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post interview thankyou?

Discussion in 'ERAS, SOAP, and NRMP Match' started by lutz, Nov 15, 2002.

  1. lutz

    lutz Member
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    I just interviewed at 3 programs this week and had six interviews at each program. Do I need to send letters to all 18 people that I interviewed with or just to the program director?

    Thanks!

    LUTZ
     
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  3. anaismd

    anaismd Member
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    i think the idea of sendin 18 thank you letters sounds ridiculous

    and i'm in the same situation so i just figured id do the sane thing and just send thank you letters to the program directors and maybe to anyone with whom you really felt you had a meaningful interaction or who you felt really liked you

    i dont know

    what does everyone else think?
     
  4. kenfused

    kenfused Senior Member
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    A SHORT thank you is certainly nice, but not required. Anything you write (including cards) WILL end up in your file when you are reviewed. Send a couple to your favorite interviewers, to jog their memory about you when they write up their opinion of your interview. (don't make em all the same. People WILL share their letters!)
     
  5. docB

    docB Chronically painful
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    Having been through the process I think that thank you notes to all of your interviewers are a must. It's not that you're kissing ass, you're saying "remember me?" You can say I don't want to go to a program that doesn't rank me because I didn't send a note but the real issue may be that you don't get ranked because they forgot all about you. Using a word processor to cut and paste addresses onto thank you notes is definitely worth the effort.
     
  6. Maui

    Maui Junior Member
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    Can you guys post exactly how you sent thank yous? Did you email, write a formal letter on a letterhead/A4 paper, send handwritten cards, include your picture?

    Also, did you leave the note/ with the chairman's office?

    How about the best timing to send them? Immediately after or nearer to the match like in February?

    Trying to think of the best way to be remembered, without seeming weird.

    I'm also thinking if people send second letters to express their interest in the program when match time is near.

    Thanks!
     
  7. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    Since when did the rules of a polite society (ie, sending thank you notes after being invited somewhere - whether a residency interview or your friend's parent's home for dinner) become "kissing ass"?

    Me thinks I'm getting old if things have changed that much... :rolleyes:
     
  8. Crusher

    Crusher Member
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    I know if you sent that stuff to my home school's program you would be wasting your time because they make their rank list that night I believe (only have one interview day)
     
  9. surg

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    Although it won't get you in, interview thank yous are generally a good idea and the failure to send to some places will drop you (I know of at least one program where I was told by the office that failing to send guaranteed that I would not be on their rank list) Of course that was during a much more competitive period than now, and I was primarily applying to "top tier" programs

    Yes, writing 6/program is a lot, but if you must prioritize you might want to do what I did. I divided up the programs into the ones I was ranking high and sent individualized letters, and the programs I thought I was unlikely to rank high, I sent one to the program director (assuming I met him or her, else to the education office).

    As others have said, assume that all letters will end up in your file. I recommend starting with a blank slate for each letter. Lessens the chance that the letters will be too similar.

    By the way, this points out one other thing. Make sure to get the names of all the people you interview with and the spellings of their names. Write it down after EACH interview in those few minutes rest you get between appointments and what you talked about. It will make writing these letters much easier.
     
  10. ejtan0

    ejtan0 Junior Member
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    What is the protocol for sending thank you letters to programs? I have read in one book to send one letter to the program director and send copies of that letter with handwritten, personalized notes to the other interviewers. Or is it better to send each person a different letter?
     
  11. Maui

    Maui Junior Member
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    Will someone who has already sent thank yous give us an idea of how he did it? Or should we just consult Miss Manners and do it the old fashioned way...
     
