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GuP

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    What according to you guys is the best back up plan for a person who fails to match? Is it wise to a do a prelim/ty year or wait for a year doing observership or try for a research spot?
     

    WhiteDots

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      I would personally recommend a research year. Ophthalmology-- academic programs at least-- do value research. So, working in that would be the best option.

      The reason why i don't think doing a prelim/ty spot is good is because once you finish, you would have to find a PGY2 spot opening for that summer... and it's hard since you match 2 years in advance for most openings.

      Observerships is a very bad idea because you don't do anything. You're not allowed to get credit.. and you're not covered by the malpractice insurance. You're just to observe.. and so it's a waste of time.
       

      rubensan

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        i think research is a good idea if you are interested in doing research and have realistic expectations. on the other hand, why postpone the pain of internship? either way, you will be out one year and the more important question you can ask yourself is what you can do to spruce up your application between the time you find out that you didn't match (usually january) until it is time to apply again (august) which is only 8-9 mos? is that enough time to start something and get an ARVO abstract out? sure. is it enough to get a publication? you would be very lucky to do so. i agree with the above post in that an observership would be pretty low yield.

        What according to you guys is the best back up plan for a person who fails to match? Is it wise to a do a prelim/ty year or wait for a year doing observership or try for a research spot?
         
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        jdh71

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          My plan for not matching is prelim and reapply. Worst case scenario you don't match again, and I can finish an internal medicine residency in two more years . . . I bring this up to put some perspective into this conversation . . . if my worst case scanrio is an internal medicine residency, with board eligibility, after three years post-grad, it's not like you've lost your wife, dog died, and your house burned down . . . look at the bigger picture. You can even reapply again. I guess everyone has to do an internship, and a transitional year will be pretty useless unless you have a confirmed PGY-2 year spot somewhere. You can bounce off a prelim into PGY-2 categorical spot without much trouble - hell many places offer it to you anyway. An extra year of research as a supersenior MS4 is not very satisfying to me, and Im not convinced from talking to three different PD's that it helps that much (of course 3 is not represetitive of the whole, perhaps it might speak louder to some programs)
           

          rubensan

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            My plan for not matching is prelim and reapply. Worst case scenario you don't match again, and I can finish an internal medicine residency in two more years . . . I bring this up to put some perspective into this conversation . . . if my worst case scanrio is an internal medicine residency, with board eligibility, after three years post-grad, it's not like you've lost your wife, dog died, and your house burned down . . . look at the bigger picture. You can even reapply again. I guess everyone has to do an internship, and a transitional year will be pretty useless unless you have a confirmed PGY-2 year spot somewhere. You can bounce off a prelim into PGY-2 categorical spot without much trouble - hell many places offer it to you anyway. An extra year of research as a supersenior MS4 is not very satisfying to me, and Im not convinced from talking to three different PD's that it helps that much (of course 3 is not represetitive of the whole, perhaps it might speak louder to some programs)

            i agree with your perspective and think that it is a healthy one. OP asked the question what a "good back-up plan would be?" i agree with you that there are some great fields in internal medicine and that not matching into an ophthalmology residency is far from the end of the world. however, if ophtho is your dream and you do not match the first time around, i am not sure how doing an internship and reapplying again during your intern year (when you have little time for anything else but eating, sleeping and enjoying the brief instances you are not at the hospital) will help your chances if you have not added ophtho related activities (research, international work, etc) to your CV.
             

            jdh71

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              i agree with your perspective and think that it is a healthy one. OP asked the question what a "good back-up plan would be?" i agree with you that there are some great fields in internal medicine and that not matching into an ophthalmology residency is far from the end of the world. however, if ophtho is your dream and you do not match the first time around, i am not sure how doing an internship and reapplying again during your intern year (when you have little time for anything else but eating, sleeping and enjoying the brief instances you are not at the hospital) will help your chances if you have not added ophtho related activities (research, international work, etc) to your CV.

              You obviously have a good point, but I also think it depends on where you are applying again and where you are doing your prelim. Most prelims do give you one elective month, try and get it early, try and find some research. There are options and while internship is busy, you could find extra time when on subspecialty and ambulatory months. It's possible. You can always finish IM and apply again. Like you said, "if ophtho is your dream . . ."
               

