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Pre-interview dinner

Dral

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Jan 8, 2009
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  1. Attending Physician
    I guess this is mainly a question for current residents, but anyone with an opinion should feel free to contribute. I have an interview that is a single date only. It is the day before another interview. Thus, I would have to miss the dinner for the second interview.

    I could change the second interview possibly, but it would set off a mini-wave of having to change another interview or two as well.

    If I have to miss a dinner, should I let people know during the interview? I of course want people to know that I missed it for a valid reason opposed to them thinking I just ditched it.
     

    swman

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      I am curious about this too - how key is the pre-interview dinner towards your acceptance by the program? Especially if you haven't rotated at that program before?

      Here are my thoughts (though I am just an applicant):

      The residents were in your shoes a few years ago. They (and likely faculty as well) know most programs offer only 1-2 days and in derm you need to go to as many interviews as you can. It's part of the cycle.

      Derm applicants are incredibly talented people who can do a lot of things but being in 2 places at once is not one of them (except maybe sore eye).

      I don't plan to sweat it or be overly apologetic at the interview but if the topic comes up I would slip in the fact that I was flying in from another interview last night and also make an effort during the interview day to connect with residents and ask questions about the program.
       
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      starbuckscoffee

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      Jan 29, 2010
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        I am curious about this too - how key is the pre-interview dinner towards your acceptance by the program? Especially if you haven't rotated at that program before?

        Every program is different. At many programas, the residents will only give feedback to the PD about applicants who stand out as particularly good or bad. However, I have come across a few programs where the residents are asked to rate all of the applicants, and if you didn't go to the dinner they don't have much to go by. I don't think the dinners are essential at most programs, but be aware that you will often be asked the next day at your interviews if you were able to make the dinner (more as an ice-breaker), and if you say you didn't make it for no reason in particular, they may take it as an indication that you're not very interested in the program. The other thing you should know about the dinner is that it's a great place to get some inside info about the program and what to expect on your interviews. Sometimes residents will give you advice about how to interact with particular attendings or which attendings tend to ask difficult questions. I had one dinner where they told all the interviewees several questions that we'd be asked the next day so that we could think about our answers in advance. A final consideration is that if you miss the dinner, you may feel awkward and left-out during the interview day since many of the other applicants will already know one another. This can create the type of atmosphere that makes it hard for you to relax and make a good impression.

        All that said, I wouldn't pass up an interview at one program to make the dinner at another. You can definitely match at a program without making it to the dinner. I wouldn't skip the dinner unless you really can't make it though, for the reasons I explained above.

        Hope that helps.
         

        starbuckscoffee

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          Thanks for the responses.

          I have one more question about this topic. Is it better to show up late to a dinner (I'm talkin' an hour or so) or is it better to just not come to it if that's the case?

          Ask whoever is coordinating the dinner (the PC, or if they give you a specific resident's name/email). I had this issue twice when I was an applicant; one time the resident said it was no problem to show up late, and the other time the resident said not to worry about the dinner and just to get a good night's sleep and come to the interview day. This issue comes up all the time, so the PC/residents are generally happy to guide you in the right direction.
           

          Dral

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            Ask whoever is coordinating the dinner (the PC, or if they give you a specific resident's name/email). I had this issue twice when I was an applicant; one time the resident said it was no problem to show up late, and the other time the resident said not to worry about the dinner and just to get a good night's sleep and come to the interview day. This issue comes up all the time, so the PC/residents are generally happy to guide you in the right direction.

            Sounds good. Thanks again! :thumbup:
             
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