Start by considering these questions to determine what you want out of a residency program.

What does your ideal future career look like? What clinical skills will you need to reach this goal? Do you want more experience working with particular populations? Do you prefer working in larger or smaller settings?

Consider your personal circumstances. Do you prefer living in a particular state or region? Where does your social support system live? Do you have a partner? Children? What community resources will you and they need? Will you be couples matching?

Go beyond the databases. Schedule Sub-I’s at programs you are highly interested in. If you do not have the time for a Sub-I, consider asking the program if you could shadow residents and faculty for a day. Talk with your faculty adviser/mentor about what programs are a best fit for you. Talk with the residency program coordinator or your mentor to find faculty and residents to talk with about the programs you are interested in. Attend the National Conference of Students and Residents and meet program faculty and residents from across the nation.

What do others find important? The following is a list of factors that US seniors identified as important when they were deciding on which residency programs to apply and interview. The table is listed in the order of percent of students reporting this factor as important. There are also some factors that were not on the survey that you may find significant, and there may be some factors not listed here that are critical to your own personal search. Use this table as a starting point to figure out what you want out of a residency program and how important each factor is to you.


References
National Resident Matching Program. (2011). Results of the 2011 NRMP Applicant Survey by Preferred Specialty and Applicant Type. 36-37. Retrieved from http://www.nrmp.org/data