Landing my 1st choice residency program

Discussion in 'Podiatric Residents & Physicians' started by justincredible, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. justincredible

    justincredible SCPM c/o 2011
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    How often do podiatry residency applicants match to their 1st choice programs?

    There is a program in California that I am really really hoping for and am already trying to strategize my game plan. This program in particular is one of the better programs out there but only has 3 positions available which makes me worried. I am from Scholl so I am hoping they don't hold preference for Cali pod school grads. I am ranked fairly high in my class and am really involved in school with plenty of leadership positions so I'm hoping that works in my favor but I am still thinking my chances of landing 1 of those 3 available positions is pretty bleak.

    Anyone have any advice for landing this spot? Or am I wrong in worrying too much about this? :rolleyes:
     
  2. jonwill

    jonwill Podiatrist
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    Do an externship there and kick some butt! If you really standout on your rotation, you've got a great chance.

    On the other hand, don't get your heart set on anything until you've externed at various programs. It is only then that you will realize what you want. If you would have told me at the beginning of my 4th year where I would have ended up, I would have laughed at you.
     
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  3. justincredible

    justincredible SCPM c/o 2011
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    Thanks for the advice jonwill! I was checking out the CASPR/CRIP website and started freaking because how do you narrow it down and decide what externships to apply to- there are a ton of them!!! Obviously it'd be ideal to choose programs that are top notch so is there any record of the top ranked residencies? Maybe such a thing doesn't exist because every program is different and special in it's own way... I was just wondering.
     
  4. histreetken

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    I agree with Jonwill that you should do an externship at the program and try your best.

    That being said, after externship repeatedly visit the program. Show them that you have not forgotten them and that you really care about the program. If you happen to be in the area for the weekend, go in and round or take call with the resident, ofcourse clear this with the director/resident first.

    Try to develop a good relationship not only with the director of the program but also the graduating residents as well as the interns. Also try to get to know some of the secretarial staff. Everyone should be able to put a name and positive tone to your face.

    DONT KISS ASS.
    DONT ANSWER EVERY QUESTION. Let other externs participate.

    Try and teach other externs and share knowledge, these are your colleagues, dont be too comeptitive it shows.

    If there is a surgical case or interesting pathology, do some research on it and ask them well thought questions about the case.

    Look clean and professional at all times. Haircut, clean shaven, not too much bling, in clinic always dressed appropirately. Dont wear bloody scrubs to a private clinic to see patients.

    White coat should look white, well pressed. Dont over fill the pockets, just stick with bandage scissors, some tape, stethescope, pen, spare pen, writing pad small, and one med/pod guide that gets you thru the day.

    Maybe you think I am being too detailed, but trust me, most people watch you and observe you and scan you out from top to bottom. After all, they have to work with you for the next 3 years and when you graduate you are a reflection of them.

    Lastly, some students like to go for residency near the town or home they wish to set-up practice in. This is a very tricky subject. Sometimes if you do a residency close to your future practice site, you build contacts and get a lay of the land and can easily set-up or join a group upon graduation. However, there are some programs where the attendings resent you setting up shop across the street from them. They taught you in residency, spent time with you, struggled with you and now you disrespect them by directly competing against them. This is a tough subject and it would be interesting to hear what others say about this.

    Sorry for my rambling, but the bottom line is this:
    You go to the residency program where you will learn the most so that you can be an independent practitioner. Education is what you should be after. The location or the residency, the pay, the colour of the scrubs, etc, these are all secondary IMHO.
    Good luck, let us know if you land it.:)
     
  5. justincredible

    justincredible SCPM c/o 2011
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    Thanks so much for the great advice histreetken!! I'll be sure to keep all that in mind when that time rolls around. And good point about the bad side of setting up shop in or around the town you did residency. I never thought about it that way, but it certainly makes sense!

    How would I go about just "visiting" a program for a day? I am in the area every now and then but don't know how to set up a "visit". Would it be bad to directly call the residency director to set this up? I'm sure they are busy enough without having to pencil some random student in that wants to follow them around for a day! :)
     
  6. PMSIII

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    First of all, happy new year everyone. This is great advise from histreetken and jonwill (as always). I am in my fourth year of school now and will be interviewing in 10 days so I can only reflect on my experience as a student (keeping in mind that I still didn't interview or match lol). I noticed from my rotations that externship performance is heavily weighted. I consistently hear from fellow colleagues, senior residents, and new grads that externships can make or break your application. In theory, you can have a great file with solid GPA, research, leadership positions, and extracurriculars but if you can't work well with the other residents at the externship then all these credentials will be good elsewhere.

