didn't match... I'm horrified...

Discussion in 'Ophthalmology: Eye Physicians & Surgeons' started by elementals, Jan 13, 2015.

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  1. elementals

    elementals 7+ Year Member

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    Aug 25, 2008
    Hey all... Sorry to start the day on a bummer, but I got an email saying I didn't match this morning. I'm utterly horrified... I keep hoping it's since sort of mistake. I had twenty-plus interviews and went on seventeen. I thought they went well, and received really positive feedback from most of them. I just can't believe this happened.

    Is there any chance this is a mistake? Wtf do I do now?

    Augh...
     
    criticalcaredoc likes this.
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  3. ophtholife12345

    ophtholife12345 2+ Year Member

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    Jan 14, 2014
    I'm so sorry. I want to let you know that I was in the same place last year. I was absolutely shocked and horrified as you are. It will be a difficult few weeks, but know that there is a lot of hope and it can work out with the right preparation. If you had 17 interviews, you definitely have a strong application. Stay posted as several pre-residency fellowships will be posted on SDN in the next few days. I would absolutely apply for those. Feel free to message me.
     
  4. DennyCrane MD

    DennyCrane MD 5+ Year Member

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    Oct 13, 2010
    so sorry to hear the news, elementals... i definitely wanted a proactive, giving person like you to be part of ophtho.

    i think it'd be a good idea to talk to few (maybe several?) program directors to see if they have anything to add other than to say that it was just an unlucky event.
     
    criticalcaredoc likes this.
  5. elementals

    elementals 7+ Year Member

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    Aug 25, 2008
    Thanks for the support, guys. I'm sitting in front of my dean's office right now waiting to talk to them. I'll reach out to my program director next.

    I'm honestly stunned... I thought at least I'd match to my home program. This is a nightmare.
     
  6. Eye Applicant

    Eye Applicant

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    Wow, I am so sorry about this. You were obviously a very strong candidate to begin with or you would not have received so many great interviews. Keep your chin up.
     
  7. DennyCrane MD

    DennyCrane MD 5+ Year Member

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    Oct 13, 2010
    maybe also call sfmatch to make sure the match list was submitted correctly...
     
  8. DrNiko

    DrNiko

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    If it helps, I'm in the same boat. 10 interviews, ranked them all, awesome feedback during interviews. Feeling very confused.

    I'm waiting to talk to my advisor once she is out of the OR. I do want to talk to program directors but not sure how to go about it.
     
  9. premedfather

    premedfather 2+ Year Member

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    Sep 24, 2010
    I am just writing to say I am sorry and hope you can find an answer fast. Cannot see how candidates with 10 or more interviews end up not matching but I guess the devil is in the details...best of luck...hope it works out.
     
  10. ophtholowchoice

    ophtholowchoice

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    Made this account just to post, in hopes it offers some consolation. At a top 5-10 medical school, high step, good research and awards ... Think I'm a normal person that had good interviews..: got 15 interviews and matched at #15. Had 0% belief i would go far down the list - almost didn't interview at the program or ranked it. Glad I matched ... But the sting of disappointment is so high I almost wish I didn't match so I could do more research and try again ...
     
  11. 123eyes

    123eyes

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    That's so disrespectful of those who didn't match. Sure, you're allowed to complain, but this thread is not the right place.
     
    Xenoblade likes this.
  12. premedfather

    premedfather 2+ Year Member

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    I hear you 123eyes but let's give the candidate a break..she/he is dissapointed and could not help it...I understand...
     
  13. Brathmore

    Brathmore 5+ Year Member

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    Oct 21, 2010
    If this year is similar to past years, about 25% of us ophtho applicants are feeling devastated right now about not matching. Given how many people seem to have applied this year, I wouldn't be surprised if the number is 30% or higher this year. To a person, the people I met on the interview trail were amazing and accomplished. You will all be outstanding physicians - whether or not in ophtho - and make a huge difference in peoples lives.
     