  12. docB

    docB Chronically painful
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    When I was writing interview TK notes (and I wrote about 75, ~5 interviews at 15 programs) I would make sure to jot down the name of the interviewer with correct spelling and some other point from the interview, e.g. ?likes EMS? or ?does research on MI?. Then I would put that info in a very brief note. My notes were usually about three lines long and had one general statement and two specific statements. For example:

    Dear Program Director,
    Thank you for the opportunity to interview at your program (I said that in just about every note). (General statement) I am excited about the possibility of doing a residency at your institution. or I was very impressed by your program. or I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with your residents and faculty. (Now a specific) I am particularly interested in the opportunity to be involved with your pet project. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

    Sincerely,
    Applicant

    Once you rotate the general statements, alter the specifics accordingly and add in any other things you want to say the notes are pretty easy. I think it?s OK if notes to different programs are very similar but don?t send the same note to two people in the same program. Also don?t tell every one you are going to rank them #1. The program directors DO talk and applicants that do that or that no show for interviews will suffer. One more plus for TK notes is that it?s an opportunity to give them your address, phone and email again.
    I think it?s OK to email or snail mail TK notes. That?s personal preference.
    docB
     
  13. If you do not interview with the program director, do you still write him a thank you letter?
     
  14. docB

    docB Chronically painful
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    Yes. The PD is the most important person in terms of your place in the program's rank. The more clearly the PD remembers you the better.
    docB
     
  15. docB

    docB Chronically painful
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    Sincerity is certainly not the goal here. Getting the PD, the faculty and the resident selection committee to remember you and give the rest of your jacket the attention you want is the goal. They don?t want to read a longwinded rehash of your personal statement in a thank you note. Remember that we?re talking about a way to send dozens and dozens of thank you notes. If you can generate so many utterly sincere and considered thank you notes more power to you but I?m suggesting a method for the rest of us.
    docB
     
  16. mikecwru

    mikecwru M.D. = Massive Debt
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    Dude, you're a spaz.

    If you went into medicine to escape bull**** politics, then you made the wrong choice, buddy.

    Obviously, there is some level of sincerity since the goal is to make the PD/program remember you, gain a favorable impression. The person obviously wants INTO that program.

    I'm not advocating lying or being malicious, but if you don't think you're judged differently unless you act bright, cheery, and interested, you are operating with your eyes closed. I mean, let people judge you on YOU, not how you're dressed/cleaned, either! Don't brush your teeth before that next interview... it's sooOOooo superficial.

    Obviously all of this can be taken to extremes, and it sounds like you're just stressed out from the process, but you need to chill out, too! You're the other extreme!

    mike


     
  17. docB

    docB Chronically painful
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    Wow! Who?d have thought this thread would make someone so angry? In any case here are some points to consider:
    You are being polite if you pick up garbage and you are being polite by thanking a guy you never spoke to. Remember that that guy (the PD) made your interview happen. ?Thanks for the interview? is that so hard? And unless you?re applying to be a janitor the note will mean more than the clean up.
    If you?re interested in their pet project say so, if you?re not come up with something else. If you?re easily offended and have no sense of humor write that in the thank you note too.
    If you want your substance to count they have to remember you. That was the point of all this.
    If you respect the ?cool people? more than everyone else then do as they do and best of luck.
    If you hate the system so much then become a PD and fix it.
    Sincerity is NOT the goal of a thank you note. I stand by that. As for my ?life philosophy? I don?t have to justify myself to you, student.
    docB
    BTW- I hope you?re not applying to UofA Tucson because you just called Ken Iserson an idiot. How polite is that?
     
  18. womansurg

    womansurg it's a hard life...
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    For my part, I sent individualized thank you notes to my interviewers at the three programs that I intended to rank at the top. Aside from just being gracious and mature, the idea is to reinforce who you are to the folks making the decisions, and that you are interested in their program.

    The admissions process at our program involves ranking highest the applicants who we like the best - which is a combination of their good qualifications and our good impression of them. Part of what makes us interested in an applicant is the sense that s/he is excited and interested in being in our program. It's pretty common that we have at least one person in the top three of our rank list (we take three people) who has quite average stats, but whose motivation to join us has made us want to have that person around.

    I can't help but think that pba is yanking people's chains as some sort of private joke, or because he thinks it will make his own chances better.

    Surgery staff, residents and program directors are just people. We like to be appreciated and we like to work with people who want to be a part of what we care about. OF COURSE you should send communications (thank you notes, emails, phone calls) to the programs you are most excited about. They will be pleased and happy to hear from you.

    Good luck, folks.
     
