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Parallel Planning

  • If you are applying to a highly competitive specialty (surgical sub-specialties, dermatology, anesthesiology, etc), or if you are less competitive for your chosen specialty, consider having a parallel specialty plan.  A parallel plan is the decision to apply to a second, less competitive specialty to help mitigate the risk of going unmatched.
  • To apply to a parallel specialty, you will need a separate personal statement that is specific to the specialty.  You will also need to collect letters of recommendation for this specialty.  Often a letter writer will be willing to provide a separate letter for each of your specialty applications.  Simply explain your decision to have a parallel plan!  
  • Do not be worried about your primary specialty finding out that you are applying to another specialty, or that your parallel plan will know they are your second choice. Residency programs can only see what you share with them in ERAS.  They cannot see other documents in your ERAS file.  The chances of being seen on your interview day but the other program are also very small.  Having a parallel plan also does not affect your probability of matching into your more preferred specialty.  As the Match is applicant leaning, it takes your preferences into consideration and in the order of your rank list.  You will match into the highest rank program possible, regardless of specialty!
  • Having a parallel plan put YOU in control rather than leaving your fate in a second specialty to SOAP.  If you have questions about if a parallel plan is suggested for you and how to exercise this option, speak with your lead advisor or Dr. Rusk, Assistant Dean of Career Mentoring.