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Scramble/fax services - program director

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Doowai

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I got very few interviews. Bummer.

Does anyone know if any of the services that help you scramble are legit? One example is : http://www.imgresidency.com/


I am not trying to promote them but they seem legit - but maybe I am desperate and grasping straws.

Progrm director - would you look at their product if they sent it to you?

Also does anyone know of a fax blaser program that allows you to preload your documents and fax blast them to alot of numbers (like programs) all at once?
 

Winged Scapula

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Frankly, I see little reason to pay someone to do something so important, that you could do yourself.

Sending information to programs is not hard - FAX machines, email and phones are readily available. With a fast cable line, or people helping you, you can send out multiple applications at the same time.

Besides, you KNOW it was sent.

At any rate, I don't know of any real problems with these programs except that they are preying on the desperation of people, especially IMGs.
 

Warden

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Frankly, I see little reason to pay someone to do something so important, that you could do yourself.

Sending information to programs is not hard - FAX machines, email and phones are readily available. With a fast cable line, or people helping you, you can send out multiple applications at the same time.

Besides, you KNOW it was sent.

At any rate, I don't know of any real problems with these programs except that they are preying on the desperation of people, especially IMGs.

I assume you did not read the site-and I am an AMG with no scramble plans so not being bias-however yes why pay someone for what you can do yourself-thats true-but you CANNOT do what this service does quite frankly. The only benefit and a BIG benefit as I see it, is that they will send your complete application with all your info to EVERY single unfilled position in the country in every speciality if you want within 60 minutes. That means when the list goes up, every program gets your info-now how in the world could you send 100s upon 100s oif emails or faxes in that short of time. Simply sending 100 faxes in a DAY would be a stretch by the time you send, organize etc.

So to me, if legit, seems like a reasonable option-however I have no clue how PD's look upon these. But as far as logistics, I think it is unfair to say you would nnot pay someone to do that service because you could is an inaccurate statement.
 

dpmd

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It doesn't say they will fax your application. It says it will be delivered. I would bet this means it is emailed to the programs (since this would be the easiest way to get that amount of information sent to that number of programs). The single biggest reason I don't believe they mean that they will fax your info to all those programs, is that I don't think the recipient fax machines can handle that much (if they are sending all their clients info to all the same programs). To guarantee that faxes would be received within the first hour of scramble seems overly optimistic. I don't know that these services result in a higher chance of matching than contacting programs and SELECTIVELY submitting your info.
 

anatolyk

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Disclaimer - I am working for the company mentioned above, so my opinion obviously is biased. Just wanted to shed some light on things that might not be obvious.

Delivered means both e-mails and faxes. Our fax "get through" rate is about 25% and it has been declining year after year. This is mostly due to the thread I started a long time ago advising use of electronic fax services like jBlast instead of using a fax machine. However if you compare 25% with what one will get when doing this on his own, this is a great rate. Faxing with a fax machine on the scramble day will yeld 2-5% submission rate. Faxing with a service like JBlast will produce 5-10% rate. By the way last year JBlast advised scramble users not to use them as they got overwhelmed year before that.

As for doing everything yourself, if you are an AMG, yes. You won't need anything but ERAS. You will get 5-10 calls out of 30 ERAS applications you send.

If you are an IMG, everything is different. You do need to compliment ERAS submission with e-mails and faxes to cover more than 30 programs. Now, just try to time yourself sending e-mails. Even if you use BCC feature (which I do not recommend as most of such messages end up in a Spam folder due to the lack of real TO ), you will need to copy and paste about 200 addresses (1 specialty) from the NRMP list into your e-mail. Even if you can copy a single address in 20 seconds, this will take you over an hour. By this time a lot of spots will be gone. If you do it right - separate e-mails to the programs, manual submission will take all day.

Now about "preying" on IMG situation. I guess this is the same as saying that grocery stores prey on human physiology. As in any business we do charge more than we spend. But this margin is really small. Faxing is extremelly expensive.
 

Winged Scapula

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Now about "preying" on IMG situation. I guess this is the same as saying that grocery stores prey on human physiology. As in any business we do charge more than we spend. But this margin is really small. Faxing is extremelly expensive.

Your grocery store analogy is stretching it a bit, don't you think?

Perhaps I was a bit harsh in using the term "preying" but the fact of the matter is that businesses such as yours do cater to the fear that IMGs/FMGs feel about the match and imply that the user will be more successful in obtaining a position by using your expensive services.

I did look at the web site and while yes, it sounds great that they'll get yur application out to every program with an open spot, this begs the questions:

1) do you really WANT ANY open spot
2) it is not clear that they FAX or mail them
3) again, its not something that MOST can't do on their own

FAXes are expensive if you have to go to Kinkos or some other commercial business to use them. Most FMGs/IMGs should have access to a FAX machine in their medical school or someplace else where it is free or a minimal charge. Libraries charge much less than a commercial business.

Besides, FAXing is not a particularly efficient manner of getting your application to programs - whether the hit rate is 5% or 25%. After watching the FAX machine and phone go crazy at my former residency program, all for a PRELIM spot, I can tell you that the FAXes run out of paper soon and no one bothers to replace it, phones are placed on answering machine, etc.

Even more important is the implication that getting your application to a program within 60 minutes or even the first day makes a difference. It does not, especially if you have a less than stellar application or are applying to programs which don't traditionally take FMGs/IMGs - your application may go straight into the trash without ever having been reviewed.

Programs, especially competitive ones, do not make a decision about filling those empty spots at the drop of the hat. If they are simply looking for a body to fill the spot, sure...you might get a phone interview and an invitation. But many find that they still have to come out for interviews or don't have contact for days. It takes awhile for the program coordinator and director to go through thousands of pages from hundreds of FAXes.

