CS_22

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Saw an interesting thread on another site, and thought I'd see if some of the current MS IV's or residents would be willing to answer some personal questions regarding your decision to go into EM. These are verbatim off of another site who had some sort of Q&A about different specialties. Thought I'd see if I could get a little more insight.

Anything, of course, would be appreciated. (Oh, and best of luck for all MS IV's for upcoming Match Week!)

How did you decide on your specialty?
How did you prepare yourself for application to your chosen specialty?
Who wrote your letters of recommendation for your application?
Which programs did you apply to and why?
What kinds of questions did programs tend to ask you?
What would you have done differently in applying?
What was the most difficult part of the application process?
What should I look for on my interview and tour day?
What questions should I ask of residents, faculty, and program directors?
How did you form your rank list?
What advice can you give seniors applying in your specialty?
 

LotaPower

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CS_22 said:
Saw an interesting thread on another site, and thought I'd see if some of the current MS IV's or residents would be willing to answer some personal questions regarding your decision to go into EM. These are verbatim off of another site who had some sort of Q&A about different specialties. Thought I'd see if I could get a little more insight.

Anything, of course, would be appreciated. (Oh, and best of luck for all MS IV's for upcoming Match Week!)

How did you decide on your specialty?
How did you prepare yourself for application to your chosen specialty?
Who wrote your letters of recommendation for your application?
Which programs did you apply to and why?
What kinds of questions did programs tend to ask you?
What would you have done differently in applying?
What was the most difficult part of the application process?
What should I look for on my interview and tour day?
What questions should I ask of residents, faculty, and program directors?
How did you form your rank list?
What advice can you give seniors applying in your specialty?
what other site was this?
 
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CS_22

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It was on Medfools.com

I'm not trying to take away from their site, and I know that most people on here might say to just check out the FAQ's, but I thought maybe I could put this on and if a few people would answer it, then it would give me and some others who are finally deciding for sure that EM is what they want to do for the rest of our lives a little perspective. There are people, including me, who are MS III's and are just starting to realize that we have this daunting task ahead of us. It would just be nice to know how people have done it before.

Anyway, if anyone decides to take this up, it would be much appreciated.

CS
 

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I can't speak for everybody here, but most of us who have been here a little while have answered all the above questions (some of them multiple times) in various threads. I am personally not inclined to retype them all out again. They're all here somewhere for those that are interested.

You ask far too many and overly broad questions. You're asking for a professional and academic life story from everybody, which I think is a bit... ambitious.
 

donc

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Sessamoid said:
I can't speak for everybody here, but most of us who have been here a little while have answered all the above questions (some of them multiple times) in various threads. I am personally not inclined to retype them all out again. They're all here somewhere for those that are interested.

You ask far too many and overly broad questions. You're asking for a professional and academic life story from everybody, which I think is a bit... ambitious.
I agree. For those that are truly interested, you should care enough to put in the time that is needed to find these answered by doing searches within the forum.
Put in the work and you shall be rewarded with many insights!
 

kungfufishing

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my transcriptionist is working on entering my career and life story (ies?) and should have it all entered sometime next month.

In the meanwhile, Ill throw you a small bone (metacarpal?)

Rotate through EM. It is quite unique - different day to day, different scheduling, different decisionmaking process, different work pace. Many specialties are polarizing but EM is especially so - your life/lifestyle is much different from that of any other hospital based specialty (no rounding, nobody you follow long term, somewhat less repetitive)

Where to apply, making a rank list, really the whole application process is covered ad nauseum. Questions people ask you in interviews are somewhat predictable - why EM? Why here? Actively psychotic? Willing to take meds for it?

EM is somewhat competitive. Seems like US MD grads with average numbers have an excellent chance of matching, but not necessarily matching wherever they want. Although the specialty is DO friendly it still places you at a slight but tangible disadvantage when applying to ACGME residencies (Im a DO). This means apply widely. This is pretty well covered in the FAQ, too.

