Thursday, June 7, 2018

How to choose which residency programs to apply to?

Match season is coming and everyone is asking: What programs should I apply to :D ?
Well, there is no magical answer for this and each applicant has his/her own situation.

Below are some sources that may help in gathering some info about programs:


This paid (79$) website provides a list of programs that you are eligible to apply to after filling the following requirements: USMLE scores, Visa Status, AMG or IMG, time since graduation, having US clinical experience or not and of course the specialty you are applying for.
It gives you a list of the programs, arranged alphabetically according to state with USMLEs and year of graduation cut-offs in addition to “IMG-friendliness” of the program among many other factors.

2- ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service)

ERAS itself will show you all the programs available but without any filters, so you will need to check the website of each program individually to avoid applying for nothing. For example, ERAS won’t stop you from applying to a program in California even if you don’t have a PTAL - which is a requirement for all California programs.
Keep in mind is ERAS is the place where you apply to programs, so regardless of any source you use to create your list, ERAS is the final destination to choose programs from.

3- Website of each program

One of the most reliable ways to know about a program is to check the website itself. You ll find the info you need mostly under the name/title/tab of: Prospective Applicants or How to Apply and sometimes in the FAQ section.
Unfortunately, some programs websites are deficient and not organized or not even accessible. In this case, you ll have to use the other sources mentioned in this post to get the info you want.

4- FRIEDA (Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database)

FRIEDA is an online database of all graduate medical education programs in the United States that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
Click here to access FRIEDA or just search FRIEDA on Google. Make an account and enjoy searching. You can use filters like: states, visa sponsorship..etc.

5- Doximity

Doximity is an online social networking service for U.S. clinicians. You can create an account and see programs in different specialties arranged according to research output or reputation and US news ranking.

6- Already made lists

You ll find many lists circulating around the internet. You may use them too but an advise it to double check them and make sure that they are uptodate since programs policies may change over the years.

7- Asking seniors

Seniors may help and give you a more detailed insight about programs and states. Ask them :)
> In order to apply to California programs, you need what is so-called: a PTAL ( Postgraduate-Training Accreditation Letter). For more information, click here.

> The situation may be different in different specialties. For instance, Peds has less than 200 programs which means searching will need less time and effort than IM which has 400+ progs!

> It is good to use more than one source. You can use matcharesident list in addition to checking ERAS and the website of each program. Matcharesident may rarely miss a program and sometimes programs show up late in ERAS.

> Search well and specify some good time to search programs. This is a very important decision that may affect the rest of your life :D

> Apply to all programs in a particular geographical location if you have a strong family tie and you REALLY want to match there. DO NOT MISS OUT ON ANY PROGRAM IN THAT CITY/STATE.

Wishing you a good Match season everyone :)



  1. This is very informative and useful. Thank you Dr and God bless!

  2. I would suggest using ERAS first and then going through lists because I used seniors lists first, as a result of which I missed a lot of good programs (applied to them later/ missed them completely!)

    Apply to all programs in a particular geographical location if you have a strong family tie and you REALLY want to match there. DO NOT MISS OUT ON ANY PROGRAM IN THAT CITY / STATE.

    1. I strongly agree Ikan :D I ll add the 2nd sentence u wrote to the tips :)

  3. كبير دكتور مراد ، الله يقويك .

  4. Hi Murad,

    I would like to add some more tips:

    1.For programs whose websites are not informative try to Email or call them even before September. They usually reply well.Once September starts it gets crazy and replying might be impossible.

    2.Make an excel sheet or write in a book why you are eliminating a program so that you know it when you finalize the list and don't miss on good programs.

    3.Discuss the list with many friends-again so that you don't miss on any good ones.

    4.Ask your friends or seniors with similar profile as yours from where they got their interviews last year and don't miss on those programs even if the website says you are not eligible.

    Hope it helps :)

  5. Hi! Thank you for this information! I'd like to ask if a similar post on universities or professors to apply to for research opportunities would be available.(to get a publication for the CV)
    How many months minimum would it be? Any list available by any chance? How to go about it exactly?

  6. Thank you for your interest :)
    No post that I know of but I may write one

    To answer your questions:
    1- mimimum months:
    no minimum months, it depends on many factors,Is it a lab research or clinical one? clinical is almost always finished before lab one which may take yeas....Is you team and mentor fast in publishing or not? Did you leave a good impression and were you involved in many projects? Does you PI/mentor know people who can get you in interviews? I know ppl who did one month research electives, other who spent more than 2 years with very different outcomes. Everyone has his own stories.

    2- Lists
    Actually no lists because research positions are dymanic and are filled quickly but the following may help: Check big institutes websites and email MGH, Cleveland Clinic, Mayo clinic and John Hopkins, you may get a response. Create a Linked account since many Universities/Institutes offer research opportunity through LinkedIn, you can also message people in Linked. Contact your friends who are doing research, many post-doc research fellows leave their research position after they match.

    I hope this helps :)


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