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importance of away electives?

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2012mdc

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How important is it to do away electives in radiology? thanks!

Assuming you have a home program, aways are useful to break through regional bias in a competitive place like California. If you have a strong home program and aren't trying to go out of region then aways aren't that big.
 

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There are so many variables. Some people will tell you not to do aways if you're not completely confident you have a great personality. Other people will tell you its not necessary at all.

For me, I flat out got my interviews at my #1 city BECAUSE i rotated there. I know there would have been a very good chance I wouldn't have been interviewed there if I didn't rotate and do well, because it is not in my home region.

I highly recommend doing aways if you want to go to a city far from your school or home and want to establish ties to the area.
 

ar2388

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so doing aways in the same city as your home program is not necessary? I'm looking to stay in the same city
 

omarsaleh66

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just off the top of my head i know of 2 people we matched just because they did away rotations and impressed us, had good personalities, etc.. and they might not have even gotten an interview or would not have been taken as seriously just because so many good candidates apply. Its hard to stand out sometimes on the interview trail. Personally I never did any aways (i was too broke), but it can help. At the same time I know people who did aways and still didnt match and that just sucks
 

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so doing aways in the same city as your home program is not necessary? I'm looking to stay in the same city

Not as critical then. I wouldn't do this unless youre supremely confident in your social skills.
 

2012mdc

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so doing aways in the same city as your home program is not necessary? I'm looking to stay in the same city

I don't see a benefit in it unless you're a fringe candidate using the away to give yourself a better shot at a reach program. If you're a decent to strong candidate (specific to that particular program) there isn't a huge benefit to doing an away within the same region let alone the same city
 

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How important is it to do away electives in radiology? thanks!

Rads isn't like ortho where aways are essential. I'd advise against it, unless there is a specific geographic region or program that you're interested in. For instance, let's say you're not from the upper midwest and you really want to go to Mayo. Go rotate there. Generally speaking, for even the best candidates, it's tough to get interviews from certain programs in geographical regions that might not be as highly desirable for most applicants, unless you are from that region.


Obviously there will be exceptions to what I stated above, but this is what I gathered from my experience interviewing and based on discussions with classmates and fellow applicants.
 

drizzt3117

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I think it'd be of value if you're 100% set on a geographic region.
 

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As you can clearly see.. lots of differing opinions.. the bottom line is .. are you confident in your ability to be a likable person? I say that rather than ability to shine because you will not impress anyone with your reading skills in med school.
 

MossPoh

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I was originally planning on doing them because I don't have a home program, so it is somewhat difficult to even get a recommendation letter. We do have rotations available 4th year, but I'm thinking that wouldn't hold as much weight.

Is that off base or a fairly reasonable assumption?
 

2012mdc

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I was originally planning on doing them because I don't have a home program, so it is somewhat difficult to even get a recommendation letter. We do have rotations available 4th year, but I'm thinking that wouldn't hold as much weight.

Is that off base or a fairly reasonable assumption?

I didn't have a home program and I did multiple aways (didn't even have the option to do a rotation through my school). The rads letter I got came from one of the aways obviously and it was brought up on several interviews.
 
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I was originally planning on doing them because I don't have a home program, so it is somewhat difficult to even get a recommendation letter. We do have rotations available 4th year, but I'm thinking that wouldn't hold as much weight.

Is that off base or a fairly reasonable assumption?

No home program = Away rotation is basically required

Letters of rec in diagnostic radiology are tough, but not impossible.

I was in the same situation and ended up doing 3 aways in two different regions. 1 general diagnostic, 1 IR, and 1 subspecialty. I thought they were a huge help. Besides getting letters, you also get the chance to make key contacts and see if you fit in with the faculty and residents which is hard to do at an interview.
 

MossPoh

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Cool. Yea, we are allowed 3 away rotations, but only two rotations in the same specialty. Of course, I think they would make an exception if it were 3 internal medicine subspecialties, but it is what it is. I was thinking of using that third in some field where I could at least roam over to the radiology department and chat with people.

Just reaffirming my original plans!
 

2012mdc

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No home program = Away rotation is basically required

Letters of rec in diagnostic radiology are tough, but not impossible.