Reading through the questions on your post, seems like the most important question to answer would be whether or not you actually enjoy the work in EM. All the other stuff (lifestyle/money etc.) is pretty irrelevant because you have to really like it show up and work hard (which you will most every shift) for your 8-12. So rotate through, and the rest of the stuff is answered multiple times on this forum and in the FAQ.
 
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CS_22

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I'm not going to push the issue to much, but I guess I'd just like to say as a long-time reader but new poster to this board, I'm a little -- I don't know -- disappointed.

Truthfully, I have to say that I probably am so "ambitious" in asking these broad questions because there's not a whole lot of other places for me to turn for answers. You see, I am not fortunate enough to be attending a medical school which has an EM program -- one that I could go and pick the minds of both residents and attendings with all the little daily, rather insignificant, questions that come to mind. I come to this board -- to you -- to help reaffirm why I want to do this.

I apologize in advance, because I'm sure already I haven't made a lot of friends. I'm not trying to make anyone rehash information if they don't feel so inclined. I admitted on my earlier post, a lot of these questions could probably be found elsewhere, especially in the FAQ. Some questions, I may even know the answer to. But to take an initiative to criticize a new poster, someone who stumbled across some information on another website and wanted to compare and contrast some personal stories because he's both frightened and excited about the future that lies ahead, just doesn't seem right. I'm settled on EM. But what of someone who doesn't know for sure what they want to do, and is just looking for a little acceptance in a field that they find interesting. Do you ignore all new posters, or refer them to a search, instead of guiding some that might need it most? Please, keep in mind, to those that are already in it -- you're an ambassador to your field.

Look, I'm going to get off my soapbox. I really am. Like I said, I'm sorry. But don't think for one second I'm not truly interested in EM because you think I have a lack of ability to type in a search. I'm thrilled at what my future holds. So excited that I feel like I'm on here four or five times a day to see what new questions have been asked only to be disappointed because there are no new threads. And I feel as though I've performed so many searches that I don't know what more to look for. Maybe I'm not in the right school, group of friends, or internet message board clique, but all I really wanted was a chance to just pick the minds of some of you -- to ask the stupid questions that I have no one else to turn to.

Kungfufishing, I appreciate what you shared -- even with the sarcasm :) .

CS
 

Sessamoid

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Sorry you're disappointed, but you really should show some initative in finding these answers. Looking up I can see that I've already posted more than 1000 posts, many (though not all) relevent to the questions you asked. Do a search for any particular answers you need. This information is all out there, but I think it's a little selfish of you to ask all of us to spoonfeed it to you now despite the fact that we've all done this already many times.

I also came from a school with no EM program, and I flailed around in the dark for ages. I understand your situation. But I had no such resource as this when I applied, and I made a lot of mistakes. Be thankful that this place exists and that there are people here to answer your particular problems. But I don't feel inclined to answer a post that basically asks, "Tell me everything about EM and yourself."

I admitted on my earlier post, a lot of these questions could probably be found elsewhere, especially in the FAQ.
You have read the FAQ, haven't you?

But what of someone who doesn't know for sure what they want to do, and is just looking for a little acceptance in a field that they find interesting.
If what you needed was acceptance and reassurance, you'll find plenty of that here. Just ask.
Do you ignore all new posters, or refer them to a search, instead of guiding some that might need it most?
In all internet forums, I direct people to search for questions that have been "frequently asked" so that they can catch up the largesse of good information that has already been offered. If you have a particular need, I'm happy to help.
Maybe I'm not in the right school, group of friends, or internet message board clique, but all I really wanted was a chance to just pick the minds of some of you -- to ask the stupid questions that I have no one else to turn to.
Your questions aren't picking our minds, they're asking for us to do a core dump of everything. Your questions aren't stupid at all, but they are frequently asked. If you can't find the answer to something, feel free to ask for help, but at least put forth the effort.
 

notatriagenurse

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I am also a new poster (10+ posts) but I would agree with Sessamoid on this one. The majority, if not all, of my questions about EM have been answered by doing searches on this forum. There's lots of good info out there if you put in the time!!

