Meet and Greet: Residency and Fellowship Programs

Saturday, October 19 | 3:00–5:30 p.m.
Orange County Convention Center, Level 2 West Hall A1

The Meet and Greet with Residency Programs is the highlight of medical student sessions! It is beneficial for both medical students — especially fourth year students applying to anesthesiology residency — and for the residency and fellowship programs that participate. It is an opportunity for students to ask questions and for program directors to showcase their respective programs. Most programs are represented by a faculty member (most often the program director) and at least one resident or fellow to engage students and answer questions. 

Who attends?

  • Hundreds of medical students
  • Residency program representatives

View the list of participating programs. Contact us with any questions!

How to Navigate the Meet-and-Greet

The Meet and Greet is a valuable event at any point of your medical training, but is primarily directed at MS3s exploring residencies of interest and MS4s who have submitted applications and are eagerly awaiting interview invites. It is a good idea to review the list of participating programs. Programs will be grouped according to geographic region. Once you arrive, it will inevitably be crowded, loud, and disorienting. It is not feasible to visit every program, so preparing a game plan beforehand will be beneficial.

Once you arrive, make your way towards the programs you are most interested in first. Chances are, there will be a line of students surrounding the table. Each program brings several residents, but the program director may or may not be present. As you make your way to the front, think of a brief elevator pitch on how you will introduce yourself and express your interest. How is this program going to remember you among the hundreds of other attendees? Some students hand out business cards, but this is by no means necessary. Tables may have sign-in sheets, so be sure to put your name down.

Of note, receiving interview invites after the Meet and Greet is not something that should be expected. Interview invites are granted on the basis of years of academic performance, personal statements, recommendation letters, and other intangibles. That being said, applicants have anecdotally reported receiving interview invites after the Meet and Greet, however keep in mind this is not a guaranteed outcome. You could broach the topic by saying:


“Hi, I’m really interested in your program. I submitted my application in (X month), but haven’t heard back from you yet. I want to train at your program for X, Y, and Z reasons. I know your department is busy, but if possible, do you mind taking another look at my application? Thank you so much.”


At the end of the day, we would encourage you to view the Meet and Greet as an opportunity to network and get to know more about the programs in which you are interested. The people standing all around you will be your colleagues and make up the professional community for which you will be part of for the rest of your career. Focus on getting to know people and enjoy the time and experience!


The Do’s and Don’ts:

  • DO make a plan beforehand. Residency programs are organized by geographic region in the room. Utilize the map provided and prioritize the program tables you would like to visit in the time you have available.
  • DO introduce yourself with a firm handshake, warm smile, and good eye contact.
  • DO let programs get to know you by providing more details about yourself (school, year, hometown, interests, career goals).
  • DO be clear about your level of interest (recently applied, upcoming interview, interested in applying).
  • DO ask residents/faculty about their experiences with their program.
  • DO research. Read up on programs you’re interested in, allowing you to ask smart questions and share a meaningful conversation.
  • DO establish a relationship. Understand a program’s values then show why you are a strong fit. If it is a match, follow up afterwards!
  • DO remember that programs want to impress you too, so use this chance to ask about their strengths and weaknesses.
  • DON’T ask attendings questions for residents (and vice versa).
  • DON’T ask questions that a web search can answer for you.
  • DON’T point out a program’s flaws or weaknesses. These are important to know, but there’s a right way to ask.
  • DON’T monopolize a program representative’s time!


Sample questions to ask (choose 2 or 3):

1.     How do you determine which applicants will be successful residents in your program?

2.     How does your program set itself apart from other programs?

3.     What is the culture or morale of your program? How is it fostered?

4.     What would you consider some strengths of your program?

5.     What are areas of your program that you are working on to improve right now?

6.     What changes do you have planned for your program over the next few years?

7.     What programs exist for resident education? (lectures, grand rounds, journal clubs, informal sessions, board review courses?

8.     What global/research opportunities are available for residents?

9.     What do your graduates do when they finish their program? Percent in fellowship versus practice?  Do they stay local or move to other geographic areas?

10.  What fellowship programs does your institution have? Do they take internal applicants only or is there a preference for external? What have been popular fellowships that residents of your program have pursued the last few years?


Helpful Information


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