Sep 21, 2023

8 Questions to Ask Residency Programs


In your final year of medical school, you’re going to start applying for residencies. This is the post-graduate training you participate in once you have your degree. By this point, you’ll likely know what specialty you want to focus on, and the residencies you apply to will reflect that. Then, on Match Day, you find out which program you’ve “matched” into, and so begins the next step of your journey as a doctor-in-training! (Or, you might move forward by pursuing a SOAP residency.) As you’re applying for residency programs, which questions should you ask about them?

8 Questions Future Interns Should Ask About Residency Programs

These questions might vary depending on the program you’re applying to. But many of them are good “basics” to know.

1. “How does your residency program compare to others that are similar?”

Odds are you’ve applied to a few programs. Find out, in their own words, how the program advisors feel their experience is unique compared to others.

2. “Where are most of your graduates located?”

One of the biggest changes you might experience as a resident is relocating. It helps to ask program advisors where their residents largely come from.

3. “Where do most of your graduates go after your program?”

In addition to where they came from before residency, you’ll want to have an idea of where residents go after residency. This might help you better determine your own future.

4. “Where are your rotations conducted?”

Working in a hospital vs a clinic can be a completely different experience. Same with inpatient vs outpatient care. Make sure you have an understanding of what type of environment you’ll be in.

5. “What kinds of patients will I be working with?”

Can you get a better idea of their demographics? What types of conditions and cases will you be treating?

Medical resident putting on blue rubber gloves

6. “What’s a typical day like for a first-year resident?”

To make the most of your residency experience, you want to ensure that you’ll gain the knowledge you’re after. Ask the program advisors to walk you through an “average” day as a first-year resident. What does the typical call schedule look like? Are their required rotations? If so, what are they?

Pro tip: Also ask if they have any sort of orientation for incoming residents.

7. “How often can I expect feedback in my residency program?”

Getting feedback is absolutely vital. This is how you learn! How frequently will you receive it, and how? Will you receive it via a form? Face-to-face interactions? Will there be exams?

Medical resident working at computer

You might also want to ask if it’ll be possible to have some sort of mentorship during your residency. Sometimes, there’s a formal program run by faculty.

8. “What feedback do you get from residents on your program?”

Getting feedback from your program is important. And getting feedback about the program is important too. How do other residents feel about their experience?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your residency programs. Not only will you gain valuable insight, but it’ll demonstrate that you’re eager, proactive, and invested.

Want more guidance on your residency experience? Learn more about how much residency costs and what a powerful letter of recommendation looks like.

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