Do your homework so that you can post more direct questions. I'm sorry but your questions are just too overly broad. As you can see there has been 244 views of this post yet very few replied.
 
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CS_22

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Sessamoid, I appreciate the honest discussion -- And I seriously hope no hard feelings result from a frank talk such as this.

My intent wasn't to start this thread as a sort of dumping. Rather, like I said, I saw the idea on another site and thought it would be interesting to carry it over here. I've read FAQ's, almost every new post since I chose EM as a residency, and done an immense number of searches regarding many of the questions posed.

I guess I just thought it would be interesting to see if anybody would be willing to share a story to explain what got them to where they were. I understand that it is alot to ask anyone, just as it was probably a lot to have asked the individual who went through it on the other site.

I'll leave it at this -- I appreciate your feedback. Please do not assume because I ask these questions, that I'm just too lazy to do a simple search. As that's not the case. Also, know that I'll understand if no responses are given, as this would be quite an undertaking for anyone. I guess the initial frustration tonight was from those that didn't just say "search", but rather from those who questioned my motivation as well.

Thanks.

CS
 
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CS_22

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notatriagenurse -- It was never an issue of a willingness or not to look up and do searches. Those I've done, and found a lot of the information. Everyone here is assuming that there's a laziness issue on my part. That I'm not willing to try to find some of the information that I'm asking about. I've done searches -- lots of them -- and have been successful in finding information I need.

However, at the same time, if you look at the original post, it was only intended to copy a thread from another site that I found interesting. I thought it was great that someone was willing to tell their "EM story", and didn't realize that it would cause quite a commotion here. Actually, I appreciate those who said, "Hey, a lot of this has been asked before. Try a search..." At least they acknowledged the post, made a newer member feel welcome, and gave some constructive direction. The problem I quickly had were those that assume because a new member comes in here and asks a question thats been asked before, that they're either lazy or uninterested.

Thanks for the comments notatriagenurse.

CS
 

Sessamoid

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BTW, can you post a link to the thread you were talking about?
 

pushinepi2

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CS_22 said:
Saw an interesting thread on another site, and thought I'd see if some of the current MS IV's or residents would be willing to answer some personal questions regarding your decision to go into EM. These are verbatim off of another site who had some sort of Q&A about different specialties. Thought I'd see if I could get a little more insight.
/QUOTE]


Look to the web you must. Resources find you will.

http://www.geocities.com/andy_kahn_em/
http://nsucomems.tripod.com
http://www.saem.org/inform/02med.htm
http://www.aaemres.org/

Seriously, though... it is important to do quite a bit of on and offline research on this topic. Though I considered myself adequately informed on the topic of EM application, this past interview season was a major eye opener. I think many of the veterans on this forum would agree that superior feedback comes from program directors, current residents, and professional / academic organizations like AAEM and SAEM. Do senior rotations at institutions of interest and talk to the faculty and residents.
Good luck-- the EM FAQ page here has got to be one of the most comprehensive and well maintained I've seen.
 

Sessamoid

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CS_22 said:
Sure. It was a section on MedFools.com. It had separate ones done for each specialty.

Here's the link... http://medfools.com/match/emergency_medicine.php
Is there more somewhere there? It doesn't look like a thread of people posting replies. It looks like a generic single response used to demonstrate the type of person that goes into emergency medicine. I've read it somewhere else before too.
 