I was in the same situation and ended up doing 3 aways in two different regions. 1 general diagnostic, 1 IR, and 1 subspecialty. I thought they were a huge help. Besides getting letters, you also get the chance to make key contacts and see if you fit in with the faculty and residents which is hard to do at an interview.

I second this. I did 1 DR and 2 IR in two different regions. Got a letter on the DR rotation and made great contacts on one of the IR rotations.

An IR rotation can be useful especially if you can hook it up where you work with a particular attending frequently.
 

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Cool. Yea, we are allowed 3 away rotations, but only two rotations in the same specialty. Of course, I think they would make an exception if it were 3 internal medicine subspecialties, but it is what it is. I was thinking of using that third in some field where I could at least roam over to the radiology department and chat with people.

Just reaffirming my original plans!

At my school Nuc Med is considered a medicine elective so that could be a possibility.
 

MossPoh

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I wish. It is included under the "other" category with us and one of the higher ups goes through every schedule and approves or rejects it based on how "well-rounded" it is. Not that I'm opposed to a well-rounded schedule, but I also would like to feel like I'm encouraged to explore my future career. Two months worth should be enough though.
 

2012mdc

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Cool. Yea, we are allowed 3 away rotations, but only two rotations in the same specialty. Of course, I think they would make an exception if it were 3 internal medicine subspecialties, but it is what it is. I was thinking of using that third in some field where I could at least roam over to the radiology department and chat with people.

Just reaffirming my original plans!

That's too bad. At my school DR and IR were considered completely separate and we are allowed to do the same specialty twice. I could have done 2 months of DR and 2 months of IR.
 

MossPoh

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It is what it is at this point. I plan on doing a vascular surgery rotation for more exposure to that side. We have some indirect loopholes. Our deal is that we have 4 months of required rotations (EM, Advanced FM, Advanced IM and Geriatrics) and that eats up a fair amount of our schedule. I may try to sneak radiation oncology or nuclear medicine and see what happens.
 

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It is what it is at this point. I plan on doing a vascular surgery rotation for more exposure to that side. We have some indirect loopholes. Our deal is that we have 4 months of required rotations (EM, Advanced FM, Advanced IM and Geriatrics) and that eats up a fair amount of our schedule. I may try to sneak radiation oncology or nuclear medicine and see what happens.

That blows! Seriously, your going into radiology why in the hell should you have to take Advanced FM and Geriatrics. I'm guessing you go to a state school with a primary care agenda.
 

drizzt3117

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Cool. Yea, we are allowed 3 away rotations, but only two rotations in the same specialty. Of course, I think they would make an exception if it were 3 internal medicine subspecialties, but it is what it is. I was thinking of using that third in some field where I could at least roam over to the radiology department and chat with people.

Just reaffirming my original plans!

Weird, I didn't know schools restricted how many aways you could do; tbh tho, if I could do it all over again I would have only done 2.
 

MossPoh

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Yup, very primary care orientated. I knew that when I took the acceptance, so I try not to whine about it. I think it is actually written in the legislation with the state that we have to do that stuff. It is overkill for sure and I feel like I've been chased away from primary care more than anything. When all is said and done, I will have had 10 weeks of family medicine, approx. 6 weeks of "chronic care" (just family med on the same day each week for the year), 6ish weeks of outpatient IM, 4 weeks of geriatrics aka outpatient IM.

The good thing is that "advanced" FM can be done at various residency programs and a few have radiology residencies at the hospital, so I can get a little follow through. I've also had fantastic attendings that strive to help me achieve my goals in all specialties.

But yes, I'm often jealous of the people with more free slots for choosing areas they are weak in or want to explore.
 
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Weird, I didn't know schools restricted how many aways you could do; tbh tho, if I could do it all over again I would have only done 2.

my school was the same way.. so i did 2 radiology and 1 interventional radiology.. IR counts separately
 

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Is there any benefit to doing an away after you submit ERAS or does everyone try to get aways in before Sept?
 

drizzt3117

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Is there any benefit to doing an away after you submit ERAS or does everyone try to get aways in before Sept?

