Dec 25, 2019
2
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hey, I am a rising MS4 at a small-ish state MD school in the Southeast applying to OBGYN. I was wondering if anyone has any tips/experience with applying to programs in different regions of the country with minimal ties to the region. My only geographical tie to the NW is that I went to college in Portland, OR and did a lot of volunteer/clinical research work at OHSU at the time. I would love to go back to the Pacific Northwest but I recognize that the programs there are competitive, so I wanted to know how much geographical ties would matter. For reference, I have average/mod competitive stats as an applicant and a strong research background. Any insight is greatly appreciated!
 

longhaul3

2+ Year Member
Feb 29, 2016
914
1,670
In my experience, the biggest issue you have to address to match on the west coast, esp. PNW, is believability—how likely is it that this person would really want to move here? There are two parts to this question:

First, how much does the applicant want to come here? It's a desirable area for many, but it's far away from everything else, and not everyone ends up loving it. There are a number of ways to address this part: you're from there, your parents live there, you went to college there, you did an away rotation there, you did a research year there, etc. I would say you have this covered as long as you play it up.

Second, how likely is the applicant to want to go elsewhere (and how willing are they to leave their current region)? This is the big question that applicants from the NE face, because the Northeast Corridor is the academic and medical powerhouse of the country, and lots of people don't want to leave. This prejudice is real, especially for people who grow up, go to college, and go to med school all in the NE—PDs just don't believe they're serious about leaving. I think you have less to worry about here because people tend to assume the opposite about the South (that people want to "get out"). Nevertheless you should emphasize that you really want to leave for whatever reason you have.

I'm not familiar with the inner workings of the obgyn match. The key for you will be getting an interview, because at the interview you can demonstrate why you're serious about it. In a normal year I would wonder if an away rotation would be advisable, but I think that's moot. You might try getting in touch with your old mentors at OHSU. Ask someone from your home institution (not the PD until you're ready to burn that bridge with your home program) whether it would be ok to reach out to the programs directly to express interest and ask for information. This year that may be a reasonable thing to do to express interest at other programs if the specialty doesn't have a centralized means of doing so. My specialty had organized Zoom info sessions with all the programs that prospective applicants signed up for in advance; maybe obgyn is doing something similar.
 
Dec 25, 2019
2
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you for your response! As much as the idea of contacting faculty at residency programs terrifies me right now, I do think that would be a good move eventually. Also, those Zoom info sessions sound amazing!
 

sunshower

5+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2014
12
7
Status
Medical Student
I think going to college in Portland and having research/clinical experience there will help a lot. Be sure to play that up and even mention it in your personal statement if applicable. I'm an incoming intern, went to med school in a similar region to you and matched to a residency program in the PNW. Good luck!
 
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