How to Write a Residency Letter of Interest + Examples

April 15, 2024
10 min read


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 11/14/23

Are you wondering how to write a letter of interest for residency? This article will go over everything you need to know, and offer some examples to help guide your way. 

Knowing how to write an effective Residency Letter of Interest is vital for aspiring medical residents. This letter is your chance to show genuine enthusiasm and commitment to a program. It reinforces your application, helping you stand out and potentially secure an interview. 

It also sets the stage for building positive relationships with program staff. In some cases, it can even turn a waitlist status into an acceptance. In a competitive program like medical residency, mastering this skill is essential for success. So, let’s get into how to write an impactful residency letter of interest. 

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What Is a Residency Letter of Interest?

A residency letter of interest is a formal letter that applicants send to express their interest in a particular residency program. It serves as a platform for candidates to articulate why they are enthusiastic about the program and how their qualifications align with it. 

This letter often requests further consideration and the opportunity to interview. It plays a crucial role in helping applicants stand out and strengthen their chances of being selected for their desired residency program.

Why Do You Need a Letter of Interest for Residency?

A letter of interest for residency serves important purposes:

  • Demonstrates Enthusiasm: Express genuine excitement and interest in a specific residency program, showing your commitment and engagement.
  • Provides Application Updates: Share recent accomplishments, like published research or awards, to highlight your continuous improvement.
  • Shows Commitment: Signify your dedication to the program, even before the interview stage, making you a more appealing candidate.
  • Enhances Your Application: Reinforce your application, particularly if you haven't received an interview invitation yet, increasing your chances of consideration.
  • Builds Relationships: Begin a positive relationship with the program and faculty, showcasing professionalism and a proactive approach, which can be advantageous during the interview process and your residency.

Whether you’re going into radiology, pediatrics, or perhaps neurology your residency letter of interest matters. To sum it up, a letter of interest is a powerful tool. It sets you apart as a committed and qualified candidate.

When Should I Write and Submit a Letter of Interest for Residency?

Do your best to send your letter of interest after your interview and submitting your CV. This will help you to express your enthusiasm and alignment with the program's goals, showcasing your commitment.

What to Include?

It can be tough to know what to weave into your letter. Try to include the following:

  • Address Clearly: Start by addressing the letter directly to the intended recipient(s) with a professional touch.
  • Express Your Interest: Clearly state why you're interested in the program and how it aligns with your goals.
  • Showcase Qualifications: Highlight your relevant experiences and strengths that make you a strong candidate.
  • Convey Contribution: Explain how you'll contribute to the program's community and objectives.
  • Invite Further Review: Extend an invitation for them to explore your ERAS Application and consider you for an interview.
  • Professional Signature: In your email signature, include your ERAS photograph, AAMC ID, and optionally, your CV for reference.

By following this structure, you'll create a clear and professional letter that effectively conveys your interest and qualifications.

How to Write a Residency Letter of Interest?

Keep reading to learn how to write a letter of interest for residency that packs a punch. 

Keep It Short and Sweet

Residency programs are inundated with applications, so it's essential to keep your letter concise. Aim for a single page, containing roughly 200-300 words. In the initial paragraph, make a straightforward statement expressing your keen interest in the program. Avoid lengthy narratives or unnecessary details that can make your letter overwhelming to read.

Stay Organized

Ensure your letter is well-structured and easy to follow. Utilize separate paragraphs to convey different aspects of your suitability for the program. Link your skills, experiences, and achievements to the core values and mission of the program.

 In the concluding section, reiterate your enthusiasm for the prospect of an interview and your strong desire to become a part of the program. The key here is to maintain clarity and avoid overloading the reader with extraneous information.

Be Professional

Throughout your letter, maintain a professional tone. Craft complete sentences and refrain from using casual language or bullet points. Remember, this is a formal form of communication, and a respectful tone is crucial.

Show What Makes You Special

Take this opportunity to illustrate why this specific residency program captivates you. Share concrete examples from your life, such as experiences, challenges, or achievements, that highlight your alignment with the program's philosophy and goals. By showcasing your unique qualities, you make a compelling case for your candidacy.

Do Your Homework

Don't limit your knowledge to surface-level information about the program. Dive deep into your research. Connect with current and former students to gain a profound understanding of the program's nuances, culture, and strengths. 

In your letter, explain how the program will play a major role in helping you attain your short-term and long-term career objectives. Demonstrate that you have done your due diligence and that your decision to apply is well-informed.

Show Your Excitement

Infuse your letter with authentic enthusiasm. Use passionate and specific language to convey your genuine commitment to the program. Let your excitement shine through in your words. This will leave a memorable impression on the reader and demonstrate your unwavering dedication.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

To make your residency letter of interest more effective, it's essential to steer clear of these common mistakes. Let's explore what to avoid to create a stronger impression.

