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How to get noticed/closed to the dean?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Kiroro, Apr 21, 2007.

  1. Kiroro

    Kiroro Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Sep 16, 2004
    Florida
    I'm somewhat embarassed to ask question like this but my lack of people skill has been bugging me so much these days.

    I'm a rather shy person with not much chance to interact with Dean of the student affairs (or whoever that writes dean's letter) because I'm not a class officer and don't really do leadership activities either...

    On top of that, I can't even come up with a good way to get close to the dean. Our dean, like many others, invites us to come talk to him whenever we feel like but I have absolutely no idea what to get his advice for:(

    I must admit that I've noticed many med students are much better people person than I am and I'm getting really worried and anxious about not being able to leave any impression to the dean.
    Could anyone please offer me a good tip?

    Thank you.
     
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  3. BlackSails

    BlackSails 2+ Year Member

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    Find out what his specialty is (what he does research in) and go up to him and ask questions about it.

    Blah blah blah, I read your paper on (some cell signaling cascade, the mechanism of some drug, the effetiveness of some surgery) and was wondering if you could clarify____/I was confused by _________/wouldnt it have been better to do________. Then talk to him some moroe about other stuff.

    Or you can just go talk to him, say you have heard lots about him, but never had a chance to talk to him. Ask for advice on your future (I am thinking about cardiology. Do you have any suggestions as to what I should do?)
     
  4. pratik7

    pratik7 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Atlanta, Ga
     
  5. BlackSails

    BlackSails 2+ Year Member

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  6. naegleria brain

    naegleria brain 2+ Year Member

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    advice of the century thanks to rogue9:

    read your dean's latest publication, find all the flaws, and point it out to his face.
    immediate respect guaranteed!

    are you really that naive or are you trying to sabotage this poor girl?

    OP: make an appt with your dean. ask honest questions. you can't possibly know about every step between now and fourth year. ask what advice your dean has to offer, when/if you should do research, how do you figure out a career, etc. it's no big deal; i don't even know the name of my own dean off the top of my head, and if she's assigned to more than 100 students (remember, she deans all four years of medical school), she probably doesnt remember very many first years anyway. relax, and go study
     
  7. Random

    Random 7+ Year Member

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    Philadelphia, PA
    Even though I am one of the my class' officers so this is less of an issue for me, looking at some of the dean's letters to come out, they've become so standardized at this point, trying to get close to the dean may come off as obsequious rather than something positive.
     
  8. naegleria brain

    naegleria brain 2+ Year Member

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    ditto to random. i had this feeling but i wasn't sure so didnt say anything. your LOR's from profs that know you will be the important ones when residency application time comes
     
  9. soeagerun2or

    soeagerun2or Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

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    So you're a first year!!

    Yay!!

    ::end excitement::

    ::begin third year::

    If you're still interested in anything thats great.. And if you continued reasearch the whole time you're not the first so don't get a big head!
     
  10. RookieRoo

    RookieRoo Valued Member 7+ Year Member

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    I don't know how your school works, however the Dean typically includes comments made by peer evaluations and summative evaluations from your clerkships. You can also have faculty members or residents send in emails to the Dean (or letters) in support of your character, worko-ethic, etc. He may use these in composing his letter. Therefore, you don't have to worry about sucking up to this one person. He will simply compose a letter about you including the opinions of a few of the people you have interacted with over the entire 4 years.
     
  11. Bertelman

    Bertelman Maverick! 7+ Year Member

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    Had a Cooch
    As others have mentioned, getting to know the Dean on a personal level is not typically an effective way to improve your Dean's letter. At our school, it isn't even the Dean of Students Affairs that produces this. It is the Dean of Academics. On top of this, 98% of the letter is actually composed by the Dean's assistant, using a template.
     
  12. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon 7+ Year Member

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    Can't hurt to at least shake hands with the Dean.

    What I have found is that all these people (Deans, heads of depts, etc) are very much used to working with med students and all that it entails. If you were to make an appt to see the Dean and led with, "hey, my name is X, I thought it would be a good idea to at least meet and chat with the person who is going to be writing my Dean's letter" he/she probably wouldn't even bat an eye.

    I was freaking out about asking a big-deal doc for a LOR when one of my M4 colleagues said, "AB, you do realize that Dr. X gets asked this question 15 times a year right?"
     
  13. cfdavid

    cfdavid Banned Banned 7+ Year Member

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    I wouldn't "look" for reasons to get in front of this guy. If you have a legitimate reason to speak to him, then by all means do it. But, to be looking around for excuses to chat with him just for strategic reasons may be a bit too transparent.

