Mei Huang: Top 3 Tips for Residency Applicants
By Mei Huang, PharmD,
Medicare Clinical Pharmacist, Premera Blue Cross
AMCP Foundation welcomed two pharmacist residents, Kenneth Garcia, PharmD, and Mei Huang, PharmD, for a virtual rotation this spring. Kenneth and Mei were the 2019-20 residents in the Postgraduate Year One (PGY1) Managed Care Pharmacy Residency at Premera Blue Cross in Seattle.
In the past two months, a few 4th year students reached out to me asking for residency application tips. As someone who went through this process two years ago, and has seen this process from both sides, I have some thoughts to help ease your way through the residency application process.
1) Do your research early. Start by making a list of programs that you are interested in. Things to pay attention to include location, rotations offered, number of positions, stipend, past residents and where are they now, and more. Carefully browse through the program’s website and jot down their mission statements (you can use this in your letter of intent (LOI)!).
2) Reach out to past residents. This is something I wish I had done more when I was applying to residency. I really enjoyed talking to the residents and hearing their perspectives. Now that I have seen this process from both sides, I can honestly tell you that applicants stand out way more to me when they make the effort to reach out to me to find out more about our program.
3) Prepare your residency applications.
- Line up your references early, do not wait until the last minute to ask someone to be your reference. Your letter writers should be people who know you best. This could be your manager that you have worked with for the past three years, or a professor that you did research with. When you ask for a strong letter of recommendation, make sure to send your letter writers your LOI, the list of programs you are applying to, and your CV.
- Spend time polishing your LOI. Have others read it for you and offer their suggestions. Make sure these LOIs are program specific. Please do not write just one LOI and only change the program name you apply to. When the LOI is too generic, programs will know you did not spend time researching. Finally, it goes without saying but there should be no spelling or grammatical errors.
Applying for residency is no easy task. During your applications, make sure to choose programs where you feel you will succeed and can meet your career goals. Stay positive, motivated, and ambitious. You’ve got this!
If you would like to support AMCP Foundation’s mission to inspire the next generation to improve patient health, give today!
Originally published in the August 2020 AMCP Foundation Insights e-newsletter.