Molly Maquire

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I will likely apply to a competitive specialty, possibly with another specialty as a back-up. Consequently, I will be applying to a lot of programs (like 70-80) in hopes of getting many (at least 20) interviews.

Can anyone who has gone through this process tell me how difficult it is to get time during 4th year to go on that many interviews? Does it create a problem with your preceptors?

Is there one month during which most interviews are given, or are they spread out over the first six months of the year? I have two weeks vacation I can take anytime, and I can may be able to schedule a light rotation for the heavy interview season.


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invterviews are generally from late Oct to Late January with some programs outside of that time frame. You can also do an interview while doing an audition elective.

Try taking a light elective in Dec or a vacation month (if you have such thing at your school) during Jan. Those two are the big months for interviews. Preceptors were understanding in my case but I didn't apply to 70-80 programs.

Good Luck!


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yup, taking november, december, or january off for interviews is acceptable; but you can also take an elective during that time. The only reason that I took one month off during that time was that I was planning on studying for step II during that time, plus I thought that it'd be nice to not have to worry about scheduling plane tickets around when I would be able to take the least amount of time off possible; but in retrospect, I think that I could have easily done any of my very laid back fourth year rotations during that whole interviewing time period. I'd just reccomend contacting the course director and asking them if it'll be alright if you took off a lot of time for interviews during that time (I was told by a course director that it was a professional courtesy), but to be honest, 100% of the attendings know that you are a fourth year and that you have to go on these interviews, and I've never heard of anyone having a problem with it. The only exception would be if you were trying to do a sub-i during that time, where you had real patient care responsibilities and someone had to cover your work for your patient load for you; I'd try to avoid that if at all possible. If you are applying through eras, most of your interviews will probably be in late nov, dec, and early january. Radiology, most of the medicine consult electives, dermatology, etc would all be excellent electives to schedule during that time. Btw, if you are applying to derm or rad onc, I had classmates who applied to more so it's definitely not out of the norm. Good luck with the match!
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as has already been said, if you're not early match (ENT, ophtho, neuro, neurosurg or uro), most of your interviews will be during november, december, and january.

i had two months of vacation to play with, so i took november off and interviewed at local (chicago) programs while studying for step 2, and then took january off and spent three weeks in california interviewing. if you get your offers relatively early you can try to bunch them together geographically.

i had a couple outliers too and my preceptors during those rotations didn't give me any flak for taking days off to interview.

i feel your (eventual) pain, molly. i did approximately 15 anesthesia interviews and 15 prelim medicine/transitional interviews and by the end it was really hard to muster up any sort of enthusiasm.

good luck!


Did you already schedule your fourth year schedule? I gave myself time off between late November and late January.


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My grade was dropped for my December elective because I was gone for some interviews. Despite the fact that I acutally worked pretty hard and saw a lot more patients than they usually expected of a student cuz the were short a resident for some of the month. The residents raved about my performance.

What made me mad was not so much the grade drop (though I was teetering on being able to graduate with honors and that might have hurt) but the fact that the course director said it was OK to go interview and didn't tell me I would be penalized until it showed up on my transcript. I would at least liked to have known.

Not that your grade in Dec is going to matter (unless you fail). Just be aware that there are some uptight people out there.
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