Oct 22, 2014
Resident [Any Field]
I am currently serving as a medical officer in the military and am in the process of applying to civilian family medicine residency (completing my military obligation and getting out of the military).
I graduated from US allopathic medical school back in 2010.
I completed FM internship (with a military FM program) at the top 25% of my class...albeit there were six of us :)
and then received orders to serve as a physician for the US Marines and served for four years as a military doctor in some pretty cool places/roles.

My family had to sacrifice considerable (living separated from hubby and baby) while I was serving in the military so I knew that as my obligation was over, it was time to transition out.

My husband is serving as a minister in our town and I am really trying to stay in this geographical area...because we are so integrated in our community.

Because I am active duty, it took a while for all my letters of recommendation to get in (we are talking from four years back and through many different states). I believe they are strong LOR's...department heads and even my program director I worked closely with and were really enthusiastic about writing letters for me. But...I wanted to submit my application after getting everything in and sent it all out to 7 programs on October 15th.

I'm getting anxious now, because I haven't received any interview offers.

I do have a red flag in my application (another reason why I wanted to get my letters in before submitting), I had failed step 1 twice. I was going through a lot in my personal life with my mother's illness...but I had no problems with passing step two and step 3. have good clinical evals (pretty much high pass and honored all my rotations).

I'm just stressed because I may have to look at applying to more programs now in different states. My husband asked if I could consider also applying to peds and other specialties in this area and I considered it but honestly the thought of doing a specialty other than family medicine depresses me.
On the flip side, the thought of having to live separated from my family again (especially during residency) is unbearable.

Should I try contacting the programs in my area to ask about my application...is that a no no? thoughts? advice?

much appreciated...


10+ Year Member
Jul 29, 2009
Resident [Any Field]
I'm afraid that you are going to have to apply much more broadly to have a reasonable chance at matching. Two of the most common initial filters that programs use are years since graduation and step failures. At many programs just based off those criteria the rest of your file won't be reviewed. Any way you could do rotations with a program? Once you are there for a while and you get to explain yourself I think your app would be much better received.

I know that you've got a certain geographical area in mind but think of it this way; would you rather go unmatched than go outside your geographical area? Because that very we'll might be your choice.

For this year there is still SOAP so even without any interviews there would be a chance you could scramble into a program somewhere but again the most common filters are going to be foreign schools, step failures, and years since graduation. What about military residencies? I have no idea how they work but I assume they would be more receptive to someone with your background.


10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Apr 16, 2003
Attending Physician
Several things:
1) I agree that you should apply more broadly. That or you have a back-up plan for what you will do if you don't match (spend a year doing research, staying in the military longer, etc)
2) I would think that you'd get ranked well, even with your Step 1 failures, based on your life experience and having passed Steps 2 & 3. You just need to get the interviews. Calling / emailing programs you applied to is less helpful than doing audition rotations etc.
3) You might get answers better tailored to your situation if you post this question in the Military Medicine subforum (or just search there for similar previous threads). I'm certain there are people there who have been through very similar situations.
Oct 22, 2014
Resident [Any Field]
Thank you for your inputs, I really appreciate it. I guess its been one week since I've submitted my application, so I don't know if I should give it more time, or if its time to assume that interviews are not going to be given. I'm thinking if they have already discarded my application because of my step one record, could it really hurt for me to call the program directors and "beg" for reconsideration.
I was thinking about my backup plan as well. I could try and stay in the military another year and reapply. But on the other hand, the step one failures are not something that I can undo. If programs are not willing to give me an interview (a chance to show who I am and explain the circumstances around the failures and all of that), because of their initial filters, will that change with another year?
Again, thank you for the feedback...


A Punk rock Country doc
7+ Year Member
Mar 24, 2010
The Empire
Attending Physician
I think at this point, interview invites are just slowing way down. I also applied a little late, but got like 20 responses/invites pretty quick. I haven't heard anything but "on-hold" for a few weeks now.