Finally, it costs very little to scan a CV, transcript, and write a cover letter which can be converted into a PDF file and emailed to programs. Frankly, its often more appreciated - you don't waste our FAX paper (we can look at the application on line, etc.) and decide whether or not to print it out, and are not forced to move out of the office while the FAX machine and phone go crazy.


Anyway, you asked for advice or thoughts on these services and I gave them...you and those affiliated with such businesses are entitled to a different, equally valid, opinion.
 

lateness

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Your grocery store analogy is stretching it a bit, don't you think?

Perhaps I was a bit harsh in using the term "preying" but the fact of the matter is that businesses such as yours do cater to the fear that IMGs/FMGs feel about the match and imply that the user will be more successful in obtaining a position by using your expensive services.

I did look at the web site and while yes, it sounds great that they'll get yur application out to every program with an open spot, this begs the questions:

1) do you really WANT ANY open spot
2) it is not clear that they FAX or mail them
3) again, its not something that MOST can't do on their own

FAXes are expensive if you have to go to Kinkos or some other commercial business to use them. Most FMGs/IMGs should have access to a FAX machine in their medical school or someplace else where it is free or a minimal charge. Libraries charge much less than a commercial business.

Besides, FAXing is not a particularly efficient manner of getting your application to programs - whether the hit rate is 5% or 25%. After watching the FAX machine and phone go crazy at my former residency program, all for a PRELIM spot, I can tell you that the FAXes run out of paper soon and no one bothers to replace it, phones are placed on answering machine, etc.

Even more important is the implication that getting your application to a program within 60 minutes or even the first day makes a difference. It does not, especially if you have a less than stellar application or are applying to programs which don't traditionally take FMGs/IMGs - your application may go straight into the trash without ever having been reviewed.

Programs, especially competitive ones, do not make a decision about filling those empty spots at the drop of the hat. If they are simply looking for a body to fill the spot, sure...you might get a phone interview and an invitation. But many find that they still have to come out for interviews or don't have contact for days. It takes awhile for the program coordinator and director to go through thousands of pages from hundreds of FAXes.

Finally, it costs very little to scan a CV, transcript, and write a cover letter which can be converted into a PDF file and emailed to programs. Frankly, its often more appreciated - you don't waste our FAX paper (we can look at the application on line, etc.) and decide whether or not to print it out, and are not forced to move out of the office while the FAX machine and phone go crazy.


Anyway, you asked for advice or thoughts on these services and I gave them...you and those affiliated with such businesses are entitled to a different, equally valid, opinion.

well said
that was very insightful.. that should help a lot of people.
 

Warden

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Most IMG's scrambling will take anything. Imean IMG in general tend not to be able to be too picky-but add to that the fact they were scramble material and are competing with any other AMGs scrambling who have a higher match rate from scrambling per aamc data-so IMGs are desperate at this point of the scramble and most if not all will take anything
 

dpmd

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That's the thing, they are at a disadvantage, so why would it matter if the application gets spammed to every open spot in the first hour of the match. Those programs that won't consider a FMG won't magically change their mind in that first hour. A more cost effective way of handling this would be to have a friend or two help you out, and continue working through match week. There were a lot of unfilled programs last year the week after match day. I am sure some of those are the competitive programs mentioned before that take their sweet time to pick someone, but probably not all of them do that. Besides, paying good money to get your application tossed out at more programs seems like a bad idea. I wonder if there is any info out there comparing results from using a service to doing it on your own (based on similar credentials, I am sure there is a higher tendency for those with poor applications to consider using a scramble service).
 

Doowai

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Yes, I am FMG/IMG. As far as taking any spot - yes I would. I cannot afford to be spoiled baby bear (too hot, too cold). If you can afford to be be real picky (i.e no PDA's, bad call schedule, not university/ivory tower based, don't give your enough meals, no moving allowance ec) well, good for you. Many of us have to be a bit tougher though, which means realizing some of us can make it through a year of anything - and may have to. For those that can be picky, and take it or leave it("if I don't get the perfect residency than I think I will go on a trip around the world and then do research for uncle Reginald for a year, then my brother who is dean of medicine at Yale will get me in") - well, I am envious. I can't do that - I have to make it, and after the debt I have, $500 more is not much. If its a waste, I have wasted more on bad movies in the past 4 years (anyone else see Napolean Dynamite in the theatre?). I plan to do ERAS of course for scramble (assuming a miracle does not happen and I get into residency through the match) and plan to fax, email etc - but I want the best chance I have because I have no uncle Reginald (please forgive my somewhat bitter spoof on those of you AMG's who are highly competitive, I congratulate you on your success).

Anatolyk, when you say its all done in the first hour - any idea of its really received.

program director, would you look at the information from this service?
 

Warden

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That's the thing, they are at a disadvantage, so why would it matter if the application gets spammed to every open spot in the first hour of the match. Those programs that won't consider a FMG won't magically change their mind in that first hour. A more cost effective way of handling this would be to have a friend or two help you out, and continue working through match week. There were a lot of unfilled programs last year the week after match day. I am sure some of those are the competitive programs mentioned before that take their sweet time to pick someone, but probably not all of them do that. Besides, paying good money to get your application tossed out at more programs seems like a bad idea. I wonder if there is any info out there comparing results from using a service to doing it on your own (based on similar credentials, I am sure there is a higher tendency for those with poor applications to consider using a scramble service).

Well unless someone knows exactly which programs are open and are IMG friendly than sending out as many apps as you can will give you the best chance. Sure many will not care about your apps but how would anyone know which exact programs to send to instead of sending to all of them-how can less be more here. ALL the programs gives you a better chance than not all of them
 
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