Ross University Blog

Residency Fair Gives Students Expert Advice on Preparing to Enter the Match

May 29, 2014

Dr. Nancy Selfridge (left) advises students on preparing for residency.

Dr. Nancy Selfridge (left) advises students on preparing for residency.

At the Residency Fair on May 24, 2014, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) students had an opportunity to hear from experts in six areas of medicine, and to have individual questions answered by visiting residency program directors and RUSM faculty members and department chairs. Held on the heels of the Professionalism Conference, the event drew many third and fourth semester students to the scenic Seaside Deck where tables were set up for family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN, psychiatry and surgery. Students were able to obtain invaluable advice about how to put together a strong application, how to stand out as a candidate, and what they can do to help secure the best residency match to further their career goals.

“Get good letters of recommendation,” advised Dr. Alison Dobbie, RUSM’s Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education. She added that the letters did not necessarily need to be from physicians in the same area of medicine as the residency for which the student is applying. “I’m a family physician. Do I mind getting a letter from an internist? Not at all.”

One student asked, “Would you agree that your Step score just gets you to an interview?”

“Yes,” Dr. Dobbie replied. “They’ve invited to come for an interview. They haven’t ruled you out. As a program director, I couldn’t remember which applicant scored what; if the score was really high I’d remember.”

Several students expressed concern about knowing what information to put in a personal statement when applying for a residency. “With family medicine, you want to bring something extra to the table,” said Dr. Dobbie. “If you have any publications, have shown some creativity, or have demonstrated communication skills, that’s important.”

“What about sounding arrogant on an application?” a student asked.

“Facts are facts,” responded Dr. Dobbie. “If you’re a black belt, write that down; if you ran five marathons, write that down. Any additional language is good, especially if you go to N.Y., Dallas, or another big city. Even if you’re not fluent, the connection with a patient who speaks that language can be phenomenal.”

“What about other jobs you’ve had?” asked a student.

Dr. Dobbie replied that, “You definitely want to put down your prior jobs on the application. If you worked a proper job, I want to know that. You are students who have other, positive, things to bring. You speak other languages. You’ve been to other countries. You are grownups.”

Additionally, Dr. Dobbie advised, the way to succeed during clinical rotations and to achieve the credentials and letters of recommendation for an outstanding residency application are: “Turn up early every day, fresh and shiny, appropriately dressed. If you don’t know what to wear, go the first day in a shirt and tie. Scrubs are sometimes acceptable, but don’t ever turn up the first day in scrubs.”

Tags: Residency

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