Residency Consultants

I get emails all the time asking for residency application advice. A lot of these come from IMGs, which isn’t surprising: applying to residency in the US from the outside is stiffly competitive, and the support/advice from home isn’t always sufficient. Others are those with competitive dreams or particular needs for residency that make fourth year that much more stressful. To profitably fill that void are the “residency consultants” and their ilk, like the folks who wrote The Successful Match who would also love for you to be their client on not one but two (ugly) consulting websites. A lot of these guys are former associate program directors in fields like internal medicine who applied to residency themselves in a different era. In many cases, the nitty-gritty details and current application climate are probably better known by recently matched fourth years and residents in your specialty of choice, not to mention that being involved in interviewing and selecting candidates in one field at one institution doesn’t necessarily make you an expert in the whole process. Great consultants probably exist, but the credentials they spout are a red herring.

I don’t think US allopathic students who are thoughtful and reasonably competitive for their respective fields generally have a significant need for a comprehensive application review. Depending on how supportive and useful your student affairs department and faculty advisors are, many US MDs who are reaching a bit (but flexible) are also likely doing just fine on their own for the most part. But for others, particularly IMGs, a service and all-around helping hand to go over every nook and cranny of your application, help you fix your mistakes and take the right angles, polish your personal statement, and prepare you for interviews is obviously of value. Given how much you have to pour into ERAS, traveling costs, etc–shelling out for a residency consultant may be too much insult to injury, even for those students who are among those who would benefit the most. I’m generally suspicious of a lot of “advice” (and you often get what you pay for), but there’s no doubt that the perspective, experienced editorial services, and advice you get from qualified people who don’t know/like/love you is going to better approximate the things that will help you when the same sorts of strangers review your application or interview on the big day.

Still, I would make sure to exhaust the diverse community of peers and institutional support before hiring a stranger. And I’m sorry, but I don’t have the bandwidth to help one-on-one.

5 Comments

  1. I know that at least a few people have used their services, but sadly no one has come back to give me any reviews, either positive or negative.

    Reply
  2. Hi
    I am writing from Canada and looking for help/suggestions for my daughter who graduated from medical school in Ireland in 2017 and did not get a residency in Canada. She is now in the process of preparing to write her 2nd usmle. I am sure she can use help preparing her residency application letters and such but she will also need some guidance as to which residencies in which part of the usa she should apply to –given her test scores, med school marks, and preferred specialty, if any.
    Can you provide any suggestions/recommendations for companies that can provide this type of help? You can probably guess that I do not really know all the questions I should be asking about the entire application process — which is why I am looking for some suggestions. Thanks for any help you can offer.
    Best regards, Rob

    Reply
    • I’m sorry but I don’t have any company recs. I know there are several out there, but frankly, I doubt many of the companies have that sort of specific experience to be particularly helpful outside of the basic approach and general competitiveness recs etc. I mean I’m sure you’d get an answer from any of them, but I don’t know if that guidance would be that meaningful.

      I’d guess that the experiences of the students at her home institution as well as internet forums are probably just about as good for that sort of advice (other services like personal statement editing notwithstanding).

      Reply

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