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Program directors/residents any idea when you’ll start interviews this year?

watermelon master

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Hey everyone, was just trying to get some insight into what your interview cycle will look like this year for the 2020-2021 ERAS application cycle. Since our ERAS applications are being released to programs later this year (oct 21), do you think your interviews will start later? Have you decided if you’re doing online or in person interviews yet, or is it still up in the air?
Thanks!
 

CoxMD

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I'm a chief resident at my program. Not sure of the timeline, but we've already committed to 100% virtual interviews. Already planning to shoot the virtual tour all the applicants will "get to go on".

My PD said "everyone" is doing virtual this cycle. Not sure if that's a national decision/mandate amongst program directors, or just "everyone" he knows/has spoken to.
 
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JiPo

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So much easier on the wallet for med students. Though you wonder if it'll affect the number of interviews people end up doing.

It will most certainly increase the number of interviews people go on. I anticipate that each program will receive more applications, but will also have to interview and rank more applicants than usual to ensure that they don't go unmatched. Now that the travel cost is essentially $0, and 4th year students will have more time on their hands than ever before, there is nothing stopping them from going on extra 5-10 virtual interviews to maximize their chance of matching.
 
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NVO

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It will also be more difficult for applicants to rank programs due to not having pre-interview dinners anymore. Have there been ways that programs are planning on implementing something similar? (a space in which applicants can ask residents "any questions" without judgement)
 

bobow98

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It will also be more difficult for applicants to rank programs due to not having pre-interview dinners anymore. Have there been ways that programs are planning on implementing something similar? (a space in which applicants can ask residents "any questions" without judgement)

Zoom breakout rooms ?
 

pjl

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Zoom breakout rooms ?
This should be super obvious, but for any naive youngsters out there...absolutely any communications with programs will be dissected with a fine tooth comb.
Even more so if they can’t meet you face to face, every interaction should be treated as an interview.
 
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NVO

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This should be super obvious, but for any naive youngsters out there...absolutely any communications with programs will be dissected with a fine tooth comb.
Even more so if they can’t meet you face to face, every interaction should be treated as an interview.
The best times were at the dinner after a few drinks when the senior resident would tell you all the nitty gritty pros and cons on their own accord.

For applicants out there, find ways to make your questions sound professional. Ive seen applicants ask "so when do you get out" and I've seen them ask "tell me about your typical day" and both questions get to essentially the same answer you're looking for
 
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dchz

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This should be super obvious, but for any naive youngsters out there...absolutely any communications with programs will be dissected with a fine tooth comb.
Even more so if they can’t meet you face to face, every interaction should be treated as an interview.

The best times were at the dinner after a few drinks when the senior resident would tell you all the nitty gritty pros and cons on their own accord.

For applicants out there, find ways to make your questions sound professional. Ive seen applicants ask "so when do you get out" and I've seen them ask "tell me about your typical day" and both questions get to essentially the same answer you're looking for

Super good advice for graduting MS4s.

Zoom breakout rooms ?

In someways this is more intimate than actual dinners. I was able to zoom 1 on 1 with all the fellowship applicants, more private than dinners with less work imo.
 

Sriddymopboi

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I'm a chief resident at my program. Not sure of the timeline, but we've already committed to 100% virtual interviews. Already planning to shoot the virtual tour all the applicants will "get to go on".

My PD said "everyone" is doing virtual this cycle. Not sure if that's a national decision/mandate amongst program directors, or just "everyone" he knows/has spoken to.
Are med students even elective clinical rotations for June/July with anesthesia?

It basically comes down to if you have a home program then you should not do an away rotation, and institutions that are allowing aways are only taking students without home programs.
 

AMEHigh

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It will also be more difficult for applicants to rank programs due to not having pre-interview dinners anymore. Have there been ways that programs are planning on implementing something similar? (a space in which applicants can ask residents "any questions" without judgement)

Yes. Still planning for resident and applicant only get together via online platform zoom or webex.
 