  14. ophtholowchoice

    ophtholowchoice

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    I apologize .., I understand if I love th field (which I do), I should be happy with I match at all ... I apologize for venting here, I thought it would actually console those who got disappointing news today also and show how close I got to not matching at all
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
  15. lateophthoapp

    lateophthoapp

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    I'm still praying there was a mistake
     
    Xenoblade likes this.
  16. Eyelovesurgery

    Eyelovesurgery 2+ Year Member

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    Aug 15, 2014
    Elementals, I have so very much enjoyed your posts throughout the interview season, and I cried a little reading this thread. I am hoping that there was a mistake. If not, I pray that there is an opening later this week for you. Best of luck. We are all rooting for you and are equally shocked by this news.
     
    elementals and Promethean like this.
  17. Apple99

    Apple99 2+ Year Member

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    even years later I am reading this as this experience in my life was devastating. I did not match but thankfully someone gave me great advice and told me to do an intern year. I did this and was eligible to apply to open spots. Programs lose residents and add more positions so all I can say to anyone that did not match today, do a PGY1 year no matter what. Research year is great bla bla bla but I am telling you, you can't even apply for open spots or added positions without the PGY1 year. Make the SF match vacancy page your home page. Let all the PDs you know that you are interested in any open positions no matter where they are. I am telling you, it makes a difference. There is no feeling worse than seeing an open spot, maybe even at your own institution and unable to fill it because you did not do a PGY1
     
  18. elementals

    elementals 7+ Year Member

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    Thanks for all the responses, guys. Definitely need the support right now. TBH my first reaction was "**** this noise I'ma go be a neurologist." But I think I owe it to myself to at least try... so yeah, probably PGY1 and onward for me.

    God, what a mess. I really, really didn't think this would happen. SEVENTEEN INTERVIEWS. I mean you hear the horror stories, but I never thought I'd be one of those who fell through the cracks.
     
    Promethean likes this.
  19. pappyMD

    pappyMD 2+ Year Member

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    dirty south
    Congratulations to all of you who matched, and my sincere condolences to those who did not. I was one of the 25-30% of those who failed to match two years ago, but I did one of the path fellowships to improve my application. About a year ago, I wrote about my experience in the Mamalis/Werner lab in Utah. Below is the link:
    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/thr...gy-pathology-and-research-fellowship.1050215/

    This past year's path fellows fared very well in the match, so I'm sure a post from them will be forthcoming. I truly believe that if you approach this next year with humility and tenacity, in spite of the devastation, shame, and shock that you probably feel right how, you can come out on top in the end.

    All the best to you.
     
    Promethean likes this.
  20. eyeball72514

    eyeball72514

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    Just lived thru this drama for the past 1 year and made it out on top. Don't let anyone stop you from doing what you want to. If you want to scramble and pick another field then do it. If you want to be an ophthalmologist, then grab the bull by the horns and choke it. Some good luck (and a few connections and away rotations) come in handy too, though. But I would say do a prelim so the vacancies are an option. Although the research years tend to impress people as well. There's really no right answers, you just gotta be all in and willing to risk /waste a year if for some reason it does not go according to plan
     
  21. Hopefulone09

    Hopefulone09 5+ Year Member

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    I also lived thru this last year and it was incredibly devastating. I got 13 interviews (I turned down 2 more because of scheduling conflicts), tons of positive remarks and was confident that I would match. I am happy to say that I did a research year this year and matched at my #1 choice this year with only 3 interviews. My best advice would be hang in there whether its an intern year or research both have their strengths and weaknesses it will work out
     
  22. jjg2

    jjg2 7+ Year Member

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    Question to all those who did a preresidency fellowship, did you withdraw from the prelim year match? Or did you just not rank any programs? I'm wondering whether it'd be a major red flag when reapplying for prelim year.
     
  23. pappyMD

    pappyMD 2+ Year Member

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    To answer your questions, jjg2, I did withdraw from the prelim year match since you have to commit to these pre-residency fellowships before the intern year match. Whether this is a red flag is debatable. I can say that I went on about 10 prelim/TY interviews the second time around, and at each interview I was asked about my confidence in performing a physical exam, obtaining a medical history, etc given that I would be a year out of medical school before starting internship. Despite explaining to these programs that I had already registered to take USMLE Step 3 to beef up my medical knowledge prior to starting internship, and telling them that as part of my fellowship that I performed medical histories and physicals on pre-op patients, I still fell quite a bit on my internship match year list. So, I can say that for me at least, taking a year off hurt me with regards to matching into internship year, but that may not be the case for others.

    You have to put it in perspective though. I would gladly do a pre-residency fellowship and match into the most god-awful surgery internship in Timbuktu, if it meant that I got to do ophthalmology in the end.
     
  24. DrZeke

    DrZeke yzarc gniog ylwolS 10+ Year Member

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    LOL. I know how this feels. People liked my ophtho app fine with all my time spent on research but prelims gave me crap about taking time off. Honestly, I found the prelim Match a bit more challenging than the ophtho match if you can believe that.
     
