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So I think I have narrowed down the specialties I am interested in. I think after much consideration, I'll go with either combined Med/Psyc. or Derm. What type of 4th year rotations should I do? Also, can someone please clarify the point of "away" rotations? Are these rotations done in a different state, a different school other than your own, or what? What is their point? Is there any advantage to doing such a rotation at another school vs. one's own school?

If I did all of my electives at my own school, would I be at any disadvantage?
 

Law2Doc

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So I think I have narrowed down the specialties I am interested in. I think after much consideration, I'll go with either combined Med/Psyc. or Derm. What type of 4th year rotations should I do? Also, can someone please clarify the point of "away" rotations? Are these rotations done in a different state, a different school other than your own, or what? What is their point? Is there any advantage to doing such a rotation at another school vs. one's own school?

If I did all of my electives at my own school, would I be at any disadvantage?
You haven't really narrowed down stuff much. There is a huge range of job description, lifestyle, and competitiveness between the 2ish choices you have narrowed down to. I would push yourself harder to decide which of the two paths you want more because derm is certainly not a backup, and if you want to go in that direction, you are going to have to be a bit more gung ho in terms of applications, research, etc. than the other path. Away rotations aka audition rotations, are where you do a rotation at a school you think you might want to apply to, so you can meet the people and they can see how you interact. You generally want to do rotations in a specialty at both your own school and away, because the ones at your home school are the folks you will want to write letters on your behalf. As for doing all electives at your own school, that depends on you. If you are good in person, it helps if you "audition". There are always folks who are better on paper and would be well served not to audition -- and hope to fake it for a few hours on an interview rather than hide their irritating personalities over a longer period. So know yourself.
 
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You haven't really narrowed down stuff much. There is a huge range of job description, lifestyle, and competitiveness between the 2ish choices you have narrowed down to. I would push yourself harder to decide which of the two paths you want more because derm is certainly not a backup, and if you want to go in that direction, you are going to have to be a bit more gung ho in terms of applications, research, etc. than the other path. Away rotations aka audition rotations, are where you do a rotation at a school you think you might want to apply to, so you can meet the people and they can see how you interact. You generally want to do rotations in a specialty at both your own school and away, because the ones at your home school are the folks you will want to write letters on your behalf. As for doing all electives at your own school, that depends on you. If you are good in person, it helps if you "audition". There are always folks who are better on paper and would be well served not to audition -- and hope to fake it for a few hours on an interview rather than hide their irritating personalities over a longer period. So know yourself.

Thanks for your response. Well, I have done a rotation in psych. already, so I think I should be good if I pursued the psych. route. Right? As far as medicine, what electives should I pursue?

If I decided to pursue the derm route, what type of electives should I do? Also, say I decided to go the derm route but did not match, would I have trouble finding a spot in IM and/or psych?
 

vtucci

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You are a 3rd year? or in the beginning of your 4th year? In a US program? And you do not know the reason behind away rotations and what they are? Do not pass go, do not collect $100-- immediately buy a copy of Iserson's Guide to Getting A residency-- this will be an invaluable resource to you.

Does your school have any advisors who can assist you with your schedule and concerns?

As Law2Doc mentioned, there is a big difference between derm, medicine and psych in terms of personality, competitiveness etc. It would definitely be worthwhile for you to speak to someone who knows your qualifications and can better advise you on your chances at the various specialties so you can better prepare your schedule.
 

DrDre311

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So I think I have narrowed down the specialties I am interested in. I think after much consideration, I'll go with either combined Med/Psyc. or Derm. What type of 4th year rotations should I do? Also, can someone please clarify the point of "away" rotations? Are these rotations done in a different state, a different school other than your own, or what? What is their point? Is there any advantage to doing such a rotation at another school vs. one's own school?

If I did all of my electives at my own school, would I be at any disadvantage?
If you pick derm: yes. Undoubtedly yes. If you want to do dermatology then you pretty much have to go balls out and hope you get lucky too. Do away rotations and kick ***--and yet, make the residents/faculty/ancillary staff like you. Find a mentor in derm at your own institution and start figuring out your plan and personal likelihood of matching immediately.

If you're starting 4th year now and haven't decided on derm yet then you are already behind people who have been gunning for those spots for 4 years, maybe more.

If you don't match in derm, you'd most likely end up in medicine prelim and I personally don't think you'd have any trouble getting into psych.
 