              DOapplicant

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                be very careful where and with whom you decide to do a research year with.

                i'm currently doing a research year (i'm in b/n MS3 and MS4). what i've learned is sometimes projects don't work out as you expected.
                make sure you go to a 'big' place with renowned faculty that have connections. that way if you don't get any major pubs, you can still have influential faculty members writing and calling on your behalf.

                PM if you have any other questions.

                hope this turns out to be nothing more than needless worrying.
                 

                GuP

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                  Thanks for the input guys. I think a straight research year w/o a ty year looks like the best option. Any further input is welcome.

                  DOapp - thanks for your help. I will definitely pm you.
                   

                  kulkarka

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                    i agree with rubensan that it might pay to go ahead and get into a prelim year, and reapply. you could start your prelim year, reapply, and in the meantime, set up a research year that you would do after your prelim year. when they ask you on interviews what you are going to do in the year off, at least you will have something solid that you can tell them. if you don't match again, you can just go ahead and finish your IM residency.

                    the only reason i suggest this is because i know a person that did this. they planned on going into IM, but decided on ophtho very late (basically around this time in their 4th year). they matched at a great IM residency and switched from categorical to prelim. then they applied to ophtho during their prelim year and set up a great ophtho research year for the year after, in case they matched. they ended up matching at a decent ophtho program (at the same institution where they are doing their prelim), and now they are set. if they didn't match, they could have just switched stayed on for 2 years and finished an IM residency.
                     
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                    exmike

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                      kulkarka - what you say makes sense BUT i do not want to settle for IM.

                      beggars cant be choosers.

                      what kulkara describes seems to be the best bet for setting yourself up to get in if you dont match the first time around

                      After all, if you cant match into ophtho, chances are you cant match into the other competitive specialties, and doing a prelim medicine or surgery year will give you the most options PGY-2 -whether it be a year of research or entering a categorical med/surg program.
                       

                      GuP

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                        beggars cant be choosers.

                        what kulkara describes seems to be the best bet for setting yourself up to get in if you dont match the first time around

                        After all, if you cant match into ophtho, chances are you cant match into the other competitive specialties, and doing a prelim medicine or surgery year will give you the most options PGY-2 -whether it be a year of research or entering a categorical med/surg program.

                        Your crappy condenscending post is really inspiring. :rolleyes:

                        How about you take your sh*ty opinion somewhere else?
                         

                        exmike

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                          Your crappy condenscending post is really inspiring. :rolleyes:

                          How about you take your sh*ty opinion somewhere else?

                          Would you rather have people blow smoke up your a$$?

                          Are the only valid opinions the one that allow you do exactly what you want to do even if it isn't realistic?

                          I think everyone applying to eye realizes that ortho or ENT or some other compeitive specialty isnt a viable backup plan. doing a prelim med or surg year followed by a year of research while reapplying IS a good plan with many options. If that is a sh*tty opinion and condescending, then so be it. As someone that plans to apply to ophthalmology, I have accepted that I cant realistically have another "lifestyle specialty" as a backup. We dont have that luxury applying to something this competitive. Sorry if i sounded condescending
                           

                          noclib

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                            To all those interested...I'm currently a research/pathology fellow at the Moran eye center with Dr. Mamalis. There are three fellows accepted at our program each year. All of us will have the opportunit to publish several papers and interact with some of the best in our field. For everybody interested, the program is taking applications for next year. Interviews will be held shortly. If ophtho is your dream or passion, in my opinion this is the fellowship to seriously consider. The match is rate post-fellowship year is very very impressive.

                            Any questions, feel free to write.
                             

                            GuP

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                              Would you rather have people blow smoke up your a$$?

                              Are the only valid opinions the one that allow you do exactly what you want to do even if it isn't realistic?

                              I think everyone applying to eye realizes that ortho or ENT or some other compeitive specialty isnt a viable backup plan. doing a prelim med or surg year followed by a year of research while reapplying IS a good plan with many options. If that is a sh*tty opinion and condescending, then so be it. As someone that plans to apply to ophthalmology, I have accepted that I cant realistically have another "lifestyle specialty" as a backup. We dont have that luxury applying to something this competitive. Sorry if sounded condescending

                              I hear what ya saying but doing a prelim year will not change your application in any significant way when you apply the next time around. I have seen prelim interns and they work a significant amount - I doubt there is anytime to realistically better your application with anything other than a research year. Another viable option is a TY year with elecitve time where you can maybe take an ophtho elective and make some connections - this may be far fetched as various factors come into play.