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AnonymousPD

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This entire year has been an exercise in making things up as you go along. 6 months away from interview season, its a little early to say when exactly we are going to start interviewing. Even in normal years, we typically don't set our interview dates until 3 or 4 months before since that's when we have a better idea of which dates the Chair, PD, APDs and interviewing faculty will be in town. So to answer your question, it is almost certain things will start later. Especially for programs that normal kickoff their interview seasons in October. Others that typically start later might not be affected as much.

The main issue that is being discussed nationally are the number of applications we are all expecting to receive. There is a push from all residency programs to limit the number of applications/interviews on the student end. Because of the limiting factors of time, travel, and resources, most applicants can only attend 15-20 interviews at maximum. But this year, due to everything being virtual...there is little to stop a student from accepting 40+ interviews. Previous posters have touched on the affect this will have on rank lists and number of interviews offered per program.

If I may, I have questions for the forum. Especially to those of you who are in the application cycle or recently graduates. Given that everything is virtual this year, what sort of things can a program focus on that will properly address the things applicants want to see and learn? We know that it will be impossible to recreate the in-person experience. But what sort of virtual interactions will be most valuable to applicants? Would you rather have group sessions with existing residents? Or a series of one-on-one sessions? Is it worth it to produce a virtual tour? Or would you rather spend more time interacting with people in the department?

Once we get past virtual graduation (congratulations to all the seniors) and on-boarding of the new residents, we are going to substantive start planning for the fall. The collective wisdom of the group, either posted or written directly to me can only be helpful.
 
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pjl

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This entire year has been an exercise in making things up as you go along. 6 months away from interview season, its a little early to say when exactly we are going to start interviewing. Even in normal years, we typically don't set our interview dates until 3 or 4 months before since that's when we have a better idea of which dates the Chair, PD, APDs and interviewing faculty will be in town. So to answer your question, it is almost certain things will start later. Especially for programs that normal kickoff their interview seasons in October. Others that typically start later might not be affected as much.

The main issue that is being discussed nationally are the number of applications we are all expecting to receive. There is a push from all residency programs to limit the number of applications/interviews on the student end. Because of the limiting factors of time, travel, and resources, most applicants can only attend 15-20 interviews at maximum. But this year, due to everything being virtual...there is little to stop a student from accepting 40+ interviews. Previous posters have touched on the affect this will have on rank lists and number of interviews offered per program.

If I may, I have questions for the forum. Especially to those of you who are in the application cycle or recently graduates. Given that everything is virtual this year, what sort of things can a program focus on that will properly address the things applicants want to see and learn? We know that it will be impossible to recreate the in-person experience. But what sort of virtual interactions will be most valuable to applicants? Would you rather have group sessions with existing residents? Or a series of one-on-one sessions? Is it worth it to produce a virtual tour? Or would you rather spend more time interacting with people in the department?

Once we get past virtual graduation (congratulations to all the seniors) and on-boarding of the new residents, we are going to substantive start planning for the fall. The collective wisdom of the group, either posted or written directly to me can only be helpful.

I’m too old to be recent, but why not make a single video tour for applicants. Show off all the important bits, edit out the walking, and have someone talk a lot about daily life as they go. Answer all the questions that are uncomfortable to ask about hours and teaching, etc. Be honest about strengths and weaknesses.

Have residents give a good summary of important rotations and electives, as well as the nitty gritty of when lectures happen and how they can make it to them.

Have zoom/etc interviews with 3 faculty.

Have resident experiences available, which will be hard without the restaurant bribe for residents. As I recall, resident interaction was key to rank order from the applicant side, and residents lobbying for or against applicants mattered a fair bit for the program side. Make sure you keep these.
 
