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What If I Don’t Get The Residency I Want?

MCAT QuestionsAllison Greco is a medical student in the class of 2013 and has a great passion for medicine and social media. You can follow her on twitter @grecoa3.

Hi Allison, I’m a current medical student and already worried about if I don’t get the residency I want and get stuck doing something I don’t enjoy. What are your plans if you don’t get matched with any of your preferences?

It’s actually pretty rare that someone doesn’t match, and when this happens it’s usually because they overestimated their competitiveness and applied to only super-prestigious programs. If this does happen, you enter what’s called “The Scramble.” In the beginning of Match week you get notified if you did or didn’t match. If you didn’t match, you can then ‘scramble’ to find an opening in a program that didn’t fill all their spots.

My school has a great program that sets us up with specialty-specific advisors. These advisors end up being highly involved in the residency selection processes in their respective subspecialties. When I met with my advisor she was able look at my CV, grades, and personal statement and tell me how competitive of an applicant I am, and listed some programs that I should look into (in the geographic locations that I’m interested in).

I would advise reaching out to someone in the field you’re interested in. Set the meeting up for the middle-end of third year so you’re sure you really know what you want to go into. This person will be able to help you identify programs that will best fit you.


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