I think being on an away during sept or oct wouldn't be terrible; perhaps you'd be on their minds when interviews are being considered. However, it's bad form to leave an away for interviews at other programs so I wouldn't do one later than that.
 

2012mdc

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Is there any benefit to doing an away after you submit ERAS or does everyone try to get aways in before Sept?

I did one in October. It was a minor hassle to sneak away to check my email for interview invites but besides that it was fine.
 

2012mdc

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A little twist to the original question... So I go to a school that's in the midwest, but isn't in Chicago. However, I am from Chicago, and would like to do residency there.

1. Would it be advantageous doing a couple away rotations in Chicago since its such a competitive location despite being in the 'same region' as my school?


2. If i were to do a couple rotations in Chicago (lets say in sept/oct), would other schools red flag my application because it would seem as if that's the only city I am truly interested in.

I think 1 away in Chicago would be sufficient especially since you have ties and are in the midwest for med school.

If you were going to do a 2nd away (which isn't necessary BTW) I would do it in another competiive region you're interested in (West Coast, NYC etc)

Also know your competitiveness as an applicant. It would be a waste of time for a weak applicant to rotate at U of C or Northwestern.
 

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A little twist to the original question... So I go to a school that's in the midwest, but isn't in Chicago. However, I am from Chicago, and would like to do residency there.

1. Would it be advantageous doing a couple away rotations in Chicago since its such a competitive location despite being in the 'same region' as my school?


2. If i were to do a couple rotations in Chicago (lets say in sept/oct), would other schools red flag my application because it would seem as if that's the only city I am truly interested in.

As long as your permanent address is listed as Chicago you shouldn't have a problem getting interviews provided that your application is somewhat strong. I'd only do one away (target the program that you're most interested in). Do not worry about how other schools perceive this. They'll see that you're from Chicago so it would make sense that you did an away there. It shouldn't prevent you from getting other interviews.
 

drizzt3117

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I did two aways in the same metropolitan area this year. It didn't stop me from getting interviews all over.

A little twist to the original question... So I go to a school that's in the midwest, but isn't in Chicago. However, I am from Chicago, and would like to do residency there.

1. Would it be advantageous doing a couple away rotations in Chicago since its such a competitive location despite being in the 'same region' as my school?


2. If i were to do a couple rotations in Chicago (lets say in sept/oct), would other schools red flag my application because it would seem as if that's the only city I am truly interested in.
 

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A little twist to the original question... So I go to a school that's in the midwest, but isn't in Chicago. However, I am from Chicago, and would like to do residency there.

1. Would it be advantageous doing a couple away rotations in Chicago since its such a competitive location despite being in the 'same region' as my school?


2. If i were to do a couple rotations in Chicago (lets say in sept/oct), would other schools red flag my application because it would seem as if that's the only city I am truly interested in.

Doing rotations in themselves probably won't hurt you. The only way other programs would know where you did your rotations would be because of a) it states where you did your rotation on your transcript or b) you used letters from your aways.

My school did only reported a generic "radiology elective" on my transcript so unless I used a letter from a specific program nobody would know the difference.

That being said, if you send out 4 letters and they are all from Chicago you might turn off some programs on the coasts. I had a mix of letters from the midwest and west coast and I got shut out from east coast interviews.
 

drizzt3117

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I mentioned I did 3 aways on my PS. They were on both coasts and given I'm from thr Midwest, I think it helped me on the coasts.
 
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2012mdc

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Doing rotations in themselves probably won't hurt you. The only way other programs would know where you did your rotations would be because of a) it states where you did your rotation on your transcript or b) you used letters from your aways.

My school did only reported a generic "radiology elective" on my transcript so unless I used a letter from a specific program nobody would know the difference.

That being said, if you send out 4 letters and they are all from Chicago you might turn off some programs on the coasts. I had a mix of letters from the midwest and west coast and I got shut out from east coast interviews.

I did 3 aways. 2 in the South and 1 in the West. Got more east coast interviews (zero ties) than I did in the South. I think it's hard to know exactly what caused a rejection.

Thank you for the input. So here is my follow up question... tell me if you think the logic behind my theory makes sense or I am just way over thinking this.


