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Steps to a Successful Residency Match

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Home  >  Specialty  >  Urology

Step 1: Explore the Specialty

Before you pursue a career in Urology, 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 urologist.


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. 


Hot Topics, Concerns, and Future Directions in Urology

Step 2: Review Urology Match Data

According to the American Urological Association (AUA), which administers the urology match, 59 of 434 applicants did not match into the specialty in 2019. 


9% percent of the U.S. seniors who applied did not match. Based on this data, urology is one of the most competitive specialties.

Matching into urology is even harder for international medical graduate and osteopathic applicants. Only 58% of applicants who were international medical graduates matched. Of note, osteopathic applicants may also apply to 9 AOA-approved urology residency programs.

Step 3: Understand Residency Selection Criteria

"Usually, we receive around 250-300 applications for our 3 civilian positions," writes the Department of Urology at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio.


To maximize your chances of matching with your first-choice residency program in urology, 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:


Check out these recommended resources

AUA Match Results

Step 4: Develop your Strategy for Success

As competition for positions in the urology 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.

Step 5: Make the Most of your Preclinical Years

The preclinical years of medical school are important for students considering a career in urology but the curriculum can make it challenging for students to gain exposure to the field. A recent study of U.S. medical schools found that there were no urology lectures or coursework in nearly half of medical schools prior to the start of third-year clinical rotations.

Step 6: Apply for Scholarships and Awards

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.

Step 7: Assess your USMLE Step 1 Score or COMLEX 1 Score

Your USMLE Step 1 exam score is a major factor used by urology residency programs in the selection process. "The USMLE Step 1 score is the single most important 'separator' for program directors determining who gets an interview," writes Dr. Jeffrey Weiss, Professor and Chair of the Department of Urology at SUNY Downstate. "Again, Step 1 of 230 or greater should be sought."

Step 8: Strive for Success During Clerkships, Observerships and Externships

Grades in required or core clerkships are very important to urology residency programs. "Most institutions utilize board score and clerkship grade cut points to help narrow the field," writes Dr. Tobias Kohler, residency program director in the Department of Urology at Southern Illinois University.

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. 

Step 10: Develop a Powerful Personal Statement

The personal statement is an important factor in the urology residency selection process.

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. 

 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.

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