graddoc2013

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after interviewing for a program, do you think if i get an attending i rotated with from a different department to call the PD and put in good words make a difference in ranking? If anyone has done this can you please share your experience

thanks
 

SouthernSurgeon

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after interviewing for a program, do you think if i get an attending i rotated with from a different department to call the PD and put in good words make a difference in ranking? If anyone has done this can you please share your experience

thanks
I don't think having an attending from a different department will make a difference.

Generally when people have a call made on their behalf, it is from either:
(a) department chair or PD (of the specialty you are applying in) calling in their capacity as such
(b) Faculty member (within the specialty you are applying in) calling because they have a personal connection with the PD of that program (e.g. they trained together)

How much these types of phone calls matter is a subject of much debate on this site, with the consensus being not a ton.
 
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IMPD

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It's highly debated (I think), because, like letters of recommendation, the call can help (or hurt, or nothing) depending on who the two people are. Since this kind of equation is impossible to solve (i.e. does your attending know the PD? worked with the PD? Done admissions work with the PD? Is she liked by the PD?), you are likely spending energy on something that will be of uncertain plus/minus.

I have recently gotten 2 phone calls about an applicant from heavy-hitters in my Department. Without going into the details, these calls are *not* helping the applicant, even though I'm sure he was thrilled to get such big "names" to call on his behalf.
 
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IM2GI

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It's highly debated (I think), because, like letters of recommendation, the call can help (or hurt, or nothing) depending on who the two people are. Since this kind of equation is impossible to solve (i.e. does your attending know the PD? worked with the PD? Done admissions work with the PD? Is she liked by the PD?), you are likely spending energy on something that will be of uncertain plus/minus.

I have recently gotten 2 phone calls about an applicant from heavy-hitters in my Department. Without going into the details, these calls are *not* helping the applicant, even though I'm sure he was thrilled to get such big "names" to call on his behalf.
That's very interesting. My least favorite part of the process was the politics/game at the end of the seasons. I always felt pressure to have someone call or email and never ended up doing it. It felt like middle school, I like you do you like me, circle yes/no??

Are you implying the call negatively impacted the applicant or just neutral? I find the politics to be quite the grey area in terms of formal rules and then actual reality.
 

mercaptovizadeh

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It's highly debated (I think), because, like letters of recommendation, the call can help (or hurt, or nothing) depending on who the two people are. Since this kind of equation is impossible to solve (i.e. does your attending know the PD? worked with the PD? Done admissions work with the PD? Is she liked by the PD?), you are likely spending energy on something that will be of uncertain plus/minus.

I have recently gotten 2 phone calls about an applicant from heavy-hitters in my Department. Without going into the details, these calls are *not* helping the applicant, even though I'm sure he was thrilled to get such big "names" to call on his behalf.
Why were these calls negative? I can understand them being neutral, but not why they would be negative. Unless the callers had some unsavory comments to make...
 

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after interviewing for a program, do you think if i get an attending i rotated with from a different department to call the PD and put in good words make a difference in ranking? If anyone has done this can you please share your experience

thanks
It usually can't hurt, but whether it helps depends a lot about who is calling and his level of esteem within the institution. If we are talking about some junior faculty member in a different department, I probbly wouldn't bother. If we are talking about a department chair or a world renowned figure, or a guy who golfs with the PD every weekend, absolutely.
 

NotAProgDirector

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The "negative" is when some faculty member calls me to put in a good word for someone when they have never worked with them, and honestly know nothing about them at all.

I got a call from a faculty member about a student who had worked with them as an undergraduate. Told me they were fantastic, we had not offered them an interview. "You're making a huge mistake" I was told. Then I told them that they had failed Step 2 CS twice. Long pause. "Oh".
 
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IMPD

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The "negative" is when some faculty member calls me to put in a good word for someone when they have never worked with them, and honestly know nothing about them at all.

I got a call from a faculty member about a student who had worked with them as an undergraduate. Told me they were fantastic, we had not offered them an interview. "You're making a huge mistake" I was told. Then I told them that they had failed Step 2 CS twice. Long pause. "Oh".
I have this exact conversation at least 5 times a year.
 
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The "negative" is when some faculty member calls me to put in a good word for someone when they have never worked with them, and honestly know nothing about them at all.

I got a call from a faculty member about a student who had worked with them as an undergraduate. Told me they were fantastic, we had not offered them an interview. "You're making a huge mistake" I was told. Then I told them that they had failed Step 2 CS twice. Long pause. "Oh".
But what about when the call is made for an applicant who has already interviewed? Wouldn't it at least help you distinguish those who genuinely really like your program vs those who send thank you/ interest emails reflexively?

Assuming the applicant is within that interchangeable top tier, would it affect your rank order list? I ask because my favorite program so far (based on interview) is in a location I have very little "connections". I keep hearing the vaguely about how connections are super important but short of having an uncle in a target dept I don't have a clue regarding how these things play a role in actually affecting where someone matches or if/how one should "play the game".
 
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NotAProgDirector

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As long as PD's don't get all tangled up in "how far down my rank list I need to go", then our ranking strategy is the same as yours: I should rank students in the order that I want them and not worry about connections or desire.

Calls like this make little or no difference on the rank list, at least in my world.
 
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mercaptovizadeh

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It usually can't hurt, but whether it helps depends a lot about who is calling and his level of esteem within the institution. If we are talking about some junior faculty member in a different department, I probbly wouldn't bother. If we are talking about a department chair or a world renowned figure, or a guy who golfs with the PD every weekend, absolutely.
The "negative" is when some faculty member calls me to put in a good word for someone when they have never worked with them, and honestly know nothing about them at all.

