Navigating your way through forums on Reddit requires a keen eye and cautious approach; whether you’re skimming through Premed Reddit or residency Reddit, it’s imperative that you don’t take what you read too seriously! While there are a fair amount of helpful advice comments and anecdotes for medical students to explore, this blog aims to deconstruct all things good, bad, and even potentially biased about residency Reddit to help you utilize the forum in a practical manner!

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11 min read

Residency Discussions on Reddit: The Good, The Bad and the Biased The Good: Reddit Residency Discussions The Subjective: Enter the Unusual Side of Reddit Best Practices for Navigating Residency Reddit Conclusion FAQs

Residency Discussions on Reddit: The Good, The Bad and the Biased

Since it’s founding in 2005, Reddit, often referred to as "the front page of the internet", harbors a vast community where myriad topics are discussed. On Reddit, users can engage in pop culture discussions, candid forums about parenting, share photos, explore different areas of interest, and learn about (and connect with others) different academic programs and ventures.

Among such topics, residency discussions hold a special place, offering a platform for potential residency applicants to share experiences, seek advice, and gain insights into the intricacies of residency life.

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However, like any online forum, the information found here is a mixed bag. While some threads provide valuable insights, others might carry biased or even misleading information. We have already touched on this topic in other articles about Reddit, including premed Reddit, MCAT Reddit and CASPer Reddit. Understanding how to distinguish between accurate and misleading information on Reddit is crucial – for residency applicants, and for anyone researching any other topic. This blog aims to delve into the good, the bad, the biased, and even the more quirky, nuanced side of Reddit residency discussions, helping prospective residents navigate this online realm wisely.

Whether they’re interested in general surgery residency, understanding chief residency opportunities – or even just unsure how to swap residency programs, odds are, somebody on reddit has had a similar experience. Hearing these experiences can, in many cases, help residency applicants better understand their own journey, set expectations, navigate through problems and make tough decisions…so long as they use their best judgement and use Reddit responsibly.

The Good: Reddit Residency Discussions

Reddit, with its anonymous nature, fosters a community where individuals can share and gather information freely. Users can actively participate in discussions and ask questions, or, they can opt to sit on the sidelines and simply read responses.

This aspect is particularly beneficial in the context of residency discussions, where sharing personal experiences and gaining insights into various programs can be invaluable, and having access to hundreds of discussions (even as a reader) is eye-opening. This is particularly beneficial for those who want an overview, or enjoy learning by hearing (or reading) open discussions and appreciating diverse perspectives on a topic.

Some would argue that there is immense benefit to accessing candid, casual discussions online rather than solely relying on conversations had in more professional setting – say, with a current resident mentor or instructor – or information available directly from the program or institution you’re applying too. Exploring reddit threads about relevant topics, questions or concerns may open up a vault of honest answers and insight residency applicants wouldn’t otherwise find elsewhere.

Valuable Insights and Support

Reddit hosts a plethora of subreddits dedicated to different aspects of medicine and residency. These forums are often filled with aspiring residents, current residents, or even attending physicians sharing their experiences, resources, personal anecdotes and advice.

Forums related to residency on reddit provide a space where one can find support amidst the taxing journey towards becoming a resident. For instance, threads discussing the challenges faced during residency, specific residency programs such as nursing residency programs, psychiatry residency programs, emergency medicine residency programs, the work-life balance, or even the culture within different programs can provide a glimpse into what awaits.

However, while some of this information is useful, it's essential to cross-reference it with reliable sources, like ERAS, CaRMS, your program’s own website or respective forum, or professionals in the field. This is where potential misinformation and biases can potentially impact an applicant’s decision and actions, and ultimately where discretion must be used. But, the process of either validating or debunking a statement on Reddit can be taxing and littered with nuance. Oftentimes context is needed, and even with some additional information, it can be hard to prove (or disprove) that somebody isn’t stretching the truth online. It’s this reality that makes (for example) learning of others’ experiences, opinions on interviews, and even the 5 interview questions that were surprising to successful residents more beneficial to find from a reliable source, as opposed to scrolling through endless subreddits trying to gauge which opinions are factual and trustworthy.

