If you’re reading this, it means congratulations are in order. Not only have you successfully taken the MCAT, submitted your primary application (including a personal statement, letters of recommendation, etc.,) and submitted your secondary applications, but you’ve also conquered at least one of your medical school interviews—the final challenging step in the application process. That is, the final step before sending medical school interview thank you emails. But don’t worry, sending a thank you note isn’t quite as difficult as preparing for the MCAT.
In this post, we discuss the importance of sending medical school interview thank you emails, when to send them, who to email, and how to best craft your thank yous. It’s a minor detail in the application process, but when it comes to applying to medical school, no advantage is too small to overlook.
Do You Need to Send Interview Thank You Emails?
Depending on how early you submit your medical school application, you could begin to receive med school interview invitations as early as August, but interview invites typically start arriving in September and continue until the spring of the following year, concluding by April or May. If you receive an invitation to interview, do not wait to respond. Schedule your interviews as early as possible for your best chance of acceptance—but be sure to book your top choice schools more toward the middle of your interviews to familiarize yourself with the process and maximize your confidence.
After your interview, it’s important to send an email or handwritten note thanking the interviewer for their time. Not only is this polite, but sending a thank you email keeps you in the interviewer’s mind after the interview concludes. It doesn’t necessarily change your chances of being accepted to medical school, but when the interviewer is comparing you to a candidate with similar credentials to your own who failed to send a thank you email, you gain the advantage. And when it comes to being accepted to medical school, it’s important to exploit every advantage you can.
Send a thank you email to every person you have a one-on-one interview with, but don’t stop there. If you have a great conversation with someone on campus, such as a current student or someone on the Admissions Office staff, ask for their contact information and send them a thank you email as well. Tangibly expressing gratitude to someone who didn’t even interview you helps you stand out—especially if that person has a say in your admittance. And if they don’t have a say, you’re still going to stand out in that person’s mind. In the event you do get accepted to that program, you’ll have already made a friend.
When to Send Interview Thank You Emails
Send a thank you email the night after your medical school interview or within the first 24 hours. This way, your interviewer won’t have completed your evaluation yet or discussed your application in a committee.
How to Write a Medical School Interview Thank You Email
1 | Create a Template
Since you will very likely attend several interviews, create a medical school interview thank you note template to help you get them out quickly. Use the template as a starting point to save time, but tailor each thank you note to the specific program and what was discussed during the interview.
Medical School Interview Thank You Email Template Checklist:
- Keep the entire thank you email to 100-200 words
- Open with a respectful greeting
- Express gratitude
- Highlight unique and important moments or talking points from the interview
- Reiterate your strong interest in the program and how you will contribute to it based on your past experiences
- Reiterate your gratitude
2 | Make it Specific to Your Interview
It’s vital that you make the thank you email unique to the experience you shared since the interviewer is likely receiving several of these kinds of emails. Highlight any relevant or unique talking points from the interview. If the interviewer seemed particularly impressed by one of your strengths, an anecdote, or a personal learning experience, reference that in the email and relate it to what you hope to contribute to the student body if you’re accepted.
Being specific will remind the interviewer of who you are and the experience you shared, demonstrate that you were actively listening and engaged during the interview, and show that you have taken the time to reflect on their advice and anecdotes. Reminding the interviewer of the positive and individual experience you shared together will help when it comes time for them to give a final evaluation and discuss your credentials in a committee.
3 | Give a Genuine and Sincere Thank You
Sincerely thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you both at the beginning and the end of the email. Many of the faculty and students you interacted with were volunteering their time to help and meet with you, so be genuine when offering your thanks.
While you should treat every interaction you have with faculty and students as an opportunity to demonstrate why you’re a good fit for the program, ensure that your thank you email isn’t exclusively another attempt to sell yourself. While you could (and should) reiterate why you believe you are a good fit for the school, ensure the thank you is front and center.
4 | Review and Don’t Forget to Change Names
Creating a template will help ensure you don’t forget anything, but be careful not to depend on the template too much—if you do, you may forget to change the name of the school or the interviewer. The one thing worse than not sending a thank you email at all is sending a thank you email to the wrong person. It not only demonstrates carelessness, but it also negates the sincerity of the thank you.
A thank you email is also not an opportunity to slack on grammar and spelling. While it’s more casual than a personal statement, it’s still a formal interaction with someone intimately involved with deciding your future in medicine, so take it seriously. Utilize editing apps like Grammarly and Hemingway Editor and proofread, proofread, proofread.
5 | Send Thank You Emails Promptly
Don’t procrastinate on sending thank you emails. They should be sent within the first 24 hours after your interview. Interview season is hectic, so set reminders for yourself. As soon as you book an interview, add a task or reminder to send a thank you email the night following your interview.
Creating a rough template that evolves based on each interview can help you get your emails out promptly.
Interview Thank You Email FAQ
Who Should I Send the Thank You Email to?
Send a thank you email to your interviewer as well as any faculty member or student who you spent a significant amount of time with. Interviewers may offer you their contact information upfront, but if they don’t, ask for it. This goes for any faculty member or student too. If you forget to ask, you can usually get the information from the admissions office. Failing that, some medical schools will post faculty email addresses and contact information on their website.
Should Thank You Emails be Emailed or Handwritten?
If the interviewer seems particularly old school or provides you with an address to send handwritten notes, then a handwritten note could be a good idea, but generally, sending the thank you note via email is more than adequate.
An email also ensures the thank you is received promptly after the interview and before the interviewer has completed their evaluation of you.
What Happens Next?
If you are serious about attending the program, begin preparing letters of interest or a letter of intent to demonstrate your commitment.
After your medical school interviews, there are two ways to convey your continued interest in attending a program—the medical school letter of interest and the medical school letter of intent. While the general content of both of these letters will be similar, there is a key difference between them that must not be overlooked.
A letter of interest lets the admissions committee know that their program is among your top choices, and were they to offer you acceptance, you would strongly consider it. A letter of intent, on the other hand, lets the admissions committee know that if they offer you acceptance, you will definitely choose to attend their medical school above all others. In other words, a letter of intent puts a ring on it.
You can send multiple letters of interest, but it’s extremely frowned upon to send more than one letter of intent.
Learn more in our guide on Letter of Intent vs. Letter of Interest.
Perfect Every Aspect of the Application Process
Med School Insiders offers Comprehensive Medical School Admissions Packages that are designed to maximize your potential. Our team of doctors has years of experience serving on admissions committees, so you’ll receive critical insights from people who have been intimately involved with the selection process.
View our library of free resources, including Understanding the Medical School Application Process, and read our comprehensive Medical School Interview Guide for a complete overview of common interview questions, preparation advice, and mistakes to avoid.