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UW Pediatrics

Explore and Focus Phase

Residency Application General Information

How competitive is the field of Pediatrics?

The field is somewhat more competitive than internal medicine and family medicine, but much less competitive than surgical subspecialties or fields with very few numbers of residency programs. Med/Peds residencies are somewhat more competitive than Peds residencies because there are fewer programs. There are other combination fields w/in Pediatrics that you might be interested in. There are fewer programs but you can find out about them via FRIEDA. They include: Peds-Derm, Peds-ER, Peds-Rehab, Peds-Medical Genetics, Peds-Child Psychiatric, and Pediatric Neurology

What about letters of recommendation?

Two letters from pediatric rotations is optimal. One is sufficient. Identify people who have worked closely with you and can speak to your clinical skills. No letters from residents or patients or family friends! Most programs want three letters. Some programs ask for a chairman's letter. You can make an appointment with the Chair of Pediatrics. Contact the Pediatric Medical Student Program to find out how to make that appointment ( You have to have a CV and personal statement before you see the Chair. Don't wait until the last moment!

How many interviews should I do? How many programs should I rank?

Don't freak out if you didn't get a pediatric sub internship in the spring or summer. The most important thing is that you have additional rotations and an opportunity to work with pediatricians during your Explore & Focus phase. Two reasons to do pediatric rotations during your E&F phase: 1) to figure out if you want to work with kids exclusively; 2) to get a letter of recommendation. Most rotations will help you figure out the first reason; you need to work closely with an attending for the second reason.

Sub-internships: this rotation is a good one to achieve both goals for E&F rotations. It is a must if you are strongly considering the Seattle Children's program for residency training, especially if you did your Patient Care rotation at a WWAMI site. Talk to your career advisor about alternatives to the sub-internship if you didn't get one.

Away rotations are a good idea IF you really want to be at a certain program and what to see what the fit is. They also tend to help people with academic records that are not at the top of the class. The down side is that something might go wrong--then you have made a bad impression. So, talk through the reasons you want to do the rotation with your career advisor and see if it makes sense to do this. Remember, these don't have to be done in the spring/summer unless you wanted to get a letter of recommendation

How many interviews should I do? How many programs should I rank?

We want you to interview at 12-15 programs. The number of programs you will apply to that will enable you to receive at least 12 interviews varies depending on your application. Below is a link to the results of a survey of residency program directors about what THEY think is important in selecting applicants. Go to the section about Pediatrics or Medicine/Pediatrics and look through the information. This will help you better assess you own "competitiveness".

You should plan on ranking no fewer than 12 programs. This is slightly higher than the AVERAGE number for the 2016 match.

Interviewing Time:

Make sure that you have budgeted enough time in your schedule to comfortably interview at all 12-15 programs. You cannot interview well at 3 programs in 4 days--remember you want to make a good impression. Look at your schedule now and make any adjustments. Typically students take 6-8 weeks.

Things to consider when choosing programs:

This is a very personal decision. The things that are important to you may not be important to others. Things many people consider: geography, program size, special programs (MPH, global health, international travel), special populations (adolescent health, underserved, language), family/friends in the area, the "feel" of the program when you interview.

You should spend some time browsing FRIEDA; this is the best place to start. Talk to your family, friends and residents you will be working with. Discuss possibilities with your career advisor.


Timeline - Applying for Pediatric Residencies

The following timeline outlines a few more details about applying for pediatric residencies:

Third Year

Identify people to write letters of recommendation as you go through your clerkships


Schedule electives; USMLE II and OSCEs

Contact Pediatric career advising unit for assistance

Read email sent to the class

See FAQ about electives


Assignment of Career Advisors

Contact career advisor to:

Review schedule

Discuss application plans and reasons for applying to pediatrics

Review timeline of application

Begin to review information about programs from websites

Fourth Year


Gather information about programs from websites

Open ERAS application

Contact people for writing letter of recommendations

Write your personal statement.

Meet with your career advisor (if you haven't done this).

Talk with residents and visiting students about different programs during rotations.

Attend BBQ with fellow students and residents about various programs.

Make an appointment for a Chairman's letter


Submit your ERAS application

Follow up on letters of recommendation

Attend gathering at Dr. Stapleton's house to discuss interviewing.


Follow up and make sure there are no problems with your ERAS application.

Begin to schedule interviews.

October - mid January

Interview and have fun.

Keep track of each program's strengths, weaknesses and your general impressions.

Write follow-up thank you notes.


Discuss your impressions of programs with family and friends

Begin to create your rank list


Complete interviews

Contact programs to indicate your interest in their program


Review your rank list with your career advisor, college mentor etc.

Submit your rank list.


Match day and you are on your way!