Criteria of Program Directors for Candidate Selection

05 Aug

Hello friends ,

Now that the time for applying to residency programs for the year 2015 is getting closer, I would like to share few valuable points regarding the views of Program Directors of what they search for in a candidate for a particular program. We all know how hard each of us had worked for clearing our steps trying to get good scores, getting that extra bit of benefit over others by doing clerkships, observerships,research what not everything that we can in the limited time to improve our CV before interviews.

I tried to include most of the important points regarding the selection criteria  that I gathered from my seniors, residents, doctors in U.S and few PD’s .

All the information provided is a generalized view and may change depending on  respective program requirements.

How do the PD’s select /filter the candidates ?What is the criteria of selection ?

  • USMLE SCORES – Step scores min 220 scores( on an average for diff programs ) in STEP 1 and Ck ,clearing CS in 1 attempt.
  • Step 1 and Step 2 [CS , CK ] are must and Step 3 is not must.
  • If all the 3 steps are finished they come to a conclusion that they have the capability to finish everything on time.
  • Step 3 score [ may be helpful or may not be ] :
  • Good score : little bit good
  • Bad score: little bit bad
  • Multiple attempts :
  • If the individual is known – One fail can be considered.
  • Unknown individual –  very bad sign
  • Visa status: few of them don’t sponsor visa and they accept applications of only green card holders. U.S. citizens permanent residents.
  • Even with good steps scores if you don’t have visa, you are not accepted in some programs.
  • Any problem with the visa and if you need your program directors to help you need to get very high scores.
  • U.S. clinical experience :
  • Clerkships are preferred over observerships .Good chance of getting a decent lor and making contacts.
  • Obsereverships :Frankly they do not make application stronger.Most PD’s feel it is to fill up CV or to kill time.But in the end something is better than nothing .
  • Research :
  • It should be meaningful related to field you’re applying.
  • Not just to fill CV or kill time .A long term and oriented research study preferred.
  • Get good LORs
  • Develop relationships with professor who could be a PD.
  • Should be passionate about the work you are doing on.
  • Do something so that it’s going to help you .
  • Improve your Communication skills
  • Give Presentations if possible during your research period and participate in related conferences.
  • During interview – Explanation regarding your Research should be in their terms [ I did this because..…. , I understand this …… ]
  • Letter of Recommendation (LORs) :As we all know LORs carry a lot of value .The weight of an LOR is such that a good Lor can get you into a program and a bad Lor in the opposite way. So what is a Good/Bad LOR ??
  • Bad LOR :
  • Short in length.
  • Just an LOR which mentions nice person, come to work on time
  • Common form [where sometimes they forget to change gender]
  • Good LOR :
  • Ask them if they would be willing to write strong LOR [ specific examples to include why we are a good student like “ I would like to have the student  in my program ….. from program director or clerkship position or from someone who is in high position” ].
  • Letter from good academic physician in U.S. or if it is from a major well known medical center abroad in the world.
  • Preferably not from private doctors but university affiliated .
  • LOR for specialty :
  • 2 from particular specialty and 1 from any other specialty are accepted.
  • 1 LOR minimum for particular specialty.
  • Year of Graduation : not more than 2-3 yrs depending on PD.
  • Taking extra time to study : This should be mentioned in application ,
  • if time is <= 6 months then Ok.
  • if time > 6 months then if it’s good score – ok and if it’s bad score then not good.

 This is in short regarding the important selection criteria that PD’s follow. I couldn’t include the points regarding the interview ,the general qs asked, tricky issues etc  as these are included in my coming posts.

I hope this post would give you an idea of what to do in order to fit into the residency programs and how to improve your chances among others .

Hope you guys feel this worthy and keep looking for my next post regarding “The Big day of Interview”.

Thank you for the support and Good luck guys 🙂


Posted by on August 5, 2014 in USMLE


Tags: , , , , , , ,

10 responses to “Criteria of Program Directors for Candidate Selection

  1. Dr a

    August 5, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Hey ! What if a person fails step 1, and does good on 2nd attempt. Us resident with strong lors and few contacts. Cs and ck pass on first attempt. What r the chances and what can the person do to improve chances of matching


    • mickeykarthik

      August 5, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      Its not that people with second attempt don’t match but the chances are low.As mentioned one with good contacts (as he has good lors) can get interviews.


      • karthik

        August 6, 2014 at 1:54 am

        To improve to chances for some1 with multiple attempts I think the following can be tried :
        1) high scores
        2) US clinical experience (3months)
        3) Research work
        4) Publications
        5) Most importantly to have good contacts in u.s

        Liked by 1 person

  2. sirravin

    August 6, 2014 at 2:15 am

    Hello drkarthik thank you again for a very clear n detailed post .Your posts are very informative .Vl b waiting for ur next post.God bless u fr am d help.Gd luck 🙂


    • karthik

      August 6, 2014 at 2:25 am

      Sirravin thank you for ur support and I feel happy that you liked my post. Ya vl b back with my new post jus in few days.keep watching for it 😉


  3. Bhargav

    August 6, 2014 at 3:26 am

    Very informative..thanks karthik


  4. swwal

    August 7, 2014 at 8:15 am

    thanks for this great inform.
    btw I am shocked by the fact they say the observership just to fill CV i know it is less than elective and better than nothing
    so doing research or observ. is better ?


    • karthik

      August 7, 2014 at 8:36 am

      Yes Swwal even I was surprised when they told me about observership but that’s the fact .I think its better to do either research or externships if not observer ships.Hope this helps.


      • swwal

        August 7, 2014 at 2:08 pm

        But I’ve heard externship is illegal ! Also when I look into hospitals websites no one offer externship ?? Can we get it only by companies ? Which cost 5000$ /m also in non Accge hospitals
        What do u think ?


      • karthik

        August 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm

        I am not sure about the costs but from what I heard is many people do get into externships with good contacts .Let me tell u most of dem are repeaters who even finish der step3 .I would prefer a research than externship if I got 2 choose among these .



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