Frequently Asked Questions by MS1s and MS2s
Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) is a varied and exciting field incorporating medical, surgical and primary care disciplines. Many patients consider their OB/GYN as their primary care provider and often are cared for by the same physician throughout their life. Spend some time working with an OB/GYN. Many physicians would be happy to allow a medical student to shadow. Consider shadowing in the clinic, in labor and delivery and in the OR. Join the OB/GYN interest group. Begin to develop professional relationships with local physicians and with the local OB/GYN residencies. Review the websites of professional organizations such as the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (APGO). There you will find excellent resource links such as: CREOG Guidelines for Residency and the APGO Preparation for Residency Knowledge Assessment Tool.
OB/GYN is a very competitive specialty and while research experience is not required it would certainly strengthen your application. Your preclinical years are a great time to get started with a research project. It is generally preferable to have completed one or two comprehensive projects where you had significant involvement rather than multiple projects where you were only minimally involved.
Talk to your mentors and Dr. McEchron as he can help guide you to find a good “fit” depending on your interests. Work with your peers, recent graduates, local Residents and Fellows as well as OB/GYN faculty and express your interest in getting involved.
A strong academic foundation is your most important priority. If you can successfully add volunteer work or other extracurricular activities and maintain a healthy balance with your academics then it is highly recommended. Places such as the Wesley Clinic or the New Hope Teen Pregnancy program will make you more well-rounded and better informed to make a career decision while gaining valuable experience and serving the local community.
Frequently Asked Questions by MS3s and MS4s
Most students start thinking about letters toward the end of 3rd year and beginning of 4th year. We recommend doing your OB/GYN Sub-I and possibly an away rotation in Blocks 1-5 of your 4th year to facilitate developing professional relationships and obtaining letters of recommendation along the way. Your Career Advisor and Specialty Advisor can provide you a more specific recommendation of the number and type of letters based upon your individual circumstances and competitiveness.
You should have your CV updated and your personal statement available for reference. If you are asking for a LOR during your Sub-I or away rotation, consider asking for it about three weeks into the rotation from a faculty member who you have worked very well with. Even better if you have developed that relationship with the Program Director. When asking for a Letter of Recommendation it is ideal to do it in person. It is appropriate to ask specifically if they would be willing to write you a “strong letter of recommendation”. Please thank you letter writers for their effort.
You are allowed to submit up to 4 letters in ERAS. In addition to a Department Chair Letter that is required, we recommend including letters from OB/GYN faculty that know you well from your Sub-I and away rotation and from faculty that support other aspects of your application. This could include your SP mentor, MPH or Certificate of Distinction programs you are a part of and from an OB/GYN research mentor you have worked closely with.
Yes, depending on specialty, all LOR do not have to be from the field you are applying to residency in. It is recommended that most of your letters come from OB/GYN attendings with whom you worked with during your Sub-I and away rotations. One of your letters must be from our school’s OB/GYN Department Chair. A good combination of letters might be: Department Chair, two attendings from Sub-I/away rotations, and one from your SP mentor (if you worked closely together and have a good working relationship). That said, only ask people who are willing to write you a strong recommendation!
A Department Chair Letter is required for OB/GYN.
In addition to your 4th year Sub-Internship OB/GYN rotation an away rotation in OB/GYN is not required. Some of the benefits of doing an away rotation include networking, increasing the number of interview invitations you’re likely to receive, and figuring out what you’re looking for in a residency program. We recommend working closely with your Career Advisor and Specialty Advisor to help with this decision.
Information Specific for Obstetrics & Gynecology
Obstetrics and Gynecology is an exciting and versatile specialty requiring medical, surgical and obstetrical expertise in the care of women throughout their lifespan. The OB/GYN residency is 4 years long with the vast majority of programs being categorical.
There are four board certified subspecialties:
Maternal Fetal Medicine
Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
Women’s Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
Applying to OB/GYN is very competitive. Performance on USMLE exams is often used as a screening tool in reviewing applications. Excellent clinical grades, especially in OB/GYN, Internal Medicine and Surgery is paramount. Identify specialty specific advisors that can help mentor you through this process.
OB/GYN Student Interest Group
Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialty Newsletter Report