Second look. Second look. Second look. Second look.

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by SergeGainsbourg, Dec 4, 2005.

  1. SergeGainsbourg

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    "Second look, second look, second look" - This is what I keep hearing from residents and faculty at most of the places I visit. Granted, the super high-powered places tend to push this "opportunity" a little less than most, but at the vast majority of places I've been to, the staff just can't shut up about the second look. I almost get the impression that it's sort of an unofficial requirement for being ranked. And lot's of applicants I talk to feel this way too.

    This pisses me off a little. The interview process is already ridiculously expensive and time consuming. I also think it's possible to get a decent "feel" for a program from one visit. If I were to go on a "second look" it wouldn't be for the purpose of getting a second look. It would be because I feel obliged to make this kind of sincerity deposit so as not to be bumped down the list.

    Of course all the programs offer the disclaimer: "the second look won't affect your rank order". But do we believe that? Opinions would be apprecieated. Thanks.
     
  2. ericdopt

    ericdopt Member
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    All 3 places I went for a "second look" ranked me very high, I don't believe I would have been placed that high in their ranking if I hadn't gone for a second look. Don't know if this helps, but this is just my experience. I think it'll depend on the program and how competitive the program is. Good luck!
     
  3. AngryTesticle

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    Second visits, IMHO, should be only used to get further impressions of a program if the initial interview visit was not felt to be informative enough. I only did one second visit and that was to Hopkins because that pathology program was butchered by some scutwork reviews and I actually liked the program when I visited. I wanted to see if this was truly the case or if they were putting on a show when I first visited.

    The issue is that as medical students, a lot of us are (were) a bunch of obsessive-compulsive competitive folks who would do things to get just that much ahead of the competition. You see this on med student rotations where there's always somebody who is trying to raise the bar. That's fine. You gots to do what you gots to do.

    This raising the bar thingy happens in the residency application process. One day, some jackass decided to write typed form thank you letters after the interview. Later the word leaked out on SDN and now everybody is obsessing over sending thank you letters.

    Then somebody thought it would be a good idea to send hand-written cards instead of these typed form letters. This genius felt that hand written thank you cards would be a little more personal and would score more points. Hence, there is a debate every year as to whether it would be better to send hand written vs. typed thank you letters. The poor people who would prefer using a free mode of communication such as email were doubly-screwed by this. Now their feathers are ruffled.

    Then, to step it up one more notch, some folks would send their #1 program a letter expressing interest. When this word got out, people panicked. They started writing their top 5 programs telling them that they were all being ranked #1. Of course, this was overboard and a compromise was reached where the majority or all of the applicants would only tell their #1 programs that they were #1 on their rank list.

    And now, we have these second visits that cost mucho mucho dollars compared to the series of $0.37 stamps required to send cards.

    My point? I think second visits that are used solely to do more brownnosing is asinine. Use them to learn more about a program, not to go down on a bunch of faculty while mumbling, "please rank me to match."

    Addendum: My program was good about the whole second visit deal. It is NOT the policy where the second visit in any way affects one's position on the rank list. Any points you scored are based on your application and only your initial interview visit. They said to only come on a second visit if it would help you get a better impression of the program. I thought this was very professional.

    N.B. Please note that there is some sarcasm in the above post.
     
  4. cytoborg

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    Probably depends on whether you are applying in one of the insanely competetive specialties, but IMO, if you don't need a 2nd look to help you make your ROL decision, don't do it. I also felt the pressure for a 2nd look, but just plain couldn't afford it time- or money-wise, and I already knew my ROL, so it would have been purely game-playing, which I hate. There is enough B.S. and game-playing in this process without gunnerish people upping the ante with 2nd looks they don't really need. Pretty soon everybody is going to feel like they have to do it, and come January most med students are too busy, tired, and poor to make extra trips. Don't do it people! Resist the urge!
     
  5. AngryTesticle

    AngryTesticle Happy Gonad
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    It's already too late. Now we need damage control. We now are in desperate need of altruistic martyrs who, for the good of mankind, will actively do their best to lower the bar.
     
  6. cytoborg

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    I proudly did my part! :oops:
     
  7. ericdopt

    ericdopt Member
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    The ONLY reason I did 2nd visits was because I didn't rotate at those places in the first place. Otherwise, I would not have done it.
     
  8. applicant2002

    applicant2002 Senior Member
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    at CHOP the PD said something to the effect of "you can come for a second look if you want to--we'd be delighted to have you...it wont give you any brownie points and not doing it will not give you whatever the opposite is of brownie points"
     
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  9. SergeGainsbourg

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    How do you know?
     
