US Medical Residency Process
We created this area to help you prepare for the Match and begin your residency research with confidence.
For International Medical Graduates, medical residency presents the challenges of "repeating" your training while adapting to the procedures and culture of U.S. teaching hospitals.
Researching Residency Programs
Now that most medical residency applications are processed electronically through ERAS (the Electronic Residency Application Service), candidates need to do their own research on programs.
If you are applying as an Independent Applicant, get the Graduate Medical Education Directory (also known as the Green Book) or access the online FRIEDA database. Both of these are available through the American Medical Association and contain information on programs by specialty and location.
Start your research with the NRMP Match results books, which list programs that did not fill. Keep in mind that the better a program, the more likely it will fill its positions through the Residency Match process.
Learn More About Researching Medical Residency Programs
The Residency Match Process
Each year, programs submit the number of positions that they wish to have filled through the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). ERAS receives documents from the applicant, the ECFMG, U.S. medical schools, and the USMLE. These documents are formatted, scanned, and assembled into individual applicant packets, and are electronically sent to as many programs as the applicant chooses. Programs evaluate applications and determine which applicants they want to interview during November, December, and January.
The Rank Order List
After interviews, the programs list applicants by preference (rank order list). At the same time, applicants submit a list of programs in their rank order. Applicants are then electronically matched to the highest-ranked program on their list that has offered them a position.
Students did not match are typically informed the day before match results are shared. Students and schools begin "the scramble" to find unfilled residency training positions.
Create an Effective Residency Personal Statement
The Ins and Outs of the Personal Statement
Your personal statement should not be a biography. It should consist of three basic parts. First, the statement should convey what it is about your specialty that most appeals to you. Second, it should provide information from your background that gives evidence that you have acquired the skills and abilities to succeed in that specialty. Third, it should communicate what you are looking for in a residency program, a short description of your goals, and a summation line of the strengths you would bring to that program. You should also include a thank you for their consideration of your credentials.
When writing your personal statement, you should expect work through a number of drafts before you feel it communicates what you want it to say. The final version should be no more than a one page that clearly expresses why you are well suited for the residency position in your specialty.
Preparing for Residency Interviews
The majority of residency programs receive more applications than they have interview slots. When you get an invitation to interview it means you have made it passed the first round of eliminations.
What to do when you have a Residency Interview
The first step is to learn as much as you can about the program. You want to arrive prepared and have the ability to ask thoughtful and specific questions. This will demonstrate your interest and will help you evaluate the different programs.
Understanding the Residency Interview
Program Directors use the residency interview to get to know you firsthand rather than through written materials. They want to understand your motivation for medicine and your desired specialty. They hope to gain insights about your determination, reliability, integrity, and how you might respond to stresses of the job. For International Medical Graduates, they are very interested in your understanding of the residency training process and English language skills.
Learn More About The Residency Interview
We'll help you understand the process and start your residency research with confidence.
*Kaplan does not guarantee placement into any residency program.