How to STAND OUT When Applying to Residency

By | November 16, 2015


This article originally appeared on The Wealthy Physician Blog.


This is essential if you want to become the future you. Up until this point you have aligned your life with your desire to become a doctor.

This has been your primary goal. It has given you a powerful sense of purpose as both a pre-med and a medical student. For the last few to several years you have built behaviors and habits around becoming and then succeeding as a medical student.

But now you are about to accomplish this goal – it’s inevitable you will be a doctor soon.

Define your future identity in advance to reduce the likelihood of the common identity void that occurs once the title of doctor is bestowed upon you.

This will help prevent you from getting stuck in the rut of still feeling like a medical student when you no longer are one.

You should make a significant shift towards your new identity today to elevate yourself above all the other medical students in your class and across the country.

Keep in mind that to accomplish lofty goals we sometimes have to ‘fake it til we make it.’

There is some significant psychology behind this idea, but it really breaks down to a simple positive feedback loop.

It starts with a change in mindset prior to actually achieving a particular position, as in a residency spot, or any goal for that matter.

This crucial shift in identity comes from deeply believing that the goal you are striving for is truly possible for you to achieve, even before you have actually achieved it!


Your goal is to match into the specialty and residency program of your choice.

To do that you will need to change your identity because residency committees DONT want medical studentssurprise!

Instead what they WANT is residents with clear goals and aspirations.

Once you are clear and confident about your plans (or at least appear to be) there are very few people who you will come across along your journey that will stand in the way of you accomplishing your goals.

In fact, most people will want to help you achieve success once they realize how truly focused and driven you are.

Achieving clarity and a change in identity is easier than you may think.

You have already had the benefit of living a very goal-oriented life up to this point which has significantly strengthened your character, given you powerful validation from your achievements, and helped shape your current identity as a medical student.

That being said, its time to think outside the box and dream about what you want to achieve in medicine and life. Once you determine your answer to this you should consciously shift your mindset to create new goals.

A simple example would include eliminating repetition of common phrases that we have all said thousands of times like “I am going to medical school”, or “I am going to be a doctor”.

Instead, transition to statements like  “I am going to be a successful emergency room physician and live in the location of my choice”, or “I am going to become one of the country’s most respected surgeons after training at a premier academic center”.

Fill in the blank with what you truly want to become. Remember, the goals you create are based on the future you with skills galore.

Jim Rohn, business philosopher, once said, “Set the type of goals that will make something of you to achieve them.”


***Write down the goal that defines your new identity today.***

The act of writing it down affirms it in your mind and allows you to begin to act in a way that proves without a doubt that you deserve it and will accomplish it.

Once you have a final goal or aspiration chosen assume the new identity and set up your future to be congruent with accomplishing this goal.

This will make residency interviews relaxing and eliminate stress because you not only have clarity and your new identity but your actions and speech will also confirm your resolution to achieving your specific goal.

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