  10. SergeGainsbourg

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    That's just great. But please note that I don't give a rat's ass about anything you might write following the word "should".


    Let's limit this to reality. Save the polemic for some other time. Thanks. :cool:
     
  11. SergeGainsbourg

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    You see. I wholeheartedly aggree with this. And I hate how small minded and political medstudents/residents/attendings/directors are. But on the other hand I don't want to get bumped out of the slot I want by some snivelling git with lots'o'money to spend. I'm somewhat allarmed by the number of residents I'm meeting who went on purely political second looks. According to them it's worth it. And these are residents of all levels too, so it's not a new phenomenon.
     
  12. SergeGainsbourg

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    Most people haven't done away rotations at most of the places they interview. This has no bearing on the issue.
     
  13. SergeGainsbourg

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    That's just great coming from someone who went on a second look to the program he matched at. Yeah, yeah, I know....your reasons were golden. :rolleyes:
     
  14. AngryTesticle

    AngryTesticle Happy Gonad
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    Actually dude, I only did one second visit and that was at Hopkins. I ranked them #5. I matched at my top program with no second visits involved.

    But that's OK. I guess I didn't make that clear in my above post.

    Keep trolling away.
     
  15. SergeGainsbourg

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  16. SergeGainsbourg

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    That's just great. You're awesome. :rolleyes:



    Yes, asking for opinions on a pertainant issue concerning the residency application process is trolling indeed. Sorry that your feelings seem to have been hurt by my objection to your irrelevant moralizing.

    Thanks though, to those of you who have actually attempted to answer my question. :)
     
  17. AngryTesticle

    AngryTesticle Happy Gonad
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    Sorry to burst your bubble but my feelings were not hurt. And sorry for calling you a troll. That was inappropriate.
     
  18. Casey James

    Casey James Member
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    I'm interested in this. I don't think I want to do second looks. I figure it's just another chance to screw up. The process is nervracking enough already. I feel lots of programs are pushing the second look thing on me. I'm worried that they won't believe I really want to go there unless I do the second look-see thing. I'm also getting advised to do this by the residents as well.
     
  19. SmittySC

    SmittySC Junior Member
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    Second looks can be very helpful. I am a current family med resident and I encourage all of the applicants I speak with to do second looks at the programs the top two or three programs they might consider ranking number one (whether that is my program or not). In family med cost of traveling tends to be a lot lower than other specialties since hotels are routinely paid for even during second looks. Second looks should not be used to try to impress a program. You should have the program design the second look schedule around what you want to get out of it. It can be used to get a better idea of the city/town the program is in. Most likely on your intial interview all you really got to see was the hospital. Second looks can also be another chance to meet some more residents to see if you truly are a fit there. They can also be used to talk with a specific faculty member who may have similar interests as you who you may not have had the opportunity to meet initially. Lastly, it can be a good way to show a spouse or significant other the areas you might be going if they did not get the chance initially.

    Second looks typically should be a tool for you to help make a decision on how to order your rank list and to help you to reaffirm you will be happy there if you match. I would think most programs/program directors encourage second looks not to pressure you but so you can make the best decision on how you fit with their programs. Afterall, the programs want you to happy if you rank there. If you go someplace where you are not happy it can be a miserable experience for all parties involved. This is even the case in Family med where many programs are having trouble matching due to the decline in interest in the field. Programs in more competitive specialties should feel the same way as they know they will most likely completely fill during the match and would mostly likely have a group of interns who are happy to be there.

    My final advice about second looks is this. If you do not have the money to go on any, then don't feel bad about not doing them. If you know for sure how you are going to rank programs and you don't need any more information, then don't do them. However, if there are a few programs that you think are pretty equal and another look or more information might help you delineate them then it might be a good idea to do some. In the end, it will allow you to feel confident about your final rank list. I hope this reply was some help, and good luck to everyone in this year's match.
     
  20. electra

    electra SDN Moderator
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    Well, based on all the reponses made to other's comments, I'm not entirely sure that the OP wasn't just venting.

    I did not go on any second visits. I actually never got the feeling that programs expected me to come back. Hmmm.

    Some possible things to say if you are getting the impression that this is somehow supported are:
    "Thanks, but I'm afraid I am interviewing every week from now until February, that won't be possible. But I appreciate the opportunity to see your program, etc."
    "Thanks, you know, I have friends/family/whatever in this area and I am quite familiar with it. I have enjoyed coming here and reinforcing the reasons that I applied here in the first place, etc."

