Current Editors: Keith Wagner and Michael Ryan

Past Editors: Tim Allen, Kristyna Gleghorn, Dung Mac, Alex Acosta, William Tausend, Sheila Jalalat, Rebecca Philips, Chelsea Altinger, Lindsey Hunter, Alison Wiesenthal, Leslie Scroggins, Mara Dacso, Ashley Group, Fadi Constantine, Emily Fridlington, Joslyn Witherspoon, Tasneem Poonawalla.

Friday, March 13, 2015

No Dermatology Residency Match: What to do Next?

Some dermatology residency applicants will be very disappointed next Monday, March 16, 2015 when they first learn that they have not matched into a dermatology residency. As usual, well qualified applicants for a dermatology residency will not match this year. There are not enough dermatology residency positions for qualified applicants. Some unsuccessful dermatology applicants will accept positions for their “backup residency” in another specialty and never look back. Those considering reapplying to dermatology will need to evaluate what needs to be done to increase the competitiveness of their application during the next cycle.

How realistic is a dermatology re-application? Re-applicants with Step 1 scores below the average for successful dermatology matches and are not AOA members historically have the most difficult time matching after the first attempt is unsuccessful. Future applicants trend toward even higher Step 1 scores than the prior year. Conventional wisdom suggests that the most likely success for a dermatology match on reapplication probably lies with applicants who have a Step 1 of 250 or higher and are AOA unless other advanced research training such as a PhD has been completed. Failing to initially match with these higher statistics could hinge on a few other factors such as bad luck, not applying to enough programs, strong competition from
co-applicants from the same institution as the applicant, poor interviewing skills, a lukewarm recommendation, not enough letters from academic dermatologists, little published research, lack of Medicare Part B funding for the entire 3 years of dermatology residency due to a previous PGY1 year that limited fully funded training to 3 years (internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine, etc.), or an underwhelming clinical performance at home/away dermatology rotations. This group can improve their applications through a strong performance (think indispensable) in a 1-3 year dermatology clinical fellowship with numerous publications following a PGY1 transitional year or a PGY1 year spent in a 4 year or longer residency program that is approved by the American Board of Dermatology such as obstetrics/gynecology or general surgery so as not to interfere with full funding for a 3 year dermatology residency.