Need some advice

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Apr 24, 2012
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Hey all, I'm an OMS4 pursuing a residency in PM&R. I am wondering if I should cancel my last interview as it is in NYC and I have absolutely no desire to live or work near that city. If I cancel that interview I will finish with 11 ACGME interviews. I know the field is becoming more competitive each year. My school counselor told me my goal number of interviews is roughly 11-13. Based on your experiences, do you feel 11 interviews is enough to successfully match? Thank you.

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What's your back up plan if you don't match this cycle? In your mind is that worse than matching in NYC?

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Thanks for your response. As of now, I do not have a backup plan. According to statistics ive seen, 11 interviews gives you roughly a 90% chance of matching. However, you do make a valid point in that would it be worse to match NYC than not matching at all. To answer your question, I do not know. I strongly dislike the NYC program and the city as well. Many people have said that if you do not want to work for a program, dont even rank it. I am unsure what to do. I guess what it comes down to likely is it that I would match at my last ranked program (assuming I went to the interview).
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I'm not going to be that guy to recommend cancelling rotations only to see you not match. But I will say this's a personal decision and you have to be able to live with the risks.

I felt pretty good about the feedback I was getting in interviews, so I felt like I was in a position to decline and cancel interviews. I think that a good majority of applicants cancel or decline interviews at some time in the process, for one reason or another. If you had NO desire to live in probably shouldn't have applied in the first place. But now that you have the interview it's your decision to make. Charting outcomes says that DOs who rank 13 programs have a 90% chance of matching. But the truth is that the majority of applicants who match do so within their top 3. I think that the majority of applicants are being advised to rank programs based on the charting outcome data...but that in turn significantly influences that data. I would bet that if charting outcomes didn't exist that everyone would rank fewer programs, and the match rates would be similar.
If you don't have any red flags in your application, then I think you are safe with 11.

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I would not cancel an interview based upon the location. You may end up loving the program on interview day. The only caveat to that is if you are married and/or have kids.

As far as having a 90% chance of matching with 11 interviews, interpret that information with caution. I had 13 interviews in 2014 and did not match.
If you are a good candidate (no red flags, decent board scores, good resume) and have good interview skills then you should probably match into your top few choices. If you end up not matching into PM&R with the 11 interviews you have already had, then chances are you have a red flag or were not interviewing well and left a bad impression on your interview day. I highly doubt that if you don't match into the 11 other programs that this one in NYC will take you.

I also don't believe in interviewing at a program that you don't want to go to. Of course if it's early on in the season or if you haven't had many interviews then thats a different story. I cancelled interviews to Johns Hopkins, LSU and 1 or 2 others due to location and I only ranked 10 programs. I think the decision to cancel or not all comes down to your level of confidence in how your interviews went.
Statistics only matter in the aggregate. You are either 100%, or 0% - you either match or you don't.

Cancelling the interview is foolish. There is no harm in going. If you continue to hate NY, don't rank the program. But not going to the interview curtails the option of ranking it entirely.
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agree with ampa, interview everywhere - then decide
I appreciate all the feedback. To respond to a few questions: no I don't have any red flags on my application, my scores are decent enough. Besides, it seems that once you get interviews, scores don't really matter. Scores get interviews, interviews get matches. I feel as though my interviews have gone really well. Several PD's have emailed me saying they would love to have me (however, I've heard those stories where a PD says you're the #1 on our list and they end up not matching) so I'm taking that with a grain of salt. I did decide to cancel my last interview in NYC. I realized that as a man with a baby on the way and a wife to take care of, I don't want to be in NYC on resident pay with that cost of living. Also I had heard some negative things about the program anyway. Once again, thank you for all your advice, i really appreciate it.