Follow up letter

Following up with Residency Programs: Letters of Interest

If the Residency Application Season is progressing and you haven’t heard from your top programs, you may have questions about what to do next. The next step for any residency candidate in this situation is to follow up with residency programs with a Letter of Interest.

Should I contact programs after I apply?

You can consider sending Letters of Interest to your top 10-25 programs if you haven’t received any communication from them. Please keep in mind that residency programs are under no obligation to communicate with you after you have submitted an application. Therefore, sending a Letter of Interest is one way of showing your top programs your genuine interest, potentially encouraging them to give your application a better look. Note: If a program has already sent a rejection, it is very unlikely they will review your application again.

When should I follow up with programs?

Be sure to wait the appropriate amount of time before making any contact with programs. You need to give them time to look through the many applications they received. Waiting two to five weeks is ideal, based on the date you sent out your application.

What should I include in my Letter of Interest?

There are three key points to include in your Letter of Interest:

  1. The specific reasons for your interest in the program. For example, perhaps you’ve seen that the program has a wellness program for new residents that includes group outings and mentoring opportunities. Or, maybe you noticed that the program does regular community outreach projects within local schools. It’s also possible you have interest in specific faculty. Highlight these reasons and supplement them with some discussion on why they are aligned with your own goals for residency. If you can make connections with what a program is doing and your own background (work, volunteer, etc.), that’s even better! Do not copy and paste information from the program’s website; it will be obvious to programs that you’ve done this.
  2. How you plan to contribute to/improve the program. Don’t be shy here–sing your own praises (in an appropriate way)! Let the program know exactly why they should consider you over all the other applicants.
  3. The most important strengths you’re bringing to the table. Look back at your CV and accomplishments. What are the 1-2 key points you want to draw programs’ attention to? Briefly highlight this idea/these ideas, giving programs a reason to dive further into your application.

The Approach & Organization

You should communicate with programs via email, aiming for 2-3 paragraphs placed directly in the email (do not add as an attachment). We suggest writing directly to the Program Director and CCing the Program Coordinator.

Letters of Interest are organized much like Cover Letters for job applications. Begin by briefly introducing yourself. Then, talk about the items listed above. End the letter by thanking the reader for their time or consideration and express the hope you will hear from them again.

If you’re looking for assistance with editing your Letter of Interest, please visit us at Our dedicated editors will help polish and perfect your letter to ensure you make a positive impression on every program you reach out to.

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