Getting residency interview rejections is never easy. And it natural to wonder, “Why am I getting these rejections?”
First, it is important to keep in mind that almost every single applicant will get residency interview rejections. It is a normal and expected part of the residency application process.
If you think about it, applying to 200 programs with a 10% interview rate could still potentially lead to well over 100 rejections! Ouch, that can’t feel good. But in reality, having 20 interviews is fantastic.
As such, we recommend doing your best not to take rejections personally. It is important to look at them from an objective standpoint in order to stay positive, as well as to understand why you may be getting residency interview rejections in the first place.
Why Am I Getting Residency Interview Rejections?
Generally speaking, residency programs are doing their best to find the most qualified and most suitable applicants for their programs first. This means that their initial filtering may focus on those applicants who have higher USMLE Scores or do not require visas, for example.
Of course, many programs have minimum requirements to apply. If you applied to incompatible programs, then you will likely receive rejections for not meeting these requirements.
Additionally, programs will have preferences as well. In addition to USMLE Score and Visas, these include USMLE Attempts, ECFMG Certification, Time Since Graduation, and other factors like number and relevance of ERAS Experiences, quality of MSPE, and whether or not you have strong and specialty-specific LoRs and Personal Statements. Also, applying as an IMG to non-IMG friendly programs can be a costly endeavor.
If any of these factors are below the expectations of the program, you may receive a rejection. In other cases, you might be well-qualified for the program, but they had a preference for slightly stronger candidates. Or, they preferred those with differences in their applicant profile that seemed like a better fit for the program.
It is Important to Stay Proactive
In addition to not taking rejections personally as much as is possible, being proactive is another critical step to current and future success.
Applying to enough programs is very important. We recommend a minimum of 100 programs for strong IMG candidates. Those with red flags should apply to even more.
Additionally, following up with programs can certainly lead to more interviews. Learn How To Follow Up With Residency Programs here.
For further reading, we suggest 9 Ways to Improve Your Residency Application – Residency Experts.