  • Generic Content: Tailor each letter to the program to demonstrate genuine interest.
  • Lengthy and Unfocused Writing: Keep it concise and on-point.
  • Failing to Mention Unique Program Features: Highlight program alignment with your goals.
  • Lack of Personalization: Share personal experiences and anecdotes.
  • Overly Formal or Informal Tone: Maintain a respectful, professional tone.
  • Grammatical and Typographical Errors: Proofread carefully or get a review.
  • Neglecting to Proofread: Take time to review and edit for clarity.
  • Exaggeration and Misrepresentation: Be honest and avoid exaggeration.
  • Don't Make It All About the Money: Focus on qualifications and fit.
  • Sending the Same Letter to Multiple Programs: Customize each letter for the specific program.

By sidestepping these pitfalls, your residency letter of interest will stand out and boost your chances of securing an interview and matching with your preferred program.

Residency Letter of Interest Examples

Take a look at this letter of interest residency example to better understand what to include in your own letter. Draw inspiration from it, but remember to personalize your letter as much as possible. 

“Date Sheridan Kirkwood, PharmD 


Contact Information 

Dear Dr. Kirkwood,

I am writing to express my interest in Tahoma Hospital’s PGY-1 acute care pharmacy residency program. I was first introduced to a county hospital system whenever my father recounted the stories of his training as a medical resident at Homewood Hospital. We would eagerly sit and listen to him talk about the great work done through a county system, such as how his hospital opened one of the first breast cancer clinics for black women who were underdiagnosed for malignancies. He raved about the training and compassionate care that was required when working with underserved populations. While my father’s stories may have influenced my journey, it was my own experiences at Alpine Health that made me want to continue working with underserved populations. I am familiar with this program after working with your PGY-2 resident, Dr. Crystal Zephyr, PharmD as a preceptor at Alpine Health, attending the virtual open house, and having rotations at Tahoma Hospital. Your program would allow me to progress towards my long-term career goal of becoming a clinical pharmacy leader and educator, while also pursuing my interests in general medicine, psychiatry, and teaching in the coming year. My past experiences through clerkships, teaching, and leadership have proven that I would be a valuable contribution to your program. 

I was drawn towards acute care practice experiences after enhancing my clinical skills through my Adult Surgery rotation. It was on this rotation that I was quickly trusted as the independent pharmacy contact on multidisciplinary rounds and fielded questions from five different surgical services. This became my platform to voice my knowledge of medications and medication interventions such as discontinuing a delirium inducing medication for a high-risk geriatric patient or appropriately restarting deep vein thrombosis (DVT) prophylaxis after surgery. I found it gratifying to be the drug expert on the team, optimizing patient care through various modalities such as researching drug information questions or saving on drug cost at discharge. My preceptors recognized that I am enthusiastic, a leader, and possess strong clinical critical reasoning skills which are important skills to bring to your program. This rotation solidified my desire to pursue an acute care PGY-1 residency to become a clinical pharmacist. Tahoma Hospital, as a level 1 trauma center that facilitates the growth of medical learners, would provide an ideal environment to strengthen my clinical capacities and leadership skills. 

Additionally, my ambulatory care rotation at Alpine Health instilled a drive to provide compassionate care to underserved populations. On this rotation, I gained a deeper understanding of social determinants of health as the clinic’s population largely faces challenges with housing and food insecurity, substance use disorder, and mental illness. I learned to adeptly navigate delicate conversations around mental health and social histories. For example, I had an in-depth interview with a patient discussing stimulant use disorder, challenges with insomnia, and access to primary care. In our short time together, I noticed this patient was comfortable sharing his story and that it was not only my clinical reasoning but also my compassion that made me successful. I am motivated by the challenges of working with underserved populations and providing quality healthcare to the community. 

My experiences in teaching demonstrate leadership which would allow me to be successful as a resident. At the end of my P1 year, I was selected as one of twenty peer teachers for UCSF’s Pharmacy Teaching program. My goal in this program was to expand upon teaching skills gained as an undergraduate TA. In each lesson, I aimed to personalize my talks with activities and mnemonics. Overall, I enjoyed witnessing moments where I catalyzed a student’s understanding. Additionally, the Pharmacy Teaching program required leadership skills. My co-teachers and I took the initiative to plan each detail of this new program to not be a reiteration of class material but an engaging space for students to synthesize and apply their knowledge. This was rewarding as we observed students' success from our program and gratitude as they improved their understanding. Through Tahoma Hospital’s teaching certificate, I aim to deepen my competence in teaching through leading continuing education talks, lectures, facilitating small group discussions, and precepting students. 

As a student, this institution's value of a thirst for knowledge, compassionate care, and teaching aligns with how I approach my pharmacy education. I would apply my skills acquired in clerkships, teaching and leadership to competently serve your patients, while further exploring my interests in medicine and psychiatry. Tahoma Hospital is a strong environment for me to expand upon my pharmacy interests in order to become a clinical pharmacy leader. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to further discussing with you my qualifications and fit for your program. 