  25. hopefullyis

    hopefullyis

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    First, notice my screen name for an account I created in your shoes last year and luckily, PappyMD posted information that caught my eye. I'm currently an ocular pathology/research fellow at the Moran Eye Center working with Drs. Nick Mamalis and Liliana Werner and I think it is one of the best opportunities (if not the best) out there for this situation. January 14, 2014 was one of the most painful days of my life. Like some of you, I went on 11 interviews, got great feedback (eg "you'd be such a great fit at our program etc. blah blah blah") and ranked all programs. When I opened that email and saw "No Match", I was shocked, in pain, and wondered if it was a mistake. I can totally empathize with all those going through this right now and feel for you. It sucks and the match is a very bizarre process in certain respects.

    I am one of the 2 out of 3 fellows that matched this year. This year, I got more (13) interview invitations and went on all of them. For me, choosing the Mamalis/Werner fellowship was about the track record - I'm sure there are several stories of people that have done ordinary research years or prelim years and ended up on top, but the fellowship at Utah has been there for ~20 years and I wanted to go to a program where there was a long term track record of success. In addition, many program directors are familiar with this fellowship and on the interview trail I heard from several people "we matched with people in your fellowship in the past".

    While the rematch rate used to be ~100% several years ago, the last 5 years it has decreased to 67% (2/3 fellows matching) as ophthalmology is becoming more and more competitive (it seems to be anyway). Besides the fellowship at Bascolm, there is nothing else that has a track record like this. Dr. Ambati, also at Utah, does have a fellowship that was just started. He is 1/1 now in the match and I've heard positive things from the fellow currently doing it, but it is a brand new program that is very different with no ocular pathology. For me, I wanted something that was established with a reputation as a program.

    [DISCLAIMER: Do not think that this fellowship will boost your chances of matching at Utah. It will, however, boost your chances of racking up interviews and matching elsewhere.]

    If you really want to become an ophthalmologist, I would definitely apply to the Mamalis/Werner lab (actually all of the pre-residency fellowships - the Mamalis/Werner lab had 35+ apps and interviewed ~10 for 3 spots so its definitely not a guarantee by any means) over doing your intern year. For me, it was a no brainer and getting accepted to the fellowship lifted my spirits and has been a great experience. Besides matching, I will have multiple first author publications in major journals and will be presenting one paper at ASCRS in April (paid for by the program). This work on my cv not only helped me match and get interviews, but will stay with me for the rest of my career. I will also leave knowing a lot about ocular pathology that will serve me well during my residency. Finally, Drs. Mamalis and Werner are great people to work with and are extremely generous. Feel free to PM me with questions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
    OpticalBlackOut likes this.
  26. Corn Dog

    Corn Dog Dream Big 7+ Year Member

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    I have seen people matching and doing well after doing these pre-residency fellowships esp from Utah and Miami, but it was always a mystery to me how doing a pre-residency fellowship or even a year of research would be that beneficial. It would make a lot more sense if one were applying at the end of his/her pre-residency fellowship or research year, but since most people would be re-applying at the time they would be starting their pre-residency fellowship/research year, I'm not so sure how it could be that helpful.

    You mentioned "multiple first author publications in major journals," but how many of them were you able to list on your application when you applied in July/August? You also mentioned presenting a paper at a conference (which I think is a big deal), but most of the time, people don't find out about such an honor until later in the year, by which point it would be too late to make it matter for the ophtho match.

    So does it boil down to connections? Do these mentors call/write letters on your behalf before you publish/achieve anything substantial? If so, personally i find it difficult to believe that such letter would be anything stellar.

    Just my thoughts.
     
  27. DrZeke

    DrZeke yzarc gniog ylwolS 10+ Year Member

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    I think that it's more the concept of "matching" to one of these fellowships that makes the candidate more attractive and helps the application. It does so in several ways:

    1) shows commitment to ophtho

    2) shows research potential and productivity. People don't go to these programs and do nothing. They learn ophtho and do research and WRITE. Everyone knows that in the academic world.

    3) their mentors are well known.

    ...
     
  28. pappyMD

    pappyMD 2+ Year Member

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    Ditto to what DrZeke said. Dr Mamalis is the Editor of JCRS and as such is well known in the ophtho community, particularly the cataract/refractive community. Dr. Werner is also very well known in the community since she is heavily involved in IOL biomaterials research. Speaking on behalf of the Utah fellowship... each year when you start, Drs Mamalis and Werner will give you your article assignments and you will claim them as "in progress" on your application. You also claim the ASCRS presentations that you'll do the following Spring on your application also as "in progress". But let's be honest here, no studies from that lab are ever rejected from ASCRS or from JCRS because they are of such high quality. None, whatsoever. So, whatever you claim as "in progess" on your application will be done, no doubt.

