So you want to do emergency medicine? Great!...You’re already making good decisions.  Hopefully you will be reading this somewhere in your 4th year of medical school.  The list of questions that follows was developed by medical students applying to EM who rotated at UF-Jax in 2012 (as well as a few tough ones that I came up with). Clinical directors in emergency medicine from all across the country were interviewed via teleconference or phone in a quest to find out the answers. Then all the answers were effectively smashed together into cohesive answers. Not all perspectives were alike, and diversity in responses were excluded included. 

All joking aside, I am sincere in my efforts (see Purpose page) and am excited to present this project to you in a expandable/collapsible question format.  I hope this tool will prove useful in answering your questions as you move through the different stages of the match process. 


1) Who/what might be a good resource at my “non-EM” school for emergency medicine information?
2) How many EM electives should I do in 4th year? Also, what non-EM rotations should I take in my 4th year electives to prepare me for residency?
3) As a medical student, I don’t have a lot of money to do an away rotation. How important are away rotations in the match process?
4) What makes a student stand out on an EM rotation? And is there any studying/reading to do beforehand?

Application Process

1) With variables such as board scores, grades, extracurricular activities, how do I judge how competitive I am for emergency medicine?
2) There are a lot of EM programs. Is there a lot of difference between them? Does where I match really affect my training all that much?
3) There is no official ranking of the programs. How do I figure out which ones are the competitive/desirable ones I should apply to?
4) How do I gauge how many residencies to apply to? Are there any basic guidelines you recommend?
5) I really want to do EM, but I feel like my scores aren’t the best. What can I do to improve application so it will get noticed? If I don’t match, is a good idea/worth it to do a transitional/prelim year and then reapply?
6) How do I know when to start thinking about applying to other specialties as a backup?
7) When is a good goal to have my ERAS in by? LOR in?? Do you feel like there is a difference between SLORS and other LORs? How many letters should I have? Do they all have to be from EM?
8) Anything else regarding the application process that you see as important, but has not been discussed here?

Interview Process

1) I understand there are different types of EM programs that could be loosely divided into 3 styles: community, county, and academic. Do you agree? Also tell me about what types of students thrive at your style of program.
2) What are common mistakes/misperceptions that applicants make in evaluating themselves and programs? Are there things that are commonly missed during the application/interview process?
3) Is there anything medical students seem to focus too much on that in reality isn’t that important with the whole match process?
4) What are qualities that programs look for when interviewing students?
5) Does it make me look good to come back for a second look?
6) If I have concerns about a program (attrition rates, concerns about it being malignant, etc), does bringing up questions to the PD/residents hurt my chances of matching? Also, what should I be really concerned about and what doesn’t matter that much?
7) What advice do you give students as they prepare for the interview process?


1) What part of the match process do you feel is the most confusing for medical students and how do you help them understand it? Also, any misconceptions you repeatedly see?
2) How do you guide students in making a rank list?

Post Match

1) What should I be reading to get me ready for my first year?

Still have questions that remain unanswered? Of course you do! This was never intended to replace EM mentors, but hopefully this gets you started. Now that you have some of the bases covered, go talk to your advisor or get one at SAEMs E-Advisor!  I hope this was helpful, and if you're interested, check out the Purpose and Tributes pages to understand the driving force behind all this. 

Dr. David Wald DO, Temple University School of Medicine 

Dr. Robert Cooney MD, Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center

Dr. Nicholas Kman MD, Ohio State University College of Medicine 

Dr. Jennifer Avegno MD, LSUHSC School of Medicine 

Dr. Douglas Ander MD, Emory and Morehouse School of Medicine  

 Dr. Michelle Lin MD,  UCSF School of Medicine

Dr. Megan Fix MD, University of Utah School of Medicine 

Dr. Rakeesh Engineer MD, Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Dr. Corey Heitz  MD, Virginia Tech - Carilion School of Medicine

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