Advising special population emergency medicine residency applicants: a survey of emergency medicine advisors and residency program leadership

Author Department

Emergency Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



Background: The objective of this study was to determine the advising and emergency medicine (EM) residency selection practices for special population applicant groups for whom traditional advice may not apply.

Methods: A survey was distributed on the Council of Residency Directors in EM and Clerkship Directors in EM Academy listservs. Multiple choice, Likert-type scale, and fill-in-the-blank questions addressed the average EM applicant and special population groups (osteopathic; international medical graduate (IMG); couples; at-risk; re-applicant; dual-accreditation applicant; and military). Percentages and 95% confidence intervals [CI] were calculated.

Results: One hundred four surveys were completed. Of respondents involved in the interview process, 2 or more standardized letters of evaluation (SLOEs) were recommended for osteopathic (90.1% [95% CI 84-96]), IMG (82.5% [73-92]), dual-accreditation (46% [19-73]), and average applicants (48.5% [39-58]). Recommendations for numbers of residency applications to submit were 21-30 (50.5% [40.7-60.3]) for the average applicant, 31-40 (41.6% [31.3-51.8]) for osteopathic, and > 50 (50.9% [37.5-64.4]) for IMG. For below-average Step 1 performance, 56.0% [46.3-65.7] were more likely to interview with an average Step 2 score. 88.1% [81.8-94.4] will consider matching an EM-EM couple. The majority were more likely to interview a military applicant with similar competitiveness to a traditional applicant. Respondents felt the best option for re-applicants was to pursue the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) for a preliminary residency position.

Conclusion: Advising and residency selection practices for special population applicants differ from those of traditional EM applicants. These data serve as an important foundation for advising these distinct applicant groups in ways that were previously only speculative. While respondents agree on many advising recommendations, outliers exist.

Keywords: Applying for residency; Emergency medicine match; Medical student advising.