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pushinepi2 said:
CS_22 said:
Saw an interesting thread on another site, and thought I'd see if some of the current MS IV's or residents would be willing to answer some personal questions regarding your decision to go into EM. These are verbatim off of another site who had some sort of Q&A about different specialties. Thought I'd see if I could get a little more insight.
I think many of the veterans on this forum would agree that superior feedback comes from program directors, current residents, and professional / academic organizations like AAEM and SAEM. Do senior rotations at institutions of interest and talk to the faculty and residents.
Good luck-- the EM FAQ page here has got to be one of the most comprehensive and well maintained I've seen.
I don't know how many EM applicants have reached me through SDN. When someone had a specific, individual interest, I've given them a lot of what they were looking for.
 

Sessamoid

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Apollyon said:
I don't know how many EM applicants have reached me through SDN. When someone had a specific, individual interest, I've given them a lot of what they were looking for.
Cool! I have a specific, individual interest in finding a large bag full of hundred dollar bills. Or failing that at least 5 of the winning numbers to the next California Lotto. :laugh:
 

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I agree with the above posters, much of this info has been discussed in many threads. I will take a crack at answering a few of your questions.


How did you decide on your specialty?
I was in the EMS field and knew all along that I would do EM.

How did you prepare yourself for application to your chosen specialty?
I made sure to be competetive with good grades and board scores. I chose tough rotations (EM, MICU, SICU) and made sure to shine as much as possible on these rotations and get good letters.

Who wrote your letters of recommendation for your application?
A PD of a good EM program, my SICU attending, and a medicine doc.

Which programs did you apply to and why?
My program choices were based mostly on location. I applied to mostly CA and Northeast programs.

What kinds of questions did programs tend to ask you?
Too long ago to remember (I started residency in 1998) all details, but no pimping questions...Most asked stuff like why EM, tell us about yourself, research interests....Remember, if you got so far as to be interviewed, they figure you already have a good medical knowledge base, so they want to get to know you as a person to make sure you would be a good personality fit for the program.....

What would you have done differently in applying?
Nothing. I got into one of my top ranked programs.

What was the most difficult part of the application process?
Not in any particular order....

1) Figuring out where to apply...No SDN during my application time to help out
2) Coming up w/ the $ for the interviews
3) Trying to schedule all the interviews so that you get to all the programs on one trip. (I did BU, UMass, and Yale in a 3 day run to the NE; Then I did OHSU, Stanford, Davis, and Fresno on one big driving loop over a few days)
4) Trying not to show boredom and burnout in the late interviews...
5) Figuring out the rank list
6) Moving

What should I look for on my interview and tour day?
What questions should I ask of residents, faculty, and program directors?
This info can be had with a search...Different programs have different routines.....

How did you form your rank list?
Lots of sleepless nights. But it mostly came down to ranking the good programs in the areas where I wanted to be geographically.

What advice can you give seniors applying in your specialty?
See above responses, as well as other threads on this topic.

I chose a great specialty. I am very happy with my choice and couldn't imagine practicing in any other field....

Sessamoid and I were talking today at lunch....We decided that if we had to choose a field (in medicine) other than EM, perhaps it would be IR or neuroradiology in that you get to do lots of procedures and take in a HUGE salary....

Good luck.
 

anonymousEM

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it's been said before but a virtual advisor from SAEM can be really valuable to people at schools with no em residency...check it out at saem.org
 

roja

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Well, I concur that most of this has been answered. However, I must confess, I hate the search functions and scrounging it all up into one post, so I will succumb and awnser...

How did you decide on your specialty?
I was planning on doing peds rheum all through med school. Realized I hated peds and no one particular field appealed to me. I liked elements of it all. One of my friends was planning on going into EM and we were rotating together. We both hated IM rounds and would hang out in the ED when we had nothing to do. I started to get interested in it as he pitched his specialty to me. I talked to some attendings, shadowed and did a rotation. Fell in love immediately.

How did you prepare yourself for application to your chosen specialty?
I wrote a personal statement, got my LORS, did 2 EM rotations and did some research (I had extra time)

Who wrote your letters of recommendation for your application?
2 from EM and one from Psych

Which programs did you apply to and why?
NYC. It was all a location issue for me. As no one knew anything about NYC I applied to them all. I also applied at UTSW to appease my advisor.

