From interviews to rank order lists, matching into residency can be an intense process. Knowing which traits, extracurriculars and experiences program directors in different specialties value can help you understand how to stand out and match successfully.
While quantitative characteristics such as grades and board scores are important during the match, program directors also look for specialty-specific qualities in residency applicants.
The articles linked below share insights on matching into residency in 10 different specialties.
Applicants who excel in the basic sciences and pharmacology typically do well in anesthesiology residency programs.
Having dermatology research experience or publications in dermatology can help set you apart as a dermatology residency applicant.
The SLOE (standard letter of evaluation), unique to emergency medicine, allows program directors to compare applicants easily. It is often the heaviest weighed part of a candidate’s application.
Debbie Lupeika, MD, a family medicine program director at Shasta Community Health Center, values seeing applicants with a strong interest in the specialty and community health.
One of the keys to match success for Catherine Caponero, DO, was getting heavily involved in the national student society of The American College of Osteopathic Obstreicans & Gynecologists (ACOOG).
Wade Faerber, DO, an orthopedic surgery program director at Riverside University Health System, looks for applicants who are team players. Potential residents typically must rotate at his program to be considered for an interview.
Program directors are interested in applicants with a sustained interest in OMM, which can include research experience, says Mark Thai, DO, a program director for the OMM/NMM fellowship at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences.
Pediatrics program directors look for candidates who are well-rounded, says Simrin Atwal, DO, a pediatrics resident at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. She encourages applicants to obtain letters of recommendation from pediatric attendings as well as attendings from other fields.
Diligence, resilience and a good work ethic will take plastic surgery residency applicants far, says Tony Weaver, DO, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Huntsville Hospital.
Jeffrey Baron, DO, a general surgery resident at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, completed 14 interviews and applied to 55 programs before landing his first-choice residency.