1. I am an lower candidate, step in the 230's, all hps/H in rads (surg, med, peds to come), non-rads research etc. Working with rads dept now, IR rotation in July, taking step 2 in Aug, applying sept 1.


2. If not Chicago, the midwest isn't particularly where i'd like to end up. I'd really would love to go out west almost more so than Chicago(Cali, Arizona, etc) however I know this is extremely competitive. I do have family in LA, SD if it matters. But would I really see much of a turn out from that region if I did one away rotation out there? Or would I more likely get the one interview from the place I rotate at?


3. My theory: I feel like I wouldn't be competitive enough to match out West, so I think I would only get the interview from the place I rotate. Thus, I thought it would be more wise to do an extra rotation in Chicago with the higher likelihood they would like and rank me high. Problem here being I am in essence putting my eggs in all one basket.


So in summary, is it wise to put 'all my eggs in the basket with Chicago' or risk it with the opportunity to break open the west to a few interviews?


Think I'm being a little over the top about this, but thanks again for the advice.

I think it's still worth a shot. Especially if you can list a cali address on your transcript. I wouldn't waste time rotating somewhere like UCSF but somewhere like Kaiser LA (especially if you want to do IR) would be good.

You don't need 2 aways in Chicago to get back there. Might as welll give the West a shot.
 

drizzt3117

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I did 3 aways. 2 in the South and 1 in the West. Got more east coast interviews (zero ties) than I did in the South. I think it's hard to know exactly what caused a rejection.



I think it's still worth a shot. Especially if you can list a cali address on your transcript. I wouldn't waste time rotating somewhere like UCSF but somewhere like Kaiser LA (especially if you want to do IR) would be good.

You don't need 2 aways in Chicago to get back there. Might as welll give the West a shot.

Honestly, I'd do loyola/rush in Chicago and call it a day. If you're not from CA and have no real ties, I think you'd be wasting your time. If you really want to roll the dice, rotate at UChicago (ie #1 rads program)
 

2012mdc

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Honestly, I'd do loyola/rush in Chicago and call it a day. If you're not from CA and have no real ties, I think you'd be wasting your time. If you really want to roll the dice, rotate at UChicago (ie #1 rads program)

How do they investigate how real the ties are?

I mean he can list Cali as his permanent address on ERAS.

Also at a few of the Cali places I interviewed at there were some applicants with zero ties. Some Cali programs have less of a Cali bias than others.

Obviously I can't predict the future but it wouldn't hurt to spend a month out in LA especially with him having family out there.
 

drizzt3117

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How do they investigate how real the ties are?

I mean he can list Cali as his permanent address on ERAS.

Also at a few of the Cali places I interviewed at there were some applicants with zero ties. Some Cali programs have less of a Cali bias than others.

Obviously I can't predict the future but it wouldn't hurt to spend a month out in LA especially with him having family out there.

Most of the people from CA who live away either went to ugrad in CA or have very strong ties they can discuss. I was always asked to discuss my ties on IVs and I had work experience and two graduate degrees from CA schools. Also, all CA programs are competitive and the OPs stats are below average.
 

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How do they investigate how real the ties are?

I mean he can list Cali as his permanent address on ERAS.

Also at a few of the Cali places I interviewed at there were some applicants with zero ties. Some Cali programs have less of a Cali bias than others.

Obviously I can't predict the future but it wouldn't hurt to spend a month out in LA especially with him having family out there.


I honestly think the "higher-tier" UCSD/UCLA/UCSF/Stanford are less biased than the others. I don't have any ties to the region and I got several of those interviews and not the mid/lower tier places.

But I also second the opinion that the OP not waste his time rotating out in Cali. All those programs are very competitive, ties or not. Go for the Chicago programs.
 

2012mdc

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I honestly think the "higher-tier" UCSD/UCLA/UCSF/Stanford are less biased than the others. I don't have any ties to the region and I got several of those interviews and not the mid/lower tier places.

But I also second the opinion that the OP not waste his time rotating out in Cali. All those programs are very competitive, ties or not. Go for the Chicago programs.