I got a call from a faculty member about a student who had worked with them as an undergraduate. Told me they were fantastic, we had not offered them an interview. "You're making a huge mistake" I was told. Then I told them that they had failed Step 2 CS twice. Long pause. "Oh".
So if the chairman of medicine makes the offer to make a phone call to the top choice of anyone applying into IM, would that be hurtful? I understand it may not be terribly helpful, especially if he doesn't personally know the applicant...
 

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Its very unlikely to hurt, and might help.

But let's be honest, do you really feel strongly about applicant rank number 110 vs 130? The top end of your list sure I understand, but the middle Im sure is murky.
 
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NotAProgDirector

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Actually, the part of the list I focus the most upon is where I usually get my last match from, which is usually in the middle somewhere.
 

mercaptovizadeh

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Actually, the part of the list I focus the most upon is where I usually get my last match from, which is usually in the middle somewhere.
How far down the list do programs generally go, if the programs across the board small with a limited number of slots (i.e. 4-6)?
 

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How far down the list do programs generally go, if the programs across the board small with a limited number of slots (i.e. 4-6)?
There is a huge amount of variability year to year. I can recall at least two years when we filled with our ranked-to-match candidates. I definitely remember the year we had to participate in the scramble. I guess our usual would be top third, although it doesn't surprise/disturb me anymore if we go lower. If we rank someone, there is at least some possibility he/she will appear on our Match List, so it's wise to decide in advance that we'd be pleased to match with anyone we rank.
 

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How far down the list do programs generally go, if the programs across the board small with a limited number of slots (i.e. 4-6)?
This varies so much from program to program (based on geographics, prestige, etc), not to mention specialty to specialty.

My medical school had 7 slots in their general surgery program, and would usually fill their slots from within their top 20. But there are always odd years and variations (both good and bad). My residency program is the same size and last year we had a crazy good year - I think literally we got the top 4 people on our rank list and only went down to number 12 or so before we filled.
 

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There is a huge amount of variability year to year. I can recall at least two years when we filled with our ranked-to-match candidates. I definitely remember the year we had to participate in the scramble. I guess our usual would be top third, although it doesn't surprise/disturb me anymore if we go lower. If we rank someone, there is at least some possibility he/she will appear on our Match List, so it's wise to decide in advance that we'd be pleased to match with anyone we rank.
did your program decide to interview more applicants after the scramble year? just curious
 

Raryn

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How far down the list do programs generally go, if the programs across the board small with a limited number of slots (i.e. 4-6)?
Varies from specialty to specialty. Data is available in one of the NRMP PDFs.

Your average IM program for example goes down ~6.5 spots for every spot they have.
 
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Varies from specialty to specialty. Data is available in one of the NRMP PDFs.

Your average IM program for example goes down ~6.5 spots for every spot they have.
Can someone show me a link to this? I've looked through what feels like every goddamn PDF on the NRMP match data website and still haven't been able to find this!
 

Raryn

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drcrispmd

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He can email the PD a letter. The PD of the radiology dept where I did my radiology rotation wanted to send a letter to my top choice. He wanted me to prematch me but radiology was not want I wanted to do. I did not request it but thought it would help (I was wanting a prematch there). He sent me a copy of the email and it was by far the best LOR I had ever read. Ended up liking a program much better down the interview road. I didn't request the email but was happy he offered. This was in the day when DO and IMG could prematch.
 

mcl

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did your program decide to interview more applicants after the scramble year? just curious
We sent a short, confidential survey to everyone we ranked who did not match with us. Replies were sent in a stamped, self-addressed envelope to our institutional GME office rather than directly to our program so that those who responded would feel confident of anonymity. If I remember correctly, we had about 60% response rate, and the overwhelming reason given was geography with the distant-second reason being lack of employment opportunities for spouse. Our response since then (and we're talking more than 10 yrs ago) has been to pay more attention to discernable area ties, or at least ties within the state so that we are interviewing more people who already know/like this area. I adjusted my ppt presentation during the interview day to feature more scenic/recreational opportunities that would help "sell" the community. We did add an interview day, but with the high cancellation rate late in the season, we aren't really interviewing more applicants now than we did then.
 

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If you wanted to have someone call on your behalf when would be best? Right when ROL opens, or towards the end before certification?

I know programs have a different day they get everything together in, so right around January 15th would be best, right? 
 

Raryn

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If you wanted to have someone call on your behalf when would be best? Right when ROL opens, or towards the end before certification?

I know programs have a different day they get everything together in, so right around January 15th would be best, right? 
If you insist on having someone call, do it a day or two after the programs last interview date.
 
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This is an excellent topic. I just want to get an idea if I could do it for my situation.

I am applying for a very small specialty and my No 1 program is a long shot for me.

I know two big names (they personally know me and worked with me). They both know the Chair and the PD personally at my No 1 program.

Would it be beneficial to have the big names to call my No 1 program?

Many thanks for your input!
 

IMPD

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This is an excellent topic. I just want to get an idea if I could do it for my situation.

I am applying for a very small specialty and my No 1 program is a long shot for me.

I know two big names (they personally know me and worked with me). They both know the Chair and the PD personally at my No 1 program.

Would it be beneficial to have the big names to call my No 1 program?

Many thanks for your input!
Let's be honest. It's late.

If these people, that know you so well, and know the PD, don't you think they've already done what they can?

People, play it. Call your Big Names and just chat. Talk about how much you love the program. Let THEM bring up the idea of "putting in a good word" for you.

If, after some time on the phone, or over drinks, this idea does not seem to occur to them, gently suggest "Do you think it might help?"

Let's return to a bit of Victorian subtly here.... :)

Best of luck in the match.
 
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