· Prepare for Residency
Key Information For Match Applications
- The Application
- Your Personal Statement
- Letters of Recommendation
- INSTRUCTIONS FOR PHOTOGRAPHS
- Texas STAR Program: Seeking Transparency in Application to Residency
- Workshops & Presentations
The American Medical Association’s Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database, or FREIDA is a free online resource containing information on more than 8,000 graduate medical education programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and more than 200 combined specialty programs. By defining various selection criteria, you can select a range of programs, or find specific program information.
Individual Residency Program Web sites: The majority of program Web sites list work and call schedules, an overview of residency training, and additional educational environment information. You will also likely find application requirements and deadlines specific to that program.
For each program that you are applying to, you should inquire about:
- Application deadline
- The type of individual who should write your letters of recommendation (eg, does the program require an LOR from the chair of the corresponding department on our campus?)
- Any other unique application requirements
1. ERAS Applicants:Registrar, Ms. Marta Bergez, coordinates the entire ERAS application procedure. Information about accessing ERAS tokens and application will be sent via e-mail to the class at the appropriate time.
2. SF Match applications through Central Application Service (CAS)/ for Ophthalmology: Students applying in ophthalmology will apply to programs and match through SF Match. Most SF Match users will use ERAS and the NRMP to apply for and match into their internship year programs. SF Match uses the Central Application Service (CAS) to distribute applications to residency training programs. Applicants will complete this application process online.
See information below about non-ERAS letters of recommendation.
The Office of Student Affairs will upload your MSPE, and transcript to SF Match on October 1, for distribution to your programs.
3. Military/HPSP Applications:
4. Programs not participating in ERAS or SF Match: Although a specialty may participate in ERAS, some programs within that specialty may not participate (this is RARE). To check if a program is participating in ERAS, view the list of participating programs at http://www.aamc.org/eras.
You should also visit the program’s Web site to verify its application procedure and requirements. For programs not participating in ERAS or SF Match, you will need to provide the Office of Student Affairs with a LIST of any programs you may be applying to that are not participating in ERAS or SF Match. The Office of Student Affairs will mail your application out for you, once you have provided all the documents. The MSPE and transcript will be sent directly to these programs on October 1.
Your UMMSM transcript will be transmitted by the Office of Student Affairs to all of your programs through ERAS, or uploaded to other application services for programs not using ERAS.
It is extremely important that you review your transcript and your clerkship evaluations. Summaries of your performance on your evaluations will be included in the MSPE, and you need to be aware of everything that has been written about you in your evaluations.
Your Personal Statement
Writing a personal statement can pose a challenge to many medical students. Those who feel they “don’t like to write” often find themselves frustrated. BUT, this statement is a useful tool in your application for residency, because it can tell selection committee members about your background, your goals and your character.
A good personal statement can certainly set you up for a great interview, and may help ensure that you match into a program that values the type of person that you are.
While a good statement may not get you in, a bad one can certainly lead to your demise as a candidate. Your statement should NOT simply reiterate why you came to medical school, or restate everything on your CV.
Your personal statement SHOULD include the following key elements:
- WHY you want to go into your chosen SPECIALTY (NOT the practice of medicine).
- Explanation of your commitment to that specialty and the profession (eg., clinical activities, research or special projects that solidified your interest in the field).
- WHAT are YOUR personal characteristics that make YOU well suited for that specialty (include your strengths that you can offer a program and the specialty).
- WHAT you are looking for in a program, clinically and academically.
- Your future goals and plans within that specialty.
Some writing TIPS:
- Start EARLY!
- Read sample personal statements
- · ·Directly state something if you really want to emphasize your point.
- · ·Indirectly state it if the direct account sounds too pompous.
- Determine which skills/traits you possess that selection committees are seeking.
- Identify your marketable attributes.
- Identify attributes to emphasize in your personal statement.
- Outline your statement paragraph by paragraph (5 or 6), one page.
- Write a topic sentence for each paragraph.
- Write the first draft:
- · ·Use forceful, active, varied, and understandable sentences.
- Get feedback!.
- Attempt to keep this to ONE page, proper grammar.
- ERROR-FREE: Proof and proof again for grammar, spelling, and typos.
- Stand out from the crowd!!.
- Include information not found anywhere else on your application.
