Top Residency Programs: How to Choose


You’re most likely as excited as you are worried about making the right choice when sorting through top residency programs. Here are some of the top factors to help you make your decision.

The importance of long-range intentions for top residency programs.

  • Your career path. Be clear on what sort of practice you intend to pursue. Focus on programs that have an emphasis in your area or intended specialty, whether it be research, academic practice, or community.
  • Location. The best residency programs are going to be the ones near where you intend to practice. This may be around family or in an area you see yourself becoming established in, but once you’re in a residency program, you’re somewhat committed to setting up practice there.

Learning preferences to consider for top residency programs

  • Types of responsibilities. Some will be hungry for as much responsibility as the program allows, and others want a slower, more relaxed learning opportunity. Find out what sorts of responsibilities and opportunities are given to and expected of interns and senior residents. Also, look into how heavily supervised you’ll be, what sorts of patients you’ll be working with, and at what level of care, and the volume of patient turnover.
  • Level of commitment. The top residency programs can also be the most difficult to endure and may not be the most financially rewarding. Make sure you understand the amount of hours that will be expected of you, and what exactly those hours entail. Don’t overestimate your stamina, and decide if the learning experience is worth the extra sacrifices.

Rotation electives for choosing top residency programs

You’re not the only one making decisions. While you want to spend your elective time in your top residency programs, avoid wasting elective rotations on programs that are unlikely to offer you a position.

Be realistic. Note the stress levels of other residents and the overall politics and atmosphere of the working environment. This may not seem important today, but as you face challenges, you want to know that you’re in a supportive environment, not a hostile one.

Taking the time to do thorough residency program reviews today will save you the trouble of transferring residency programs down the road, and will earn you more respect overall. In the world of medicine, commitment is everything.