Frequently Asked Questions

Application Basics

Do you take into consideration the year of graduation, and if so in what way?

Timetables outside of the usual four-year academic routine can be an asset or a concern, however we will consider your experience and time utilization during and after medical school carefully. Generally speaking, do not leave any gaps in an application  timeline or narrative to provide the program with as much background information as possible. No specific timeline excludes eligibility and individual circumstances are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

How many current residents are there in your program?

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has certified our program for 40 residents in training.

How do Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) affect a training program?

CRNAs are skilled anesthesia providers and key contributors to many training programs, including ours at the University of Minnesota. CRNA participation in our anesthesiology training program is highly beneficial as residents will capitalize on the vast clinical experiences of the individuals they interact with. Moreover, they are the key providers who facilitate your opportunity to attend conferences, lectures, journal clubs and other opportunities on a predictable and protected basis.

Do I need to match with my PGY1 (intern) year and my first year of anesthesiology training at the same time?

Only categorical positions are offered regularly at the University of Minnesota. The intern year of training is integrated into our program so applicants do not need to apply to a separate intern program. The program will consider applicants who have already completed an intern year or other post-graduate training on an individual basis.

Do I need to take the USMLE Step 2?

A USMLE Step 2 score is not required prior to applying for our residency program, however both USMLE 1 and 2 examinations must be completed prior to entering our program on July 1. While knowing your score is helpful, it is not a requirement for program application. Further, we require residents to pass USMLE 3 before beginning their CA-1 year.

General Early Advice

When should I start my application process?

Early! You will want to start initial planning in May and June (the very end of the M3 year/start of your M4 year). Initial plans should include at least the following:

  • ERAS overview
  • Acquisition of AAMC number
  • First draft of your personal statement
  • Identifying and contacting people who will write letters of reference
  • Confirming your schedule for autumn, including interview availability, USMLE 2 timeline, and key clinical or research rotations.

Who should I ask for letters of reference?

You need at least three letters of reference and all should be from people who know you well. Ask your advisor or other key mentors. At least one should be from an anesthesiologist. In general, strong letters from experts both within anesthesiology, as well as those outside of anesthesiology, are desirable. In addition, you will use your dean’s letter from your medical school.

How should I write a good personal statement?

There are many strategies, and no one right answer. It must be sincere, honest, and help the program understand your unique attributes. Help the reader understand what makes you a strong candidate and an asset to the program.

Consider the components which convey the following message(s):

  • I chose this field because…
  • I’ll be good at this specialty because…

Substantiate your claims with concrete examples or details:

  • I am a good team player because of my work with…

Show that your values and interests match those of practicing anesthesiologists.

Provide something interesting for the interviewer during your on-site interview:

  • My experience at the Olympics taught me…

Do I need to do more than one anesthesia rotation during my 3rd/4th year in medical school?

Not necessarily. Your senior year schedule must synchronize multiple priorities, and an “advanced” anesthesia experience should be considered optional. Remember you will have 36 months of continuous training/education to become an anesthesiologist; your experience during your senior year of medical school will pale in comparison. Instead, it is recommended that you use elective time to gain additional insights and experience in key physiological systems (e.g., pulmonary, cardiology, nephrology, EKG interpretation, etc).

Should I do a research rotation in the department?

Do research because you are curious, you want to learn more about the scientific method, or you are excited about a particular question or investigational project at the Medical School. In general, it is not necessary to do research as an obligatory merit component of an application packet.

What about "couples matches"?

This is increasingly common. It does require some additional time, thought, and organization on your part. Both people will need an honest appraisal of their academic record as well as the current competition within their chosen specialty. Speak to the faculty in your department about the best strategy for you and your partner.

Keep in mind, larger cities where multiple medical schools and training programs exist are a great option for “couples matches.”