  19. womansurg

    womansurg it's a hard life...
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    I guess I'm not a fan of blanket thank you letters either, except in the most generic form: thanks for hosting me for an interview.

    For me, the post interview communication was my opportunity to affirm that, after visiting with them, my level of interest in the program was high. In two of the three programs that I sent letters to, I subsequently received personal phone calls from the program directors, and in all three cases I was contacted by residents from the program.

    I mentioned on another thread that I don't believe I can recall that we have ever highly ranked an applicant who failed to contact us after his or her interview. To us, it appears as though the person has marginal interest in coming to our program if that is the case. The top of our list is always filled with folks who we feel have some sort of a connection with.
     
  20. womansurg

    womansurg it's a hard life...
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    hahaha :laugh:

    I like that, pba. Sorta sums up your arguments in a nutshell. Unfortunately we ARE left to sort thru the b.s. in our search for what's real. But just because others do things with a lack of sincerity doesn't mean you shouldn't do them with integrity.

    regards,
    -ws
     
  21. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    In NO WAY was I advocating sending a Thank You note to "some guy you've never met". We were talking about sending them to the people you've interviewed with. I call that polite...I made no mention of my thoughts on whether it helped your application or not.

    Somehow the discussion became about sending them to everyone on the admissions committee. Seems ridiculous to me - just send them to people you actually met or JUST the PD.
    As it has been clearly shown, some programs value these little notes and some do not. Only an idiot would think that a stellar candidate would be rejected just because they didn't send a thank you note; it is just as unlikely that the below-par candidate would receive an offer because of the flowery prose he sent the PD.

    Send them if you want, or don't...just don't expect them to make a significant difference in your application if you've expressed your interest (and the ability to be a polite member of society) in other ways.
     
  22. SomeFakeName

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    Pba, kim cox, womansurg and others, this is the note I sent to PDs after my surgery interviews. I believe it is both polite and cuts through all the BS:


    Dear PD,

    Thank you for interviewing me along with the dozens of other potential candidates for you residency program. You may not remember me, but I was the white male in his mid-20s with an above average USMLE score and three strong letters of recommendation from academic surgeons who I specifically picked because I knew that you either know them personally or because they are well-known and carry some clout in the surgical community.

    I am writing not only to thank you, but to also let you know that I am still very interested in your residency program, just like the dozens of other applicants you've interviewed this year. But I thought I'd just send you this letter so that I would stand out, just like all the other applicants who must have sent you letters to express their interest also.

    I look forward to potentially becoming an intern in your residency program so that you and the other attendings can abuse me on a daily basis and make me do scut work that a person who didn't even finish elementary school could do. But don't worry, because I will take the emotional and physical abuse all 5 years without complaining or reporting the program to the RRC when you make me work over 120 hours per week even though the regulations say that I can only work 80 hours. I hope this letter will persuade you to rank me highly in the match so that I don't have to cut my vacation in the Bahamas short in order to scramble into some left-over residency spot in inner city Detroit.

    Sincerely,
    Applicant #136A
     
  23. womansurg

    womansurg it's a hard life...
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    I don't think the note is in itself of profound importance, but I guess from my own experiences, the communication of your interest - be it in your note or by phone or whatever - really was an important part of being moved up the rank list.

    I bet it's different between programs. Just some anecdotal reports from my end: one year we had a stellar guy with 250+ scores, recs, grades, yada yada.... When we had our rank meeting folks asked, "has anyone heard from this guy? Does anyone remember him?" No one had heard back from him, and the resident encounters on interview day were that he seemed nice, but was quiet and didn't stand out in any way. He ended up ranked about 12th, which since we usually match our interns out of the top 5, didn't do him much good.

    On the other hand, one year we had an applicant who had step I score of 205, actually below average for that year. Yet this person had expressed extreme interest in our program, rotated at our hospital, and kept in close contact after the interview. We ranked that person in our top three, over many folks with 240+ scores. That person is now one of our strongest residents.

    Beating a dead horse a bit here. I just want you guys to all do well and end up in the program where you feel you'll be happiest. Good luck!
     