I was actually referring to a few mid tier places.

Given that it's probably unecessary to do more than one Chicago away I don't think he would be wasting his time spending a month in LA.

I rotated at UCSF and did not get an interview. I don't think I wasted my time and I don't regret the decision at all.
 

drizzt3117

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I was actually referring to a few mid tier places.

Given that it's probably unecessary to do more than one Chicago away I don't think he would be wasting his time spending a month in LA.

I rotated at UCSF and did not get an interview. I don't think I wasted my time and I don't regret the decision at all.

The thing is, if the OP were to do aways at a mid and top tier Chicago (ie loyola/rush/uic and NW/UC) they'd greatly increase their chances whereas I think even an away didnt help.

You were going to match at a great program regardless of where you did your aways because you have very high stats. I think the OP needs the help a bit more.
 

2012mdc

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The thing is, if the OP were to do aways at a mid and top tier Chicago (ie loyola/rush/uic and NW/UC) they'd greatly increase their chances whereas I think even an away didnt help.

You were going to match at a great program regardless of where you did your aways because you have very high stats. I think the OP needs the help a bit more.

I'll admit that I have no idea what the OP's chances would be at UC/NW if he impressed on an away so I'll cede this argument.

OP if there's no limit on how many aways you can do I would still rotate out in Cali, even if it's not in rads and/or after interview season. Where would you rather be in February, LA or the midwest?

After matching at a good place, enjoyment of 4th year should be your second priority.
 

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There actually is a database of interviewed residents (matchapplicants) which is of questionable value. I would not recommend doing rotations at top tier programs unless it's for the express purpose of garnering LORs from top faculty there which is challenging in diagnostic radiology unless you have a superb knowledge base. IR is a little bit of a different story, and maybe it is possible to shine there, but in general, it's hard to know. Personally I wouldn't do 4 aways in radiology. That's way over the top and would be mind-numbingly boring. I would probably do 3 at the most, with at least one in interventional radiology. As far as shooting for the stars, there are some top tier programs that are receptive to DOs. Pittsburgh is probably the biggest example, as their PD is a DO. I believe that the PD at Dartmouth is a DO as well. Those two would certainly be programs I'd consider. Other ones to look at include ones in areas that are traditionally DO-friendly, such as Michigan. Programs such as Ford, William Beaumont, and POSSIBLY UM might be ones you'd consider targeting for away rotations. Other ones you may want to think about include the University of Miami and Wake Forest (there's a DO radiology attending there that's a top researcher in Neuro.

I would stay far away from the Boston and NY programs and CA if you want the best yield out of your away rotations.

on a somewhat related note, is there a good way of figuring out how competitive you are as an applicant for a particular program? it seems very ambiguous and it's not like a database with all the accepted/matched residents averages exists (probably counter-intuitive to start one, as well.)

like DRads1, I also really feel that I am one of the lower applicants in the pool, in that I'm an osteopathic student. I did reasonably well on boards (240) and third year thus far, in addition to great LORs. Other than that I don't think I have anything else to offer. I have no regional ties to where I want to go to (big cities: chicago, california, nyc, boston, etc.,) and am having trouble assessing my own competitiveness as a D.O. student.

so I guess my question becomes: how do you know a program will give me the time of day? I have the opportunity to set up 4 away electives, and want to be able to set them up judiciously at fringe places that I might not have had a chance at otherwise. I still want to shoot for the stars, but feel like it could be risky if I do not know which stars are reachable. It would be nice if we had previous graduates to help guide us but we're still a relatively young school...

apologies in advance for maybe hijacking the thread.
 

2012mdc

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on a somewhat related note, is there a good way of figuring out how competitive you are as an applicant for a particular program? it seems very ambiguous and it's not like a database with all the accepted/matched residents averages exists (probably counter-intuitive to start one, as well.)

like DRads1, I also really feel that I am one of the lower applicants in the pool, in that I'm an osteopathic student. I did reasonably well on boards (240) and third year thus far, in addition to great LORs. Other than that I don't think I have anything else to offer. I have no regional ties to where I want to go to (big cities: chicago, california, nyc, boston, etc.,) and am having trouble assessing my own competitiveness as a D.O. student.

so I guess my question becomes: how do you know a program will give me the time of day? I have the opportunity to set up 4 away electives, and want to be able to set them up judiciously at fringe places that I might not have had a chance at otherwise. I still want to shoot for the stars, but feel like it could be risky if I do not know which stars are reachable. It would be nice if we had previous graduates to help guide us but we're still a relatively young school...

apologies in advance for maybe hijacking the thread.

