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Updates on 2023-2024 Applicant Cycle

This statement will cover a few aspects of the application cycle, including program signaling, interview release dates, interview formats, pre- and post-interview communication, and away electives.

Program Signaling

Most dermatology programs will participate in signaling through ERAS. A list of participating programs will be released by AAMC after July 1. This year, dermatology will have 28 program signals – 3 gold, 25 silver. This allows applicants to denote their top 3 programs and an additional 25 programs of particular interest. Importantly, home programs and programs at which an away rotation was completed are not excluded from signaling this cycle. Applicants may signal their home programs and/or the programs at which they completed a virtual or in-person away rotation.

Of note, based on data from orthopedic surgery last year, we expect a low likelihood that applicants will receive interview invites at non-signaled programs. For many dermatology applicants, applying to only the 28 signaled programs will likely be sufficient. Applicants may consider applying to more programs (up to 40-50 programs), but applying widely (>60 programs) will likely not confer an additional benefit this year. Please consider whether it is appropriate to apply widely this year with the input of your advisors.

Coordinated Interview Invite Release

There will be three sets of interview invite release dates. Participating programs will not release more interview invites than interview slots available. Programs not participating have also been asked to follow this guideline and to post the date of interview invite release on their websites. A list of participating programs will be released later in mid to late August. Last year, the majority of programs participated with most programs releasing on the 2nd date.

Timeline for Participating Programs Only

First Set of Dates

  • Monday November 6, 2023: first round of interview invites released (generally for programs with November or early December interview dates)
  • Wednesday November 8, 2023: applicants begin scheduling interviews; must respond by November 10

Additional interview invites will be released as they become available starting after November 10, 2023.

Second Set of Dates

Information Regarding the 2023-2024 Application Cycle

May 15, 2023

  • Monday November 20, 2023: second round of interview invites released (generally for programs with late December or January interview dates)
  • Monday November 27, 2023: applicants begin scheduling interviews; must respond by November 29

Additional interview invites will be released as they become available starting after November 29, 2023.

Third Set of Dates

  • Monday December 4, 2023: third round of interview invites released (generally for programs with January or February interview dates)
  • Wednesday December 6, 2023: applicants begin scheduling interviews; must respond by December 8

Additional interview invites will be released as they become available starting after December 8, 2023.

Programs have been encouraged to notify all applicants of their status (interview, waitlist or decline) by January 1, 2024.

Interview Formats and Recruiting Activities

The AAMC released a statement recommending virtual interviews across specialties for the 2023-2024 application cycle. Rather than enacting a specialty-wide decision and recognizing the differences between programs, the APD Residency Program Directors Section recommends that every program consider the costs and benefits of various interview formats (in-person, virtual, hybrid) and make an educated decision for their program, taking into account applicant costs, exposure to the program, uniqueness of clinical sites, environmental/sustainability factors, equity, and the myriad of other aspects that influence this decision. Dermatology residency programs should share information about their interview format(s) with applicants early in the process.

Pre- and Post-Interview Communication Guidelines

Before and during interview season, applicants are asked to refrain from contacting programs to express interest or provide application updates prior to interviews, except in truly exceptional circumstances (eg couples matching updates, major life events that impact preferences). Questions about a program that cannot be easily answered by available materials (website, social media, etc) can be directed to the program.

Post-interview communication of preference – including “letters of intent” and thank you letters – should not be sent to programs. These types of communication are typically not used by residency programs in decision-making and lead to downstream pressures on applicants.

Information Regarding the 2023-2024 Application Cycle

May 15, 2023

Programs are also encouraged to either avoid direct communication with applicants after interviews and before Match Day, or at a minimum, ensure that such communication is informational in nature, avoiding efforts to persuade or pressure candidates, in line with NRMP guidelines. Applicants should not equate lack of communication from programs with lack of interest, just as programs will not equate lack of communication from applicants with lack of interest.

