Residency programs - What they like to see and how to get noticed!



Hello everyone, my name is Dr. AJ and I am an attending physician! I specialize in Family Medicine and Geriatrics! I created this topic for random discussion and will be glad to answer any questions you may have! Whether you are a med student, resident or looking for answers, I would be glad to help as much as possible! Hope to hear from you guys soon!


Hello Dr. @AJibawi. Thank you for helping and sharing your experience. What do you recommend when preparing for USMLE step 3? and are you a US or International medical graduate? Thank you.


Thanks Dr. AJ. I am considering family med as a backup for my first choice which is internal medicine. Do you think my LoRs for from Internal medicine can help my Family medicine application? What do you recommend in terms of LoRs?


Hello, I hope all is well! I am an IMG and for step 3 I used Doctors In Training, Master of the boards and all the questions you can possibly think of! I’ve used Kaplan questions and usmle world! 2 months should be enough approximately 6-8hrs a day! Be confident and I would recommend starting with DIT! Good luck


Typically you can use the same LOR! I have to correct you on one thing though! Don’t use the word back up when talking about a specialty like family medicine! Primary care is actually the most popular right now especially with changes in Medicare and Obamacare! It degrades the specialty and is disrespectful! If program directors know that you applied to a different specialty they would drop your application fast! Be smart apply to the programs and specialty that you love! Lors are very important to your application process. Also make sure the programs that you apply for don’t have more than one residency program because they would find out and you won’t be considered! Good luck on your application process and I hope you match to the program you want!


Dr. AJ thank you very much for your feedback. As for the the mentioning of the word “backup” I did not and would not use it when I address my interest with the programs. I am very aware that the programs dislike candidates who may have interest in other specialties so I would not be mentioning that in my PS or LoRs. Once again, thank you for your feedback @AJibawi.


In your opinion, what is the most important document in a residency application? Have you been involved in the residency interview committee? Can we ask you further questions in regards to how programs select candidates? Thanx


Thank for being here Dr. AJ! I will make sure to come back with questions soon.


We are truly thankful to have you in this forum Dr. J. If you would to list three things, what are the most noticeable aspects residency programs look for in a candidate during the interview.


Thank for being here @AJibawi. I have Deans’ letter of recommendation dated 2008, can I still use it for this year match?


The most important document in the application by far is you personal statement. you have to take into consideration that scores are important but they are all numbers. Be unique in your application and most importantly be different. I used and it was amazing how they transformed my statement. I have never realized how boring my previous statement was until i used them. I was also on the interview committee during my senior year as a resident and during the selection process I always ranked the candidates that had good eye contact, smiled and were confident. I hope this helps and good luck


We will be here Moon! let me know


@Moshe Three things that I personally looked at during the interview were confidence, eye contact and smiles. We already investigated your full application and know your credentials. If you got your foot in the door this means they just want to meet you and see if you fit into their program. your credentials at that moment don’t matter because they want to know if they would be able to get along with you. the worse thing during an interview process is to be unprepared. programs love family oriented candidates and people who are willing to work hard and sacrifice. also if you go into an interview make sure that you know everything about the program. if the program is in a big city, make sure you know about the sports, the food and the communities. I hope this helps. we can discuss more if you have more questions.

@Wasim Hello Wasim, I hope you are doing well. You will probably still need it but I would not recommend using if possible. it is almost 10 years old and programs frown on that. try to use LORs or statements that are most recent max 2 years old because remember you are competing with a lot of new graduates who have everything updated and fresh.

Good luck my friends and God bless
Dr. AJ :smile:


Thank you very much for your answer, God bless @AJibawi


Thank you Dr. @AJibawi


We have two Jibawis here!

Q: bottom line, what is the most I can do to impress the program director and committee during the interview. I believe many of us get lucky in obtaining interviews but as IMGs we fail miserably during the interview. I appreciate your input Dr. Jibawi.


@DeSantos, welcome to USMLE Press! My brother and I are both Influencers and I hope we can help. To answer your question about the interview process really depends on how confident you are and how fluent your english is. I understand a lot of us are IMGs and it can be difficult to speak in another language. If you don’t mind me asking, is English your first or second language? When I interviewed applicants I witnessed a lot of people struggled during the interview because of the language barrier. If english is your second language you should make it a priority to only speak it daily! To impress the Director isn’t always necessarily your grades or your background. I believe your personality is the key to landing you the job. Of course your personal statement, usmle grades and rotations play a big role but its your personality that will land you the position. You may have applicants who get 99s on all USMLEs and can’t have a decent conversation. I would prefer applicants who get in the 80s but have a fantastic pesonality. You have to find your deficiency, so if your language is the problem you need to make sure that you practice day and night to perfect it. Like you would for the exams, you have to do the same for the interview process and practice. There is nothing that can guarantee you a position but the odds are always with you if you are confident in your speaking skills and delivery. Be unique and different than your typical applicant. I hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions.


Thank you Dr. Jibawi. I am Spanish but I am born and raised int he US and I am very confident of my communication skills. I just wanted to know what are things I can do to impress.


Dr. @AJibawi what do I do if I don’t match this year? Any suggestion how to improve my chances? Thanks in advance.