary essays. The follow-up letter should used to remind the interviewer of the points you addressed in your interview, personal statement, and secondary essays.
Complement the School
Admissions committees want to select applicants who will matriculate in their school. Therefore, you should talk about what you liked about the school. You should mention the programs and the unique features of the school that appeal to you. You should also thank the interviewer for meeting with you. Your interviewer has likely devoted a great deal of time to interviewing prospective students, and they will appreciate someone acknowledging their work.
It is good manners to write a follow-up letter after your interview. In addition, your letter can be used to remind the admissions committee why you are an excellent candidate.