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Harvard or Hopkins Sub-Is

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by BeeGee, Dec 27, 2001.

  1. BeeGee

    BeeGee Member
    7+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2001
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    To all 4th years, residents, or physicians out there, (or anyone else that can offer advice)...
    I would like to do 2 away electives and need your help. One of these electives, I would like to do at one of "my" top choice schools that I have a fighting chance to get in, and the other at a "dream" program like Harvard, Hopkins, etc. Do you think that I should apply to do the away elective at the "dream" school like Harvard, Hopkins, etc. in order to get good recommendations from some of their world renowned faculty? Will the experience, the name on my transcripts, plus the recommendations REALLY help me to get into a good residency program (along with having good grades and average Step scores...)? Or do you think that my time would be better spent at some of my other middle choice schools? I am interested in General Surgery and of course I'm going to try to match at Harvard or Johns Hopkins because of their excellent reputation and facilities,but I don't know if I'd be competitive and might not even interview anyway. So, I was thinking that if I did do one elective with either of these programs, then maybe a "glowing" recommendation from a world renowned surgeon might help me to get into another great program. Thanks for your help. --BeeGee :D
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  2. dr.evil

    dr.evil Senior Member
    Physician 7+ Year Member

    Oct 30, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Attending Physician
    I'm an MS4 going through the GS interview process right now so take my "advice" with a grain of salt (but that doesn't keep me from giving it to you ;) ).

    First, at the "big name" programs such as Harvard, Hopkins, Vanderbilt, etc. you must have good grades and excellent step 1 board scores (at least 230) to make their first cut to get an interview. It sucks but that's usually the way it goes (with exceptions of course). People who do rotations through programs usually receive a courtesy interview regardless.

    OK, is a letter from a renowned surgeon a great thing? Only if you actually work one on one with the guy and he is willing to write you a STRONG letter. Otherwise it's just a letter. Letters are important and must be obtained by attendings you work with. If they are well known, it's a big bonus but not a necessity.

    Do I recommend that you rotate at one of your "dream" programs? Absolutely. Why not? You never want to regret not doing it. I warn you though that you may be surprised by the type of training in these programs. Remember that these are highly academic and research oriented institutions on the whole. This may be your thing or not. Rotating for a month will pinpoint the type of institution you want to train in (which is a good thing). My sub-I was at a community program to see if I wanted to train in this setting (not my cup of tea). I think it's advantageous to rotate at different types of programs just to find out what you really want in a program.

    I'm rambling a little and am offering very little in the way of advice so...

    If you really want to do two away rotations (I only did one away and one at my home program), do one where you have a realistic chance and do another where you just want to see how the program works from the inside.

    Bottom line: Grades/Step 1 scores get you interviews. Letters/interview get you in the program.

    It's tough to be realistic at times but would you have applied to Harvard Medical School with an MCAT of 27 and GPA of 3.2. Probably not. You can't go back and change your stats so look for the best program for you and not the one that "everyone" says is "supposed" to be "so good".

    As you can tell, I'm not too in to the whole name game. I want to be extremely well trained without limitations on possible fellowships. Many surgeons have accomplished this without attending Hopkins.

    sorry for the jabber.

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