Frequently Asked Questions
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How do I apply to your program?
All applicants for a PGY-1 position in the Family Medicine residency program must apply through ERAS. The application must be submitted before January 15th of the year preceding the beginning date of the program. All applications must have the following:
- Official transcript from the medical school
- Dean’s letter
- Three letters of recommendation
- Personal statement
- ECFMG certificate and proof of successful completion of the Clinical Skills test, if an international medical school graduate
What are the program’s eligibility requirements?
An applicant must be able to carry out the duties as required of the residency training program.
An applicant must meet one of the following qualifications:
- A graduate of a medical school in the United States or Canada accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)
- A graduate of a college of osteopathic medicine in the U.S. or Canada accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA)
- A graduate of a medical school outside the U.S. who has completed a Fifth Pathway program provided by an LCME-accredited medical school
- A graduate who holds a full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in a U.S. licensing jurisdiction, or
- A graduate of a medical school outside the U.S. or Canada with all of the following qualifications:
- A certified transcript from the medical school of training with a verifiable contact person from that school
- Confirmation of M.D. or D.O. or equivalent degree from that medical school
- A copy of USMLE or COMLEX notification of Step 1 and 2 scores with a grade of passing
- A current valid certificate from the Education Committee for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)
- The ability to reside continuously in the U.S. for the length of training.
Preference is given to applicants who have graduated from medical school within the last 4 years, or have been in the practice of medicine within the last 3 years, or have completed an observership of 3 to 6 months during the preceding 6 to 12 months.
An applicant must demonstrate a high level of proficiency in the following English language competencies:
- Reading printed and cursive English
- Writing and printing English text
- Understanding spoken English on conversational and medical topics
- Speaking English understandably on conversational and medical topics
Do you sponsor visas?
We sponsor H1 and J1 visas.
What are your selection criteria?
We review and confirm eligibility requirements.
We give preference to those scoring 200 or higher on USMLE Step 1 and Step 2, or an equivalent score on COMLEX Level 1 and Level 2.
We give preference to those having zero failures on USMLE Step 1, Step 2, and Clinical Skills, or COMLEX Level 1, Level 2, and Performance Evaluation.
We give careful consideration to the following:
- Performance on standardized medical tests
- Overall performance in medical school
- Commitment to ideals of Family Medicine
- Recent clinical training or experience
- Demonstrated ability to choose goals and to complete the tasks necessary to achieve those goals
- Maturity and emotional stability
- Lack of history of drug or alcohol abuse (unless monitored by the UAMS impaired physicians’ committee and approved for further training)
- Personal interview
- Approval for personal interview by the selection committee after undergoing a telephone interview
May I arrange for a “visit” to see what your program looks like? May I drop in to try to speak with someone?
Sorry, due to the large number of applications we don’t offer informal visit opportunities. Please apply through ERAS. If you are chosen for an interview, we will let you know.
Do you have observership opportunities?
No, we do not have an observership program.
What are my chances of being accepted into your residency program?
Each year, we typically have more than 1,000 applicants for only 6 positions. (For the group applying for 2014, the final number was 1,927.) The competition is fierce. We do, however, review every application on an individual basis. Additionally we review your application as a whole, considering all your strengths and experiences.
In order to be considered, you must apply through ERAS. Please understand that we cannot give you advice about whether or not you should apply to the program, or provide analysis of your likelihood of being accepted. The only way to be considered is to apply — in that way, we can make an informed decision based on all of your credentials.
We also have a limited number of spaces for personal interviews. Bear with us patiently as we need time to examine hundreds of applications throughout the season.
What is your interviewing schedule?
We usually begin telephone interviews in September of each year. Both faculty members and current residents serve as telephone interviewers. Personal interviews usually begin in October and run through January. Again, we ask for your patience as it takes time to evaluate hundreds of applications. Only a small percentage of applicants will be invited for personal interviews.
What can I do to make my application more competitive?
We can’t speak for every program, of course, but here are some things we consider.
- Highlight any activities you have participated in that show your passion for Family Medicine. This might include participation in a Family Medicine Interest Group, membership in an FM organization, attendance at FM conferences, and so forth. Show that Family Medicine is your first choice and not a backup plan.
- Another way to make your application stand out is through recent clinical experience in medical mission trips, community outreach, and volunteer work that is hands-on and clinically oriented. It’s especially impressive if you’ve done this continuously or repeatedly rather than for just a couple of days. In your ERAS file, give us a thorough explanation of what you did, as opposed to “volunteered in a clinic.”
- Your test scores are important. Keep in mind that competition is fierce. If you have failed Step 1, Step 2, or Clinical Skills – you are at a disadvantage, and you will need to have something else to offer to make your application competitive.
- We will look at your medical school grades, too. If they aren’t outstanding, explain in your personal statement (in ERAS) why your grades aren’t necessarily a reflection of your abilities.
- Your personal statement should be a personal statement. We don’t need to hear how wonderful it is to be a physician or how fabulous Family Medicine is as a career choice. We know that already. Instead, tell us about you and the experiences that make you unique. Give us a feel for who you are.
- Make sure that your ERAS file doesn’t contain “wrong” information. You might be surprised at the number of personal statements we see that outline the applicant’s passion for surgery, or the letters of reference that enthusiastically recommend the applicant for orthopedics. (Why are you applying to Family Medicine??)
- Make sure your ERAS file is completely honest. For example, don’t put that you speak Spanish or that your English is of native fluency unless it’s true.
- If you aren’t a recent medical school graduate, it’s helpful if you have recent and significant clinical experience. In your ERAS file, explain your experience thoroughly. Don’t put something like “shadowed in Dr. Johnson’s office.” Tell us what you did. Help us to see that you have kept your skills current despite a time gap since your graduation.
- If you make it to a personal interview, try to be natural and spontaneous. Listen to and answer the questions you are asked. Don’t recite paragraphs that you’ve memorized. Be ready to tell us what makes you stand out in a pool of 2,000 applicants, and feel free to ask questions.
- Research our program before your personal interview. You can find a great deal of information on our website if you’ll take the time. If you don’t do this, it will be obvious, and we will wonder if you are truly interested in our program.