    Now, I am not trying to toot my own horn, but I think the value of these pre-residency fellowships is under appreciated by most. I will tell you that as a result of doing the Utah fellowship, I am first author on a review article and a case report. I am third author on a study that we recently published in JCRS and will be 5th author on another. And I will be first author on another review article, 2nd author on a case report, and 3rd author on another case report. I am also first author on two non-peer reviewed articles that I published with Dr Werner and am first author on five textbook chapters in Dr Ambati's Diagnostic Ophthalmology textbook. I also presented two papers at ESCRS in London this past year. Most of what I mentioned has already been published, aside from one of the review articles and two case reports. But, prior to my ophtho residency application, I already knew that I would be working on most of this stuff and as such, I claimed it as "in progress" on my ophtho application and was able to talk about it passionately during my interviews. Needless to say, I had some excellent mentors in Utah to help me on my way, and I wholeheartedly believe that my time as an ophtho resident will be enriched by my experiences out in Utah.
     
  29. shebec117

    shebec117 2+ Year Member

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    A family member of mine also did not match this year, and we are of course very disappointed. So sorry to read about the disappointments of others on this forum. Thank you for posting, though.

    In terms of reapplying in ophtho, what are the chances of matching the second time around after completing a pre-residency fellowship? Are the advantages mostly for networking opportunities and/or to publish more?

    What do you think of someones chances in reapplying while working on research while simultaneously completing a transitional year/pre-lim year? --- the hypothetical advantage being able to complete a pre-lim year for a back-up residency, in the event of matching into a back-up in the match in March.

    Thanks for all the suggestions listed thus far.
     
  30. EyeSee1

    EyeSee1 2+ Year Member

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    I went the route of doing a pre-lim year and fitting in research when I could with faculty from my home program. I was quite surprised at how many vacancies popped up throughout the year on the SF match vacancy postings. Ultimately, I found a spot at one of those places, though I had acquired enough interviews for the match that I am confident (had I gone on all of them) that I would have had a great shot at matching.

    I don't think it detracted at all from my application that I chose to go into a PGY1 year (I did surg) rather than do a pre-residency fellowship. I found ways to stay involved in ophthalmology through research (and scrubbing in on some ophtho cases during my PgY1 year) and received way more interview offers than the first time around. Anything that shows continued dedication to the field will help your application. I chose to specifically address why I believe I didn't match, my emotional response to it, and the steps I had taken to mitigate my deficiencies in my personal statement, and received a lot of positive responses at interviews regarding it. Programs appreciate honesty, resilience, and humility.

    Just be humbled by the experience, find the strength to move past the crushing disappointment (It really, really sucks! I know), and work hard to make sure it doesn't happen again. There are no guarantees but don't let not matching once be the final word on your aspirations.
     
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  31. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    Optometrist
    When people don't match, are they given a reason or do most people have a sense as to what the issue is?
     
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  32. DrNiko

    DrNiko

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    At least in my experience, no, you do not get a reason. Not even my home program would elaborate. I have some guesses, but nothing more.
     
  33. EyeSee1

    EyeSee1 2+ Year Member

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    When I didn't match last year, I reached out to every program I had interviewed at. They all responded, some with surface comments ("you were great", "tough year", "would have loved to have you"), others gave actual advice/reasons. For me, Step 1 was a big reason and a red flag for some programs, and they let me know that. I worked hard to mitigate that and improved on my Step 2, as well as got honors through nearly all of my fourth year clinicals after not matching.

    I found that I had missed matching at my home program by just a couple of spots. Another program commented that I had not seemed to have fully fleshed out my interest yet, as I made the choice late in third year and had somewhat limited experience at that point.

    Ultimately I think it's worth reaching out. You will get plenty of cliched responses, but the one or two gems of truth you get in there will help you prepare for re-application.
     
  34. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    Optometrist
    So given those responses that you got......were any of them a shock to you?
     
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  35. EyeSee1

    EyeSee1 2+ Year Member

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    Nothing was a huge shock, no, but the comments certainly changed the way and the where when it came to reapplying. I didn't bother reapplying to the programs (2) who told me essentially "there are other, less competitive fields than ophtho", "medicine is such a broad field, anything else that interests you?", and I actually got a feel for the types of programs that I just didn't have a chance at. I applied to about 15 less programs than I did the first time around.

