Step 1- Getting Started (Year 1+): The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) both provide very useful information to assist you on your journey to a rewarding osteopathic medical career.
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) has a Career Advising Program under their Information for Medical Students tab. This program can be very useful in planning your residency as well as your choice of specialty. Once you have utilized AACOM’s Career Advising Program, please make sure to contact the office of the Department of Career Services with feedback regarding how the site was used and any suggestions for improvement which will be forwarded to AACOM.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) provides a medical specialty decision-making questionnaire to help you make this import career step as well as tips on how to choose a specialty.
Excellent information and tips on the AOA, medical school, examinations, rotations, ERAS, the Match, and residency and beyond.
First Aid medical library resources are available for the Match, Medicine Clerkship, Obstetrics and Gynecology Clerkship, Pediatrics Clerkship, Psychiatry Clerkship, Surgery Clerkship, Radiology for the Wards, Wards, and Emergency Medicine Clerkship.
Step 2 - Research Residency Programs (Year 3): These links will be useful in your research of residency programs. Pay careful attention to eligibility requirements and deadlines.
TOMEC Sponsored Residency Programs
AOA accredited Family Practice Residency Program at Lonesome Pine Hospital in Big Stone Gap, Va., and an Orthopedic Residency Program at Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tenn.
AOA accredited Internal Medicine Residency Program in Norton, Va
American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Opportunities Database
AMA: Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database (FREIDA) Online
ACGME Accredited Programs and Public Access
Military Graduate Medical Education
Specialty organization websites provide detailed residency application advisement. Examples include:
- AOA’s Get Connected with an Osteopathic Specialty College
- ACS Online Guide to Choosing a Surgical Residency
- Residency Directory from the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
- FMIGs Tips on Residency Selection
- AMSER Guide to Applying for Radiology Residency
- AAPM&R: A Step-by-Step Guide to Applying to a PM&R Residency Program
- American Osteopathic College of Dermatology
- American Osteopathic College of Radiology
- American Osteopathic Colleges of Ophthalmology & Otolaryngology
- American Society of Anesthesiologists
- AMA’s Residency Programs: An Inside Look (Anesthesiology, Dermatology, EM, OB/GYN, Peds, Psychiatry and Surgery)
Please contact the DCOM Department of Career Services for Alumni Specialty Mentor contacts or further information.
Step 3: Assessment of Qualifications (End of Year 3)
Honestly assess your qualifications (academic record, board scores, etc) as compared to those applicants who matched into your desired specialty by reviewing the following reports:
- Osteopathic GME Match Report 2011 -characteristics of the osteopathic applicants who matched into various specialties
- NRMPs 2011 Charting Outcomes in the Match -characteristics of the applicants who matched into various allopathic specialties
- NRMPs 2012 Results of Program Directors Survey –specialty specific data from program directors like factors used in granting interviews, ranking, etc (more Match data on NRMP site)
Step 4- Residency Applications (Beginning of Year 4):
Most residency programs use the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). ERAS is a service that transmits applications, Letters of Recommendation (LoRs), Medical Student Performance Evaluations (MSPEs), medical school transcripts, USMLE transcripts, COMLEX transcripts, and other supporting credentials from you and your designated dean's office to program directors using the Internet. ERAS consists of MyERAS (the Web site where you create your application), the Dean's Office Workstation (DWS), the Program Director's Workstation (PDWS), and the ERAS PostOffice. You will receive your MyERAS token from the Dean’s Office Workstation located in the office of the Department of Career Services on or before July 1 and the user guide is available online. Upon receipt of your token, register with MyERAS online, create your profile and application. For more information on ERAS please visit their website or contact the office of the Department of Career Services. Please see Information on Residency Application Supporting Documentsbelow for help with your CV, Personal Statement, MSPE/DLE, and LoRs. MyERAS opens for students to begin working on their applications on July 1st.
Non-ERAS Programs: If you are applying to a non-ERAS program, follow the directions and application procedures established by the programs.
Note: ERAS is a separate and distinct service from the Match. ERAS is used by students to apply to programs while the Match determines final placement of students into programs. You must register for both separately.
ERAS Medical School Transcript Request
LMU-DCOM’s ERAS Medical School Transcript Request Form can be faxed to 423-869-6387 or scanned and emailed to email@example.com. For transcript questions please contact the Office of the Registrar at 423-869-6434.
