Monday, August 3, 2015

NRMP® Data Suggests Residency Applicants Should Apply Broadly

In their publication Impact of Length of Rank Order List on Main Residency Match Outcome:2002-2015, the NRMP reports that matched applicants consistently have longer rank order lists than unmatched applicants.

What that means to those approaching the residency application process is that candidates should throw a wide net in choosing programs at which to apply. Of course, there is a cost to this strategy, and that expense needs to be balanced. However, if you can afford it, starting out with more options usually will provide more opportunities to interview and thus, the ability to create a longer rank order list.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Doctors Sick at Work

Here's a quick New York Times piece on healthcare providers who come to work sick. I have to say that I cannot think of one physician-friend I know who has not come to work ill at some point. Unfortunately, the system needs to change drastically, especially for residents, to keep doctors away from their responsibilities when ill.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Are you a Residency Candidate Applying in More than One Specialty?

If you are considering applying in more than one field, you have a tough road ahead of you, and you should strategize accordingly. Remember that, although your ERAS activities cannot be individualized to different residency programs, your personal statement and letters of recommendation can. Demonstrating commitment to each field through your essay and letters will be a challenge, so take time to write thoughtfully, and make sure you speak candidly to your faculty recommenders.
Above all: Ensure that you assign the correct specialty-specific documents to the correct programs!

Monday, July 13, 2015

How Fast Do You Need to Submit Your Secondaries?

I've recently had several questions about what the turn around should be for secondary essays. Aiming for submission within 3 weeks of receipt assures you submit your essays quickly while maintaining high quality work. The secondary process can be a challenge - with a slew of applications coming in simultaneously. Pace yourself and try to use (thoughtful) variations of the same essays as much as possible.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Letters of Recommendation

It's time to start securing your residency letters of recommendation (LOR) if you haven't already. Remember that your letters have a big impact on your application, and even a mediocre letter can bomb your candidacy.

Don’t be afraid to ask a potential letter-writer if she will write you "a very strong" LOR. It may seem awkward at the time you ask but getting a wimpy letter will be much thornier. If the faculty member says no, hesitates, or tells you in May that she has to plan her Thanksgiving get-together, politely thank her and move on. Although disappointing, acknowledge that she has done you a huge favor. You now have the advantage of substituting a stronger LOR written by someone who likes your clinical work.

Monday, June 29, 2015

ERAS 2016 Updates

Here are some ERAS 2016 quick reminders:

1) For International Medical Graduates, ERAS 2016 tokens are available through the ECFMG's OASIS site now.
2) For those waiting for Board scores, USMLE score reports will not be released during the week of July 4. Score reporting will resume on July 8. Here is the USMLE site for more information.
3) On July 1 MyERAS opens to all applicants.
4) On July 15, DO applicants can begin applying to residency.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Secondary Essays: Why Do You Want to Attend Our School?

Secondary essay prompts vary, but there are a few that are standard fare. "Why do you want to attend our school?" is a common topic pre-meds will encounter.

Med school admissions officers want to be assured that you know their institution, are seriously considering it, and will fit in well there. In approaching the "why-our-school" question, do your research on the institution and link something specific about you with the school's philosophy, curriculum, surrounding patient population, and/or extracurricular programs.

For instance, if you were a teaching assistant for chemistry in college, you might link your use of the Socratic method with a school's tutorial-based learning. In that way, you demonstrate knowledge of the school, show that you connect well with it, and showcase your accomplishment.

Monday, June 15, 2015

"Dude, Me Too!"

Here's a great article for pre-meds and medical students alike on imposter syndrome by an assistant program director at Georgetown University. This is a great piece to read as you maneuver the medical education and medical admissions processes. You are not alone.