What Do Program Directors Look for in an Applicant?

J Emerg Med. 2019 May;56(5):e95-e101. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2019.01.010. Epub 2019 Mar 20.


Program directors (PDs) are faced with an increasing number of applicants to emergency medicine (EM) and a limited number of positions. This article will provide candidates with insight to what PDs look for in an applicant. We will elaborate on the performance in the emergency medicine clerkship, interview, clinical rotations (apart from EM), board scores, Alpha Omega Alpha membership, letters of recommendation, Medical Student Performance Evaluation or dean's letter, extracurricular activities, Gold Humanism Society membership, medical school attended, research and scholarly projects, personal statement, and commitment to EM. We stress the National Resident Matching Program process and how, ultimately, selection of a residency is equally dependent on an applicant's selection process.

Keywords: NRMP; applicant; emergency medicine; match; medical student; program directors; selection process.

MeSH terms

  • Choice Behavior
  • Emergency Medicine / education
  • Humans
  • Personnel Selection / methods*
  • School Admission Criteria / trends*
  • United States