Different from what many think, an adequate selection of the programs to apply is of extreme importance for you to obtain a higher percentage of positive answers and make a more efficient use of your money.

To make your list of programs, first you must analyze your credentials and determine which your strong and weak points are. Different programs look for different types of candidates, so you also must know what a program is looking to know if you have what they want. FREIDA (www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/2997.html) is a tool provided for applicant to learn generalities about all the accredited programs. Most of the programs also have their own website where they publish the program characteristics and information for candidates. Throughout the internet you can find lists showing residency programs' requirements; some are free and others are generated after you pay. It is up to you to decide whether use or not these commercial sites, but it is recommended that you verify the information they provide. To call or email the programs asking for information is known to be the standard procedure, but it might be a waste of time since most of the information is already published somewhere in the internet. Bottom line; try to know as much as you can from the programs before deciding which you will apply to.

Depending on the specialty, there can be over one hundred programs to consider, so you should try to narrow your options. Try to look for programs that fall into one or more categories that you prefer like a specialty, affiliation to a university, a specific location near family, etc. Then, start your research trying to find out in which of those programs you have considerable chances to get into. Do not fall into the terrible mistake of applying to over 100 programs expecting to receive more invitations. A high number of applications per se won't increase your chances to match into a residency, probably just the number of rejections. Your chances to match are determined by how strong your credentials are, and if you apply to a program that wants what you offer. Between 30 and 50 applications is a good number to start, since it will give you more than enough opportunities to get invited and at a reasonable prize.

NEXT: An Invitation has Arrived