    The reality is good programs attract good students (for the most part), so the people applying for those positions have great credentials just like you do. Programs have to find differentiating factors that make applicants unique so personality, work ethic, publications (in some cases), and the ability to be taught in my opinion go a long way. I've been fortunate enough to extern at some great programs, and I can tell you that for the most part I met many really bright minds from different schools. I agree with histreetken's post regarding mutual respect for your colleagues - work together and don't be competitive. I made new friends during my externships and I look forward to working with them or crossing paths in our future as podiatric surgeons.

    As far as other things I can share (from a student applying for residencies this year prespective), always be respectful to all attendings and residents, as well as fellow students. Podiatry is a pretty small circle and negatives do get out and FAST! When an attending/director asks you a question about other programs that you've visited/or externed at, do not disrespect them even if the rotation was disappointing. Always work hard and offer help to your residents - remember, they are taking time out of their schedule to teach you so be helpful and courtious during rounding and surgery. Always show up on time and be prepared (well read) - you're a rotating student for a short period of time so this rotation should be your priority 1.

    I hope this helps and wish you all the best with your basic science and clinical years. Make sure you spend time at that program and other ones as well during your senior years, because before you investigate if you are a good fit for those programs, you have to first see if they are a good fit for you. All the best!
     
  7. PMSIII

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    Call or e-mail. I would prefer e-mail because they'll have something electronically on record (harder to forget) then confirm again prior to your visit by a few days. You can access the contact information by logging on to the aacpm.org website and look under CASPR/CRIP for residencies
     
  8. SportPOD

    SportPOD Arizona Sports Pod
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    Great thread and great advice already given. Just to add some tidbits from my past experiences.

    Never make yourself seem like a know it all. If you know everything, what are we going to teach you in residency? If you show that you have the aptitude to retain what you learned in pod school and can apply it to externships then you have a good chance to be in that program. It's ok to say that you don't know, but you'd better look up the answer that night and be ready to answer it correctly in the future.

    Get along with others. I can't say this enough. Residency is sort of like a marriage. You are around these people for the next three years. If you don't like one or two of the residents and you are making it known, then maybe the program isn't for you. This is why it's a good idea to visit, to get a feel for the program and see if it's a good fit for your personality.

    Good luck to all on their interviews. Oh, and Happy New Year's to all!
     
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  9. justincredible

    justincredible SCPM c/o 2011
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    Again, great advice from everyone! I love pearls of wisdom! :)

    Does anyone think I should set up the externship date for my #1 program at a certain time of the year? Like would it be better to extern towards the end of 3rd year or right before CRIPS so I'll be fresh in their minds come match time? Or does it not really matter too much when you extern as long as you do? Sorry for all the questions..
     
  10. PMSIII

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    Honestly, I heard bothsides (externing early versus externing late in the year). The problem is this issue has alot to do with administrative work so lets say you want to extern at the program you really want (potential number 1) late in the year. How do you know that it won't be filled by then (with externs)? If you can, I recommend that you pick that month after the new residents have settled in - so around August, September, or October. This way you get to work with them and they get to work with you and assess you as a potential colleague in a year. If you extern before the new first year residents have started or settled-in, then I recommend that you come back and visit for a day or two after they get settled.

    Disclaimer: Those are strictly my opinions and those of a few of my close colleagues. Hope that helps
     
  11. Feli

    Feli ACFAS Member
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    This is good advice. Clerkship is the best way to impress the program and show them you are smart and hardworking. You want to make sure to read a fair amount before you go there, particularly if it's a program that publishes a lot or sends you required reading.

    It's also very true that you won't know how good/bad of a fit a program is until you experience it firsthand and get into the OR on your clerkship and/or visit. Resident and attending personalities, the hospital and the city it's in, etc may all change your views. Like Jon, prior to clerkships, I thought that I was 100% set on doing my residency at residency A or B, but ultimately, I didn't even end up applying for interviews at them. Your opinions may very well change also, so just keep your options open by reading and working hard.
     
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  12. Feli

    Feli ACFAS Member
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    Deciding on clerkships is hard, but try to figure out what. Every program has its emphasis and weaknesses.

    Clerkships selection is very important, and some students don't realize how critical it is. Make sure you have your LORs, transcripts, etc all ready to send and get the rotations you want.

