How to Get a Residency?

What factors are most important for residency program directors when choosing applicants for interview? How do they rank applicants? How to get a residency if you are an average graduate or an IMG?
I’ll focus on all these questions in my next blog post series which I’d like to start with this post. In next several paragraphs you will find how to choose residency programs, how to raise your chances to get a residency and how do residency program directors select their applicants for interview.
Let's go!
1. Aim yourself high and don’t sell short. There’s nothing impossible. Don’t be shy to apply for prestigious residency programs even if they are very popular and highly competitive among American graduates. But don’t forget to make your background look excellent – do your best at USMLE Steps (high scores are very important) and get USCE.
2. The more you apply – the more chances to get a residency you have. Try to apply as many programs, as your financial situation allows you. American graduates usually apply for 10-15 residency programs, if you are IMG – rise your chances by applying for at least 50-100 programs.
3. Get USCE. United States Clinical Experience can be a big plus to your application. This option is highly appreciated by most residency programs. Any US clinical experience will make your application more attractive for residency program directors. USCE – is a must for you if your aim is top-rated highly competitive residency program.
That’s why you should plan your life ahead. If you are still medical student – find a clinical work under supervision of physician in any US hospital. Don’t be lazy – all these will sure help you to get a residency.
If you are IMG – wait for my next post on DoctorSalary Blog, where I'll try to cover all questions about how to get USCE for IMG.
4. Learn more about each residency program. Most residency programs in USA have its own specific requirements for applicants. But those requirements are not usually published on their websites. That’s why you should investigate them closely and collect all available information about preferences and specific requirements of each residency programs. Especially of most desired by you.Don’t try to call or email residency programs asking them about their specific requirements. It’s a waste of time.

But how to make impression on residency program directors? Well, it’s not an easy question. But I have some tips for you.

5. Here is a breakdown of criteria importance for residency program directors.

Most important:
  1. Grades in required clerkships
  2. USMLE Step 1 score
  3. Specialty Elective Grades
  4. Clerkship Honors Grades
  5. USMLE Step 2
Least important:
  1. MSPE 
  2. Research/Publications
  3. Preclinical Grades
  4. Medical School Awards
  5. Medical School Reputation

Note, that USMLE Step 2 CK have less importance for high competitive residency programs, while it’s of greater importance for other programs. Research experience is more important for competitive residency programs.

Your questions and comments are welcome! 

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