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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:
**This definition may vary from one specialty/program to another
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:
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.
Whether it’s for personal or other professional reasons, some doctors do not head straight into practicing medicine after they receive their MD. If they decide to work outside of the medical profession and choose to return years later, they will have what’s considered a professional gap.
A professional gap can be hard to overcome, as it can create some doubt in the minds of Program Directors and Interview Committees. However, there are ways to improve your application and soothe some of those worries.
The most useful thing any candidate with a professional gap can do for themselves is obtain more US clinical experience.
US clinical experience is defined as any hands on work with patients in a US medical environment. Some examples of this are Externships, Clerkships, sub-Internships and any other clinical rotations. Observerships, research and volunteer experience will help, but is not as powerful as US clinical experience.