I am really confused about just how difficult it is to get into specific residencies... So far the only programs that I've heard of that are not too competitive are IM and path. Every single other residency that I've heard described on here or on the medschool.com board is portrayed like you need to have AOA, outstanding letters, and research to be considered competitive. For example, someone in another thread remarked that EM was not an easy match, but on the other board I found statistics stating that the unmatched rate was only 4% for EM last year, so obviously I'm missing something here. With only the top 20-10% of each medical school class eligible for AOA status, I dont understand how it would be necessary to have AOA in order to be competitive for so many of the different residencies. From the data below I would be tempted to say that there are only 3 competitive residencies. I know it matters which institutions you apply to but I'm just talking about getting into a residency period, without reference to location or prestige. Specialty 2000 Unmatch Rate General Surgery 7.3% Emergency Med 3.9% Neurosurgery 21% Pathology 0.8% Radiation Onc 10.4% Pediatrics 2.7% Family Practice 1.7% Dermatology 24.3% Ob/gyn 4.1% Even general surgery doesnt seem too bad. After all, 93% of applicants got in somewhere right? Or am I just not understanding what the term "unmatched rate" means?