    Regarding your social skills, I wouldn't fight it or worry excessively about that. If that's who you are, so be it. Just accept it and learn to emphasize your strengths rather than dwelling on a perceived weakness.
     
  14. cfdavid

    cfdavid Banned Banned 7+ Year Member

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    That's some good advice. When I was getting my LORs for med school together, I stated up front, early in the semester, that I'll be most likely asking for a LOR (even undergrad PhD's know we need this stuff, as did they).

    So, maybe the OP should take this more direct approach. OP, perhaps just call his/her office and tell them you'd like to schedule in a quick meeting to introduce yourself. Perhaps tell him you're grateful to be in med school (presuming that's true), and that you appreciate his/her leadership (brush up on some recent initiative of his, which should be very easy) with the ....."new residency program he negotiated with XYZ hospital".
     
  15. Kiroro

    Kiroro Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Sep 16, 2004
    Florida
    Thanks :) This is really nice to know.

    I think that my anxiety comes from thinking that I need to be like other classmates who are so active in organizations, class officer roles, and self elect to be the president of this and that. I think it's great to want to do those leadershipt activities and actually has courage to self-nominate. But I'm just not that kinda of person who can do those things. I'm pretty much the type who would do bare minimum extracurricular works to get by. This doesn't mean that I don't work hard academically... I just don't see the point of doing things that I'm not comfortable with if it doesn't nessessarily help with getting a residency.

    However, I was under the impression that dean's letter means a lot to matching with a residency, and that deans inevitably like active students. This made me feel pressured to change so that I can give positive impressions... I guess.

    It's nice to know that actually it doesn't matter that much:)
     
  16. Kiroro

    Kiroro Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Sep 16, 2004
    Florida
    I didn't know this! thanks :)
     
  17. BlackSails

    BlackSails 2+ Year Member

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    Apr 4, 2007
    If you point out a possible error politely, respectfully, and with facts to back it up, yes he will respect you. It doesnt even have to be an actual error, it can be something ambiguous. Does the dean want doctors coming out of the school endowed with the ability to critically read scientific papers? Of course he does. This reminds me of my english professor last semester. He loved me. Nobody could understand why. I constantly called him on things I thought were BS, in the middle of class, and would debate him in the middle of class. He liked me, because unlike everyone else in the class, I was able to think critically, and when he said absurd things (he said absurd things on purpose, to get us to think, and not just agree because he is the teacher). Now the dean obviously is not making mistakes on purpose (he probably is not making many mistakes at all, which means you will simply have to ask critical questions), but he still wants to see that you can think.

    Lets say the paper is on a model for calculating blood pH. In his paper, he says that the effect of something can be neglected. Go up to him, talk, ask why he can negelct the effects of that, doesnt it lead to blah blah blah. He then explains his reasoning to you and sees that you actually read his paper and thought about it.

    Now, why are you wasting time on here? Shouldnt you be studying, and snubbing your "friends?"
     
  18. PenguinHead

    PenguinHead 5+ Year Member

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    Nov 16, 2006
    Try this. Make some really bad grades. Maybe you can get an interventional meeting with the dean scheduled. Talk about your bad grades and how you promise to work harder. Then, work hard and drastically improve your grades. Meet back with the dean and show him what an over achiever you have become. You'll at least get noticed.

    ;)
     
  19. baylormed

    baylormed On the Search 5+ Year Member

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    Right behind you
    Get 100s on every exam, and be every professor's pet.

    That'll get you noticed.
     
  20. cyclegirl

    cyclegirl Senior Member 5+ Year Member

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    Apr 25, 2005
    We actually had a presentation on what the Deans Letter is by our dean not to long ago. She made it sound like they just fill our a standardized template that will compare you to other residency applicants. She really gave no indication that she was writing personal comments about you. It summarizes your grades during 1st and 2nd year and includes your performance on rotations, including evaluations. I would not worry about going out of your way to interact with your dean.
     
  21. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

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    Stay the flip away from your deans. Period.

