Monday, May 28, 2018

Tips to get interviews in top-tier residency programs

Who didn’t dream about starting his residency in a great famous program? What is your dream program? Is it Harvard? Yale? John Hopkins? Stanford?......and the list goes on..

It is hard but it is not impossible. Besides having nice USMLE scores, here are some points that make your application stands out:

1- Research
Doing a research in big institutes may help in getting a call from these places. While doing your research, you will be able to meet new people, some of them may know a person who is related to the residency selection process. At the same time, you are showing your commitment, social skills and your willingness to be a part of the team.
Another point to consider is having publications in international journals with a high impact factor. This includes but is not limited to JAMA, The Lancet, Nature, Cell. Whether you worked in institutes in the US to have these publications or you were involved in an international research that was eventually published in these journals, having such accomplishments is a great addition to your application.

2- MPH and/or PhD
Having a Masters degree - especially if done in the US - can be a big plus for some university programs. You may do masters in biostatistics,epidemiology and many others. It may be costly and lengthy (a year or two) but it's worth it.

3- Preliminary (transitional) year
Doing a preliminary year in some high-tier residency programs may be your winning ticket to enter that program. You may match in the same program or apply to and get interviewed by another amazing program since you will now have a 1 year of fully accredited USCE (United States Clinical Experience) in addition to the experience and knowledge that you gain.

4- Contacts
It is amazing how social life shapes us as humans. The importance of having contacts or making new ones during your research, MPH or preliminary year can’t be overemphasized. Programs prefer a person who they already know and whom they are sure they can work with.
Consider attending conferences in your field too, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine...etc.

5- Exceptional Academic Record
Famous institutes like applicants who are bright, smart and committed. An “excellent “academic record helps to prove this.

6- LUCK
Believe it or not, occasionally, luck plays a role here. Be outgoing and interact nicely with as many people as you can. Being in the right time at the right place is what you need sometimes!

Finally, for all AMGs and IMGs, always remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Start now and chase your dreams :)

-Murad

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