Pupillary Pathways

How to Apply for a Residency

Posted by Amanda Dexter on Dec 10, 2015 8:30:00 AM
Amanda Dexter
Dr. Amanda K. Dexter received her optometric training at Southern California College of Optometry in Fullerton, California, where she was Class of 2010 Valedictorian. She also completed a residency in Primary Care and Ocular Disease at the Veteran's Affairs Hospital in San Diego, California. Dr. Dexter is the Manager and Program Coordinator for OptoPrep, the premiere online study resource for the NBEO Part I & II.

How to Apply for a Residency - OptometryYou’ve made the decision to apply for a residency, now you need to take the following steps to ensure that you are registered for the match, you apply to each program you are interested in, and that you have all of the materials necessary to send to each residency coordinator. 

Step 1: Research Residency Programs

With over 200 accredited optometry residency programs available, you will need to narrow down your list of residences to apply to. In order to do so, think about which specialty you’d like to focus on, which type of clinical setting you would prefer, and which geographical area you’d like to be in. Once you have an idea of these things, research programs that you think you’d be interested in.

Most residency programs have a brochure with information that you can find online. Take time to email the residency coordinator, introduce yourself, ask them to provide you with pertinent information regarding the program, and ask any specific questions that you may have. I also recommend that you contact current and prior residents at each location and ask them about their experiences throughout their year as a resident.

Step 2: Register for the ORMatch 

In order to apply to each individual residency program, you must first register for the ORMatch online at https://natmatch.com/ormatch.html. This allows applicants to apply for and rank their preferred residency sites once all application materials are sent in and interviews are completed. In order to register for the match you will need to provide your OE TRACKER Number. 

Fee: There is a $175 fee to register for the ORMatch. This fee will cover you ORMatch registration as well as the first 10 applications you send to programs using the ORMatch application service. If you choose to apply to more than 10 programs, there will be an additional fee of $15 for each extra application submitted. 

Deadline: It is recommended that all applicants register for ORMatch by December 31st. 

Couples: If you desire to coordinate your match with another applicant so that you both obtain positions in the same geographic location, you must both first register, then indicate in the NMS Match system that you are part of a couple and identify your partner. 

Applicant Code Number: Once the registration process is completed, you will be assigned a 5-digit Applicant Code Number, which will be used to identify you in ORMatch. You will need this number to access your account, submit information to programs using the ORMatch application service, submit your Rank Order List, and obtain your Match results. 

Step 3: Apply to Specific Programs

After you have registered for ORMatch online, you will be able to access the ORMatch application service. This application service will allow you to provide general information to the residency programs that you are wishing to apply to. This includes contact, demographic, and educational information.

Also, by registering and applying for each program, you authorize the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) to release your Score Report Data to the programs to which you apply.

Deadline: The ORMatch application service closes on January 29th, 2016. 

Step 4: Send in Supporting Documents 

You’ve registered for the ORMatch and applied to programs using the ORMatch application service, but this does not yet constitute a complete application. You will still need to provide additional documents directly to each individual residency coordinator. This typically will include a CV, letters of reference, transcripts, personal statements, etc. Each program has its own application requirements and deadline dates; therefore, you should check with each program as soon as possible to make sure that you provide everything that they require for a complete application in a timely matter. Make sure you include your 5-digit Applicant Code Number when sending in any additional documents. 

Step 5: Schedule Interviews

Most residency programs require a face-to-face interview with all applicants. Not only is this important for the residency coordinator to meet you, this is also an important opportunity for you to meet the people who you would be working with, tour the clinic, talk with current residents, and gain more information to help paint a picture about what your life would be as a resident at that location. Also, don’t be surprised if the interviewers ask you to talk through patient cases during your interview. 

In order to avoid any last minute difficulties that frequently occur with scheduling residency interviews, I encourage you to make inquiries regarding interview options early on in the application process. 

Step 6: Rank Your Choices

The final step in the residency application process is to submit your Rank Order List in which you rank your desired residency programs in numerical order of your preference. Similarly, each residency program will also submit a Rank Order List. Remember to only rank programs that you are interested in actually attending; you do not have to rank all of the programs in which you applied or interviewed with. Also, do not think too hard about the matching algorithm. Match the sites based on your top preferences, without consideration for how you think you will be ranked by the other party. 

Deadline: Applicants can submit their Rank Order List online beginning February 8, 2016 through February 26, 2016. 

Step 7: Cross Your Fingers! 

The matching algorithm is run with a goal of placing each applicant with the most preferred program on the applicant’s Rank Order List that ranks the applicant and does not fill all its positions with more preferred applicants. Similarly, each program is matched with the most preferred applicants on its list, up to the number of positions available, who rank the program and do not receive positions at programs they prefer more. 

Match Results Date: March 7, 2016

Every year, there are programs that don’t fill all positions and applicants who don’t match with a program. When the results of the ORMatch are released, information regarding unfulfilled positions will be provided to those who did not match, the same goes with residency programs that have openings. Unmatched applicants and programs are free to contact each other and negotiate directly (independently of ORMatch) to fill any available positions. 

Good Luck!

-Dr. Dexter 

The Top 15 Tips and Tricks for Studying for Part I of NBEO®

Top 15 Tips and Tricks for Studying for Part I of the NBEO

We’ve put together a ton of great tips and tricks for studying for Part I of NBEO along with two tailored study programs that will help you thoroughly prepare for the big day. Remember, you’ve made it this far and you can totally do this!

Some of the Top 15 Tips include:

  • Familiarize Yourself with the Test Format
  • Tackle the Weak Subjects Early
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NBEO Part I Study Guide The Top 15 Tips and Tricks for Studying for Part I

Topics: Residency