    :luck:
     
  22. naegleria brain

    naegleria brain 2+ Year Member

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    english 101 does not equal journal publications. english 101 papers rarely leave the classroom, journals go worldwide.
    there is no such thing as a perfect study. every study, as you will eventually learn, has its drawbacks. at this level, you are expected to critique the drawbacks of such studies. any deficiencies you see in a study are most likely just that - screwups.
    asking for ambiguous concepts? partially agree - no one likes spoonfeeding. go look it up yourself and confirm with him. asking idiotic questions makes you look a)idiotic, b)an asskisser, c)lazy, d) any combination of the aforementioned three.

    it is a bad idea to say outlandish things in a journal. you don't want the world thinking you're a nut. in a classroom in undergraduate, they foster critical thinking. you should be able to do it well by now, and no researcher enjoys someone pointing out all their mistakes. he knows as well as you that his response is filled with the same BS youre giving him.
    a better way is to redesign the study to overcome some of those limitations and propose it to him and follow up with him on it by carrying it out. but if you can't keep up with the project, don't bother

    no, he's not writing the paper to see how well you can think. he's writing the paper to share information with the world so as to aid in improving the standard of care. the fact that you're able to tear his paper apart means he sucked at his attempts and you know it. i reiterate, if you can't professionally evaluate a paper by this point and need to "prove" that you can think critically, your undergrad training was insufficient

    you're my new best friend :love:
     
  23. Dakota

    Dakota Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Typically the people who spend the most time with the Dean of Student Affairs are the students having a lot of trouble, and thus, not the students who end up with the best dean's letters.
     
  24. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse Administrator Physician SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    ::stunned, electrified silence::

    Are you naive, crazy, or just plain stupid? You're don't really think that this is how it works in medical school, do you?!?!

    [Please, please, please, do NOT debate your professors in the middle of lecture time. Or raise nitpicky questions about what they just said. If you do it on a routine basis, you'll just unnecessarily prolong class, and your classmates will throw rocks at you at some point. I think that this principle would also apply to PBL curriculums too.]

    Edit: Okay, the above was harsh. I apologize. But, really - for your own good, don't assume that your med school professors will be that receptive to public correction. Or any correction, for that matter. I've heard horror stories of people getting in serious trouble for not being "respectful" enough.

    Not to be mean, but - shouldn't you listen to him? Seeing as he probably has had some interaction with med school deans?

    And for everyone else - I've seen a copy of the deans letter that they wrote for my sister a few years back. It was a form letter, which included her vague class rank (i.e. top third, middle third, etc), her Step 1 score, and then cut-and-pasted snippets from her clinical rotation evaluations, followed by her grade for that rotation. It also included a little blurb about her extracurriculars. That's all. It's not personalized in any meaningful way.
     
  25. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

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    Ditto. It's best not to be known by deans.

    Focus on your boards. Cooperate and graduate.
     
  26. Tired

    Tired Fading away 7+ Year Member

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    I heard your residents and attendings really like it if you cosign all their notes and write, "Agree with above". It shows that you're on top of the patients.
     
  27. Tired

    Tired Fading away 7+ Year Member

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    My Dean's letter consisted of a couple things:

    1) Generic explanations of the grading system at our school.

    2) My grades from the clinical years.

    3) Direct, verbatim quotes from every formal evaluation I have received, back to my very first class of first year. And no, they didn't select out for only the positive comments.

    That was pretty much it. There was no area where the Dean was able to insert her own personal opinions of my performance. Thank God.
     
  28. naegleria brain

    naegleria brain 2+ Year Member

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    first years tend to get carried away with it; by second year most have disintegrated and only the ones who actually enjoy it stick iwth it. my advice, don't compare yourself to your classmates. the sooner you learn this, the happier you will be.
     
  29. MeowMix

    MeowMix Explaining "Post-Call" 10+ Year Member

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    I think this is the most important thing to come out of this discussion. If I understand correctly, you are saying, I don't want to do any of that extracurricular crap that other people do, but I want to get a good Dean's letter when the time comes. Rest assured that at most schools the Dean's letter follows exactly the standardized process described above, . Extracurricular stuff can make small differences, but it's not the biggest deal.

    3 reasons to get involved in extracurriculars:
    1. Learn things you don't know - some of the things you aren't "comfortable" with may affect your skills for working with physicians and other staff, dealing with patients and their families, and managing staff. For example, I see many students at my med school who are not at all good at working on committees, finding group consensus, setting up events, etc. These skills are more important than you understand right now; you can work on them by doing whatever extracurricular activity you like that requires group work. A facilitated PBL group is not the same thing as working with peers. Shy students get overlooked on clinical rotations; you absolutely have to learn to be comfortable speaking up.
    2. Become eligible for the multiple small scholarships given for "community involvement" etc.
    3. Build your professional network and get useful informal career advice.
     

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