  24. SomeFakeName

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    womansurg, the guy with a 250 USMLE came to his senses and realized that those stats would most likely land him an awesome top 10 surgery residency, and that is probably why he decided not to keep in touch.
     
  25. surg

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    Regardless of WHY this guy didn't keep in touch, the fact of the matter is a thank you note can convey two things:
    1) Interest. People that thrive at programs are also generally the ones who really wanted to come (assuming that intellectual capacity, etc. are relatively equal). At least where I am, we definitely consider whether we think you would be happy at our program because we believe that unhappy residents make everyone else miserable, staff AND patients. Let us know that you are interested never hurts you (unless you get creepy and start stalking our staff!)

    2) Ability to operate in normal society: Look, as Kimberli said, thank you notes are part of polite society. We expect you to be polite to the patients. If you can't even extend the slightest bit of courtesy to people who took a day away from their work (and at private programs, a day away from making money) to say thank you in even the most generic way when you actually want us to like you, how are you going to act when the chips are down and everyone is already toxic? It's not that we've never taken someone who hasn't sent a note, but sending a well written note can give you a bump up as WS said and not sending one at all doesn't help.

    Final thought: you CAN write a thank you letter that is sincere and simply says thank you. You should not lie and say that we are your top choice if you don't mean it (at least mean it when you write it, you can change your mind later of course). Remember, the match is supposed to serve both parties. Programs try to get people they think would do well at their programs, applicants try to get in programs they think they would do well at. Insincerity on either side may serve to boost one's ego, but ultimately is injurious to both parties.

    Also SFN, as someone at a "top 10" (academic) residency, I can say with authority that no number on the boards is enough to get you in if we don't like you. We turn away 260+'s with regularity. Also Iowa Methodist is probably a top 10 of their type of residency (community based) so I would back off if I were you. The potshot was uncalled for.
     
  26. SomeFakeName

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    surg, with all due respect, if you look at MOST of the people who match into top academic surgery programs, you will see that they have very strong numbers, LORs, and even some publications as 1st or 2nd author. Chances are that you ain't gonna get into MGH, UCSF, or Hopkins because you "showed interest" by taking 15 minutes out of your day to write a thank you letter to the PD. Everybody who applies to top surgery programs is interested in going there or else they wouldn't be so difficult to get. And PDs are not stupid to be swayed by another thank you letter from yet another applicant.

    BTW, I was not taking a potshot at community programs, but just stating that applicants with very high stats usually know they can match into academic programs that will give them more opportunities in the future in terms of fellowships and research. In others words, you're probably not going to get a Plastics or Pediatric surgery fellowship at a top institution if you do your general surgery training even at the best of community programs. Just look at the fellows in competetive surgery fellowships and you will see that most of them come from university-based general surgery programs.
     
  27. womansurg

    womansurg it's a hard life...
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    It wouldn't have mattered if he wanted to come or not: he was slid down the rank list by not keeping in touch, which was my point, of course.

    Actually, one of our current third years had board scores of 258 and 246 (higher than that applicants were); and as I've said, most are around 240. When one of our interns decided he didn't like gen surg call, he matched into ENT at a U program (?KU)immediately, with no difficulty. One of our prelims just matched into a second year spot in Ortho at Tulane. Our residents interview at and are recruited by 'top university programs', but choose our program based on many factors, which include lifestyle, breadth and degree of surgery experience, and open doors to fellowship opportunities. We routinely match the BEST applicants from the regional medical schools.

    My classmate just matched into his first choice of Plastics programs at Indiana University, and was heavily recruited by several institutions, including Vanderbilt. Previous grads have done Minimally Invasive Fellowships (also highly competitive), Colorectal (Mayo clinic, Thomas Jefferson), Cardiothoracic, among others.

    When our longtime program director's girlfriend moved to Boston 2 years ago he interviewed locally, and is now Vice Chairman of Surgery at Beth Isreal Deaconess (Harvard). We like our new PD better anyway; he did his training at Harvard.