Examples and Success Stories

Personal narratives shared on Reddit can serve as motivational fodder for those eyeing residency positions. Success stories, tips on tackling residency interview questions, advice on how to prepare for residency applications, insight as to what residency directors are looking for, or even advice on managing stress during this phase are commonplace. While these stories are anecdotal and should be taken with a grain of salt, they do provide a sense of camaraderie and often, practical advice that can be quite beneficial. For instance, somebody who feels nervous about their upcoming residency (or about their pursuance of a medical degree in general) may feel less isolated in their worry if they connect with other narratives where people were once in their shoes, and came out on the other side of residency successful and happy with their experience. Sometimes reading advice from those who have been through a similar experience (whether personal or professional), regardless of if it’s entirely factual or not, can bring strength and perspective to those who are feeling uneasy about a particular milestone life event. In this case, that would be residency! Reddit is also a forum for people who enjoy helping others to provide advice and share their stories with whomever chooses to read them.

Networking and Community Building

The sense of community on Reddit can be a strong suit. Subreddits often harbor a supportive environment where individuals can network, ask questions, and share resources. The anonymous nature of Reddit allows for a level of candidness that might be hard to find elsewhere.

Moreover, the diverse user base can provide a broad spectrum of perspectives which can be enlightening. Users on reddit (and moderators on specific forums) have rules in place and will often remove responses that are harmful or unrelated to the topic. Of course, this varies and nobody can truly be ‘vetted’ with full confidence, but all in all, many reddit communities are regarded as safe, informative, and judgement-free hubs.

However, it's vital to maintain a professional demeanor even behind the veil of anonymity, as the medical community is tightly-knit and any unprofessional conduct can have repercussions. Additionally, any connection you form online (no matter how close) cannot become your reference for your ERAS Letter of Recommendation nor your CaRMS Reference Letter; such references must be connections you’ve formed professionally in the real world.

The Bad: Biases and Untrustworthy Information

The open nature of Reddit is a double-edged sword. While it enables free discourse, it can also be a breeding ground for misinformation and biased opinions. Simpler, less moderated forums can sometimes get out-of-hand, and even basic questions, such as, ‘what is a resident doctor’ or opinions on ‘best residency programs for surgery’ may elicit responses that aren’t necessarily factual or applicable to every residency applicant. For instance, opinions and anecdotes may cause the forum’s direction to go awry with unusual or subjective responses.

The anonymity that Reddit offers, though liberating, can sometimes mask the truth and give way to misleading narratives. That’s why it is crucial that residency reddit is approached with a keen eye and cautious standpoint; the same is true for all important components of any educational endeavours, such as MCAT prep, as guidance and information can be easily taken out of context or completely biased.

Misinformation and Anonymity Challenges

It’s no surprise that anonymous forums like Reddit can sometimes harbor misinformation.

Threads or comments might come from individuals with limited or incorrect knowledge. In the residency context, misinformation about program requirements, the application process, or the nature of residency training can mislead aspiring residents.

It's vital to cross-verify the information gleaned from Reddit with reputable sources or consult with advisors. Of course, it isn’t always possible to vet somebody who is hiding behind a screenname.

Additionally, it’s vital that users who are hoping to match and become resident doctors do not find too much comfort in their anonymity. The internet is forever, and posting a tasteless comment (or anything that might poorly reflect on you) is risky. If your identity were ever discovered, you may run into issues.

Negative Experiences and Rants

It's human nature to vent, and Reddit provides an easy platform for this…for literally every topic under the sun. A lot of perspectives are completely subjective; some may belong to a single disgruntled individual, or a specific group of people.

While the world (including residency) isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, residency rants and experiences shared on the platform may not always present a balanced view. It’s challenging to verify the authenticity of such posts, as noted earlier, and taking them at face value can lead to a skewed perception of certain programs or the residency experience in general.

