Medical Residency for US Graduate
The medical residency application process requires early preparation and guidance.
We simplified the process to create an overview and a plan for successful match.
If you are interested in the details of each of these steps, we encourage you to download and read the AAMC guide to US residency.
10 Steps Toward Residency:
1- Maintain a good GPA or academic standings
- Many medical schools have pass or fail system in addition to honor.
- Your clinical rotations are very important in showing your clinical skills and competency. Their performances will be added to the Medical School Performance Evaluation letter or Dean's letter.
- It is important to perform well to increase your chances of matching into residency.
2- Take the USMLE STEPs (register here).
- Please check with your school timeline on when you to register for each Step exam.
- Prepare early and do many practice questions.
- The USMLE Step 1 and Sep 2 CK score play a major role in matching into competitive specialties and programs.
- Step 3 is not required to take before residency.
- It is very important to find mentors in your areas of interest.
- Your mentor or mentors can help you in networking with others, stay focused and find opportunities.
- Read the recent data of National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) to find out about Match data in your residency of interest. It will help you in targeting your goals and requirement.
- Academic research has become more important over the recent years. It can be a positive asset to your application especially for competitive specialty and programs.
- Find area of interest and contact faculty at your school or hospital who are working on similar interest.
- Be realistic about time commitment and skills
- Explore summer research programs between first and second year of medical school.
- Try to attend and present at medical conference, help with data collection, write abstract and learn about research skills and publishing.
5- Away Rotations (externship)
- During final year of medical school, students can fill their schedule with electives in areas of interest.
- It allow you to network with the program of your interest.
- You can explore other programs while auditioning your skills, strength and interest.
- Check with your schools on logistics for doing Away Rotations. Some programs use their own application or Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS).
6- Explore Extra Activities
- Volunteering or leadership skills can highlight diversity and involvement in community service.
- Doing research during college can strengthen your application.
- Get engaged and immerse yourself in academic activities that you find enjoyable.
- It is also great opportunity for networking and meeting people.
7- Choose specialty and programs
- Read the AAMC guide for residency application and preparation. (link)
- Your clinical rotations in 3rd and 4th year will help you in finding your passion.
- AAMC offers tools on choosing careers in medicine. (link)
- Talk to mentors and faculties in specialty of your interest.
- After choosing a specialty then you will consider list of programs for your residency application.
- Factors to consider are location, size, family and future goals.
- FREIDA is a search tool of residency programs.
8. Sign up for ERAS (register here)
- The Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) usually opens in June.
- It will allow you to ask your letter writer to upload their letters.
- You will need to upload pictures, personal information, activities description and your personal statement.
- Medical School Performance Evaluation letter or Dean's letter will be drafted your program based on your performance in medical school and rotations. It will be released to the programs of your selection.
- You can work on your application and submit it in September to residency programs
- Once you completed your ERAS application, you will be considered for interviews.
- Learn about the school, its mission and work. Ask questions.
- Here is a great resource on interview preparation.
- Make sure your follow up with your programs and send thank you letters highlighting your visit.
10- Match and Rank List
- Once you completed your interviews, you will have to rank residency programs based on your interest.
- It is important to discuss with your mentors about your choices and reasons for choosing programs.
- Important factors are location, size of program, family, experience of your interview and future goals.
- Remember that longer rank list increase your chances of matching.
- You will rank your program on the NRMP website.
- Match day is usually mid March.
We believe in your success. We look forward to hearing about your acceptance and future plans. Remember, it is a journey and a one year or longer process, you WILL get through it!
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