2018-17 Residency Application Season

How to Start Preparing for the 2019-20 Residency Application Season

The 2018-19 Residency Application Season has come to an end. This means it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming 2019-20 Application Cycle. Whether this is your first Match Season or you will be reapplying, just thinking about starting the residency application can be a little daunting. Below you will find a suggested timeline to guide you through preparing for the residency application.

New to the Match Process?

Be sure to look into the following official services:

USMLE: You will need to take the USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK, and USMLE Step 2 CS exams to qualify to start a residency training program 

ECFMG: Advocate and IMG services, your best friend if you are an IMG. You will need to be ECFMG certified to start a residency
AAMC: Home of ERAS®, the main application website 
ERAS for Applicants: Where you put together your residency application, search/select programs and apply
NRMP®: Home of The Match® after you have applied to programs

Reapplying this Match Season?

An extra step you can take is to analyze your previous application season to identify any weaknesses you can improve for the following season such as:

  • Having generic/non-specialty specific supporting documents (Personal Statement and Letters of Recommendation)
  • Applying blindly to residency programs with minimum requirements you did not qualify for
  • Not applying to enough programs
    • The recommended amount is a minimum of 100 programs per specialty
  • Not following up with promising programs after you applied
  • Having a weak interview or not honing your interview skills
  • Not sending a Thank You Letter after an interview
  • Not creating a Rank Order List or making unwise ranking decisions

Guide to Early Preparation Timeline

April – May

  • Work on completing any missing USMLE exams
  • Complete any possible experiences (Externships, Clerkships, sub-Internships, Research, Observerships, or Volunteer)
  • Contact prospective Letter of Recommendation Writers early to ask if they will be willing to write (or rewrite) you an LOR for the upcoming season
  • Research the entire Residency Application process thoroughly, you do not want to lose out on a whole Match Season because you missed a vital part of the process. You can also research:
    • Past Matching trends and statistics
    • IMG friendly information
  • If possible, make connections with residency programs. A couple of ways to do this is by:
    • Signing up for a specialty specific professional organization. An example of this is the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) if you are interested in Family Medicine
    • Asking your local programs if you can attend their grand rounds (politely)
    • Attending conferences
  • Be sure to be saving funds for applications, as applying to enough programs can be costly

June – July

July – August


Other blogs you might find useful as you research and prepare are:

Top 5 Most IMG Friendly Medical Specialties 2018

Fees for the Application Process 2018-19

What Program Directors are Really Looking at in Your ERAS Residency Application

Top 10 IMG Friendly States from Match 2018

By making early preparations, residency candidates can greatly decrease the stress of their residency application process and also improve their chances to Match.

(Content Updated: April 3, 2019).

The NATIONAL RESIDENT MATCHING PROGRAM®, The NRMP®, SUPPLEMENTAL OFFER AND ACCEPTANCE PROGRAM®, and SOAP® are registered trademarks of National Resident Matching Program. THE MATCH™ is a trademark of National Resident Matching Program. ResidencyPrep, LLC and this page are not sponsored by, endorsed by, or affiliated with National Resident Matching Program.

Next ArticleTop 10 IMG Friendly States 2017