The field of urology attracts some of the most competitive medical students. The urology match typically takes place in January, in contrast to the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) match, which usually occurs in March. Due to this timing, the urology match is commonly referred to as an "early" match. The early match allows students who do not match with a urology training program to enter the NRMP match for alternatives without having to wait a full year until the next match takes place.

Applicant interviews with urology training programs typically occur October through December. There are 113 civilian urology residency programs accepting a total of 230 first year residents. Individuals participating in the urology match are encouraged to rank several programs to increase their chances of obtaining a training position. In 2003, urology residency programs began participating in the matching program administered through the American Association of Medical College's centralized Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) matching system. Previously, resident applicants were required to submit separate applications to each prospective program in formats that varied from institution to institution. Access to the ERAS system is available at http://www.aamc.org/students/medstudents/eras/.

First and second year medical students considering urology as a specialty should identify members of the urology faculty at their medical school who are willing to review their curriculum vitae and offer specific advice regarding enhancing their application. Generally, if the student's schedule allows, participation in a research project will improve the chances of matching with a program high on their list. The more in-depth the research, the more the application is enhanced. Research does not necessarily have to be in the field of urology to boost one's application. If the student is unsure of having adequate time to complete a project, however, he/she should not obligate himself/herself. Failing to follow-through on the research commitment will reflect more poorly on the applicant than the lack of any research experience.

Classroom performance is important, as many top programs use class rank or other honors as criteria for an invitation for an interview. Similarly, a student's performance on parts 1 and 2 of the National Board of Medical Examiners licensing examination is also considered during the review of applications by urology residency programs.

Medical students interested in urology should participate in a urology rotation at their home institution late in their junior or early in their senior year. Students should strive to perform their best during this rotation. After becoming familiar with the faculty, prospective urology residents should solicit letters of recommendation from the urology leadership at their medical school. Participating in a urology rotation at an institution other than the student's home institution may be beneficial, particularly if it's a residency program the student is interested in. A visiting student rotation can also give students the chance to impress the urology faculty at another institution if their clinical skills outweigh their academic record, or if they attend a medical school of lesser reputation. Other elective clinical rotations to consider during medical school include general surgery, renal transplantation, pediatric surgery, nephrology, neurology, gynecology, radiology, pathology and anesthesia.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact any member of the urology faculty or join an on-line discussion group with other students interested in urology at http://www.urologymatch.com/forum