In the latest Med Student Over Easy episode, Andy discusses how to “size-up” a program virtually with guest APD Katie Holmes and interns Autumn Bass and Carlos Jaquez.


Over the past two years, programs have had to significantly alter their residency recruitment practices due to Covid-19. Travel restrictions put an end to many program’s main strategies including pre-interview dinners, in-person interviews, shadowing, and second-look days. Instead, the focus shifted to online which can be challenging from a program perspective given limitations to updating university/corporate websites and privacy concerns with social media use. This led to an abundance of virtual “open houses” in hopes students could get a better feel for programs and residency leadership could determine which students were truly interested in their program.


Despite technological advances, it is still very difficult to choose a residency program without ever stepping foot in the hospital or shaking hands with any of the residents/faculty. The match is a stressful time and changing the road map over the past few years definitely hasn’t helped this on either side of the equation. What do you need to know as a student to help you succeed in this virtual recruitment format?


How to get to know programs virtually

  • Create a professional Twitter and Instagram only to use for networking and learning about programs and opportunities. If you also have a “party-time” account be sure to put that one to rest during match season.
  • Rely on mentors to help you network.
  • Scour program websites. Understand that many programs have “hidden” websites that are much more updated and accurate. They will likely give you access to these when you attend open houses or get an interview invite.
  • Reach out to residents at programs – especially programs that might have generic institution websites that aren’t super helpful to you.
  • Attend any virtual open houses that programs offer to try and get more insight into programs.


Benefits of virtual recruitment

  • No financial burden!
  • Less geographical bias – without travel students put fewer geographical limitations on programs.
  • Easy to accept interviews last minute without being taxed with astronomical travel expenses.
  • Virtual residency fairs – access to programs you may not have initially considered.
  • Insight into how creative and innovative programs could be with this new challenge.


Red flags

  • Interview day set-up – did programs build in breaks for water, lunch, and to use the restroom?
  • No virtual presence to get more information about a program
  • Q&A sessions where residents weren’t jovial and ended up just being endless questions without any insight into the day-to-day life of residents.
  • Professionalism not reciprocated during interviews


Take-Home Points

  • Take advantage of program websites and social media accounts
  • Be open-minded to programs that catch your eye that weren’t initially on your list.
  • Beware of red flags during the interview season
  • If you got the interview you have already passed the hardest test – you are smart enough and you deserve to be there!


Listen to the Episode



Resources to help your Virtual Size Up

Medical Student Resources you should check out:


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Virtual Size Up- Med Student Over Easy

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