Residency Interview Tip Sites (most of these can be found on Medscape.com)
Residency Interview Tips
The Residency Interview: Making the Most of It
AAMC’s What to Ask During the Residency Interview
Get the Residency You Want: Tips and Tools: Interview Tips and Tools
Top 10 Residency Interview Questions
Getting “Other Information” on the Interview Trail
Residency Interview Success and Debacle
How Should I Prepare for an Interview?
What Should I Wear for a Residency Interview?
Should I Disclose My Marital Status at Residency interviews?
Step 5 - The Match: The Match is administered on behalf of the AOA by National Matching Services Inc. (NMS) and the ACGME by the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). Each student must register directly with NMS and/or NRMP in order to be eligible to participate in The Match. The Match determines the final placements into residency programs. You can register for both matches, but if you match in the AOA process, the NRMP drops you from its process so there is no chance of matching in two programs. If you do not match into an AOA program, you continue in the NRMP Match. The importance of participating in the Match cannot be overstated because of its impact on students' future credentialing and practice options. Some states deny licensure to osteopathic physicians who have not completed AOA-approved postdoctoral training. All AOA-approved residency training programs require satisfactory completion of OGME-1 training. Completion of AOA-approved postdoctoral training is also required to sit for osteopathic specialty certification board examinations. There is also a Military Match for medical students on active duty, the San Francisco Early Matching Program, and the American Urological Association. Please see the links below for more information.
National Matching Services (NMS)
Sponsored and supervised by the AOA. Places students into osteopathic training positions in the United States for the first postdoctoral year of training (OGME – 1). Registration begins in June.
National Residency Matching Program (NRMP)
The NRMP Main Match provides an impartial venue for matching Allopathic, Osteopathic, Canadian, and Foreign Medical School applicants' preferences for residency positions accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) with program directors' preferences for applicants. Registration begins mid-August.
Military Graduate Medical Education
This website is for individuals considering a career as a military physician, for current medical students of the USUHS and for those attending a civilian medical school under the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP). Students participating in the military match need to contact their military counselors for special instructions.
San Francisco Early Matching Program
The San Francisco Matching Program handles Child Neurology and Ophthalmology with their Central Application Service (CAS). Please visit the website for detailed information about deadlines, timelines, etc. Applicants are advised to review the website carefully prior to registration for the match.
American Urological Association (AUA)
Includes residency program match information for urology positions only. Applicants are advised to review the information available on the website very carefully and completely.
The Scramble: Any applicant who does not match can seek a residency position during this post-match process. After the osteopathic match results are released, unmatched applicants are free to contact osteopathic programs with unfilled positions. Please see “The Scramble: What to Expect and How to Prepare” for further information. For the NRMP Match, please see the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) for more information.
FindAResident: Offered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), FindAResident® is a powerful, Web-based search tool to help you find open residency and fellowship positions. Best of all, it can put you in direct contact with the programs looking to fill these positions.
Important Note: If you match/scramble into an osteopathic traditional rotating internship (OGME-1 only) in the AOA Match, you must not submit any rankings for the NRMP Match for a PGY-1 position. You must review your list of choices for the NRMP Match prior to the NRMP Rank Order List deadline. If you had intended to rank only NRMP programs that begin in PGY-1, YOU must withdraw from the NRMP Match. If you had intended to rank NRMP programs that begin in PGY-2 ("A" programs), then you must remove any NRMP programs that begin in PGY-1 from your NRMP primary Rank Order List, and you must not submit any supplemental Rank Order Lists for PGY-1 positions. If you match/scramble into an osteopathic residency program (OGME-1 and OGME-2) in the AOA Match, you must not submit any rankings for the NRMP Match for a PGY-1 or PGY-2 position. YOU must withdraw from the NRMP Match prior to the NRMP Rank Order List deadline.
