The first one or two months of your fourth year (early to mid-summer) should mark the official beginning of your residency campaign. This is the time to start thinking about how to apply, where to apply and what you will include in your application. This is also the time to register for the National Resident Match Program (NRMP) match.
Neurosurgery is part of the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) system (see Residency Application Process). The ERAS application consists of personal demographics, a photograph, a standardized resume, United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) scores, publications, a personal statement, letters of recommendation and Dean’s letter. The resume part of the ERAS, in which you list activities, research and other interests, is generally straightforward. List anything you think a residency might find interesting and that you would not mind talking about during your interview. Some interviewers will not read this, but some will, and at one point in time, you will be asked about every piece of information on your application. People love to hear about interesting, non-academic achievements or services that set you apart, so be sure to include these. But remember, neurosurgery is a serious field. Volunteer work, leadership experience, military service and teamwork, including team sports or musical ensembles, are highly valued. Also, list any research you have done, papers you have published and awards or honors you have received. Be careful when filling out your hobbies and interests – you want to stand out as someone of interest, but always present yourself in a professional light.