    We're not the most competitive program in the nation, and I never suggested we were. But our people are top notch, and are here by design.

    regards
     
  28. SomeFakeName

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    Notice that I emphasized MOST applicants who get into competitive surgical fellowships are from university-based programs. From my experience, most of the residents who graduate from community programs go straight into private practice. There of course will always be a few exceptions to the norm. And I am inclined to say that the intern that you mentioned that switched into ENT and the prelim who went into Ortho were able to do so b/c of their previous scores and achievements, not b/c they spent 1 year at your program.

    And I never said that community programs had lower quality residents than university programs. Simply that those who are eyeing a competitive fellowship after general surgery will more likely opt for a university program to do their general surgery training. Let's face it, big name academic programs like to take residents from other big name programs, even if a resident who graduated from a community program is a better technical surgeon. Look at the surgical fellowship lists from first-tier academic programs and you'll see them filled with graduates of other first-tier programs (with the occassional community trained surgeon thrown in).
     
  29. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    Well that was my point all along. Don't write the note because you think its going to get you a residency spot somewhere but do it because its polite and because you want to express interest.

    I agree that candidates who express interest in a program are much more likely to be highly ranked than those who may have better scores, etc. but who seemed ho-hum about Program X.

    So call, write, drop by whatever...but IMHO writing a thank you note or some other form of saying "thank you" is appropriate, even if you aren't all that interested in the program.
     
  30. womansurg

    womansurg it's a hard life...
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    Exactly dear. Your contention was that the most competitive people would 'come to their senses' and choose U programs over community: my entire post was a refutation of this. Those people were able to move into classically highly competitive positions because they were highly competitive applicants....and they were representative of our resident pool.

    Granted. I've stated before that if you know from the get go that you want to do academic medicine or a highly competitive subspecialty, then you should apply to as prestigious of academic institutions as possible.

    For me, my program offered the best of both worlds. I wasn't sure what I would end up liking. If it turned out to be general surgery (which it has) then I wanted to graduate feeling very confident in my ability to go out, hang my shingle, and be a capable, responsible surgeon. I do feel that my program offers a much stronger guarantee of this than did the U programs that I saw. We can tell a dramatic difference between the fellowship trained surgeons and the graduating community general surgeons when they come on staff here: the fellowship guys are pretty bad in the OR, even AFTER their additional two or three years of training. On the other hand, if I had developed an interest in plastics, or CT, colorectal...my program has an excellent track record of securing fellowships for those who pursue them.

    Our program also offers a lifestyle unmatched by any other program that I've seen - which is important to me and to the other people who come here. I'm happily married, and I want to remain happily married through and beyond my training. Many of the residents have children, and they appreciate getting to see their kids grow up. These are not trivial issues to most parents.

    pba, you seem (despite all your protestations about sincerity) to be mighty concerned with appearances - being 'cool' and hanging with the 'cool' people. That attitude fits pretty well with many U's and all the academic emphasis on hierarchy, recognition and pretension. Nobody is trying to be cool here....we're just trying to practice good medicine and take care of the people of our community - which in a town of this size - are our family, friends and neighbors.
     
  31. womansurg

    womansurg it's a hard life...
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    Ah...well, I'm hopeful you can safely uncover your ears now.

    The local charity hospital is a core rotation for us, and I find this work to be the most rewarding of my young career. It is truly what I had in mind when I set our to become a physician. These patients are so in need, and react so positively when they are approached with consideration and sincere attention to their complaints. For some, you may be the first physician who has attended to them with respect and concern - and they are tremendously grateful for it. I completely understand your aversion to devoting your hard earned talents to elective surgeries on insured, middle income yuppies.

    From my standpoint, I do sometimes look on in astonishment and some distaste when I sense a blind allegience to university training. It seems disingenuous. With regards to my training, many factors were considered, but a component which I was not willing to compromise on was the promise of technical excellence, broad exposure, strong educational emphasis, adequate experience and mastery of skills to render me a reliable and safe surgeon. Too often I've seen incompetence masked by a beefed up educational pedigree. I can't understand swapping a legitimate training experience simply for the opportunity to have a more recognizable name on your diploma.

    Bottom line: good surgical education is to be had, at both private and U programs. Look for it, demand it, and don't compromise your standards with ostentatiousness. Or do...it's your five (or seven, eight, nine) years...

    regards
    -ws
     

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