                              I know you are being realistic but realistic does not mean, for a lack of a better word, quitting or giving up. I am a strong believer of where this is a will, there is a way addage.

                              Sorry for being rude earlier.
                               
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                                I think everyone applying to eye realizes that ortho or ENT or some other compeitive specialty isnt a viable backup plan. doing a prelim med or surg year followed by a year of research while reapplying IS a good plan with many options. If that is a sh*tty opinion and condescending, then so be it. As someone that plans to apply to ophthalmology, I have accepted that I cant realistically have another "lifestyle specialty" as a backup. We dont have that luxury applying to something this competitive. Sorry if i sounded condescending

                                I think I might be able match in successfully in ophthalmology or another specialty with some flexibility in choices if I chose to reapply.
                                http://matchapplicants.com/viewprofile.php?myid=1
                                 

                                exmike

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                                  Gaskell

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                                    I think I might be able match in successfully in ophthalmology or another specialty with some flexibility in choices if I chose to reapply.
                                    http://matchapplicants.com/viewprofile.php?myid=1

                                    At first I was skeptical, but seeing people like xaelia not match, and also seeing a number of SDN posters report that they were surprised at where they matched given that they had a good chance at their home program, are we really sure that the match ran correctly?

                                    It's not like SF match hasn't messed up before. I find it hard to have much confidence in them.
                                     

                                    OpTIC

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                                      I can't resist responding to this thread because I do not want people to get discouraged into going into Ophtho.

                                      Anyone who does not match with strong numbers/ application must have not done very well during interviews. That's where program committees get to see your personality and whether you would be a good fit for the program.

                                      If you have a personality that would not be ideal in a team approached environment where you are willing to learn, and get along with your peers and attendings, that will show during the interview.
                                       

                                      Gaskell

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                                        I can't resist responding to this thread because I do not want people to get discouraged into going into Ophtho.

                                        Anyone who does not match with strong numbers/ application must have not done very well during interviews. That's where program committees get to see your personality and whether you would be a good fit for the program.

                                        If you have a personality that would not be ideal in a team approached environment where you are willing to learn, and get along with your peers and attendings, that will show during the interview.

                                        If ophtho is your dream, I would encourage people to go for it.

                                        That being said, I don't know xaelia, but I'm not too convinced it's just a simple matter of not getting matched because of your personality/interview. I know people who are very nice team player types, who had great interviews, and still didn't match this year.
                                         
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                                          I ranked all twelve programs at which I attended interviews. Our dean of education, who was formerly our ophthalmology chair, said (as quoted from from an e-mail) "Your rank list looks great and appropriate. I'm confident you will end up at one of your top choices. There really is nothing more you should do about (your top choice) - I'm sure your application will speak for itself."

                                          Obviously, I wrecked my application simply by showing up; I must have done something in my interviews? The feedback I've received from programs I've contacted didn't indicate any red flag - nothing that would have obviously disqualified me from candidacy at every single place I interviewed at. And, theoretically, if you were really impossible to work with, and no one liked you, you'd think you'd have some negative evaluations during your clinical years. But, everyone has some kind of block and lack of insight when evaluating themselves, so I really have no idea what happens to me in interviews that's different than anyone else.
                                           

                                          GuP

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                                            I ranked all twelve programs at which I attended interviews. Our dean of education, who was formerly our ophthalmology chair, said (as quoted from from an e-mail) "Your rank list looks great and appropriate. I'm confident you will end up at one of your top choices. There really is nothing more you should do about (your top choice) - I'm sure your application will speak for itself."

                                            Obviously, I wrecked my application simply by showing up; I must have done something in my interviews? The feedback I've received from programs I've contacted didn't indicate any red flag - nothing that would have obviously disqualified me from candidacy at every single place I interviewed at. And, theoretically, if you were really impossible to work with, and no one liked you, you'd think you'd have some negative evaluations during your clinical years. But, everyone has some kind of block and lack of insight when evaluating themselves, so I really have no idea what happens to me in interviews that's different than anyone else.


                                            Sorry to hear. Are you going to further investigate? I am not sure how far you will get along as they will probably see you as a disgruntled student who failed to match. I would still try to find out wtf happened.

