When you are done with your medical school interview (or any interview for that matter), you are going to want to take some time to craft a thank-you note.
Technically, this is not supposed to change your chances of getting into medical school. But it does keep you in the mind of admissions committees, which may (or may not) give you a slight edge over a similarly competitive applicant that did not write one.
We wish we could give you a solid answer, but the real answer is that it depends.
Email gets it to the recipient faster and gives them the chance to immediately respond. Nowadays, most admissions staff are on their email all the time as well. They will surely see it.
Handwritten has its own advantages. The main advantage is that a handwritten note will stand out in our digital world.
So which should you choose?
In almost every case, an email will be perfectly fine.
Send a handwritten note if you feel you had an “old school” interviewer that would appreciate it. Another handwritten note situation would be if the interview were to provide an address to send handwritten notes.
Send a thank-you note to anyone you had a meaningful conversation with on your interview day.
If you had a one-on-one interview with a person, they get a thank-you note.
If you happened to have a good conversation on the side (maybe during the campus tour), get their contact information before you leave. You can send them a thank-you note as well.
Sending a thank-you note to a person that did not even interview you will help you stand out from the crowd. Best case, they are someone who has a say in your admittance. Worst case, you have brightened their day.
Ideally, you want to have the note written and sent within the first 24 hours after your interview.
Whether you are handwriting your note or emailing it, draft it in a word document. This does two things.
First, it keeps the note. That way you can use it as a template for future interviews and thank you notes.
Second, it allows you to make mistakes and change things up. That way, if you are handwriting your note, you won’t have to get it perfect the first time.
No need to waste thank-you cards on silly mistakes.
You want to start off the note with a “Dear Dr. [insert last name],”. It’s safer to keep it formal and it shows that you respect the recipient.
If you interviewed with a med student, and feel it would be appropriate, you can use a “Hi [insert name],”. A medical student is closer to your peer than admissions.
If you are not comfortable with that, a “Dear [insert name],” is perfectly fine.
The first sentence of your thank-you note is also the easiest. Start with the thank you.
“Thank you for the opportunity to interview with you on Tuesday.”
Simple enough right?
Almost every thank-you note they receive will start out with a sentence similar to the one above. The rest has to make them remember who you are.
Your interviewer is oversaturated with potential medical students. Standing out gives you the best chances of getting in.
So recall the unique aspects of your interview. What did you talk about?
If you feel your dedication to volunteering struck a chord with your interviewer, bring it up in the note. Then, relate it back to the medical school.
“It was wonderful talking to you about my volunteering experience at Mercy hospital. Hearing about the school’s offering of [insert school volunteering opportunity] made me even more ecstatic about the possibility of attending.”
You can bring up one or two of these talking points, but no more.
Admissions have a lot of people to get through. If they had the time, I am sure they would love to read your 5-page letter on how much you enjoyed your time at their school.
But they certainly do not have that time.
Keep it between 100-200 words max and pack what information you can in there.
This is why it is good to draft the notes. Many people are careless with their word choice. They use unnecessary words absentmindedly, or in an effort to sound “smarter.”
Concise writing is strong writing.
This comes with practice. It helps to rewrite sentences a few times. Trial and error often finds the best sentences.
Your last sentence should reiterate your interest in the school.
“Thank you again for this opportunity. I would be honored to begin my medical education at XYZ School.
[insert full name]”
Don’t spend too much brainpower on your sign off.
All these options are professional and will work just fine.
After you have perfected your note, send it out!
Don’t expect a response. Remember, admissions is very busy and a response does not say much about your chances anyway.
- Use a professional introduction
- Your first sentence is the “thank you”
- Follow with unique aspects of your interview
- Reiterate your interest in going to the school
- Sign it
Don’t forget to save your copy on your computer and use it as a template for your future thank-you note endeavors.