The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruptions to medical education across the country. We understand that students' anxiety about the upcoming application cycle has been heightened given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 related changes to curriculum and scheduling and how this will affect the residency application process.
Derm Residency Program Virtual Open Houses
We are thrilled to once again host a series of virtual open houses for interested applicants to get to know our program. Open houses will be held Thur, Aug 19, 2021 (5:30p PT); Sat, Aug 21, 2021 (10:00a PT); and Thur, Sept 16, 2021 (5:30p PT). Applicants are welcome to attend any sessions that suits their schedule.
- Research: We understand that research projects have been halted or delayed secondary to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will note students' prior and ongoing participation in research and academic projects in this context. Efforts that students have put forth in these areas are valuable, irrespective of whether they culminated in published work.
- Volunteer/service/other experiences: Many opportunities to serve in traditional areas for medical school volunteer experiences have been altered or made impossible by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional opportunities associated with changes in institutional practices related to COVID-19 may be available at some institutions but not at others. Prior and current volunteer experiences will be reviewed in this context.
- Research year: In recent years, more students have been choosing to pursue a "year off" in research prior to applying in dermatology. While there are reasons for students to pursue such an option, such as potential interest in clinical or basic research, these experiences should not be perceived as required or necessary for matching into dermatology residency. If you were planning on pursuing such an opportunity prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, then it would make sense to continue those plans. However, there is no reason to choose this path simply because of COVID-19 pandemic-related changes to your application.
- USMLE Step 2: Some students may have planned to take the USMLE Step 2 exam but may be unable due to lack of availability of testing centers. USMLE scores are only a minor component of one's application, and students should not consider alternative application plans due to the absence of this score alone. Please refer to individual program websites to determine whether Step 1 score cut-offs are used and/or whether Step 2 scores are recommended/required.
The AAMC provides the following guidance regarding away rotations for the 2021-22 academic year:
The improved vaccination status of medical students led to the updated recommendation that for the 2021-22 academic year, away rotations resume during the first block concluding in July 2021, with additional guidance:
- Beginning on April 15, learners may apply for and schedule in-person away rotations with a date concluding in July or later. This recognizes that not all rotations are aligned with the calendar month. Rotations may have a start date in June if the end date is in July (the rotation block must conclude in July).
- Given the compressed timeline paired with an inadequate quantity of electives available for completion, medical schools are encouraged to limit approved away rotations in any specialty to one per learner, per specialty (as previously recommended) except in cases where additional rotations are needed to complete graduation or accreditation requirements. Residency programs are encouraged to take into consideration if a learner exceeded the one away rotation limit during the residency selection process.
- Programs may continue to offer virtual electives to provide opportunities for learners to explore the specialty and program.
- Learners for whom away rotations are required for graduation or accreditation are exempted from this guidance.
- These are general guidelines. Every student should, as always, consider all risks and benefits of any away rotation in consultation with their medical school advisor.
- If conditions deteriorate substantially, the work group may update this guidance.
There is still uncertainty with regards to away rotation availability at many institutions; some institutions may be unable to offer away rotations this year at all, while others may be offering limited spots later in the summer or fall. Many students may be unable to participate in away rotations because of institutional travel restrictions. While away rotations can be helpful for certain students, particularly for those without "home" dermatology programs, or for those with family obligations in other locations, away rotations should not be perceived as required or necessary for matching into dermatology residency. Moreover, per AAMC guidance, more than one away rotation is strongly discouraged. If you have an interest in a specific program, please visit that program's website to determine whether there are updates to their processes for this year, recognizing that institutional policies are constantly evolving.
As dermatology residency program directors, we recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic will result in increased disparities in strength of applications due to lack of opportunity for students with smaller home programs or in areas more affected by this crisis, particularly as some students may also be struggling with personal or family COVID-19 illness during this time. Understandably, this will lead to a considerable amount of added uncertainty and anxiety for many students as they consider future career plans. We are committed to a holistic review process, where an application is reviewed in its entirety with additional consideration of extenuating life circumstances, and encourage all residency programs to consider and weigh these significant factors.
The University of Washington Dermatology Residency Program will be matching for 4 residents to start July 1, 2023, and 1 resident to start July 1, 2022. The 2022 position requires applicants to have completed their R1 year by June 30, 2022. Applicants who will have completed their R1 year by this time will automatically be considered for all positions.
A complete application, received through the ERAS system by October 1, 2021 includes:
- ERAS Common Application Form
- Personal Statement (1-2 pages)
- Curriculum Vitae
- Official Medical School Transcripts
- Dean’s Letter (Medical School Performance Evaluation)
- Three Letters of Reference – from faculty, mentors, or supervisors who know you well and can address your performance. One of these should be from an academic Dermatologist and address your performance in Dermatology and commitment to the study of Dermatology. A 4th letter can be included if it provides new information about your qualifications. For the 2021 application season, most programs have agreed to only require one letter from a Dermatologist given the difficulty for most students to do more than one rotation. More than one letter from a Dermatologist is also acceptable, but one is all that is necessary.
- USMLE or COMLEX Scores (a minimum of Step 1 completed)
If your application is incomplete for any reason by October 1, 2021, it will not be reviewed.
Due to the large number of applications to our program, we cannot offer any feedback on individual applications.
Supplemental ERAS Application (Optional)
The UW Dermatology residency program strongly encourages all applicants to complete the optional supplemental ERAS application for the 2022 season. There are currently two windows of time in which applicants should complete the supplemental application.
Sept. 1-19: ERAS Supplementary Application
Sept. 1-30: ERAS Supplementary Application (Information will be submitted to us AFTER our Oct. 1 deadline, but we WILL download supplementary applications through Oct. 6. Please aim to complete this application by Sept. 9, 2021 as a courtesy to our faculty review committee.)