docmike1983

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How valuable is it to second look a pathology residency program? I am contemplating going for second looks a some programs that are far in distance and I would not go if I knew for certain such a visit would not bear good fruit. If many here can attest by their experience that such second looks are fruitless then I will not go to those that would be inconvenient for me to return to from my current location. Thank you.
 

djmd

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I would say that second looks are uncommon and are not necessarily very fruitful...

If there was a a programs you were highly interested in, maybe, but I wouldn't spend a lot of effort/or much money to do it.

Just write a glowing thank you letter to the PD.. (if you really think you need to show how much you want to go there)
 

docmike1983

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Actually I was hoping the second look would bring more clarity to my ranking decisions. I am sincerely confused as to what order to rank the programs. Most of the programs I have interviewed at I truly believe are equally strong and I got a good vibe at all of them and they all meet my geographical preferance. So I would not be using a second look as a way to impress a PD but rather as a tool to assist me in ranking the programs. Thank you.
 
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suckerfree

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I took a second look to some west coast programs and even one program in the midwest even though I live on the east coast. I was shocked when I went for a second look at how different one of the "prestigious" programs behaved with me on my second look. I was not welcome, I saw that the residents were being treated in a malignant fashion, and I really found it so strange that people who were so nice to me and who were so nice around me when I was interviewing would behave so differently when I saw them in their natural environment. On the other hand, I found that at the program I did end up matching at, that on my second look all the residents were super nice, the senior attending still came in to the residents room and told a joke in the middle of the day just for fun, and I felt welcomed. I ended up going to this program and saw that indeed, the light atmosphere I saw on the second look was something real and not disingenuine, and although the attendings are often very stern, they genuinely do care about the residency and the residents education and quality of work output. Residency in pathology is a very challenging relationship, because as a first year resident you really do have a big impact on how smoothly things run in the department. Getting to know the attendings as people and evaluating how you might fit in relation to them is something invaluable I think. Although that is still tough to do without being a resident for a long time, even if you were to do a month rotation before the match.
 

gbwillner

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I took a second look to some west coast programs and even one program in the midwest even though I live on the east coast. I was shocked when I went for a second look at how different one of the "prestigious" programs behaved with me on my second look. I was not welcome, I saw that the residents were being treated in a malignant fashion, and I really found it so strange that people who were so nice to me and who were so nice around me when I was interviewing would behave so differently when I saw them in their natural environment. On the other hand, I found that at the program I did end up matching at, that on my second look all the residents were super nice, the senior attending still came in to the residents room and told a joke in the middle of the day just for fun, and I felt welcomed. I ended up going to this program and saw that indeed, the light atmosphere I saw on the second look was something real and not disingenuine, and although the attendings are often very stern, they genuinely do care about the residency and the residents education and quality of work output. Residency in pathology is a very challenging relationship, because as a first year resident you really do have a big impact on how smoothly things run in the department. Getting to know the attendings as people and evaluating how you might fit in relation to them is something invaluable I think. Although that is still tough to do without being a resident for a long time, even if you were to do a month rotation before the match.
I second this. I simply do NOT understand how you can make a decision that affects where you will be and what you will be doing from a 5-6 hour day that is completely contrived. ESPECIALLY if you are going to move for it. How people make such rash decisions, in part based on hearsay and "reputation" is beyond me.
I spent at least 3 days in every city I interviewed to get to know the place and program better. My top three I went back at least one more time, and spent about a week at each place, grossing with residents, hanging out, and being a pain asking all sorts of questions. At least that way I felt I was making an informed decision.
Will a "second look" make you look better to a program? Maybe (probably, because it shows them you are really interested). But what it does is let you know if THEY are good for YOU.
 

yaah

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Actually I was hoping the second look would bring more clarity to my ranking decisions. I am sincerely confused as to what order to rank the programs. Most of the programs I have interviewed at I truly believe are equally strong and I got a good vibe at all of them and they all meet my geographical preferance. So I would not be using a second look as a way to impress a PD but rather as a tool to assist me in ranking the programs. Thank you.
That is the appropriate reason to do a second look. It probably all depends on your experience there whether it is truly worth it though. Some interview days really don't show you or tell you much of what actually goes on for residents.