    Here's a rough list of some of the better programs...
    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?p=6091105#post6091105
    I don't really think the order of your clerkship rotations is critical, but make sure you get all the ones you want. Some people will tell you to do the programs you want near the end (Oct/Nov/Dec) so that your memory is fresh when Jan interviews come, but I think that if you do well enough to shine and distinguish yourself, it doesn't really matter what month it was. As was suggested, go back and visit - or at least stay in contact - if you do a real early clerkship (May/Jun/Jul), though.
     
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    #12 Feli, Jan 1, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  13. justincredible

    justincredible SCPM c/o 2011
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    Thanks for the advice and that link Feli! I bookmarked it so I can refer to it and add to it as I go along.

    And good luck on you upcoming interviews PMSIII! Let us know how they go!
     
  14. histreetken

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    I am quite pleased with this thread. So far every person responding has been extremely helpful. There is a lot if detailed info in this thread and you should re-read it so that you are better placed when the time comes for externship/clerkships and day visits to programs.

    As for scheduling the dates for clerkship/externship, my personal bias is to go early rather than late. I agree with Feli and PMSIII, and I would add that anytime between August to December is perfect for your first choice. My reasoning for these months is that the new residents have settled in and the entire program is thinking about or looking forward to choosing the next set of residents, so it is a great time to shine.

    I dont know if it is still done, but there used to be a time when programs would quietly rank the externs and inform them and choose their new residents ahead of the CRIPs. If this is still the case, then I would think August to Dec is a good time to extern.


    As for visiting programs, you need to call ahead in most cases, that is all. For example, you live in Chicago but will be visiting San Francisco for a few days. Call from Chicago a few programs in San Fran, ask for the director or senior resident, explain who you are, that you are interested in visiting their program and will be in town on such and such a day. I am sure most programs will let you know which days are best to visit and will welcome you.

    I would even go so far as to say try a visit or two in your third year to local programs!!

    Things to do for your day visit:

    -get the number of the contact person you need to meet on the day of. This usually means a pager. Page them from a LOCAL phone number, no resident likes to start returning long distance calls from the hospital.

    -dress appropriately. I have said it before and will say it again, haircut, cleanshaven, keep the bling to a minimum, and OFFICE/CLINIC attire, NO SCRUBs. If there is a need for scrubs, the resident will get you some. A clean and pressed white coat is mandatory. PENS, STETHESCOPE, etc.

    -make sure you download a map of the hospital, understand where you are going to meet, what time and what day. You dont want to miss your meeting time because you got lost or have to page the resident to come find you.

    -spend the entire day. Do not skip out early. Dont do it, no matter how much you hate it, do not leave early. So if you have to round at 6am, not eat until you finish at 8pm and then catch a late flight, tough, if you visit the program, act like the intern at the program and do the day, the entire day.

    -eat when the resident you are assigned to eats. Never before. This shows you have stamina, comraderie, and gives you a chance to talk with the shields down. Chances are the resident may get you a free meal, but be prepared to pay and have cash on hand. Same with parking. be prepared to pay for an entire day at the hospital parking lot, this can be expensive. It would be a horror to have to ask the resident for a loan.

    -READ ABOUT THE PROGRAM U R VISITING!!!! I cannot believe how many students I have seen in my years not know anything about the program they are visiting. You should know or find out who are the residents, who are the directors of the program, the name of the hospital, etc.

    There is no trick to scheduling a day visit, you just go ahead and call.

    However, just visiting for the day, may in some cases, not be enough for you to shine. You may be forgotten by the program if you do not extern. If you really want the program, then extern and repeatedly visit. Dont be a pest, but show some genuine interest.


    Good luck.
    :thumbup:
     
  15. krabmas

    krabmas Senior Member
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    great advice so far!!!


    the previous post makes it sound the the residents were not students once too.

    As much as it is great to get students that know everything about the program, as residents we know what it was like to be a student visiting a program - know nothing about the layout of the hospital or how the paging system works.

    Try your best to be oriented and arrive early in case you get lost (for externships as well as visits) but if you do get lost don't be afraid to page your contact person. If they act like a tool on the phone about you getting lost just image how they might act as your senior resident. Will they have forgotten what is was like to be an intern too?
     
  16. histreetken

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    @Krabmas:
    you are correct, some residents can be harsh and others can be understanding. From what I recall, the harsh ones belonged to programs that seemed unworthy to apply for residency.
     

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