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If you pick derm: yes. Undoubtedly yes. If you want to do dermatology then you pretty much have to go balls out and hope you get lucky too. Do away rotations and kick ***--and yet, make the residents/faculty/ancillary staff like you. Find a mentor in derm at your own institution and start figuring out your plan and personal likelihood of matching immediately.

If you're starting 4th year now and haven't decided on derm yet then you are already behind people who have been gunning for those spots for 4 years, maybe more.

If you don't match in derm, you'd most likely end up in medicine prelim and I personally don't think you'd have any trouble getting into psych.
If I didn't match in derm, why would I end up in prelim medicine? You don't think I could get a medicine position?
 
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If you pick derm: yes. Undoubtedly yes. If you want to do dermatology then you pretty much have to go balls out and hope you get lucky too. Do away rotations and kick ***--and yet, make the residents/faculty/ancillary staff like you. Find a mentor in derm at your own institution and start figuring out your plan and personal likelihood of matching immediately.

If you're starting 4th year now and haven't decided on derm yet then you are already behind people who have been gunning for those spots for 4 years, maybe more.

If you don't match in derm, you'd most likely end up in medicine prelim and I personally don't think you'd have any trouble getting into psych.
Sorry, one more question. You said I'd be at a disadvantage if I did derm at my own school. I think my best chances of matching in derm would be at my own school. What advantage would doing aways at other schools I'm interested at other than sort of make connections and such?
I have noticed that alot of people match where they did not actually do rotations.
 

DrDre311

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You have to do multiple derm rotations. One at your home program is de rigeur; I just assumed you would do it. You'd also need to do additional derm rotations at other med schools. Away rotations serve as more than an "audition" for a program; even if you knew Big Name School X was going to take an Ivy League grad instead of you, it still might be worth rotating there to get a sweet LOR.

Most people that do not match end up scrambling into prelim spots--that's just the way it works. It's possible that you could scramble into a categorical spot in medicine, it's just more likely that you'd find a prelim spot.
 

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Forget the haters. Apply to both and see what happens. You'll obviously have to put Derm rotations first and do very well in them, get papers (case reports,ect) published, and obtain great LORs.

IF you are considering derm, and are even close to being competitive for it and are not a complete jerk then getting into med or psych will be like sitting on the beach sipping a corona. No sweat! Not sure about the med/psych combo residency though...may be different. (?)
 

Law2Doc

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Forget the haters. Apply to both and see what happens.
It's not an issue of haters. It's an issue of figuring out what you want to do in life. If you narrow it down to two dramatically different paths, you haven't narrowed it down. That's like saying you are in the mood for either ice cream or pastrami. It simply doesn't compute. Roast beef or pastrami, works. Or ice cream vs frozen yogurt. But you at least have to narrow it to paths with similarities. I mean, what do you like about med/psych (which in itself isn't a narrowing down), and how do you find those same things in derm? And vice versa? One path is going to make you happier than the other. The point isn't to just get something. The point is to figure out what you will be happy doing for the rest of your life. And I would suggest that someone who wants derm won't be happy with med/psych, and someone who wants med psych won't be happy in derm. Someone who wants med/psych might be happy in either med or psych, so one of those ought to be the back up. But you can't really apply to both and see what happens. Because the match doesn't work that way. It expects you to rank choices. So you have to ultimately know what you want.

I say keep thinking about this, and figure out what you really want, and why. Then apply to those things that encompass those same elements. I kind of doubt your current selections meet this test yet.
 

DrDre311

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Forget the haters. Apply to both and see what happens. You'll obviously have to put Derm rotations first and do very well in them, get papers (case reports,ect) published, and obtain great LORs.

IF you are considering derm, and are even close to being competitive for it and are not a complete jerk then getting into med or psych will be like sitting on the beach sipping a corona. No sweat! Not sure about the med/psych combo residency though...may be different. (?)
I'm not hatin', I'm just being honest. It's a tough match. But sure, by all means, if you're sure that derm is your passion then dual apply and go for it. It's what I did for plastics and I wasn't one of the people who had been gunning for those spots since before med school.

Plus the point isn't whether you can "get in" to a field--that question falls far behind the question of what the OP wants to do every day, day-in and day-out, for the rest of his career. You need to figure out what makes you happiest, not what you think you can "get into" just cause you have a board score of x and a GPA of y. The WAMC stuff should take a backseat.

And I like to flavor my frozen yogurt with a nice pastrami garnish. Right now I'm in the mood for some habanero-topped chocolate pudding, though...or maybe a coconut-crusted steak.