Residency Application Tip: Geography Matters

It’s been a pretty crazy few weeks out here, so I apologize that you haven’t heard from me much lately. I’m still doing my best to stay on top of comments, though, so please feel free to keep commenting and I’ll try to keep responding!

As we approach residency application season again, I think it’s time for another round of things I wish someone had told me when I was applying for residency. Of course there will still be a healthy mix of other topics for people at other stages of training. So, without further ado, this week’s tip!

Geography Matters

Personally, I wasn’t looking for residencies in a specific geographic area. We were looking more for a particular kind of program in a particular kind of city. That meant that I applied across a wide geographic area. I went to undergrad in one state, then medical school in another. When I applied to programs in other states, those programs usually asked me why I wanted to be in that geographic area.

Programs want to see that you have ties to the area.

Now that I am on the other side of the applications process, I realize that we always wonder about people who are looking to move to a whole new state or region for residency. Residency is hard. We want to know that you will have some support outside of the program. We like to see that you have family, friends, or some other people to lean on if you need it. Well-supported residents do better.

We also know that the majority of residents practice within 100 miles of their residency program after graduation. The program wants people to want to stick around, and you are more likely to stick around if you have friends and family in the area.

Don’t be afraid to reach out and fill in the gaps.

I even had one program that didn’t offer me an interview until I called them and said that I was really interested in the program and the area and asked if I could maybe come see their program while I was going to be in the area for something else. They called me back the next day and offered me an interview. When I went to the interview, a lot of their questions focused on why I wanted to be in that region. As it turned out, my husband had ties to the area which don’t show up on my CV. There was no way for the program to know about my connection to the area unless I told them, but reaching out and filling in the gaps for them made the difference and got me an interview that I wouldn’t otherwise have gotten.


I think that’s all I have to say about that, but I’ll be back soon with more things I wish people had told me!


Please feel free to leave your questions or comments below.

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