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Neopolymath

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The number one thing you can do is ask yourself if the video is actually answering questions applicants usually have to ask at the pre-interview dinner. Who cares about seeing the same generic OR or hearing about how the program is very educational (funny how they all say that yet everyone knows many programs are not solid now)? It's completely ridiculous that most people I know who went through the process this year had to use backchannels to find out the real deets about case load, if midlevels do the non-educational call cases for senior residents, moonlighting, how do people actually get to didactic, is the department a bunch of pushovers etc etc.

Basically, you would be a God if you could just answer the questions PDs all know applicants want to ask but can't because the dinner is gone. I can't imagine a worse virtual experience than one that makes us watch a generic and useless infomercial. If your program doesn't suck then you should have nothing to hide and if your virtual experience is useless I'm automatically assuming your program stinks unless I see proof otherwise from another source.

I'm stressed out just thinking about how bad this is going to be this year already haha.
 
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abolt18

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This entire year has been an exercise in making things up as you go along. 6 months away from interview season, its a little early to say when exactly we are going to start interviewing. Even in normal years, we typically don't set our interview dates until 3 or 4 months before since that's when we have a better idea of which dates the Chair, PD, APDs and interviewing faculty will be in town. So to answer your question, it is almost certain things will start later. Especially for programs that normal kickoff their interview seasons in October. Others that typically start later might not be affected as much.

The main issue that is being discussed nationally are the number of applications we are all expecting to receive. There is a push from all residency programs to limit the number of applications/interviews on the student end. Because of the limiting factors of time, travel, and resources, most applicants can only attend 15-20 interviews at maximum. But this year, due to everything being virtual...there is little to stop a student from accepting 40+ interviews. Previous posters have touched on the affect this will have on rank lists and number of interviews offered per program.

If I may, I have questions for the forum. Especially to those of you who are in the application cycle or recently graduates. Given that everything is virtual this year, what sort of things can a program focus on that will properly address the things applicants want to see and learn? We know that it will be impossible to recreate the in-person experience. But what sort of virtual interactions will be most valuable to applicants? Would you rather have group sessions with existing residents? Or a series of one-on-one sessions? Is it worth it to produce a virtual tour? Or would you rather spend more time interacting with people in the department?

Once we get past virtual graduation (congratulations to all the seniors) and on-boarding of the new residents, we are going to substantive start planning for the fall. The collective wisdom of the group, either posted or written directly to me can only be helpful.
PGY 3 here.

I think the previous poster hit it perfectly about a short pre-recorded video without all the walking.

Have the chiefs create a nice FAQ that your residents answer about "how many hours ACTUALLY? What's moonlighting like? How are residents treated? Any cool perks? Best thing? Worst thing? And all other worthwhile things people can think of" And provide answers from many residents to each of those questions so you get a real and fair picture (no screening out answers you don't like!!!!!)
 
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JiPo

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PGY 3 here.

I think the previous poster hit it perfectly about a short pre-recorded video without all the walking.

Have the chiefs create a nice FAQ that your residents answer about "how many hours ACTUALLY? What's moonlighting like? How are residents treated? Any cool perks? Best thing? Worst thing? And all other worthwhile things people can think of" And provide answers from many residents to each of those questions so you get a real and fair picture (no screening out answers you don't like!!!!!)

it is a nice idea, but If it is a recording, PD or leadership can view it, and residents wont be able to say what they really wish to say. Live session that is not recorded would be better.

if i am watching a recording, i wont be able to brush off the idea that it might have been staged.
 
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Sriddymopboi

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it is a nice idea, but If it is a recording, PD or leadership can view it, and residents wont be able to say what they really wish to say. Live session that is not recorded would be better.

if i am watching a recording, i wont be able to brush off the idea that it might have been staged.

Unfortunately I think this is going to be at the back of my mind during the entirety of the interview season. What's to stop somebody from recording the resident-medical student only panel and then showing it to the PD later? How can I truly be myself and ask questions that I wouldn't want to ask in front of the PD?
 