Step 6 – Residency / Internship: Send requests for letters needed for residency and/or state licensing, any documents that need to be processed by LMU-DCOM for residency and/or state licensing, and requests for certified copies of diplomas (you must provide a copy for certification) to the LMU- DCOM Department of Career Services. After graduation, LMU-DCOM will continue to be your ERAS Designated Dean’s Office with the exception of Fellowships. Fellowship applicants should contact the ERAS Fellowships Documents Office (EFDO). They are the designated Dean's Office for Fellowship applicants. The EFDO can be reached at 215-966-3940 or online at https://www.erasfellowshipdocuments.org
Information on Residency Application Supporting Documents
The Curriculum Vitae or “CV” is a succinct chronicle of your past experiences and training. Writing tips, samples, and a CV template can be found at the following links:
AAMC: Preparing Your Curriculum Vitae
AAFP: How to Prepare Your Curriculum Vitae
American College of Physicians (ACP): Cover Letter, Resume, and CV
Please contact the DCOM Department of Career Services for more CV samples or further information.
A personal statement typically consists of information about your professional background, academic and clinical qualifications, how your decision was made to pursue medicine and your chosen specialty as a career, and career goals. The personal statement also should reflect information about your personality and style that is relevant to residency training in your selected specialty. It is an opportunity to showcase your unique qualities, talents, and professional passions and to explain how they might be expressed in a career in medicine and your specialty. Writing tips and samples of Personal Statements can be found at the following links:
AAFP: How to Write a Personal Statement
AMA’s Writing Your Personal Statement
StudentDoc: Writing Personal Statements for Residency Programs
UsmleWEB: Samples of specialty-specific personal statements
Please contact the DCOM Department of Career Services for more Personal Statement samples or further information.
The Office of the Dean is responsible for the formatting, academic integration, collection of data, and the production of the MSPE following the AAMC Guidelines and Template. The MSPE is assembled by the Career Services Coordinator under the direction of the Dean of Clinical Medicine and the Associate Dean of Students. The MSPE is a comprehensive assessment of your medical school performance through your third year and part of your fourth year. Appointments should be made to review the MSPE and authorize its release to ERAS and residency programs. The Career Services Coordinator will contact students by email when their MSPE is ready for review. Students are permitted to correct factual errors only. Revision of evaluative statements is prohibited. For more information on the MSPE please see the AAMC Guidelines and Template, our FAQs section or contact the Career Services Coordinator. .
Most programs require a minimum of three letters of recommendation from each applicant. In ERAS, the applicant may assign and send up to four letters to each program. Please use the LMU-DCOM Request for Letter of Recommendation/Coversheet for all of your letters. You must check off whether you waive your right or you do not waive your right to see the LoR and sign the cover sheet before giving it to your letter writer. Osteopathic training programs can begin contacting the ERAS PostOffice to download application files in mid-July. Please try to have all supporting documents in by September.
- Letters of Recommendation must be sent directly to the LMU-DCOM Department of Career Services by the letter writers. The LMU-DCOM Department of Career Services cannot accept LoRs from students.
- The LMU-DCOM Department of Career Services cannot review, select, or make suggestions on which LoRs to send.
- LoRs are the property of the letter writer. The LMU-DCOM Department of Career Services cannot release LoRs to students. If you did not waive your right to see the LoR and you wish to review it, you must contact the letter writer.
***It is highly recommended that you request STRONG LoRs, and provide letter writers with your CV and Personal Statement (if available).***
Deadlines for LoRs and other ERAS documents:
The residency programs for which you will be applying to through ERAS will have application deadlines for ERAS supporting documents like Letters of Recommendation (LoRs). Also, residency programs can start downloading your application and supporting documents ( like LoRs) on July 15th. It is recommended that you relay this information to your letter writers. If your letter writer is having trouble meeting your deadline, you may want to consider asking someone else who meets your program’s requirements and deadlines, and can write you a strong LoR.
Tips on obtaining LoRs can be found at:
AAFP Tips on Letters of Reference
Improving Your Medical Residency Application Tips for Obtaining Optimal Letters of Recommendation by Dr. Michelle Finkel.
How Should I Get Recommendation Letters for Residency? by Geoffrey Talmon, MD
More Residency Resources:
Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG): Transitioning to Residency
AAMC: Roadmap to Residency
American Medical Association (AMA): Transitioning Residency
Kaplan Medical: The Residency Process
NRMP: How the Matching Algorithm Works
AAFP’s Strolling Through the Match
For more information, questions, or problems, please contact Lisa Shelburne, LMU-DCOM Department of Career Services, at DCOM #328 or (423) 869-6832.