Away Electives

A statement was previously released with information about away electives in dermatology. As a reminder, for this application cycle, students should limit their experiences to up to two external electives. Students without a home dermatology program may consider completing up to 3 external electives. Please be mindful of your future colleagues and equity concerns. Students will not be penalized for withdrawing from external electives in order to follow these recommendations. Please click for the full statement.

Interview Etiquette

Dress code: Dress professionally, but also comfortably. Historically, the majority of applicants have worn suits, but other professional attire is acceptable. We encourage applicants to consider other elements of their visual appearance (hairstyle, make-up, etc) to be consistent with what they would typically wear in clinic or other similar professional settings.  Most importantly, you should feel like yourself on the day of the interview. 

Backgrounds for virtual interviews: We recommend that applicants set up their computer/tablet and camera in an area that is well-lit with a fairly non-descript background (like a solid wall). Alternatively, a solid light-colored sheet can be draped behind your set-up. If you feel more comfortable using your school’s standard virtual background or a simple virtual background, please do so, but recognize that virtual backgrounds can occasionally be distracting with movement. If a program would like you to use a specific background, it will specified in the interview invite.

Equipment for virtual interviews: We do not recommend that applicants purchase additional equipment for virtual interviews (such as lighting). There are simple inexpensive ways to set up your workstation to maximize light in the room, so do not feel obligated to purchase additional lighting. Please see included resources for tips on how to set up your computer or tablet and webcam for optimal lighting and placement. Using a phone is not recommended, but could be done if needed. Ensure that you have stable internet access during the virtual interviews, and inquire with your medical school or home dermatology program if you need a private space with reliable internet access to participate in interviews as many will be able to help.

Technical issues for virtual interviews: We recommend that programs have interviewee phone numbers available so that if there is a connection issue on either end, the virtual interview can be conducted by phone either with or without the video component. Please ensure that you have provided an up-to-date phone number. Additionally, should you be concerned about aspects of the interview day with respect to technical or other anticipated issues, please reach out in advance to program coordinator(s).

Additional tips (adapted from Dr. Ginette Okoye)

  • Ensure your computer or tablet is fully charged prior to your interviews.
  • Download the application to be used ahead of time and practice logging in (if possible) to avoid technical difficulties at the time of interview.
  • Camera should be at eye level; use books or other props as needed.
  • If possible, use an external microphone or headphones/earbuds, but this is not strictly necessary.
  • Find a quiet space indoors where you will not be interrupted. As mentioned above, reach out to your home program or medical school if you need a space to participate in interviews.
  • If you use a virtual background (your school’s, for example), make sure it is formatted well so the image is not distorted. Alternatively, use a blank neutral-colored wall or a solid neutral-colored sheet draped as a backdrop. Be mindful about what is showing on the screen behind or around you as it can be distracting and elicit additional questions.
  • If possible, position your set up so that the lighting is in front of you and not behind you (makes your image darker).
  • Get fully dressed for the interview as you would for an in-person interview, but ensure you are also comfortable.
  • Do not have food or drink visible, but make sure to sip water before and in between interviews. - Look at the camera as much as possible, rather than the screen, to simulate “eye contact” with the interviewer. Consider posting a photo of a family member or friend behind your camera at eye-level so that you can focus on that to simulate eye contact.
  • Practice being still during your interviews, while maintaining good posture.
  • Turn off your phone or put on “do not disturb.” Move your phone out of sight if you will be tempted to look at it.
  • If you take notes during the interview, let the interviewer know so they understand why you may look down during the interview. Use paper for notes instead of your phone. (It is also not necessary to take notes if you would prefer not to.)
  • Be patient with programs if there are technology glitches or if faculty have a difficult time with the platform. This is new for everyone!
  • Don’t schedule other activities too close to interviews, just in case there are issues with timing on either side, so that you are not anxious should this occur. -
  • Practice with a friend, colleague, or family member to get feedback on your background environment, lighting, etc.
  • Be mindful about programs’ privacy as well – it is never appropriate to record a video of an interview, and this could disqualify you from a program. Do not post specific information about programs and their interviews on social media – remember, many program directors and residents are also on social media and will see everything you post.

Resources Regarding Virtual Interviews

Jul 21, 2023