It can be difficult to figure out your competitiveness but I think you came to the right place. Last year I talked to people here and on Aunt Minnie to figure out my competitiveness and received some guidance.

Something you can do yourself is look at the resident rosters of places you might be interested in and see if there are any DO's. Also in general the Midwest and South tend to be less competitive regions. I wouldn't look at Cali, the big name east coast places, or decent university programs in very desirable cities.
 

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thanks guys, very helpful responses.
here's an interesting question, though.

I'm interested in Chicago (fiancee Long Distance relationship-type out there for work) with no real geographical ties. I was looking into Rush but they did not accept DO students whatsoever for 4th year clerkships, but quickly let me know that it wasn't reflective of any bias whatsoever for residency selection. Would it be of benefit to try and set up a rotation with the other Chicago out-of-reach programs such as UChicago/NWestern just to help me break into this region?

Also, I think I'm in the process of setting one up with St. Luke's-Roosevelt (per your previous suggestion, Drizzt, from response to a post I made a whileeeee back in the 'what are my chances' thread.) Should I bail on that now? Would love to be in NYC (get in line, I know,) and it looked like a great program that I'd feel lucky to be at from what I can see.

I think St Luke's is a great place and they're DO friendly from what I understand.
 

drizzt3117

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I have one last question about strategy...

1. If I were to do 2 rotations in the chicago area (excluding UofC and NW), would you recommend doing one at UIC/RUSH, and one at a less desirable place like Masonic or St. Francis.

2. Or do you think it'd be wiser to rotate at St. Francis and Masonic with the idea being these are less desirable places, and if I enjoy my time there I could in theory have a better shot if I rank them high?

I guess this makes two questions...thank you again, your insight has been very valuable

I don't think uic/rush are out of reach for you.
 

MossPoh

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Did anyone have any particularly great experiences at any programs that they'd recommend looking into? Less about matching there or even getting an interview and more about just learning a ton and having fun?

PMing me suggestions is ok if you'd rather not share with the digital universe. I found out that I can get a fantastic radiology letter from a rotation with my school, even though it isn't associated with a residency. I am leaning towards NOT doing an away now, unless it is more than sitting quietly with a case presentation at the end of the month.
 

drizzt3117

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Did anyone have any particularly great experiences at any programs that they'd recommend looking into? Less about matching there or even getting an interview and more about just learning a ton and having fun?

PMing me suggestions is ok if you'd rather not share with the digital universe. I found out that I can get a fantastic radiology letter from a rotation with my school, even though it isn't associated with a residency. I am leaning towards NOT doing an away now, unless it is more than sitting quietly with a case presentation at the end of the month.

I did an away in AI at SF which I thought was fantastic.
 

drizzt3117

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Btw RR, you might want to check out radiology.matchapplicants.com

Put COMLEX > 400 in your search criteria and you can see all the profiles. I do think the one top program that tends to interview DOs is Pitt.

thanks guys, very helpful responses.
here's an interesting question, though.

I'm interested in Chicago (fiancee Long Distance relationship-type out there for work) with no real geographical ties. I was looking into Rush but they did not accept DO students whatsoever for 4th year clerkships, but quickly let me know that it wasn't reflective of any bias whatsoever for residency selection. Would it be of benefit to try and set up a rotation with the other Chicago out-of-reach programs such as UChicago/NWestern just to help me break into this region?

Also, I think I'm in the process of setting one up with St. Luke's-Roosevelt (per your previous suggestion, Drizzt, from response to a post I made a whileeeee back in the 'what are my chances' thread.) Should I bail on that now? Would love to be in NYC (get in line, I know,) and it looked like a great program that I'd feel lucky to be at from what I can see.
 
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