Some people think they need to do them to express their interest or impress the program - if that's the reason, not really a good idea.
 

Napoleon1801

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I second this. I simply do NOT understand how you can make a decision that affects where you will be and what you will be doing from a 5-6 hour day that is completely contrived. ESPECIALLY if you are going to move for it. How people make such rash decisions, in part based on hearsay and "reputation" is beyond me.
I agree. I was on a one month rotation with a place that I was considering highly, but on my interview day all the residents put on their smiley faces, regardless of the fact many people had expressed to me their unhappiness in not so many words throughout that month. There needs to be some sort of Consumer Report on pathology training! :p
 

HbyHA

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I think a second look can be invaluable to making your decision about ranking a program. I went back for a second look because I was really surprised that I liked the program that I ended up matching in. I literally went back for a "BS meter check"! Everyone was really great when I met them on my interview day and I wanted to make sure that A) they weren't full of it and B) that I wasn't just set up to talk to the personable and "normal" residents/attendings... It turns out that I was negatively prejudiced about the program going into the interview by my experience at my home institution in the path dept. the residents did nothing but talk trash about my current program. jealousy, much? I'm SO happy I'm at my current program as opposed to my med school program, which sounds like a painful place right now.

its hard to get an opinion of a program by interviewing one-on-one with faculty (who may sometimes be really out of touch with what the resident's day to day life is) and just a select few residents. sure, they all may be nice, but we're such a large program that people may think we're hiding the bad eggs somewhere! if you do a second look, we try to get you to sit in on sign out (surg path or otherwise) and get to meet a larger number of residents. and i really like it when we've had residency candidates (internal OR external) do a rotation with us (we've had a week to a full month) because we get to see them in action. there's only so much you can tell about a person on paper. some people have great CVs and are total nightmares to work with. in my program, we really value teamwork and residents that benefit the group. if you have 1000 published articles in all the top journals but the residents can't stand you when you rotate with us or interview, you will NOT be ranked.

so do the second look and picture yourself as part of the group. is it a group you want to be in? do you stumble across the snarky residents that they carefully hid during your interview? did they only set you up with the "well-behaved" attendings? i think it is a great experience. plus, we get to see that you're interested in the program and get another look at you in a less structured setting.
 

docmike1983

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I would deeply appreciate if individuals can name those programs who turned out to be worse on the second looks as well as those who turned out to be better. Thank you.
 

docmike1983

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If a PD suggests that you return for a second look, can that be indicative that he/she might place you on the short list?
 

yaah

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I think you could assume that you will be ranked. I don't know how much you want to assume though. And you shouldn't let it worry you too much or influence your decision at all, the match algorithm favors you, so just rank the programs in the order you prefer them.
 

docmike1983

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What if in response to a second look request the program says that they are still interviewing large numbers of individuals and cannot accommodate any more requests for second looks? Should that be interpreted as a polite way of saying "we're not ranking you high or at all, so don't waste your or our time with a second look"? Or should I interpret it genuinely?
 

pathy123

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I'm going to a second look next week at my top choice and was wondering what does one wear to a second look? Suit? Business-dress? Business casual?
Thanks for your help.
 

yaah

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I would probably wear a suit but in truth I don't know. If I was on faculty I doubt I would care - I would prefer they look professional but whether it's a suit or business-casual I don't think it would matter. You could always ask the program director - they will be honest with you I would think.
 

gbwillner

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I'm going to a second look next week at my top choice and was wondering what does one wear to a second look? Suit? Business-dress? Business casual?
Thanks for your help.
Wear a suit. If you are going to gross/hang out in the gross room I'm sure they can find some scrubs for you.
 
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