How Many Residency Applications to Submit by Specialty

Knowing how many applications to submit for a successful residency match is always a question students ponder when it is time to apply for that next phase of medical training. The number of applications to submit will change as specialty competitiveness varies depending on the demands of the market. Demands of the market can change depending on reimbursement criteria, health law and malpractice trends, lifestyle interests, and insurance structures.

However, what are equally important for students to know are how many programs to apply to for their academic record, board score, to get enough interviews, and to secure a match. This can be hard to determine, especially if you do not have an experienced mentor to guide you through the process that has a good grasp of timely global trends in your field. In addition, it may be important to secure a transitional or preliminary medicine year, a task which has become difficult due to the very competitive specialties requiring separate intern training prior to transferring to the advanced program in Year 2. If you are applying to a specialty that requires a preliminary year in internal medicine or a transitional year, you will submit separate applications and interview at those programs in addition to the applications and interviews in your specialty (a few of the programs will be “integrated” where the intern year is included, but many will not).

To give you an idea of how many applications to submit by specialty, we have included a chart which documents the median number of applications submitted for each specialty that participated in the NRMP in 2009. Note that the chart also provides data on the median number of interviews offered and number of interviews attended. The data in this chart documents the number of applications and interviews for applicants that were successful in finding residency positions in the match. The data is also for U.S. Seniors.

A word of caution: This is the median number of applications and interviews so unless you are an outstanding student, it would not be prudent to apply to fewer than this number or attend fewer interviews. Instead, it would be wise to use this as a minimum number of applications to apply for and attend, as competition for residency positions has slightly increased over the past two years. If you are not a strong applicant for your chosen specialty, then you will want to increase your number of applications in order to receive the median number of interviews for your specialty to acquire a match. In general, add 50% more than the median number applications for your specialty if you are a not a strong applicant.

Note also that the cost is not in the application phase of applying for residency, but in the interviewing phase. It is better to place some additional cost into more applications and turn down a few interviews than to receive too few invitations to present your qualifications.

Median Number Applications/Interviews by Specialty

U.S. Seniors 2009 - AAMC Data

Specialty

Median Number of Applications Submitted

Median Number of Interviews Offered

Median Number of Interviews Attended

Median Number of Interviews Ranked

Anesthesiology

24

15

11

10

Dermatology

66

11

9

9

Radiology

36

15

12

12

Emerg Med

26

17

11

10

Family Med

12

11

8

7

Gen Surg

31

19

13

11

Internal  Med

18

13

10

9

Med/Peds

16

13

9.5

8

Neurology

17

13

9

9

OB/Gyn

25

16

11

10

Ortho

49

16

12

12

Otolaryngology

45

17

12

12

Pathology

16

14

10

9

Pediatrics

17

14

10

9

PMR

20

15

10

9

Plastic Surgery

42.5

14.5

12.5

12.5

Psychiatry

15

11

8

7

Rad Oncology

43

13

11

11

Transitional Yr

20

10

8

7

 

Here is the link to the entire publication with additional information by specialty: http://www.nrmp.org/data/applicantresultsbyspecialty2009.pdf

 


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