It's essential to approach such posts with a discerning eye and seek balanced viewpoints from other trusted sources (such as a connection you have to a current or former resident, a mentor, a Discord channel or group, ERAS, CaRMs, or even a program website or interview series). It’s important to remember that behind a screen, it’s human nature for some people (no matter if they’re a grocery clerk, a teacher or a surgeon) to become ‘keyboard warriors’ and make statements they might not normally make in person. Similarly, it’s easy to become heated and argue on reddit, just as it’s not uncommon to see users over-embellish an anecdote to make it more interesting.

Biased Opinions

Biased opinions are inevitable on any platform. On Reddit, biases may stem from personal experiences, and while these are valid, they might not present a complete picture.

For instance, a thread filled with praises for a particular program might come from individuals with similar backgrounds or experiences, thus lacking a diverse perspective. Similarly, the impressions of a program, or discussions about how to prepare for a residency interview, may be prone to recency biases if the thread is dated. If the discussion took place years ago – it may no longer be accurate. It's crucial to recognize these biases and seek a holistic understanding by consulting various sources and engaging with advisors or mentors.

The Subjective: Enter the Unusual Side of Reddit

Reddit’s culture is as diverse as its user base; and how this is perceived varies by user, and by their reason for utilizing reddit! The platform hosts a range of quirky, unconventional, and humorous dialogues that reflect the unique blend of professionalism and camaraderie within the medical community.

Quirky and Unconventional Advice

Reddit is known for its quirky vernacular and unconventional advice. Residency discussions are no exception. You might come across intriguing, out-of-the-box suggestions or a unique take on common challenges faced during residency. While these unconventional tidbits can be enlightening, it's wise to approach them cautiously and corroborate any advice with reputable sources.

Further, Reddit is famously known for sarcastic, satirical conversations. It’s also home to a myriad of online-exclusive lingo and terminology that may make outsider’s feel perplexed. If an individual doesn’t understand sarcasm at face value (or doesn’t like to navigate through new terms and acronyms), Reddit may be best avoided!

Memes and Humor in Residency Discussions

The lighter side of Reddit shines through memes and humorous anecdotes shared within the community. These humorous elements can serve as stress relievers amidst the demanding life of residency.

Every field, every career, and every job title probably have memes related to their scope of work or clientele– many of which provide laughter in dark moments – or just a sense of community. Working in medicine can be rigorous and thankless, and it’s often said that making light of situations and enjoying a healthy dose of humor is what helps people (even professionals) get through their toughest days.

However, the nuanced humor might be perplexing to those new to Reddit’s culture or the medical community. Some may even find it offensive. It's a reminder of the diverse, multifaceted nature of the residency journey – filled with challenges yet sprinkled with moments of light-hearted camaraderie and matter-of-fact opinions.

Best Practices for Navigating Residency Reddit

Reddit can be a goldmine of insights, but like navigating through a dense forest, it requires a strategic, cautious approach (and a keen eye for ‘red flags’). Here are some best practices to make the most out of Reddit while steering clear of potential pitfalls.

1. Find Reliable Information

Yes, it’s true that the term ‘reliable’ doesn’t innately go hand-in-hand with Reddit; but doing your due diligence is best, regardless. Reddit’s vast array of information can be overwhelming, but amidst the the feelings of stress, chaos and curiosity you may feel when navigating residency Reddit, you must remember that distinguishing between credible advice and misinformation is crucial.

It’s advisable to cross-reference information from Reddit with reliable sources. For instance, if somebody makes a claim about a specific program or statistic, it’s best to look at the program’s website or head to ERAS, NRMP or CaRMS directly. For more personal posts, such as advice surrounding interesting case questions. It’s generally best to try and spot consistency in a user’s post history and compare the advice with that from reputable websites, mentors, or advisors.