                                            If it is what it is, what are your upcoming plans - research/prelim-ty/switch fields? With numbers like yours I am sure another competitive feild is attainable.
                                             

                                            Ophth_06

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                                              I think its important to make sure to apply broadly and also interview broadly, this is true for even the strongest applicant. Xaelia interviewed at top tier programs, with very little in the way of back-ups.
                                               

                                              BTS

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                                                I think all of Xaelia's programs were good to excellent, but not all "top tier". His/her stats are obviously good enough. I think that it was just a matter of bad luck unless there's something specific about interview style (maybe quiet?) that made interviewers rank him/her lower - the interview really does play a large role in the rank list, and some people just don't interview great.

                                                In general, terms of year off, it depends on what you're trying to do. If you want to try to match into any open position (they do open up almost yearly) then do the TY year. This, however, won't strengthen your application any. If you need to strengthen your app, then do a research year. The Utah one is very good, and the Bascom one is as well. There are others out there.

                                                The unfortunate part about Xaelia is that the fact that he/she didn't match will raise red flags (rightly or wrongly). "If you're so great, why didn't you match last year?" He/she may need to do some research time (maybe at a place he/she is interested in being at?) to show how great he/she is.

                                                Not trying to rub salt in wounds, just trying to be helpful (as someone who's been on both sides of the process)
                                                 

                                                GuP

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                                                  Bascom, Iowa and Utah all offer these research years. Can anyone comment on which one of these may be better than the rest? I guess by better I mean helping you get a residency second time around. Bascom has a big name but I am not sure if name matters as much as the individual PI.
                                                   
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                                                  neuroticchica

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                                                    Hi. I just wanted to say that I am so sorry that you did not match. I just stumbled onto this thread because I was curious about the ophtho match because my friend is applying. Anyway, a year ago, I applied in another very competitive field and did not match with similar stats to yours (boards and grades) Lots of extra curricular activities. Anyway, I remember how heartbroken I was when everyone got good news and I didn't. I cried for a week. In the end, it was the best thing for me because I switched to a field that was a better match for me. I think I would have been happy in the other field, but I am fine that I am not. Anyway, even though it is a different field I wanted to share some advice that you may or may not already know. (I know you have done some of it.) If you are really interested in ophtho and intend to apply again, I think you should email the PDs at several programs and asked them why they did not rank you higher. You should not be confrontational at all, but very polite. Something along the lines of.... "Congrats on your match. I, unfortunately, did not match but remain interested in ophthalmology. I wish to reapply and want to see if there are any deficiencies I can correct for my new application. I would appreciate any and all advice you have to offer." I did this and had several people respond. It can be somewhat useful and at least give you an idea on what you need to do or if you can do anything at all. (In the end, it turns out for me because I came from a place that did not have a strong home program in that field and did not do away subIs, my lack of connections hurt me. I did not have LORs from powerhouses and others did.) Next, as some people have pointed out, if you reapply beaware that you will get fewer interviews the second time around because some people will assume you had a major flaw that prevented you from matching the first time. This happened to many people I know that attempted to reapply in small competitive fields. My point is you will need to apply everywhere including less desirable places to ensure you match even with your stats. I thought this was unfair, but it is true. Next, I think you need to do productive ophtho research (if you can start now doing some mini research with someone locally) and preferably with someone well connected and at a place that is known to take lab rats from their institution into their program. I know a few people who did this and were able to match successfully. Anyway, I wish you the best and time heals all wounds. :)

                                                    Also, I noticed you were from OH and yet your match profile does not list your attending an interview in OH. I pray you did rank your home institution, if you had one? I know a resident 2 years ago who made no bones about the fact that she did not want to go to derm at our home place. She thought she was talented enough to go elsewhere. She did not match anywhere and ended up matching into another specialty a year later. Experience has taught me you should always interview and rank your home school because it can hurt you two ways. First, they may not support you as much because they may be offended if you don't interview. Second, if you interview there and don't rank them, but they rank you and match people lower than you, it may be hard for you to reapply there.

                                                    I think I might be able match in successfully in ophthalmology or another specialty with some flexibility in choices if I chose to reapply.
                                                    http://matchapplicants.com/viewprofile.php?myid=1
                                                     

                                                    kulkarka

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                                                      At first I was skeptical, but seeing people like xaelia not match, and also seeing a number of SDN posters report that they were surprised at where they matched given that they had a good chance at their home program, are we really sure that the match ran correctly?

