Skip to main content
Sign In

Surgical Society


1. What should I do if I have an interest in surgery?
2. What are the different subspecialties of surgery?
3. What are the training requirements for surgery and/or a surgical specialty?
4. What are the differences between categorical, designated preliminary and non-designated preliminary general surgery residency positions?
5. What are the different types of residency training programs/environments?
6. How do I get involved in research while in medical school?
7. What should I do to prepare for a surgery residency while in medical school?
8. What site should I request for my third year surgery/anesthesia clerkship?
9. What surgery rotations should I do in my fourth year of medical school?
10. What are the values of doing a surgery externship (aka away rotation, acting internship)?


11. How competitive is it to match into a general surgery residency?
12. What is the best source of information when applying to this specialty?
13. Are you aware of any programs in this specialty that don't use ERAS?
14. What is the typical number of programs that students are applying to and interviewing?
15. Any suggestions about what programs want to hear about in the personal statment?
16. Are there people at CU to talk to who were particularly helpful with application/match issues?
17. Any Sub-I's or electives that are critical to have completed and on the dean's letter before interviews?
18. How important is research in this specialty?
19. Any other useful pearls for the surgical residency application process?

There is a certain amount of gamesmanship to constructing your interview schedule, particularly if you intend on interviewing at 10-15 different programs.  Write out a calendar with the available interview dates for each program to which you have applied; there will be tremendous overlap.  As you receive each invitation to interview, do not wait to accept the invitation- email and indicate an interest in one of the offered dates as the slots may fill quickly.  Keep in mind that you may soon receive an invitation from another more desirable school, requiring you to then cancel the first one.  If you are organized and have a vague idea of the programs you would most like to visit, there should be a minimal number of times you will have to cancel scheduled dates.  Remember, canceling an interview is not bad so long as you do it professionally, with enough time for that program to fill your vacancy.  The week before your interview is not sufficient notice.

Take advantage of the opportunities you have to interact and communicate with the residents at those programs that intrigue you.  Contact them by email after you visit and keep in touch.  Many program directors ask for resident feedback about each applicant.  This can be very helpful to you if you have made a good impression on those residents.

Get in touch with former CU students who are residents at the programs to which you are interested and/or applying.  It helps to establish a contact with a resident early.  If they are well respected within their program, and you hit it off, they can help you out a ton.

20. Are there any recommended specialty-specific questions to ask during interviews?
21. Any additional advice for students applying to surgery?

2007 - Damien LaPar, MD
FAQ developed in concert with the CU Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) student chapter