A Guide to Preparing Your Medical Residency Rank List

A Guide to Preparing Your Medical Residency Rank List

Jun 09, 2020 Published by Kathrin O'Neill

Table of Contents

After going through interviews with various medical residency programs, the next step is to create your preferred list of residency programs that you want to be matched to. Prepare your list as early as the start of the interview sessions and pay attention during the interview process and take notes on what you feel for each program.

How Important is the Residency Rank List

The Residency Rank list is one of the requirements that you need to submit in order to match to a residency program. The National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) is a mathematical algorithm designed to match applicants to residency programs taking into account several factors like the applicant’s preferred rank list, how many slots are available, and other factors.

Preparing your list early can save you a lot of trouble and stress further down the matching process so always start working on it as soon as you have identified residency programs that you are interested in.

Choosing Your Residency Program

There are many factors to consider when you are building your list of medical residency programs. Your choices can have a big impact on your career and personal life. Most find it difficult to commit to a choice but planning and researching ahead can help you make the right decision.

1. Identify Your Goals and Perform a Self-Check

To help you choose a residency program that fits best you have to conduct a reflection of your current situation and think about questions like,

  • Are you comfortable with where you are?
  • Are you comfortable moving out and settling in a new place for the duration of the residency?
  • Is your budget stable?
  • Can you afford to move to a new place?
  • Are you comfortable leaving your friends and family?
  • Are you happy with the residency programs near you?
  • How far are you willing to move for your residency program?
  • Do you have friends or peers applying for the same program?
  • Are you willing to move just to have a program your happy with?
  • Can your budget cope with additional expenses?
  • Are you comfortable living in a new place?
  • What is your goal for your medical residency?

These are just one of the many questions you need to ask yourself to help you plan your course of action during and after your medical residency. Always consult with your family members before committing, as their support will prove invaluable during your actual medical residency.

2. Conduct a Research on Medical Residency Programs

There are many ways to help you research available medical residency programs. Use the tools provided by your medical school or ask a mentor or advisor for pointers on what residency programs that are best fit for you. The internet is a vast library of information that can provide you with important information about the medical residency programs so always set time to browse each one of your potential choices.

3. Connect with Peers and Join Groups

Another great way to gather information about the residency programs is to connect with peers and join groups of colleagues. Socializing with your peers will give you a new perspective on your choices. This is a great way to compare notes and gather opinions about the different medical residency programs available.

Residency programs often provide applicants with the opportunity to visit and interact with the faculty before an interview. This is a great chance to interact with you to get up close with your potential future colleagues. Find time to attend conferences and residency fairs to help you compare programs.

4. Consult With a Mentor or Advisor

Consulting with a mentor or advisor is a great way to gather information about the residency program. Seeking the help of experienced medical professionals can help point out which program works best for you or what program best fits your long term goals.

Consulting with alumni or senior residents will also give you a fresh perspective on what the actual program is like compared to the information posted on the website.

5. Building Your List

Once you have gathered enough information then the next step is to build your preferred list. There are a lot of important factors to consider and it is important to cover all of them to help you come up with a list that you are happy with.

Factors to Consider

  • The Length of the Training
  • The Location of the Medical Residency
  • The Affiliated Hospitals
  • The type of Hospital
  • The Number of Hours Per Shift
  • The Number of Shifts Per Month
  • The Number of Slots Available
  • The Size of the program including current residents
  • The yearly patient volume of the hospital
  • The compensation

These are just some of the factors that you need to consider when building your preferred list of medical residency programs. Other things to consider are the availability of housing in the area, the cost of rent, the living expenses, transportation costs, the weather, how far you are from your family, how many of your friends are applying to the program, and other personal factors like the budget.

The length of your rank list also greatly depends on several factors including how many slots are available for the program, your academic standing with respect to your peers, and your personal preferences. Typically, on average, an applicant includes up to 11 programs in the list There is no perfect way to build a list so only list the programs that you are genuinely interested in joining and avoid including programs that you are not considering.