Steps to a Successful Residency Match
Step 1: Explore the Specialty
Before you pursue a career in pediatrics, it's important to be well informed about the specialty. We've put together a great collection of articles and resources which are essential reading for the aspiring pediatrician. These articles will give you a better idea of the pros and cons of a career in the field, trends in the specialty, and hot topic issues for trainees.
Step 2: Review Pediatrics Match Data
U.S. senior medical school applicants are readily able to match into pediatrics. In the 2018 NRMP Match, only 1.1% of U.S. seniors went unmatched. However, top tier residency programs remain very competitive.
International medical graduates (IMGs) find matching into pediatrics much more difficult. IMGs are considered independent applicants and, in recent years, 26.1% of U.S. IMGs and 36.5% of non-U.S. IMGs have failed to match.
Osteopathic students may apply to both allopathic and osteopathic pediatrics residency programs. There are seventeen osteopathic residency programs.
Step 3: Understand Residency Selection Criteria
"We had another amazing year for the pediatric residency program in the 2015 National Resident Matching Program," writes the Children's National Health System in Washington, DC. "2,655 applications."
To maximize your chances of matching with your first-choice residency program in pediatrics, you must become well informed as early as possible. In particular, you need to know the criteria residency programs use to select residents.
We recommend beginning with the following resources:
Step 4: Develop Your Strategy For Success
As competition for positions in the pediatrics residency match intensifies, it's more important than ever to have in place the "right" strategy for success. To develop the optimal strategy, use our book, The Successful Match. It's been designated recommended or required reading by the Association of American Medical Colleges, American Medical Women's Association, and numerous allopathic and osteopathic medical schools. AMSA wrote the book "provides the medical student reader with detailed preparation for the matching process." For more powerful information, sign up for our weekly update below.
Step 6: Apply For Scholarships & Awards
When Amol Patel, a medical student at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, won the Young Investigator Award from the National Lipid Association, Dr. Don Wilson, his mentor, had this to say about the accomplishment. "I'm proud of his work. He represents his medical school and our community well." The award was given for Amol's paper about a 3-year-old with a rare liver condition.
Winning medical school scholarships and awards can provide a major boost to your residency application, and set you apart from your peers. Awards can be placed in the application, MSPE (Dean's Letter), letters of recommendation, and CV. We have found that interviewers often ask about awards during residency interviews. Read more
Step 7: Assess Your USMLE Step 1 Score or COMLEX 1 Score
Your USMLE Step 1 or COMLEX 1 exam score is a major factor used by pediatrics residency programs in the selection process. In 2018, the mean USMLE Step 1 and COMLEX 1 scores among matched students were 227 and 526, respectively. Among unmatched U.S. seniors and osteopathic students, the mean scores were 209 and 465, respectively. Read more
Step 8: Strive For Success During Clerkships
Grades in required or core clerkships are very important to pediatrics residency programs. In a NRMP survey of pediatrics residency programs, 77% cited "grades in required clerkships" as a factor in selecting applicants to interview." Pediatrics rotations are also of obvious importance to international medical graduates seeking positions in the field. Read more
Step 9: Prepare A Powerful Residency Application
In my experience working with applicants, errors are common in the ERAS Application. Although spelling and grammatical errors are frequently seen, equally common and dangerous are the less well appreciated errors. Read more
Step 11: Deliver An Impressive Interview Performance
An invitation to interview is exciting news, and confirmation that you're considered a competitive candidate for a residency position. However, your work is not done, and you need to be diligent in your interview preparation to maximize your chances of success. Read more
What if I didn't match?
If you were unsuccessful during your initial match cycle, you'll need to sit down with your dean or advisor to review your match strategy. In planning your reapplication, each of the steps above becomes even more important.
For those who seek additional expert assistance, we can provide that. Dr. Desai has had significant experience in helping re-applicants match successfully.
This is provided via a Strategy for Success Session. Dr. Desai will perform a comprehensive review of your credentials, assess your strengths and weaknesses, and provide you with a specific plan to implement tailored to your unique situation.