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Ophthalmology Residency Questions

What advice would you give about getting letters of recommendation in your specialty?

I recommend that two of your three letters should be strong Ophthalmology letters.

What is the value of doing audition rotations in your specialty?

A rotation can be very helpful to see if a program is a good match for the applicant and vice versa.

To what extent does research, publications, or presentations affect one’s ability to match in your specialty?

Involvement in research, publications, posters, presentations are all commonplace for an applicant to Ophthalmology. Lack of involvement would definitely place you at a disadvantage.

Is a Step 2CK score needed before you will invite someone for an interview?


What does the perfect applicant look like in your specialty?

In addition to a proven ability to excel both academically and clinically, we look for applicants who demonstrate character, integrity, and service.

Does having a below average Step 1 score doom you in your specialty?

At some institutions, yes… The average Step 1 score for applicants who matched to Ophthalmology in 2018 was 245. The average score for those who were unmatched was 228.

Would you ever take someone with a Step 2CS failure?

In rare circumstances…

Does a student need to Honor in your specialty in order to match?

It helps, but is not required.

The students have significant elective time during their 2nd and 3rd year for career exploration.

What electives would you recommend to a student who knows they are interested in your specialty?

Schedule an Ophthalmology elective as early as possible in order to secure research and presentation opportunities, request letters of recommendation, and solidify your commitment to the arduous application process.

What electives would you recommend to a student who is undecided but considering your specialty?

A 2-week elective in Ophthalmology should be long enough to help you decide if this is the career for you.

Is there anything else I haven’t asked that you feel an applicant to your specialty ought to know?

Ophthalmology is extremely competitive. Statistics for the Ophthalmology match are available online at The keys to a successful match include a well-rounded application without “red flags,” strong reference letters, and humble sincerity during the interview.