Choosing a specialty is a critical decision. Not only will your choice impact your chances of making a residency match, but more importantly, it will impact your career in medicine for years to come. Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing your specialty:
Although it’s important to pick a specialty that you will like, it’s also important to be realistic about your odds of securing a match. The most popular and high-earning specialties frequently have the most competitive residency programs. Your faculty and clinical advisors can help you with an honest assessment of your academic performance, clinical strengths and exam scores. Talking to current residents and practicing physicians can give you insight into the specialties you are considering. Go into the decision process with an open mind—maybe a specialty that you had never considered before will be the one that best meets your career goals and residency match profile.
Once you have decided on a specialty, the next step is to research residency programs for potential application. There are several sources that can help you determine your selections:
As a general rule, candidates should apply to a variety of programs, including hospital, university and community-based programs. The more competitive the specialty, the more programs you should apply to. Even if you are a strong candidate with top grades and high USMLE scores, it does not hurt to include a few less competitive programs for back up.
This section will provide you with helpful information to navigate the residency application and Match process and take the step from medical student to practicing physician.
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