Essential information for mentoring students interested in residency training

Amy M. Pick, Brian S. Henriksen, William R. Hamilton, Michael S. Monaghan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Residency training programs have become increasingly competitive. It is difficult to mentor residency applicants without knowing factors used to select a resident. Objective: To identify factors used by residency directors in selecting a pharmacy resident. Methods: A survey was disseminated electronically to 1047 residency program directors in May 2012 that assessed factors in the residency application process. The survey included questions regarding grades, letters of recommendation, letters of intent, pharmacy pathways, and the interview. Two electronic reminders were sent to nonresponders approximately one week apart from the initial request. Results: One hundred sixty-nine survey instruments were returned for a response rate of 16.1% with 70.4% of respondents being in the Postgraduate Year 1 (PGY1) Pharmacy residency programs. The interview was ranked as the most important factor in the residency process (67%). Letters of recommendation (9%) and letters of intent (4%) were the second and third factors. Eighty-four percent of respondents identified clinical preceptors as the preferred writer for letters of recommendation. Most institutions (59.8%) use a grade point average (GPA) cut off, with 79% preferring a GPA of greater than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Finally, pass-fail grades were viewed unfavorably compared to those on a grading scale (53.7%). Conclusion: Numerous factors are considered by pharmacy residency directors when selecting an applicant. Any faculty who provides mentoring needs to be aware of these factors to assist applicants in the process of securing a residency position. Assistance with the interview process and instruction on writing letters of recommendation and intent are desirable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)546-554
Number of pages9
JournalCurrents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Mentor
  • Pharmacy
  • Residency
  • Student

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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