                                                      It's not like SF match hasn't messed up before. I find it hard to have much confidence in them.


                                                      As someone who matched at the very bottom of my list, I too was skeptical about the SF Match. They screwed up every aspect of this process, so I figured they might have screwed up the match also...but I called them and one of the guys there was nice enough to literally check every program I ranked to make sure they didn't match someone who was below me. I turns out everything was correct. I am so sorry for those who did not match, and if you truly love ophtho, then i think you should try and go for it again, in as wise a way as possible. For those who matched farther down their list than they would have liked, just try to be happy (i know it's hard), and like so many people on this forum keep saying, it might be a blessing in disguise.
                                                       

                                                      Wande

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                                                        A Word to the Wise.

                                                        Do a prelim year first. You are fresh from med school, and it will be easier for you. Just get it done with and finish up your USMLE on that program's tab.

                                                        Then either reapply from there, or, more beneficial to your chances, complete a 2 yr post-doc with a well-published/well known MD or MD/PhD at a program where you may have a shot (be realistic!). Be straight with them and let them know your intentions. Feel them out to gather some insight on a spot there. Apply prudently, and rank them #1.

                                                        I had to go through this from a top-tier med school, high scores, pubs.

                                                        Its a numbers game, don't take it personally.

                                                        Good Luck.
                                                         

                                                        Wande

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                                                          I wasn't going to do my Prelim year mostly because there wouldn't be enough time during the year to travel to interviews; you don't feel like it's an issue?


                                                          Don't worry about that. They'll let you take your vac time during interviews. I've never seen this become an inhibitory function of a prelim yr.

                                                          The only reason I wouldn't to a prelim year if it was not a good medical center or if I got an amazing opportunity in research
                                                           

                                                          babyblue_39

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                                                            I actually know a guy who was a phenomenal applicant who unexpectedly and inexplicably ended up unmatched after applying for ophtho. Lucky for him, a top academic institution ended up unexpectedly having a PGY2 spot open up when someone who did match decided they liked medicine more. The institution was naturally thrilled to get him. He ended up being chief, was widely considered one of the best residents in the program, and I believe went to Bascom for fellowship. Obviously not a troll for a personality. Strange things happen w/ the match and it can be a terrifying thing. Sometimes it explainable (personality issues, etc.) but sometimes its a fluke. Good luck.
                                                             

                                                            DDD01

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                                                              I agree with the people who say do the prelim. Try your hardest to match into an easier prelim, then it shouldn't be a problem getting time off to interview. Look for rotations like ER months, electives... Then talk to the PD of your prelim and explain your situation. Rrequest these months to be in Nov and Dec. I know of people who even in harder prelims were able to make the time to interview with vacation time alone. It is definitely doable. The advantage is that while applying next year, you can also make programs aware you would be interested in a PGY-2 spot should one become available. Crazy things happen more often than you might think. I know of several people in various competitive specialties who were able to slip into a PGY-2 in the midst of reapplying.
                                                              Just my $0.02, for what it's worth. Good Luck!!!!!
                                                               

                                                              rice

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                                                                Hi xaelia sorry to hear about what happened, you're a far better applicant that I was...my numbers weren't very impressive at all. I applied in the past and didn't match, despite having done an extra year of research with pubs. In the end, after much hand-wringing, I made the very difficult decision to give up my ophtho pursuit and went to IM as a backup and now am going to do a competitive fellowship in another field that I like. Sure I lost some years of my life and had to re-evaluate my goals and dreams, but you know what life isn't going to be fair, and there are many ways to happiness. I also realized that there are far far more important things in life, i.e. family, than trying to pursue an unattainable goal (for me).

