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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What makes your program unique among others?

  • Our program is the only pediatric residency program in Orange County.
  • We are one of only a handful of programs in the nation with access to two free-standing children’s hospitals.
  • We believe that residency should be both educational and fun and that these goals are not mutually exclusive. We believe in work-life balance and the empowerment of residents to engage in the molding of their learning environment. These principles are what have earned our residency its long-standing reputation as a resident-friendly program. 
  • Our residents are among the brightest, friendliest, most talented residents in the nation. Our residents bring a positive spirit and innovation to our program. They are a major factor in making our program special.

2. What are you looking for in an applicant? 

We are looking for well-rounded, hardworking students who also exhibit a high level of ability to work as a team. Because we are known for being a resident-friendly program with a strong sense of collegiality among our residents, we are looking for people who fit the personality of our program.

3. Where do your residents come from?

Orange County is a very desirable place to live. Combined with our program's reputation, our residency receives hundreds of applications each year from students from all over the nation. We have been very fortunate to be able to recruit students from every region of the country. You can visit our “Current Residents” page to explore the range of students recruited to our program.

4. What kind of patients will I see?

Orange County is one of the most diverse places in the nation. Long Beach further adds diversity to our patient population. Residents will see patients from a broad range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Because all our training facilities serve as referral centers, residents are exposed to a great deal of bread-and-butter as well as rare conditions.

5. Are there opportunities for research?

One of the greatest advantages of a university-based program is the extensive research opportunities that go along with that affiliation. Residents can engage in a broad range of research projects from basic science to clinical to community-based projects. We offer a research elective for residents who want focused time to pursue a scholarly project. Many of our residents have presented and published their work during residency.

6. How many weeks of vacation will I get?

Residents are given 4 weeks of vacation, the longest amount of time allowable by the American Board of Pediatrics. Additionally, our rotation and call schedules are planned so that residents will have several months per year when they will have respite from the traditional q4 call system.

7. Where do your residents go after graduation?

Roughly 25% of our residents pursue fellowship opportunities, 75% enter into general pediatrics. Our residents have had great success in getting the jobs and fellowships of their choice. Please visit our “Graduates” page to see details on where our residents have gone for fellowships.

8. How do USLME Step scores affect my application?

All applicants must take Step 1 in order to qualify for an interview. There is no minimum score cut-off for application. It is strongly recommended that applicants take both USMLE Step 2 CK and CS early enough to have passing scores available for review by our selection committee by February. Passing both Step 2 exams is strictly required prior to starting residency at UC Irvine/CHOC.

9. For foreign medical school applicants, which visa types are accepted?

The University of California only accepts J1 visas. If you have a current J1 visa, a current ECFMG certificate is also required. All applications must be submitted through ERAS.

10. When should I expect a response regarding my application?

Interviews are scheduled for November, December and early January. Invitations typically are sent out starting in early October. All applications are reviewed by our program. However, due to the number of applications received, an invitation cannot be extended to every applicant. 

11. Do I need to notify the residency program of any changes to my ERAS application?

There is no need for notification when new scores or letters are uploaded to ERAS. The program checks ERAS files frequently.