NAGNAM

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I am curious about this. My school allows 2 months off total. However, many people take one month off for CS/CK, which means a large amount of the class only has 1 month officially off to go on interviews.

For the other months, two days are permitted off. Keep in mind this means if you have an interview far away on a day that isn't Monday or Friday, adding in travel might mean you can only go on one extra interview per month.

Is this standard for most schools? It seems almost criminally stringent to me, especially for people going into more competitive specialties that offer fewer interview dates for a smaller number of programs.
 
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NAGNAM

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I think that's what our problem is-- the practice isn't more lenient than the structure itself.

Someone in my class (going into very competitive specialty) has scheduled interviews, and some places offered only in December, some only in January. She emailed the course directors secretary to ask about whether it will be an issue to take days off, and she said "the dean from your school said only 2 days off a month", so unless the attending she's supposed to shadow says "yeah, go ahead, don't be silly" she will have to cancel a number of important interviews.

Doesn't it seem backwards that the Dean of the school is trying to keep students from going on interviews, and we have to rely on our attendings (who have no real vested interest in our outcomes) to let us take extra time off?
 

lockjaw

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Sorry to hear that your school isn't more lenient, NAGNAM. My school has the 2 days/month rule only for AIs (sub-Is), so therefore very few people choose to do those this time of year. We also get 2 months of vacation to take whenever we'd like (plus an additional reading month for Step 2 on top of that), so most people take at least one of those months for interviews. We also have the option of taking an online course or doing a literature review month for credit, so those are other popular rotation choices around interview season.
 
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NAGNAM

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Seems like you could study for CK/CS while you are interviewing. There's lots of down time between interviews, travel, etc.
This is true, and if I could go back in time I would definitely restructure my 4th year this way. That being said, for a lot of people this strategy is far from optimal, and still only partially circumvents the problem at hand. Say I took Dec and Jan off, and received an interview at UCSF on a Tues in November and Mass General that same Thursday (this didn't happen, of course, but for the sake of argument). Per our school, you would have to cancel one of these interviews. That seems inappropriate, and totally contradictory to the purpose of 4th year.
 

Winged Scapula

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This is true, and if I could go back in time I would definitely restructure my 4th year this way. That being said, for a lot of people this strategy is far from optimal, and still only partially circumvents the problem at hand. Say I took Dec and Jan off, and received an interview at UCSF on a Tues in November and Mass General that same Thursday (this didn't happen, of course, but for the sake of argument). Per our school, you would have to cancel one of these interviews. That seems inappropriate, and totally contradictory to the purpose of 4th year.
This implies that you think the purpose of the 4th year of medical school is that you match. I'd venture that your school and faculty have a difference of opinion.
 

lockjaw

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Seems like you could study for CK/CS while you are interviewing. There's lots of down time between interviews, travel, etc.
True, but that doesn't help those who are less competitive candidates who probably need to take Step 2 earlier to hopefully improve their application and then apply/interview at a high number of places to increase the odds of matching.
 

aProgDirector

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True, but that doesn't help those who are less competitive candidates who probably need to take Step 2 earlier to hopefully improve their application and then apply/interview at a high number of places to increase the odds of matching.
The whole idea that you need to take a month off to study for Step 2 is a relatively new concept. Not that long ago, people just took Step 2 after finishing third year without any time off.

As mentioned above, medical schools (and residency programs for that matter) actually expect you to learn new skills while a 4th year student. Missing much of your 4th year to interview might help you match but might not help you be the best student / resident you can be.

We run into this same problem in residency. Residents need to go on fellowship interviews. I consider interviewing for fellowship part of their professional development, hence I don't make them use vacation time for it. But exactly how much of a 4 week block can a resident miss and still get credit for it? I've had residents go on 15-20 interviews, with travel time, etc. They end up missing weeks of training as a result. Is this fair to the resident who don't apply for fellowships? Is it OK for them simply to miss electives, or outpatient time, and not have to "make it up". Not an easy question to answer.
 

dr1day

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Seems like you could study for CK/CS while you are interviewing. There's lots of down time between interviews, travel, etc.
My school requires us to take CK/CS before September, so this wouldn't work for us. We get 1 month to study for CK and 1 month for interviews. However, if you take your interview month during December, you actually get 6 weeks off because the 2 week holiday break is added. In addition, we can take 2 days off during required rotations and 4 days off during electives.
 
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NAGNAM

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The whole idea that you need to take a month off to study for Step 2 is a relatively new concept. Not that long ago, people just took Step 2 after finishing third year without any time off.
True, but if other students are doing this, just dismissing it as something that students do now that students in the past didn't have to do will definitely put you at a disadvantage compared to the rest of the applicant pool.

As mentioned above, medical schools (and residency programs for that matter) actually expect you to learn new skills while a 4th year student. Missing much of your 4th year to interview might help you match but might not help you be the best student / resident you can be.
Of course this is true. The problem I specifically face is trying to couple's match into two competitive specialties. The difference for me isn't just between program vs. another, but could very easily be the difference between matching into great residencies and scrambling. Of course I learn something every day I'm working in the hospital, but comparing what will amount to only a few days off vs. a substantial risk of not matching seems like a silly comparison.

In response to Winged Scapula, of course the faculty at my school will disagree, and I am exagerrating a bit. That being said, matching is by far my #1 priority of 4th year. And if the students matching into residencies isn't also the top priority of the school, something is clearly flawed there.
 

IHeartNerds

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Off since November 1. No required rotations/classes until the second week of February. Living the dream. :thumbup: Although it does mean I have to take an elective in March (radiology for the win).
 

DF38

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We get 10 weeks of vacation time 4th year, to use however we want (interviewing, studying for step 2, actual vacations). We also have an optional review course in October for step 2, so many people choose to take that so they don't have to use their vacation time for step 2.