Emerald Bay 

UCSF School of Pharmacy, PharmD Candidate 20XX”

Letter of Interest for Residency Program Template

Feel free to use this template to get started. 

​​[Your Name]

[Your Address]

[City, State, ZIP Code]

[Your Email Address]

[Today's Date]

[Recipient's Name]

[Recipient's Title]

[Residency Program Name]

[Program Address]

[City, State, ZIP Code]

Dear [Recipient's Title] [Recipient's Name],

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to express my strong interest in the [Residency Program Name]'s [Program Specialty] residency program. After carefully researching and considering my options, I am excited about the opportunity to join your program and further my career in [Specialty or Field].

Throughout my academic journey and clinical experiences, I have developed a deep passion for [Specialty or Field]. I am drawn to the challenging and rewarding aspects of this specialty, particularly [mention specific interests or aspects that attracted you to the specialty]. The commitment to excellence in patient care and the strong emphasis on [mention any specific program strengths or values] at [Residency Program Name] align perfectly with my career aspirations.

During my [mention relevant clinical or educational experiences], I had the privilege of [describe specific experiences or accomplishments that showcase your qualifications and passion for the specialty]. These experiences have reinforced my dedication to becoming a skilled and compassionate [Specialty or Field] practitioner.

I am particularly impressed by [Residency Program Name]'s reputation for [mention any program strengths, achievements, or unique features]. The opportunity to learn from the esteemed faculty, work alongside talented residents, and engage in [mention any program activities or opportunities] greatly appeals to me. I believe that [Residency Program Name] will provide the ideal environment for me to grow as a [Specialty or Field] professional and make a meaningful contribution to the field.

In conclusion, I am enthusiastic about the possibility of joining [Residency Program Name] and contributing to its legacy of excellence. I am confident that my passion for [Specialty or Field], along with my [mention any additional relevant skills or qualities], will enable me to thrive as a resident in your program.

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further and to learn more about [Residency Program Name]. Please feel free to contact me at [Your Email Address] or [Your Phone Number] to arrange an interview or to address any questions you may have.


[Your Name]

Letter of Intent vs. Letter of Interest: Key Differences

In the medical school application process, it's essential to understand the difference between a letter of intent and a letter of interest. These letters serve distinct purposes:

Residency Letter of Intent

This letter signifies a higher level of commitment. Think of it as "putting a ring on it." Sending a letter of intent to a medical school means you're promising to attend if you're accepted off a waitlist.

Residency Letter of Interest

A letter of interest expresses ongoing interest in a medical school where you've applied. It's a way to politely convey your enthusiasm, especially if you haven't received an interview invitation yet.


Understanding the ins and outs of writing a residency letter of interest is important. So read on to learn more about the process. 

1. How Does a Letter of Interest Impact My Residency Application?

A letter of interest can boost your residency application by highlighting your ongoing enthusiasm for a program. It can enhance your chances of getting an interview invitation, signaling your genuine interest. Keep in mind that its effectiveness depends on the program's policies and the quality of your letter.

2. How Does a Letter of Interest Differ from a Letter of Intent in Residency Applications?

The main difference between a letter of interest and a letter of intent in residency applications is the level of commitment they convey. A letter of interest expresses ongoing interest and enthusiasm, while a letter of intent signifies a higher degree of commitment, essentially promising to attend if accepted off a waitlist.

3. Should My Letter Be Customized for Each Residency Program?

Yes, customize your Letter of Interest for each program. It demonstrates genuine interest and understanding of the program, increasing your chances of being a good fit. Mention program-specific details to show your dedication.

4. How Long Should a Letter for Residency Be?

Residency letters of interest should be concise and to the point. Aim for one page or around 200-300 words. Admissions committees review numerous applications, so keeping your letter brief while conveying your enthusiasm and qualifications is crucial.

5. Who Should I Address My Letter of Interest to?

Address your Letter of Interest to the program director or the appropriate contact person at the residency program. Ensure that you have the correct name and title to personalize your letter effectively. Avoid using generic salutations like "To Whom It May Concern."

6. Can I Send Multiple Letters for Different Residency Programs?

Yes, you can send multiple letters of interest to different residency programs you're interested in. However, make sure each letter is customized for the specific program and highlights your genuine interest and qualifications for that particular program.

7. Should I Mention My Preferences and Reasons for Choosing a Residency Program?

Absolutely, including your preferences and reasons for selecting a residency program in your letter of interest is crucial. Ensure you specify what attracts you to the program, whether it's its distinctive qualities, strengths, or how it aligns with your career aspirations. This showcases your careful consideration and genuine interest in the program.

Final Thoughts

Crafting a powerful letter of interest for residency is crucial to stand out and secure your dream program. By following these tips and examples, you can showcase your enthusiasm, qualifications, and professionalism effectively. Best of luck in your residency application journey! Your passion and dedication will shine through.

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