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Advice for those upcoming...

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by BeeGee, Mar 25, 2002.

  1. BeeGee

    BeeGee Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2001
    Congratulations to all on this year's match success. As an upcoming 4th year with interests in General Surgery, I'd like to match WELL and would appreciate any good advice. Also, your experience could help other "high anxiety" soon-to-be 4th years to follow your lead. Thanks in advance. --BeeGee
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  3. BeeGee

    BeeGee Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2001
    Still waiting for responses... <img border="0" title="" alt="[Frown]" src="frown.gif" />
  4. surg

    surg 10+ Year Member

    Dec 16, 2001
    Advice? Hmmm...

    1) Relax about residency. The best thing you can do for yourself right now is focus on the rest of third year and do well in it. Other things you can start thinking about and preparing for.

    2) If your board scores need shoring up, consider taking Step II early in your fourth year (this may be required depending on the school that you are at)

    3) Start thinking about your fourth year schedule. If you still need letters of recommendation, consider strongly taking a surgical sub-internship early in your fourth year. This will help both your grades (presumably) but help you nail down some strong letters.

    4) Most importantly, start seeking out a local mentor in surgery. They should be someone who you connect with (not necessarily the bigwigs in your department, although if that's who you connect with, even better). Qualifications: Someone who can make time for you when you ask. Someone who will give you a real assessment of your chances and won't unduly cheerlead or be overly negative.

    That's plenty to start on for now. You can worry about personal statements, apps, etc. later.
  5. carddr

    carddr Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 29, 2002
    :cool: yeh, you need to relax...however if you are absolutely sure you are going into surgery you could start working on that Personal Statement, I wish I had started on them earlier, now that I read them...they were number one, TOOOOOO long, should have been more concise, I seemed to ramble...need more direct approach...and make one typo that I didn't notice till it was too late, OUCH. So my advice get started if you HAVE to have something to do now. They do take some time to finalize. That should keep you busy for a month or two!!! BTW, all the above didn't matter, as I matched in my #1 choice in surgery, so go for it!!!
  6. Bovie2Me

    Bovie2Me Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 2, 2002
    Definitely get an early start on that personal statement. I spent entirely too long on it and ended up submitting my application only a few weeks before the deadline. I still received all the interviews that I really wanted, but the number of dates they could offer was restricted because they were already filling up the earlier sessions. In retrospect, I wish I had started the personal statement earlier because it may have made the interview scheduling less of a headache. Still, I wouldn't spend significant time on your PS until after you finish 3rd year. Those grades really do count more.

    Some of my friends who didn't have much research on their CVs chose to perform quicky projects at the beginning of the fourth year. Research is an easy topic of conversation in the interviews. If you're considering doing a project next year, you may want to start discussing topics with a faculty member in the next couple months.

    Truth is, just keep pushing and you'll do well in the general surgery match. This year eight people from my school chose general surgery and seven of us matched at our top choice. I'm not bragging, I just want to show that this seems to be a good time to be going into surgery.
  7. fourthyr

    fourthyr Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 22, 2001
    The things that will hold your application up are YOU and your letter writers.

    You can take care of your business by writing your personal statement now rather than later. Don't sweat the statement. I was never, ever asked once about the statement directly. It's really just a data gathering tool, about where you are from, and perhaps, what kind of surgery you are interested in. The program coordinators and directors use the statement for finding you an appropriate interviewer. Don't make any fancy stories about death, dying, fuzzy warmness, etc. Boring, simple, and short for surgery.

    Write a resume as well. The resume will help you fill in the ERAS application later, and it will help you when you meet your letter writers.

    Don't forget to get a nice picture of yourself (so your med. school office can scan in the photo). Spend some money on the pic and smile; it'll will be the visual recognition marker for your application. Not many will remember what you looked like on interview day, either, but your picture will remind them. If your picture is homely, then maybe you are too...And don't be one of those that says, "I'm not going to submit a picture, because it's illegal for them to ask me to do so.." You will realize that EVERYONE submits a picture, and many places will hand out a picture sheet of the interviewees to the residents and faculty when you interview. If you have the black box over your name, people will ask you why. Also, I would get some extras, because some schools (don't ask me why), want a hard copy of a picture. So, it would be nice if your ERAS picture matches your hardcopy picture.

    Your letter writers will be the rate limiting factor for application completeness. So, get your letters as soon as you can. Because it may take your recommenders a while to hand them in. Also, your medical school office may be a little slow in scanning the letters in. Give your letter writers your resume, of course. If you're meeting with a big cheese in your department, beware, because it may take a month to schedule an appointment to see him/her. Get the highest ranking people, nationally known people, that you can. Realize that their specialty in surgery will be YOUR specialty in surgery (unless you state otherwise in your application). So, if you get a bunch of letters from CT surgeons, then that's who you will interview with 90% of the time at most schools. Also, it'll be helpful to have a essay or pseduo-essay ready with resume when you get your Dean's letter.

    I would also prepare a list of the places you are thinking about applying to. Don't exceed 30. I would first restrict on academic vs. non-academic. Then, perhaps, geography. Try not to restrict yourself too much, though. Present this list to each of your recommenders and perhaps some other people, too. They can give you tips about who they know, and their opinions about programs. But, in the end, remember that most of their info. is from rumors and heresay, so apply wherever you want. That's probably the most important fact so I'll repeat it- Apply wherever you want, but realize who can help you where.

    There's the transcript issue, as well. Your school transcript shouldn't be a problem. USMLE transcipts are easy to send as well (it's a website deal).

    If you can accomplish all of the above soon, then you can submit your application on Day 1, which I always think is very important.

    I was granted all the interviews I could have ever wanted. I'm going to a kick ass school for academic surgery, and I'm really excited....
  8. fourthyr

    fourthyr Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 22, 2001
    surg and famtiadar.....

    where are you all going this July?

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