Applying to residency, regardless of specialty can be stressful and nerve-racking. Similarly to when you applied to medical school, it is essential to put your best foot forward to land your dream residency program. However, every year there are a handful of applicants who don’t match on the first day of Match Week. In this Med Student Over Easy episode, Kaitlin is joined by Geoff Comp, DO, and Mary McLean, MD to discuss the reasons someone may not match and tips to avoid it.

Mentorship is key

This process can be extremely difficult without help. Be sure to identify mentors early and try to get connected with at least one mentor in Emergency Medicine who is up to date on the latest changes to the application process. This can be particularly important if your medical school is not affiliated with an EM residency program. For more tips on finding a mentor, check out our episode from last season.

Applying to enough of the right programs

One of the most common mistakes applicants make is not applying to enough of the right programs. Instead of blindly sending out applications, take some time to evaluate your CV, personal statement, and letters of recommendation. Ask mentors who are close to the match process to help you decide how many programs you should apply to. Keep in mind that the number should not include “reach programs.”

Applying to DO-friendly programs

If you are a DO applicant, not applying to DO-friendly programs is another common mistake. DO applicants can benefit from doing some research on programs’ websites, social media, and virtual hangouts to get a sense of how DO-friendly they are. It can be possible to match into a program that is history an MD program, but you also want to ask yourself if you want to be the first DO at a traditionally MD program. That will come down to personal preference.

Burning bridges on auditions

Auditions are essentially month-long interviews. It is essential to remain professional throughout the process, as EM is a very small world. If you burn a bridge at one program, someone else is likely to hear about it. Conversely, if you do a great job, it is possible that that will be shared as well. Be yourself , be on time and and stay professional. Keep in mind that you should not cancel an audition the day before or day of without letting the program know. This should only be done in an emergency. If you are planning to cancel an interview because you are no longer interested in a program, do so as early as possible, so that someone else may be offered that chance to interview.

Take-Home Points:
  • Apply smarter, not harder
  • Ask for help and prepare ahead of time
  • Remain professional throughout the whole process

Post by Patricia Capone, DO PGY-2


About Our Guest:

Geoff Comp, DO

Assistant Program Director, Creighton University School of Medicine/Vallwywise Health Medical Center (Phoenix) Emergency Medicine Residency

Mary McLean, MD

Associate Program Director, AdventHealth East Orlando EM Residency Program

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Why Didn’t I Match? – Med Student Over Easy

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