I Didn’t Get Any Residency Interviews – Now What?

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • This is an incredibly challenging position to be in. You worked so hard to get through medical school and put together the best application you could…and it hasn’t worked out the way you hoped it would. First, let me say that I am sorry for the stress, disappointment, and heartache that you may be feeling. You may feel completely helpless or not know what to do next. Though each individual circumstance is unique, here are some of the major steps I would recommend to start planning for the next phase of your medical career.

    Review your ERAS application very carefully, making a list of reasons you think may have hindered your chances at an interview. 

    This can be hard to do, but it can be very helpful to highlight red flags that can be changed or addressed differently in the future. I would encourage you to actually write them down, so that you have a tangible “to do list.” There are many possibilities for red flags, but here are some of the most common:

    1. Did you fail a course or exam?
    2. Are your Step scores lower than usual for your chosen specialty?
    3. Did you take extended time to finish medical school? Has there been significant period of time since your graduation?
    4. Do you have disciplinary actions in your record?
    5. Did you submit your application late?
    6. Were your letters of recommendation from the wrong specialty or from people who do not know you well?
    7. Do you have no or few research/volunteer/clinical experiences in your resume?
    8. Did you only apply to a very competitive specialty (e.g., dermatology, neurosurgery)?
    9. Did you not apply to enough programs? Or only in very competitive areas (e.g., NYC, California)?
    10. Was your ERAS application rushed (e.g., weak personal statement, typos, mistakes)?

    Assess which red flags can be changed before the next application cycle. 

    On your list of red flags, separate them into things that can be changed (i.e., turning in your application in before the deadline) and those that cannot (i.e., your Step scores). Of the changeable items, some will be easier than others, but start to come up with a game plan for how you will tackle that red flag. For example, if you have limited research experience, start investigating possible research assistant positions, projects at your medical school, or additional degrees with research training. Make a clear plan for how Match 2023 will be different.

    For everything that can’t be changed, consider how you might take a different approach to ERAS. 

    Unfortunately, we cannot go back in time and change your exam scores, but applicants with red flags match successfully into residencies every year. While you are working to optimize other areas of your application, think about how you might explain your red flags in your personal statement next year. The key is to be genuine, upfront, and honest about what happened, how you dealt with it, and what you have learned to be a better human and doctor.

    While planning your Match 2023 application, start reading about the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP). 

    While you are planning for the worst-case scenario (that you will re-enter the Match next year), you can also prepare yourself to potentially find a residency spot through the SOAP. Check out the NRMP website for more information about your eligibility and the rules. The SOAP will begin on March 14, 2022 at 10am EST. Eligible students can login to ERAS to apply to open programs. There will be 4 rounds of the SOAP again this year, all on March 17th between 9am and 9pm CST.

    Good luck! If you need help figuring out what your next steps are, how to optimize your application for 2023, or how to prepare for the SOAP, please reach out to us for help. 

     

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