                                                                Anyway the problem with ophtho is that just about everyone looks good on paper and of course most everyone is going to act nice in the interview day, so as you can imagine a lot of people will hear that they are great candidates, etc. Be careful believing what you hear, a lot of this is lip service that is directed to other applicants too. With your numbers, personally I think a research year might be more up your alley which would allow you to beef up the application a bit...it didn't help me but since my numbers were low I think I was beyond help...the second time around I'd apply everywhere, even to locations you might not like, to increase your chances. There's an unfair stigma attached to re-applicants, so you can be sure you'll be asked on your interviews about not matching and be prepared to answer that comfortably. Good luck, it's not easy or fun, but I think you have a decent shot at matching the second time around.
                                                                 

                                                                neuroticchica

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                                                                  I don't mean to be rude, but beware that everyone does not have the same experience Wande has. See the link below. In addition, I did a prelim year and thought it would be impossible to schedule interviews. I saw one girl do it and I think it hurt her. Remember, even if you get to the interview, you will be tired because you will be working 80 hrs at some places with only 1 day off per month! If you show up cranky and unenthusiastic because you are sleep deprived, it won't be to your benefit. Your co-interns may be willing to switch with you, but you will have to make up that time which may mean your interview days off may be your only days off that month!

                                                                  On the other hand, he does have a good point about how the prelim year can help. I know someone who dropped out of her prelim year for personal reasons and thus could not enter the ophtho part. Thus, the program scrambled to find someone and that person got a great deal. I know three people who have this story (one in ophtho, one ent, and one radiology) and these were all top places not bottom of the barrel places! Please do stay in touch with your home PD, since most of these openings are not posted. No program wants to advertise their retention rate is not perfect, so most of these arrangements occur through PD to PD discussions.

                                                                  Bottom line is both are difficult paths and you have to choose the one that is best for you.

                                                                  http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?p=1127555

                                                                  Don't worry about that. They'll let you take your vac time during interviews. I've never seen this become an inhibitory function of a prelim yr.

                                                                  The only reason I wouldn't to a prelim year if it was not a good medical center or if I got an amazing opportunity in research
                                                                   

                                                                  Wande

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                                                                    Well, one thing I forgot to mention was that I did my prelim year at my home program. This makes it even a little easier because they are more likely to be accommodating to your needs given their partial responsibility for the situation. Again, they let me take time that I wanted, but I decided that pursuing a research fellowship would be my best move in after doing an internship. And like I said, there is a great benefit of having this PGY1 experience behind you a year out from graduation.

                                                                    Of course, this also keeps you in close range with your current PD who should do everything possible to get you a spot or a great research fellowship.



                                                                    I don't mean to be rude, but beware that everyone does not have the same experience Wande has. See the link below. In addition, I did a prelim year and thought it would be impossible to schedule interviews. I saw one girl do it and I think it hurt her. Remember, even if you get to the interview, you will be tired because you will be working 80 hrs at some places with only 1 day off per month! If you show up cranky and unenthusiastic because you are sleep deprived, it won't be to your benefit. Your co-interns may be willing to switch with you, but you will have to make up that time which may mean your interview days off may be your only days off that month!

                                                                    On the other hand, he does have a good point about how the prelim year can help. I know someone who dropped out of her prelim year for personal reasons and thus could not enter the ophtho part. Thus, the program scrambled to find someone and that person got a great deal. I know three people who have this story (one in ophtho, one ent, and one radiology) and these were all top places not bottom of the barrel places! Please do stay in touch with your home PD, since most of these openings are not posted. No program wants to advertise their retention rate is not perfect, so most of these arrangements occur through PD to PD discussions.

                                                                    Bottom line is both are difficult paths and you have to choose the one that is best for you.

                                                                    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?p=1127555
                                                                     
                                                                    Aug 17, 2002
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                                                                    1. Attending Physician
                                                                      Hm, so, what would be the opinion re: entering the NRMP and heading off to a prelim year somewhere vs. applying to one of the research fellowship positions? Certainly an ocular pathology fellowship would probably do more to strengthen your application, but there is always the hope of finding an open PGY-2 position if you do a prelim year....

                                                                      3 1/2 weeks to decide!(-ish)
                                                                       

                                                                      fluorescein

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                                                                        I think a research year at either Bascom or Utah would be a great choice for strengthening an application and garnering support from some high-profile faculty. Any internship you choose will interfere more with applying than it would help, and it's not worth the gamble IMO.
                                                                         

                                                                        ice_23

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                                                                          Xaelia,

                                                                          If you don't mind my asking, did you do any away rotations?

                                                                          Sorry to hear about your results. Your profile, compared to most others, is incredibly solid. Jeez, you've definitely put some fear into me.

                                                                          -Ice
                                                                           
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