Are You an Older Candidate?
Medical residency applicants come from many background with unique circumstances. There are US medical graduates (USMGs), International Medical Graduates (IMGs), those who are recently out of medical school, and those who have been working in the medical field for some amount of time. Residency candidates who have been out of medical school for a certain amount of time are sometimes called “older” candidates.
“Older” candidates are defined as:
- Those who graduated from medical school 5 or more years ago
- Those who are physically over a certain age
- Those who have excessive amounts of clinical, work, or research experience
**This definition may vary from one specialty/program to another
Strategies and Suggestions
As an older candidate, you generally have a lot to offer by way of clinical, research, volunteer, and other experience in the medical field. While this is good for showing programs you have stayed relevant in the medical field, it can also be a double-edged sword. The message your residency application conveys to Program Directors and Interview Committees must be carefully balanced between your experience and an openness to learn.
Your ERAS Application needs to convey you are:
- Lifelong learners who are knowledgeable enough to contribute, but flexible enough to not try and teach the teachers.
- Enthusiastic and dedicated to start a new step in your medical career
- Modest about your past achievements, but confident in your ability
- Respectful and appreciative of the education they have to offer
- A team player, able to work with a diverse age group
It may feel complicated, but any candidate who comes off as arrogant or know-it-all by excessive bragging about their past experience will not be received well by Program Directors or Interview Selection Committees. The best traits to focus on are modesty, hard-working, respectful, and flexible.