What kinds of questions did programs tend to ask you?
This varies from program to program. However, I am a nontraditional, so most people asked me about my previous career and how I made such a big switch to medicine.

What would you have done differently in applying?
Not much. I was bound by location and that made it much easier for me.

What was the most difficult part of the application process?
Lots of interviews are tiring

What should I look for on my interview and tour day?
resident happiness.

What questions should I ask of residents, faculty, and program directors? Are you happy? Do you get along? Do you have a life out of residency? The number of chest tubes, intubations etc is strictly regulated by ROC. YOu will get it. its much more about personality. And if you have a special interest (tox, u/s, etc etc) you should see if its at the programs you are interviewing at. There is a great summary on the EMRA site for what to look for ask on residency interviews. I used this to some degree when applying as we didn't have residency either.

How did you form your rank list?
My first choice was easy. Then it became a 'gut' feel for programs I liked best with 3 year programs getting priority, no 2-4's. The primary issue for me was 'fit'.

What advice can you give seniors applying in your specialty?
When you look throught this thread, realize that in EM the 'prestigious' question is percieved as pretty ridiculous. its about getting a good fit. Think about where you want to live, your competitiveness, if 3 vs 4 is important for you and apply smart. Don't go crazy and do 400 interviews. Personal fit is so much more important than anything else.
 
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CS_22

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anonymousEM said:
it's been said before but a virtual advisor from SAEM can be really valuable to people at schools with no em residency...check it out at saem.org

Yeah, I applied for that at the end of last year after I finally narrowed the career choice to EM, and unfortunately, I still haven't heard anything back...

I guess soon I'll probably try to reapply. Any ideas on what to do?
 

Jeff698

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Since this might help me take my mind off of finding out if I matched tomorrow, I'll bite.

1. How did you decide on your specialty?

I knew I wanted to be an EMS medical director (I'm a long time paramedic) before going to med school and EM is the best/most appropriate route to do this. Along the way, I found out I also love emergency medicine.

2. How did you prepare yourself for application to your chosen specialty?

I did EMS research, went to EM meetings and kept up with the EM journals.


3. Who wrote your letters of recommendation for your application?

EM clerkship director from home school (no program), EM mentor and research director at an away program, EM clerkship director from away rotation


4. Which programs did you apply to and why?

All Texas program (Texas A&M-Scott & White, UTSW, UTH, Texas Tech) 'cause I'm a Texan
Denver, UNM and Oregon 'cause I like mountains
Little Rock 'cause I like hills and lakes and it is reasonably close to home
UAB 'cause I forgot it was a 2-4 program
All the MN programs 'cause I went to a conference up there years ago and like the people
Both CT programs 'cause I used to live up there and liked the state
Christiana because of their program director's EMS research, recommendation from an advisor and 'cause I'd never been to Delaware
The programs in North and South Carolina 'cause I like the low cost of living, lakes and laid back lifestyle
MCG because I like the area and my sister lives there

I'm pretty sure I applied to others but I can't think of them right now. As you can tell, I applied almost exclusively based on geography. I accepted applications based on program specifics. EMS was big for me.


5. What kinds of questions did programs tend to ask you?

Generaly get-to-know you type stuff. No clinical questions. The most interesting was "if you had to teach an hour long class on any topic other than medicine, what would it be?". My answer was the history of Galveston Island. Cool topic, BTW.


6. What would you have done differently in applying?

I wish I'd realized earlier that I wasn't all that interested in a county program and focused my apps a little more.


7. What was the most difficult part of the application process?

By far, it was coming up with my rank list. Really, that was MUCH harder than I anticipated.


8. What should I look for on my interview and tour day?

Get a feel for what the residents are like. Try to see what patient and information flow are like. For me, I was really interested in how long patients had been living in the ED.


