How to Write a Residency Inteview Cancellation Email

Even though it can be challenging, there are times when it is necessary to postpone a residency interview. For instance, you might be accepted to more programs than you need or want. But you would prefer to attend one program over the others. It’s possible that your family would prefer to remain in-state rather than relocate back home.

The majority of people don’t particularly like to cancel an interview, regardless of the reason. What approach should we take, though? In today’s guide, we’ll look at how you can cancel your residency interview politely.

So, if you are looking for a sample residency interview cancellation email, you’re in the right place! Keep reading until the end!

Why Would You Cancel Your Residency Interview?

medical professionals working in the operating theater with masks on
Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash

It is indeed essential to apply broadly for residencies. However, if you’ve applied widely enough, you will unavoidably receive interview invites that you choose not to accept.

Career counselors and program advisors can help determine how many programs to apply to. It is typical to apply to 60 or more programs, for instance, in surgical subspecialties. However, the majority of applicants probably won’t choose to do so, even with the 2020 virtual application season.

Residences schedule their interviews in advance without consulting other programs. In the end, programs understand that if you are serious about their program, you will go above and beyond to attend. This is even as students compete for a date that best fits their schedules. It is, therefore, acceptable to request a date full of your scheduled interviews too close together or conflicts with those for other programs.

Remember, residencies rarely allow students to attend with conflicts. Because doing so suggests you aren’t as committed to the program as you claim to be. Although we are unsure, programs may be more accommodating this year.

Additionally, remember that if you email a program requesting an interview accommodation and the program grants it, you should not cancel. This is thought to be disrespectful. Even though it might not seem like it would matter to your match, program directors interact with one another. So, bad behavior toward one program can spread to others. 

It is acceptable to decide not to attend an interview if you have been offered one but have a conflict. Just send a thank you and a polite decline to the program coordinator or director via email. 

When Should You Cancel Your Residency Interview?

Three weeks would be a good minimum amount of time to plan. You might as well give someone else a chance to interview since programs will have spots on wait lists for applicants. It might be tempting to give yourself more time. To decide if you want to attend the interview before canceling less than three weeks in advance.

In the end of the day, it will be online and straightforward for them to reschedule. Wrong. We still advise abiding by the 3-week rule. Why? It’s likely that program directors will be upset with candidates who back out of their online interview one week in advance. Don’t contribute to the issue. 

Canceling within a week of the interview is not acceptable. Programs can find another candidate to take your vacant interview spot if you were to cancel a few days before your interview. However, you risk upsetting program directors, who will have to scramble or force them to leave an empty spot.

Be sure to cancel any interviews you decide not to attend. Simply not showing up smacks of an extreme lack of professionalism and rudeness. Make sure to double-check time zone conversions, especially now that everything is online, to avoid accidentally sleeping through or forgetting your meeting time.

Example Residency Interview Cancellation Email

Subject Line: Your Name – Program Name – Interview Cancelation

Dear Mr/Mrs. Program Director,

I appreciate you offering to interview me after my application to the XYZ program. However, due to conflicting interview schedules, I would like to cancel my interview due in 3 weeks. Hopefully you can find another applicant for the interview in the meantime.

Thanks for your consideration for the interview,


Your Name and Surname


Undoubtedly, canceling an interview can be a difficult choice. The most important thing is to make sure you’re acting in your family’s best interests.

If you want to interview for that program, that’s great. If your interests lie elsewhere and you have plenty of invitations and opportunities to make it happen elsewhere, you should cancel the interview. After that, devote your time to other programs.

It’s simple to reschedule an interview by calling the program coordinator and informing them of your decision. There won’t be any problems if you conduct yourself courteously and respectfully.

We hope you enjoyed our guide on writing a residency interview cancellation email. If you have any more questions or doubts, let us know!

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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