    Additionally, the positive feedback I got from some programs, and learning that I came very, very close to matching at my home program, let me know that I wasn't just kidding myself thinking that I would be successful if I took a year to strengthen my app and reapply, even with my pretty shoddy Step 1. And I couldn't be happier that I took the chance.
     
    DrZeke likes this.
  36. Hopefulone09

    Hopefulone09 5+ Year Member

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    I really did not get an explanation as to why I did not match other than "its a really competitive field". Several programs told me that my application was great and they did not see any reason why I would not have matched. The PD of my home program even said that same thing. Unfortunately in a competitive field like ophtho I think there are many times when there is not a reason why. I had good Step scores, research, great letters and plenty of interviews.
     
  37. Xenoblade

    Xenoblade 2+ Year Member

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    I am sorry op that you didn't match.

    Stories like this make me nervous about even trying for ophtho because it is so competitive and I don't have a home program.

    I wish you the best of luck op.
     
  38. DTFluorescein

    DTFluorescein

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    I hope everything worked out for the poster.
    Reading this thread has got me worried for this upcoming match.
     
  39. DrZeke

    DrZeke yzarc gniog ylwolS 10+ Year Member

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    Hahaha nice to see you're selectively reading things to help you through your anxieties...

    yes elementals (the OP) matched this past year. Don't jump the gun.



    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
     
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  40. AQ888

    AQ888

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  41. BlankSlate

    BlankSlate

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    I've read this thread many times too. Very happy that everything worked out for OP. Glad to know there are options for people who did not match and that life goes on.
     
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  42. Eyewanttomatch

    Eyewanttomatch

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    If you do a prelim year and apply ophtho again simultaneously and end up matching the second time, do you then have a gap year in between to do whatever you want? Or would you have to complete another year of prelim? Sorry if this is a dumb question. Thank you!

    Created a new cheesy username to remain somewhat anonymous. :p
     
  43. ojoseco

    ojoseco

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    i applied to Ophtho during prelim year (my first time applying) and am completing a research fellowship during my gap year---i had this year set up in advance so i was able to list on my ophtho apps--if u apply during prelim year, i would definitely have something solid set up for your gap year bcz you will get asked about it at every interview. also, paid research fellowships are hard to come by, so plan ahead. also, if you fail to match im not sure prelim year is best option as you will do little to strengthen app---this has been discussed extensively in previous threads


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
     
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  44. DrZeke

    DrZeke yzarc gniog ylwolS 10+ Year Member

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    Gap year tho I would use it to do research or some amazing outreach work


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
     
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  45. Eyewanttomatch

    Eyewanttomatch

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    Thanks for your reply. Haven't found much info regarding the gap yr so I appreciate it. So assuming I apply for the fellowship in 2017, they would let me start a year later in 2018 after a prelim? I always thought people applied for the fellowship then start it a few months after in the same year. Thanks again for the info!
     
  46. ojoseco

    ojoseco

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    ya that is usually how it works. i contacted a bunch of places in advance explaining my situation, and one worked out


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
     
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  47. bonoz

    bonoz 7+ Year Member

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    For all those that didn't match this year... this is going to be a really tough time for you. I know this because I didn't match last year, but got lucky and matched this time around. Take some time to deal with this and figure out what you want to do. Please feel free to reach out to me if I can help anyone ... I remember how awful and lonely I felt. Don't despair.
     
  48. gigotos

    gigotos

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    Ouch. I got the bad email this morning. It has a sense of finality. But when will the unmatched spots be posted? Will I find them on SF Match with the vacancies from a couple years ago?
     
  49. tarheel1408

    tarheel1408 2+ Year Member

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    MDApps:
    Unfilled spots will be on SFmatch tomorrow, per their calendar.


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
     
  50. RookTookIt

    RookTookIt SDN Lifetime Donor Lifetime Donor 7+ Year Member

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    Last year on the day that vacancies were supposed to be posted we unmatched applicants got an email that said that there were no vacancies. Then a couple of days later a vacancy was posted to the SFMatch website (without any email going out to unmatched applicants). So to anybody who is interested in potential vacancies make sure you check the SFMatch website every day for the next while.
     
  51. JJArms22

    JJArms22 2+ Year Member

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    I got interested in ophtho kind of late into third year...like now. I was set on rads for most of the year until I did an elective. I've come to terms with the fact that I'll probably need a gap year in order to have a chance at matching as I don't imagine I have enough time to have a decent application. Would you guys recommend I apply for preliminary programs and do research during intern year or take a research year between 3rd and 4th year? I spoke to my home program's PD today, and surprisingly she did not give me much information or advice...so I figure this is the next best place to ask.
     

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