Good Prelim Spots?

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secretwave101

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I've recently finished my MS3 Surgery clerkship, and I'm surprised by how much I liked it. I'm now pretty motivated to take a shot at a surgical residency.

I'm not strong numerically but have VERY solid clinical evaluations thus far from all of my clerkships, particularly Internal and Surgery. So, I'm probably going to have the best shot in a prelim spot where I can hopefully do well enough to end up categorical. But the horror stories about categorical spots are plentiful, so I'm a little worried I'll end up in hell.

Anyone know of some good categorical spots that may take a strong clinical candidate, give them good experience, and potentially accept them as a PGY-2 categorical, or at least give them a fighting chance in a different program's PGY-2 slot?
 

Johnny Cash

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My advice would be to NOT apply for a preliminary spot, but rather just apply for a categorical position. If you are serious about a career in general surgery, best bet is to apply for categorical. To get a competitive categorical slot at an academic program (Wash U, Harvard, Mayo, Duke, etc...etc) that'll take good scores, good recs, good step exams. However, there are some really good middle tier academic surgery programs and some great community based programs that are not as competitive to get into.


Going into it looking for a preliminary spot, and hoping to jump to a categorical spot is not a good idea, especially with General Surgery recently seeing an increase in the number of applicants. Try going after a categorical position, if you don't get one, then you can scramble into a prelimary spot.


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Pilot Doc

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By all means, apply for the categorical spots! Even though GS has become more competitive, only 3/4 of the slots were filled by US grads last year. A categorical spot is not out of your reach. Besides, hundreds of prelim spots go unfilled each year - you can always scramble into one.
 

secretwave101

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Good points. It's pretty defeatist to SET OUT looking for prelim spots, eh?

But, suppose I did have to scramble into a prelim spot - any suggestions for good ones? "Prelim Surg" isn't a category on Scutwork.
 

Johnny Cash

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As far as suggestions for a preliminary surgical position are concerned I would recommend going with location on this one. You'll only be there for a year, so might as well be happy where you'll be living/working for that one year.

There really isn't too much information out there on Preliminary positions that are good for getting you into a categorical position. Most preliminary positions are for people going into surgical subspecialities that begin at PGY-2 (Urology, Neurosurgery, Orthopaedics, Opthalmology, ENT, etc.)

Many people I've talked with who are worried about not matching and having to scramble feel pretty confident that they can secure a preliminary position at their home medical school. I know our surgery program director here told all of us who are going into surgery that if we are unmatched on the 15th of March that we should immediatly page him and he'd most likely find us a spot (preliminary) in our program.


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pdiddy

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Originally posted by Johnny Cash
As far as suggestions for a preliminary surgical position are concerned I would recommend going with location on this one. You'll only be there for a year, so might as well be happy where you'll be living/working for that one year.

There really isn't too much information out there on Preliminary positions that are good for getting you into a categorical position. Most preliminary positions are for people going into surgical subspecialities that begin at PGY-2 (Urology, Neurosurgery, Orthopaedics, Opthalmology, ENT, etc.)

Many people I've talked with who are worried about not matching and having to scramble feel pretty confident that they can secure a preliminary position at their home medical school. I know our surgery program director here told all of us who are going into surgery that if we are unmatched on the 15th of March that we should immediatly page him and he'd most likely find us a spot (preliminary) in our program.


Johnny Cash
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...but wouldn't it be better to be a prelim at harvard, jhu, or ucsf, vs having to scramble to a place like tulane, wvu, or somewhere in arizona where there are less big name people to push you into a categorical...
 

Johnny Cash

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Pdiddy dose have a good point. Of course a place like Harvad, or JHU, Wash U, etc will have bigger names to push you into a categorical somewhere down the road. However, my gut feeling is places like that won't have any preliminary slots to scramble into after March 15th....no data to support this, just a gut feeling.


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jakstat33

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Originally posted by pdiddy
...but wouldn't it be better to be a prelim at harvard, jhu, or ucsf, vs having to scramble to a place like tulane, wvu, or somewhere in arizona where there are less big name people to push you into a categorical...

there are plenty of big names in Arizona
 

Pilot Doc

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If you don't match a categorical spot, I think the idea of going somewhere which has big names to push your career is a little off base. As a US grad, to not match _somewhere_ in surgery means that either 1) academically and/or personally you are deeply flawed or 2) you and/or your advisor had very poor judgement making out your application/interview/rank list. You should go where the jobs are, and you can't afford to be picky.

The best chance for picking up a categorical spot will be _at_ your prelim program. They will know you and you will find out immediately when an intern quits. So look for a spot at a large program - more likely that 1/8 interns will quit than 1/2.
 

5oProlene

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Fear not secretwave, surely that moving personal statement of yours will open the door to many categorical surgical residencies. :horns:
 

neilc

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Originally posted by 5oProlene
Fear not secretwave, surely that moving personal statement of yours will open the door to many categorical surgical residencies. :horns:

dude, you have flogged the dead horse....i am pretty sure you can come up with a new joke by now, it has been weeks! if not, at least have the decency to spare us from this old, worn out, not even very funny in the first place joke:rolleyes:
 

neurogeek

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Even though 5oProlene might have meant the "personal statement" comment as a joke, it's very possibly true. SECRETWAVE is a literary genius! :thumbup:
 

5oProlene

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Originally posted by neilc
dude, you have flogged the dead horse....i am pretty sure you can come up with a new joke by now, it has been weeks! if not, at least have the decency to spare us from this old, worn out, not even very funny in the first place joke:rolleyes:

It was not a joke. I am completely serious about the personal statement. You'll see, many a program director will be moved and invite secretwave in for an interview just to meet the person behind such a profound work. I bet they won't even care about secretwave's grades, USMLE score, or letters of rec after reading the PR.

10-1 say's secretwave will be signed on the spot after the PD reads the personal statement and the interview will be a mere formality.
 

DoctorDoom

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Originally posted by Johnny Cash
Pdiddy dose have a good point. Of course a place like Harvad, or JHU, Wash U, etc will have bigger names to push you into a categorical somewhere down the road. However, my gut feeling is places like that won't have any preliminary slots to scramble into after March 15th....no data to support this, just a gut feeling.


Johnny Cash
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Do a lot of the big places still require that prelims be already matched in other specialties? I was not aware that they still took undesignated prelims.
 
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