- Elaborate on personal issues: life-changing experiences, goals, expectations.
- Communicate your uniqueness to the reader.
Some Pitfalls to Avoid:
- Don’t write about why you want to be a DOCTOR.
- Don’t tell the specialist why s/he should become that type of doctor – remember this is about YOU, not the SPECIALTY.
- Don’t describe why you did NOT choose OTHER professions.
- Avoid overused cliches.
- Avoid exaggerated words and phrases (always, for as long as I can remember).
- Don’t make your statement a prose version of your CV.
- Be wary of sounding too idealistic, lest it be mistaken for you seeming too naive.
- Don’t sound too rigid in listing extremely specific career plans.
- Do not criticize other professions or physicians.
- Careers in Medicine Writing a Personal Statement
- Workshop: Writing a CV & Personal Statement, given by Dr. Hilit Mechaber and Mrs. Joyce Biederman, 4.17.07
Letters of Recommendation
Most programs ask for three or four letters of recommendation (LORs).
ERAS can transmit a maximum of four letters. As a rule of thumb, LORs should be written by faculty members with whom you have worked in clinical or research settings. The most important factor in obtaining great letters is in the way you ask faculty to write them.
Consider asking whether the faculty member knows you well enough to write you a STRONG letter of recommendation for a residency position in your field. If they do not, you have given them the option to decline.
Many programs require an LOR from the department chair of the specialty to which you are applying. Realistically, not many chairs know all students; however, they expect to write such letters. They may also have a departmental “designee” write this letter.
In some departments, the chair signs all of the letters, while others have your core clerkship site director write and sign the letter on behalf of the chair.
REQUESTING LETTERS of RECOMMENDATION EARLY:
If you are planning to request that a faculty member write a letter of recommendation on your behalf PRIOR to the start of your senior year (i.e. during your junior year clerkships, or while you are on a leave of absence), please read this carefully. ERAS now allows you to utilize their system to request and store LORs through limited access. Tokens to access the limited LOR portal are issued by the Registrar, Marta Bergez.
These letters cannot be uploaded directly to the LoRP until you are actively registered with ERAS. You can certainly discuss your request for a letter of recommendation with faculty you may have recently completed a rotation with.
Your performance is fresh in their minds, and that may be a great time to ask. If you choose to request such a letter prior to your senior year you can discuss two options with the letter writer:
- Ask if the faculty member would feel comfortable with you returning at a later date (early in your senior year), at which time you will provide specific instructions about writing and uploading the letter OR
- Use your ERAS token as a Junior, register with ERAS, and review the Letter of Recommendation Portal online. You can use this system to have faculty upload your letters during the junior year.
Your letter writers need advance notice!
Your Letter itself:
- Must be addressed to “Dear Program Director.” (not to anyone in Student Affairs).
- Include that the student has waived his/her right to see the letter.
- The AAMC number needs to be in the subject line or body of the letter. You can find your AAMC number here if you forgot it.
- Has to be on the writer’s letterhead and signed .
To submit letters of recommendation, please reference the
ERAS LoR Portal
Detailed instructions can be found in the ERAS LoRP User Guide
The Office of Student Affairs cannot review letters and pick the best ones for you to send. The letters cannot be released to you at any time in any format. They are the property of the letter writer and not our office.
Waive your right: You should waive your right to see a letter of recommendation. The ERAS Cover Letter includes a waiver and instructs the writer to include a sentence in their letter regarding your decision.
Many program directors see a student’s decision not to waive their right to see a letter as a red flag.
Workshops & Presentations
· CO2020 – The Match, ERAS/Residency Applications, and Transitions, 05.29.19 Video
· CO2020 – The Match, ERAS/Residency Applications, and Transitions, 05.29.19 PPT Slides
· CO2019 – Creating your Rank Order List and Graduation Requirements, 01.08.19 Video
· CO2019 – Creating your Rank Order List and Graduation Requirements, 01.08.19 PPT Slides
· Workshop: Making the Most of Your Residency Interviews, 10.10.18 Video
· Making the Most of Your Residency Interviews, 10.10.18 PDF
· Preparing for Residency – Making the Most of Your Residency Interview – Learning Module
· Preparing for Residency – Making the Most of Your Residency Interview – FAQs