In a survey of many of the most and least competitive residencies in the US, the American College of Surgeons said that academic performance is the number one deciding factor for admittance. But there are others that you should know, such as:
- Being a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honors Society in the US
- Being within the top 10% of your class
- Having a USMLE Step 2 CK score of 220 or higher
- Having published or be involved in research
- Have exceptional letters of recommendation from surgeons
But you should not view this as a comprehensive list of requirements. These are more “nice-to-haves” and not necessarily “must-haves”. The program you want to enter may not ask or require you to be elected to the AOA or the Gold Humanism Honor Society, which is another non-profit honors foundation for medical professionals in the US. Depending on the program, being in the top 25% of your graduating class may be enough, if other aspects of your application stand out, such as your residency personal statements or letters of recommendation.
Applying to a General Surgery Residency (US)
The application process is similar to any other residency program – reviewing programs through the FREIDA online catalog; applying through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS); surgery residency interviews; ranking your programs on your rank order list for the National Residency Matching Program; waiting for Match Day.
How General Surgery Residencies are Structured (US)
The five years you spend in a general surgery residency are sometimes broken up into two sections similar to how medical school is divided between pre-clinical and clinical years. But usually, a program integrates in-class training into hands-on, clinical experience and vice-versa, while others (like the Mayo Clinic) divide clinical rotations and team-based-learning into separate blocks.
But every program has its unique features, attributes, and curriculum that will eventually help you decide which program is right for you. We say this a lot, but it bears repeating; you need to look at each program carefully to understand its application requirements and whether its mission, research and values are in line with yours.