2. Engage Respectfully and Responsibly

Reddit’s anonymity can be liberating but it’s vital to maintain a respectful and professional demeanor. Avoid going down rabbit holes or utilizing Reddit as a means to ‘blow off steam’ during your pre-residency process and beyond. The medical community is tight-knit and any derogatory or unprofessional conduct can reverberate beyond the virtual realm.

 Being respectful in your interactions, even when disagreeing, fosters a constructive environment that benefits everyone. As noted earlier…what goes on the internet, stays on the internet. It’s best not to say anything you’d wouldn’t want your name associated with!

3. Balance Online and Offline Resources

While Reddit is a valuable resource, balancing online insights with offline resources is crucial. Engage with mentors, attend informational sessions offered by residency programs, and interact with peers or professionals in the field. Diversifying your sources of information and support will provide a more well-rounded understanding of the residency journey.


Reddit, with its vast reservoir of personal experiences and communal knowledge, stands as a useful platform for residency aspirants. However, the onus of sifting through the mixed bag of information lies with the individual.

It’s important for individuals to remember that they can read Reddit forums and get lost in discussions without ever participating. There is no rule that you must reply to comments or ‘upvote/downvote’ them. Whether or not you decide to get involved in the community is entirely your choice.

Approaching Reddit with a critical yet open mind, corroborating information with reliable sources, and engaging respectfully can unlock the platform’s potential as a supportive tool in your residency journey. On the flip side, there is a healthy dose of perplexing narratives, potential (and evident) biases and advice that may deter future applicants. There may be limited information about residency in a specific geographic area or field of expertise. There may be users posing as residents or doctors who provide convincing, yet false statements. And, there may be residents and future applicants on reddit who do in fact have valuable insight, but it may be solely based on personal experience.

There is no true way of telling if what is posted on a Reddit forum is entirely factual, and that is why if it is used for researching residency, it should be done carefully, and information should be taken with a grain of salt. Moreover, desperately-needed advice about residency should be sought from a mentor, or a professional residency application consultant.

Overall, balancing Reddit’s insights with real-world interactions and guidance from reputable sources will pave a well-informed path towards a successful residency experience, so long as Reddit is one of many sources of an applicant’s information! The discourse on Reddit is a reflection of the broader conversations happening within the medical community, capturing the challenges, triumphs, and the collective wisdom that propels aspiring residents forward.


Why might residency Reddit be perceived as a useful platform?

Reddit hosts a vast community of medical professionals and aspiring residents sharing valuable insights, personal experiences, and advice. It can be a good platform to gather different perspectives and learn from others' experiences. 

How can I ensure the information I find on residency Reddit is reliable?

It’s crucial to cross-reference information found on Reddit with reputable sources, consult mentors, and compare it with official guidelines from residency programs. Sometimes, you won’t be able to completely verify information.

What are some common biases I should be aware of on residency Reddit?

Biases on Reddit can arise from personal experiences, outdated information, or lack of diverse perspectives. It's important to recognize these biases and seek information from a variety of sources. There may also be users who write and publish fictional anecdotes or false information, and, information may be dated and no longer applicable. 

How can I engage respectfully and responsibly on Reddit?

Maintaining a professional demeanor, respecting others' opinions, and adhering to the community guidelines are essential for engaging responsibly on Reddit. Additionally, you can utilize Reddit as a reader and opt to never write a question or partake in discussions.

What other platforms or resources can complement the information found on Reddit?

Engaging with official residency program websites, consulting mentors, participating in professional networks, and joining other online forums like Facebook or Discord groups can provide a well-rounded perspective. There is a database called FREIDA that is designed exclusively for residency and provides valuable, reliable information.

How can humor and memes on Reddit contribute to the residency discussion?

Humor and memes can provide stress relief and a sense of camaraderie among aspiring residents, making the demanding journey a bit lighter. 

Can networking on residency Reddit lead to meaningful professional connections?

While Reddit can facilitate connections, the anonymity may limit the depth of professional relationships. It's advisable to also network in person and through professional platforms like LinkedIn or FREIDA.

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