Medical student resources

Getting the Medical Residency You Want

Getting into the residency of your choice takes work - just like everything else in medical school. There are a couple of "extras", though, that you can do to get that coveted residency spot. The obvious things, of course, are get great grades and nail the USMLE - for USMLE review courses, visit the the Kaplan USMLE page.

Three other steps take some planning:

1) Plan to do a sub-internship at your top choice residency program.
The timing of your sub-I or rotation is important, it should be at the end of your 3rd year or beginning of your 4th, and soon after you finish the basic rotation at your university.

There are two benefits to doing a sub-I. First, it gives you a chance to find out about the program. The program may have a great reputation, but you might get there and find it's just not for you.

The second benefit is that it lets the residency program find out about you - "the devil you know is better than the devil you don't". While you're there, your job is to convince both the house staff and your attending physician that your knowledge and work ethic make you a perfect match for their program.

Make sure you start planning your sub-I in your 3rd year - waiting till the end of the 3rd year or even beginning of the 4th might mean the competitive rotations are booked up.

To find residency programs you might be interested in, try the Residency Finder.

2) Get the best recommendations you can.
This consists of first getting the right person to write a recommendation for you, and impressing that attending during your rotation. If you can plan it such that your attending is a senior member of the faculty, and is someone with a history of writing good recommendations, do so.

When it comes to matching, the name and reputation of the recommending faculty is very important. If you do a sub-I or rotation at a program you're applying to, make sure to get a letter from your attending at that institution.

3) Let the people in your intended specialty know that you want to go into their field.
If, for example, you want to be a neurologist, let your resident and attending on the neurology rotation know. Often they will pay special attention to you, write better evaluations of you, and remember you when it comes time to write letters of recommendation or make nominations for specialty awards. Get as many people on your side as possible.

For more resources on getting a residency, visit the MSRG Residency Match page. You can also get information on Physician Job and Employment options such as Locum Tenens.

Discuss other aspects of getting a residency at the USMLE and Residency Forum.

How competitive am I for residency?

Will you be AOA?:Yes
Have you done research?:Yes
Do you have publications?:Yes
Are you a US senior in med school?:Yes