where to do residency

Ok, I’m finally in college and still have awhile to go. I am married with three kids and am thinking about the future. Do I consider which medical school to go to with the mind of where I want to do residency ? (assuming I get accepted to more than a few schools)

Does it matter where I go to med school for residency? How does it work. For example, if I’d like to move to North Carolina some day, should I try to do my residency there? How does one get to residency from med school?

Thanks a lot for your time!

You first need to figure out where you would be willing to move for medical school. Residency is a completely different endeavor in that you there is NO guarantee where you “may” end up. You apply for residency to a variety of programs and although some programs do favor their own medical students you cannot place all your hopes with this. So, my first advice to you is first get into A medical school. Then, you worry about residency.

REgarding your question about living in NC, yes, if you know which area of the country you would like to end up in, then it certainly helps to do residency there.

Residency is a very convoluted selection process where you make application to programs that interest you, they choose to invite you for interviews, and then you draw up a ranked list of the programs you’d be interested in attending. Meanwhile, the programs are also drawing up such a rank list.

The two lists are assembled together on a computer, using a mean compiler program that is extremely convoluted, and… voila! you have The Match. Every program you rank on your list had better be a place you’d be willing to go, because you do not have any control over the Match and you are legally bound by its results.

The one advantage I can think of to attending med school where you’d also like to do residency is that it may make networking in that area a little easier, and you may be able to get a better feel for programs that are local to you. I wouldn’t call it a big advantage, though.

THere are statistics out there showing that a lot of residents - but I don’t know what percentage exactly - do settle into a staff position not far from their residencies. I know in my class, all eight of us stayed in the area - this is unusual but the networking for getting a JOB out of residency is probably much more important and useful than the networking for getting a residency slot out of med school.



A lot will depend on what you ultimately decide you want to do with your medical life after med school. If you really decide that Otolarngology (which wins my award for the best specialty name) you will be rather restricted in where you go. If you want something like Family Medicine you can go almost anywhere in the country and find a decent program.

For the record, I’m a second year med student, not a resident, so I could be dead wrong about this. But my impression is that geographic location is much more important for residency than it is for medical school because of the local connections you’ll be making. I didn’t worry too much about location when I was applying for med school beyond that I wanted to stay in the east part of the country because my family is in FL. But for residency, geography is going to matter more, at least for me. I’m planning to go into academic medicine, and there are special residencies with fellowships and instructorships attached to them that groom you to become faculty. Even if I don’t do one of those, I’d still ideally like to continue on after my residency training if possible at the same place. I’ve already lived in five cities in three states since I’ve been an adult, so it would be nice to finally settle somewhere for a while.

My experience with matching residents is that they liked students that did a rotation with them. I did an Emergency Medicine residency. They want to see you how you interact with others (attendings, residents, nurses, clerks,…). You were constantly being watched and everyone had an opportunity to write an eval on you while you where there. It was not impossible to be accepted to our residency without doing a rotation there, but you had to be impressive on paper and in person. The few that could not do rotations due to school limitations would take some time out and come out and shadow or go to a lecture/meeting with us.

I went to CCOM (Chicago) and ended up in Pittsburgh, but I did 5 of my electives/core rotations in Pittsburgh. Even when I was doing my rotation at Allegheny (my #1 choice) I showed how important they were to me by going to their Thursday lectures, M&Ms & their journal clubs and any social event I could get invited to. My family life suffered during those months, but when I got the residency I wanted it made it all worth while.

Rachel Yealy

I heard someone once say that doctors went to medical school wherever they got accepted. They went to residency where they wanted to live and, for most, lived closely to where they went to residency.

I knew where I wanted to live after residency so I’m a bit of an aberrancy (for more reasons than one).

During the three years of my EM residency, we took about 4 folks from A&M’s medical school at Scott & White. The majority were from other schools. Of my class of 7, I’m the only one who stayed with Scott & White but 5 remained in Texas, most in Central Texas. Only two left the state and both were returning home.

Take care,


Where you do your residency has minimal to do with where you went to med school…per se. Most folks go onto other venues for the post-grad training in order to broaden their educational perspectives. However, a subset of med students may invest a lot of time & effort networking with a specific clinical department in order to do their residency where they did med school. Examples of this might be - by no means an all inclusive list - desiring a particularly competitive specialty: a classmate of mine networked his butt off to land a spot in Derm with my med school. Another scenario is like someone with Mary Renard’s circumstances: well-established family & spouse’s career necessitating a small geography under consideration. She went to GWU & might have tried to remain at GWU to do her residency as well - she didn’t, but I am just providing examples.

Jeff698 mentions that most folks do their residency near where they settle. I have not read any recent stats, but that seems to be overwhelmingly true. Again, this is not set in stone and is more a product, I think, of feeling more comfortable in the environment in which you trained &/or around the folks you trained with.

I am quite the aberrancy - in many ways too - in that I left the SW (Dallas) to go to the mid-west for med school. Then left the MW to go to New England for residency & am now returning to the MW as a staff physician. Been about everywhere but the NW.