Joining a U.S. Residency Program

Advice from a former program director to improve your chances at matching into a program and perform at your best.


What Do We Talk About?

 Focus on gaining the right experience.
Highlight it in all the right ways so residency faculty can see what you're made of!
 Enjoy and ace your interviews.
Know what to do, what to say, and most to enjoy the experience!
Know how to follow up and stay in the game.
You're doing one of the toughest things for your career, stay resilient!

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Understand how programs choose their residents and improve your chances at matching.

Residency Unpacked publishes weekly episodes to share the firsthand experiences of a program director, discussing topics ranging from how applications are reviewed, the interview process, and how to stay persistent and positive through it all.


What's My Experience?

2000+ applications reviewed, more than 1500 applicants interviewed and evaluated, and over 820 candidates ranked for a residency spot.

I did this during my time as a residency program director, and I want to share with you everything I learned about the process, hoping that it lands you one of those coveted residency spots. As a foreign medical graduate myself, I also went through the stress of not just trying to be good at medicine, but also figuring out how I should present myself to programs on paper and through interactions. If learning from my experience can help you go through this process in a calmer (and successful) manner, you will actually be gifting me the satisfaction of helping someone fulfill their dream.

The odds were not all favorable when I decided to apply to train in the U.S.: I made the decision to take a year and a half from the time I graduated to applying for residency in order to come to the U.S. and complete some clinical rotations. The other thing that could count against me was the fact that my medical school (in Ecuador) was new and I was only the second class it graduated. I knew I would have to rely on the CV, personal statement, and every interaction I had with a program (from an email to a phone call from the coordinator) to show who I was and why I'd be a great addition to their program. I eventually matched (having received two pre-match offers at that time), completed my training, and joined the program as a faculty member, only to be promoted to residency program director two years later.

If there is anything I want you to take away from reading this, is that you should never give up hope. Sure, there are programs that will be extremely difficult to get in, but there will be others that you may end up 'clicking' with. At the end of the day, applications are reviewed by people just like you and me, and you never know whom you can strike a chord with. As long as you are presenting yourself genuinely, honestly, and with enthusiasm, the possibility of going through residency could always be there.