    Bottom line, you're looking for a spot and they need people. You have to pick three top choices anyway. If you can't go back, write a simple and sincere letter at the end of your interviewing that states you are done and you are still very interested in their program and that you think you would be a good fit and why. It is possible to pick something out of the program that is unique and desireable.

    Good luck.
     
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  21. SergeGainsbourg

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    Yes, your reply is helpful....and is appreciated but much of it is almost verbatim the spiel that I get from programs about second looks. I still wonder about the veracity of it. Smitty, did you do a second look at the program you're now in?


    The implication of that is that if you don't do a second look, then the program probably isn't one of your top three. That still leaves the second look as a kind of super sincere (as it calls for financial expence and presumably can't be done everywhere) letter of intent. Regardless of the supposed reasons for it, it does function a sort of an "I'm interested" deposit.



    Theres that word "should" again. I'm not interested in what they're "supposed to be". This thread is about what second looks, in fact, are


    That's nice. But why should I not feel bad about not doing them since, the majority of residents I'm meeting are advising that the second look does affect the ranking process on a subtle level and that it's prudent to do them (for your top three programs "only").
     
  22. SergeGainsbourg

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    Not at all. I was just looking for sincere answers (like this one), that actually answer the question.

     
  23. dodo2

    dodo2 Senior Member
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    The PDs will rank applicants based on their applicant preference, not the likelyhood of an applicant joining their program.

    It makes no sense to do a second look to just show the PDs that you are interested. They will not rank you based on your interest in the program but how they liked you the first time.
     
  24. neilc

    neilc 1K Member
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    well, according to over 50% of the programs i have interviewed at, they DO move you up the list according to interest. they have, in all cases, encouraged me to call back in jan-feb to let them know if i am interested. they also told me that students that do not contact and express interests are assumed to not be interested, and are moved down the rank list. it appears to be VERY important to the programs i am interviewing with.

    funny, though, every program has also emphasised that while second looks may be helpful, they do not play a roll in matching. you can call, write or visit to express a level of interest, and they are fine with any method. no second looks for me.
     
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  25. SergeGainsbourg

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    You see that's what I had always believed. It's logical and it's certainly in accord with what how they advise we should rank them. What's more, when you consider the specific nature of the ranking software it shouldn't make any difference how interested in them their ranked candidates are. As long as they rank according to their preference they should get exactly the same result.

    Am I wrong about this?
     
  26. SergeGainsbourg

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    This is true according to what I've been hearing and it was recently confirmed by Kim Cox in the algorithm thread (before she deleted the post). It also makes sense that they want to rank people who want to be there (and therefore will are more likely to be content with their match). So it makes sense to communicate your desire.

    I had assumed I could do this by writing, emailing, calling or having someone call. I'm not pleased to learn about this extra manner of communicating interest - the obligatory second look. Very few of the people I've spoken to will be using this opportunity as a second look - rather it is almost universally practiced as a rank ploy. I wonder if anyone with inside knowledge could comment on how the second look is weighted against other means of "communication" or more specifically vice versa.

    BTW I'm getting quite annoyed with people telling me "oh, ONLY do it for your top three programs or so". That "ONLY" is generally "ONLY" nine hundred bucks or so. ;)

    Yeah, I've been hearing the same thing from programs. A disclaimer? The residents are generally telling me otherwise and an alarming number of them admit to having done the second look themselves. I hadn't planned origionally to do the "look I'm spending time and money - I really am interested" thing. But, obviously I'm re-examining that decision.
     
  27. BKN

    BKN Senior Member
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    I guess I'm going to post on this since there seems to be so much controversy. As always, I'm only speaking for my program. I look upon a second look as either a sincere desire to make up one's mind or a sincere communication that "I want to come here!"

    If the latter, the issue is should your desires affect the program's list. At my place they wouldn't have much effect. I'm well aware that most of you are spending between $2000 and $10000 on this effort and that another trip wil cost you at least $300 that you don't have. I would much rather you just tell me that you like the place and would love to train here. You don't have to say the magic words #1.

    From the posts on this thread, it seems that there may be other programs that feel differently. If you gotta, you gotta. but I would investigate with the program before I spent the money.

    I'm with AT (again) on the history of this. Every time someone comes up with a new refinement, the arms race continues. The time and money should be considered at the cost/benefit margin.

    And while I'm ranting, I for one don't care whether the thank you letters are hand-written, typed or emailed. In thepast, I didn't care whether candidates sent them at all. However, they are so deriguer now that their absence makes one wonder. (sigh)
     

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