9. What questions should I ask of residents, faculty, and program directors?

I asked about the above issues. I also wanted to know how well everyone got along and what the living/school situation was like as well as the availability of affordable houses.


How did you form your rank list?


After MUCH painful consideration and second look visits with my wife. She didn't get to go to any interviews with me so I needed her input.


What advice can you give seniors applying in your specialty?

Do early away rotations. If you aren't already locked into a particular type of program, do a rotation at one of each to help you make your mind up.

Take care,
Jeff

T-4 days (not that I'm counting)
 

EctopicFetus

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As far as the SAEM Advisor... I have done this twice and still no response. It is pretty ghetto IMO for them to offer such a thing only to have no response.
 
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CS_22

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EctopicFetus said:
As far as the SAEM Advisor... I have done this twice and still no response. It is pretty ghetto IMO for them to offer such a thing only to have no response.

Yeah, I've lost a lot of faith in hearing back from them. We'll see. Worst case, I'll make contacts elsewhere.
 

EctopicFetus

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I sent them an email hoping that they would look into it. Ill post once I get a response. CS22 best of luck...
 

dchristismi

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Ok, in the interest of getting Thursday here just a wee bit faster...

How did you decide on your specialty?
I originally went to med school to be a surgeon, but kept EM as an open option. The more I was exposed to it, the more I loved it. I still love the OR, but not as much. Also, I spent a zillion hours working with a crisis domestic violence intervention group, and got to spend a lot of time doing social work in a county ED in the middle of the night. And I loved it.

How did you prepare yourself for application to your chosen specialty?
I did average on step 1, so I kicked it up a notch and aced step . Not that board scores matter all that much, but the drastic improvement did garner some queries from PDs. I just said that when a spouse brings home a 6 weeks old puppy 2 weeks before boards, it doesn't lend to score improvement.

I also spent a LOT of time doing DV interventions. Oh, and the obligatory rotations, of course. By my second shift in the ED, I was completely sold. My EMS research didn't hurt either.

Who wrote your letters of recommendation for your application?
Home program clerkship director and research advisor (no residency program)
Away rotation PD (a committee SLOR)
PICU attending

Which programs did you apply to and why?
Um, 20 programs, mostly in the midwest and southwest. I kept it geographic for the most part.

What kinds of questions did programs tend to ask you?
Asked about me, about my research, interests, and what I was looking for in a program. Mostly, I got the "So, what questions do you have for me?" line.

What would you have done differently in applying?
Trust the PD who told me I didn't need to apply to near as many as I did.

What was the most difficult part of the application process?
Getting through interviews #7, 8 and 9. I have a lot of respect for those who do more than 10, because I was wiped out.

What should I look for on my interview and tour day?
Are the residents happy there, and how is the cameraderie? These people will be your surrogate family, and since you can't choose family, you might as well pick a bunch of residents you think you'll work well with.

What questions should I ask of residents, faculty, and program directors?
Tailor to your interests. I asked a lot about EMS and toxicology experiences because I'm interested in both. I also asked about the social work backup in the ED because that's part of my background, and will make your life as a resident easier when present and solid.

How did you form your rank list?
Gut feeling. I grouped programs into a top three, middle would-be-fine, and bottom I'd-rather-not. The top three then swapped spots several times. I actually made a separate "favorites" folder and bookmarked the programs' homepages, rearranging the order. That was my symbolic list until it was time to put the final one in.

What advice can you give seniors applying in your specialty?
This is going to sound cheesy, but take good notes after your interviews. During the flight home (or when I got to the hotel, or whenever), I made a point of writing down everything I could remember about the program, what my impressions were, and how I felt about the place. I relied on those notes a lot more than the literature from the programs, and any holes in info let me email residents. Also, I'd try to do that with more than 24 hours prior to the deadline. ;) Well, 24 hours was enough for the kind souls who tossed some last minute input my way. But still...