Criteria for candidate selection

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Criteria for candidate selection by residency and fellowship programs

Residency and fellowship programs use different criteria for ranking candidates, but these programs use the same items to score the candidates with different scoring systems. These are the items that the programs use to score candidates:

Medical school

Nowadays, programs prefer candidates from American Medical Schools over International Medical Schools, but there is shortage of graduates of American Medical Schools which gives always an opportunity for International graduates to match. The programs prefer graduates from medical schools which they have experience in training some of their graduates in the years before, which means you will have a good chance if one of the current residents in that program is from your medical school

USMLE scores

The higher the better your rank, but as you can see it is not the only criteria. Having more than one attempt in USMLE CS is a negative point and some programs may limit their interviews to candidates with one CS attempt


In the form of abstract, peer reviewed publications, research experience with no publications. Focus on writing case reports if you are applying to the residency program out of the medical school and do not waste your time, unless you have the time and experience, in engaging in long research projects that may or may not be published, but of course if you have peer reviewed publication that will differentiate you from most of the candidates for this program

Ability to each, teaching experience

You want to make sure you talk about that in the interview

Team player

The programs are looking for a candidate that will be excellent team player, will be pleasant and know what he is getting into. The last thing the programs want to do is to recruit a resident who will NOT be happy in their program and give the program director headache! Be sure to show that you are team player, pleasant and will be happy

Language, communication

Practice the interview; make sure to spend time to soften your accent, if you have one, by listening to American English broadcasting and to repeat words as they spell it


Dress is important, use neutral colors. The way you sit and talk with confidence is important as well. Talk English all the time, even if the interviewer uses the same first language as you

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