How to express interest in residency program

How to express interest in residency program

Expressing interest in residency programs can be tricky – you don’t want to break any rules, but you also want to make sure the program knows how interested you are!

Simple ways to go about this are:

  • Let them know in the interview
  • Email the coordinator
  • Let other residents know
  • Be interested the entire time

In this article, we will walk you through how to do just that. We’ll give you tips on how to write a letter expressing your interest, and how to go through the application process. Let’s get started!

Letting a residency know they are your #1 choice in the interview

There are a lot of things involved in residency interviews. It gives you a ton of time to let the program know you are interested

The tough thing is not being too direct when you tell the program coordinator, program directors, or the residents.

Essentially you want to be subtle and let them know that they are your #1 choice, now the tough thing about this is a program can’t outright tell you where they are planning on ranking you, so it can feel very one sided.

If you really want to go somewhere though, be sure to let them know on interview day or even after interview season in a personalized email.

How to email the coordinator about your interest

After you submit your residency application you can definitely send a coordinator about your interest.

Be straight forward, let them know your interest, and don’t be overly aggressive in a simple email to the coordinator.

Most residency applicants don’t remember to send residency letters of interest. Sending a simple email/letter can really let them know your interest.

Just remember, and I will mention this part a few times, don’t say this to more than one program. It is a bad practice to do this to multiple programs.

When to tell the other residents

You can tell the other residents when you are working with them if you do a Sub-I, or just simply during the residency dinner/lunch that most programs will do.

This is really the most informal way to do things, you don’t have to worry about sending a residency letter of intent or anything like that to the other residents, just be conversational with them and let them know your interest.

How to be interested the entire time

You learn this from day one of clinical rotations in medical school. Be there, show up on time, be engaged, ask legit questions, and dress the part.

If you do these few things, you will be fine. Just remember to be interested the entire time, not just interview day or when it is convenient for you.

Being interested in a residency program is pretty simple, and if you do those few things mentioned above then most residency programs will be able to see that interest.

On interview day you should absolutely go out to the lunch, and go to the interview day dinner and be engaged with the other residents and faculty.

How do you tell a residency program they are your top choice?

This is easy, just tell them. Let them know they are your top program and why you want to come there. Don’t be overly aggressive, just casually let them know how interested you are in their program and that you would love to match there.

There is no NRMP rule that says you can’t convey your interest in a program. No need to send formal letter, or anything like that. Simply tell the specific program that you are interested in why you like their particular program and that they are your #1 choice.

Just tell them, no need to make it weird or overthink it!

Can you tell a residency program that you are ranking them first?

Yes! You can tell a residency that you are ranking them first.

This does not violate any NRMP rules, and is actually a really good way to let programs know how interested you are in their program.

I would recommend sending an email to the coordinator or even the program director letting them know that you are ranking their program first on your list, or honestly just letting the residents know if you do a Sub-I there. Don’t do it on interview day, use that day to gather information.

It is a great way to show interest, and it doesn’t violate any rules set forth by the NRMP.

The key takeaway is that you can and should show interest in a residency program, but do so in a way that is respectful and doesn’t violate any rules set forth by the NRMP.

How do you tell a program you are ranking them highly?

There really is about three options:

  • Email the coordinator
  • Email the director
  • Communicate this with the residents individually

There are a lot of opportunities to just let the residents know at dinner, lunch, or in an email after the fact.

A lot of medical students really over complicate this.

Be genuine and simply let the faculty and residents know how interested you are in the program. If you are worried about how to word this or what to say, just be genuine and let them know that you would really love the opportunity to join their residency program.

The most important thing is that you don’t want to come across as entitled, arrogant, or annoying.

Just be yourself, be interested, and let them know how much you would love to join their residency program.

Should you send residency letter of intent?

You don’t need to send a formal letter, just send an email that expresses your interest to the individuals that interviewed you and let them know you are interested and why you are interested.

It really is that simple and easy. You just have to let them know that you are ranking their program highly and that you would love to join their residency program if given the opportunity.

If you decide to send one, make sure to keep it short, sweet, and simple.

What does rank to match mean?

Rank to match means that you will submit your list of residency programs in order of preference to the NRMP with some attention paid to the probability of you actually matching somewhere.

Essentially this means you hedge your bets and rank a program or a list of programs that you are confident you will match at.

This might be because of scores, grades, or how well you performed on a Sub-I.

Ranking to match is a way for you to ensure you get a residency at a place you want to be instead of just scrambling into a program because it is all that’s left.

How does match algorithm work?

The residency rank match algorithm works by taking into account both the preferences of the programs and the preferences of the applicants when making its decisions.

Essentially you rank all the programs as you want them, at the same time residency programs rank all the applicants and then the algorithm uses both of those lists and comes up with a plan to fill all the spots in the country with as high rankings on both ends as it can.

How to express interest in residency program

It is a way to make sure everyone gets placed somewhere and that everyone is happy with their placement.

The match algorithm is how you end up getting placed into a residency program, and it is important to understand how it works so that you can make the best decisions for yourself when applying to residency.

Making the most of the residency algorithm

The tough thing is that you run the risk of getting placed into a program that you may not exactly want to be in.

You need to be honest with yourself about what you want and what you are looking for in a residency program.

You also need to be willing to take risks, because the higher you rank a program the better chance you have of matching there but it is not a sure thing.

You could end up not matching at all if you don’t play your cards right.

The important thing is to be honest with yourself, understand the process, and make the best decisions for yourself.

Emailing the program director

This is something you should do if you want to go to the program.

Just make sure to keep it short, sweet, and to the point.

You want to let them know how much you enjoyed your time there, how interested you are in their program, and why you think you would be a good fit.

It is also important to express gratitude for their time, and to let them know that you will be ranking their program highly.

This is a great way to solidify your interest in the program and to make sure that they remember you when it comes time to rank applicants.


Focus on these key points and you will be sure to make a great impression and match into the residency program of your dreams!

  • – Just be yourself
  • – Show interest in the program
  • – Email the program director to express your gratitude and interest
  • – Follow the instructions for ranking to match algorithm

By following these simple tips, you will be on your way to impressing residency programs and ultimately matching into your dream program! Good luck!

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