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Ronin786

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This cycle is going to be a mess. Very few med students have the wherewithal not to go based off of brand recognition. The "non-brand" name programs that offer superb excellent training are going to be the biggest losers in this IMO. It's going to be hard to make a decision on that fancy academic institution when they don't stick you in a broom closet during interviews or when 3 out of 5 interviewers are late because they couldn't get out of the OR or when you don't see all the smiling (or frowning) faces in the anesthesia office.

To be honest, forums like SDN are probably going to be the best way to help decide on programs.
 
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Ronin786

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Unfortunately I think this is going to be at the back of my mind during the entirety of the interview season. What's to stop somebody from recording the resident-medical student only panel and then showing it to the PD later? How can I truly be myself and ask questions that I wouldn't want to ask in front of the PD?
I wouldn't worry about that. For starters, always carry yourself as if somebody is watching, because they are. And the interview dinners were almost always reported to the PD if you said something that was worth reporting.
 
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Neopolymath

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This cycle is going to be a mess. Very few med students have the wherewithal not to go based off of brand recognition. The "non-brand" name programs that offer superb excellent training are going to be the biggest losers in this IMO. It's going to be hard to make a decision on that fancy academic institution when they don't stick you in a broom closet during interviews or when 3 out of 5 interviewers are late because they couldn't get out of the OR or when you don't see all the smiling (or frowning) faces in the anesthesia office.

To be honest, forums like SDN are probably going to be the best way to help decide on programs.
I'll be awaiting your suggestions via PM with bated breath (seriously).
 

abolt18

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I meant a written document of resident input compiled by chiefs so there is anonymity.
it is a nice idea, but If it is a recording, PD or leadership can view it, and residents wont be able to say what they really wish to say. Live session that is not recorded would be better.

if i am watching a recording, i wont be able to brush off the idea that it might have been staged.
 
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JiPo

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I meant a written document of resident input compiled by chiefs so there is anonymity.

That is better than recording, but still a program can’t prove that those answers weren’t staged. Source of truth about programs will not be as accessible and even if what people read/watch are true, there will be very low threshold to question it.

The best way prob would be a live panel that is NOT recorded, with everyone drinking/zooming from home.
 

GC-DR

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My big recommendation, having just been in the past cycle.
1) Spend the money to visit your top 2 or 3 locations. Even if you can't tour the hospital that fine, because there will tiny differences between your top picks probably. But its worth just spending a day in that city and seeing if you a) want to live there b) your partner wants to live there.
 
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AnonymousPD

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The number one thing you can do is ask yourself if the video is actually answering questions applicants usually have to ask at the pre-interview dinner. Who cares about seeing the same generic OR or hearing about how the program is very educational (funny how they all say that yet everyone knows many programs are not solid now)? It's completely ridiculous that most people I know who went through the process this year had to use backchannels to find out the real deets about case load, if midlevels do the non-educational call cases for senior residents, moonlighting, how do people actually get to didactic, is the department a bunch of pushovers etc etc.

Basically, you would be a God if you could just answer the questions PDs all know applicants want to ask but can't because the dinner is gone. I can't imagine a worse virtual experience than one that makes us watch a generic and useless infomercial. If your program doesn't suck then you should have nothing to hide and if your virtual experience is useless I'm automatically assuming your program stinks unless I see proof otherwise from another source.

I'm stressed out just thinking about how bad this is going to be this year already haha.

Appreciate the response. There are members of our team that are advocating for a more traditional video/presentation/documentation approach vs. others who are pushing to use the majority of the time emphasizing face to face contact. I'm glad to see that those pushing for the later appear to be on the right track.

I am always surprised at what medical students worry about. Am I to understand that there are large numbers of medical students who think that Zoom/WebEx meetings with residents will be recorded and reviewed by recruitment committees? If that's true, I suppose we can offer to have residents and candidates talk over the phone.

Thank you all again.
 
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