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Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by TweetyPie, Mar 21, 2004.
You can apply to as many different programs -- schools and fields -- as you'd like. You could even manage to interview for different specialties at the same place, if you'd like (and if they offer to interview you). However, would you really be comfortable leaving that decision up to the match?
Applying in multiple fields is strongly discouraged.
In addition to the logistical nightmare of coordinating letters of recommendation, interviews, and the intricate wording of a dean's letter, you'd probably have to do all of this without telling respective departments that you're applying in another field. If you did tell them, you probably wouldn't be taken seriously by anyone. By not telling them, you're being deceitful.
The exception to this is that some applicants in enormously competitive specialties (e.g. integrated plastics) will apply to a related field (e.g. general surgery prelim spots) as a backup.
One field that you mentioned (ENT) participates in the early match (sfmatch.org), which is independent of the NRMP.
A better plan of action is to clearly define your interests as best you can. Then, you can be a much stronger applicant in the field of your choice, and you can be genuinely convincing when you try to convey your enthusiasm and dedication to a particular field.
You could do it, but it'd be a pain. Although you might be able to make the deadlines and file all the right paperwork, it'd be a colossal headache. Remember that you might be doing rotations that fall and winter, which would further complicate your scenario. I don't know where you are in your training, but by the summer after third year, you should have serious talks with your dean and faculty advisors about how competitive you'd be for these fields.
ENT is a tough match, no question. If a) you don't want it badly enough, or b) you and your advisors just don't think you'd match, then don't apply. Combining ERAS and the SF match is a huge headache that you should avoid if possible. If you think you're cut out for ENT and really want it, then give it 100% and forget ERAS. You'd just have to accept that if you don't match, you'll need to scramble and/or reapply next year.
If you decide to scrap ENT, you could apply in general surgery (more competitive this year) and add in a handful of emergency medicine programs. Just realize that you could open a Pandora's box by doing so (see earlier post).
The key for competitive fields is to apply early and broadly. Before you apply, you'll need to assess your own goals and competitiveness in the match. In my opinion, you should explore these fields as best you can, and go where your heart leads you. Forget applying to the rest, and give it your all.
Forgive me...but I suspect you haven't rotated through all those specialties yet. I suspect once you have, your choice will be down to one or two specialties, a much more manageable number. Do what you can to figure out what you want to do early in your fourth year. Then go for it. Very few med students are torn between more than 2 specialties by match time.
The ENT early match application, with gen surg as backup, is a good one, since you need some back up if you don't match into something in the early match like ENT (although gen surg is pretty competetive now too!)
I know someone who actually applied to, interviewed for, and ranked three specialties - it was a nightmare and down to the making of the rank list didn't know which they really wanted. You need to make a decision eventually - it's best to research all the fields as much as you can through rotations and talking to tons of residents and attendings in all the feilds, then just pick one before the application is submitted and make the process a little less painful.