E-mail Responses?

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Full Member
10+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2008
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Over the course of interviewing, I've e-mailed residents at some programs to say a general "thank you" or to ask questions. There were only 2 or 3 programs where all the residents I e-mailed wrote me back. However, there are a few places where my e-mail/questions have been gone unanswered. I don't know if this is a red flag per se, but it definitely doesn't make a strong impression. I know people are busy, but I can't imagine not answering an e-mail from a residency candidate.

I'm curious: have others experienced the same thing regarding e-mail correspondence from residents? Am I just being nitpicky? I mean, when programs are basically the same, the little things en up mattering IMO.

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Do you regularly send emails? Because this happens all the time everywhere. You are lucky to get a response from people these days, even if you say, "Please respond" in your message. I have no idea why this happens, but it does. In our program, we get messages sent to all residents to weigh in on certain issues, whoever send it out is lucky to get a 25% response rate. There are simply a lot of people who either ignore lots of their email messages or don't respond. Partly it might be because they are busy, partly because they might be disorganized. I wouldn't necessarily downgrade the program because of it though, although if you emailed several residents at one program and no one responded, that's a little odd. Usually you'll get at least one response. It's possible that they did not get the emails also.
I don't regularly send e-mails. But there were 2 programs that I had some reservations about and e-mailed 1-2 residents at each place for clarification. Those programs will remain low on my list since I didn't get the info that might have made a difference.

Regarding the other places, I'm between 2 places for my top 2 spots: at one program all the residents the I wrote e-mailed me back. At the other program only 1 did. I think both programs are very similar but at the first one, I met just about all the residents. At the second place I saw only 1/3 of the residents.

Again, I'm not trying to be whiny, but it makes the residents at the other program seem nicer? I dunno. . .It's just when two places are similar, it comes down to the intangibles.
Intangibles matter. You have to spend several years there. If it helps confirm opinions you already had, it might be a valid conclusion.
I was starting to think poorly of one particular program where I was getting a poor response rate from the residents. However, I think some of it may have been being pretty busy over the holiday season with personal and hospital obligations. A resident that I'd emailed mid-Dec finally emailed me back yesterday and it was worth the wait. They answered all of my questions, and even explained that they waited to respond when they had more time to be thorough in their response.
Intangibles matter. You have to spend several years there. If it helps confirm opinions you already had, it might be a valid conclusion.

I agree. I'll try not to make a big deal about it for the programs that I liked. But for the ones I was iffy on, it's just another confirmation that my instinct is probably right on.