The "S" Word

Discussion in 'Emergency Medicine' started by jonwilli, Feb 14, 2005.

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  1. jonwilli

    jonwilli Member 7+ Year Member

    May 16, 2003
    OK, I know nobody wants to talk about it, but what exactly happens if you do not match and you have to scramble. I know they release the unfilled programs on Mar. 16 at noon or something. Can you only scramble into unfilled programs that you applied and/or interviewed at or is it a free for all? Also, how do you get them your ERAS stuff after the fact or do they just want a CV, board scores, etc.? Is it first come, first serve or what? How do they choose with a limited number of unfilled spots and multiple applicants? I know this is the last thought on everyone's mind, but better to be prepared!!

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  3. anonymousEM

    anonymousEM Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 25, 2002
    It's a free for all. At my school they called everyone and had them come in to the school so that they could help those people by calling friends, faxing etc. I think programs can do whatever they want, interview you over the phone, have you fax in cv etc...hopefully you won't be in this situation...i'm sure someone else will post the percentages. If you rank 7-8 places, though, chances are you'll match somewhere, likely in your top 3.
  4. Jeff698

    Jeff698 Chief Resident 10+ Year Member

    Aug 11, 2000
    Salado, Texas
    Pretty much what I've heard, too. At my school, they bring everyone into a big room set up with oodles of phones, computers and fax machines. You (well, hopefully not you) and your friends start cold-calling programs on the unfilled list. Keep in mind, these programs are just as anxious as you to get a match.

    My friend who scrambled into a spot a couple of years ago said they just wanted a brief faxed application with the pertinent info. I got the idea it was pretty much a first come type thing. They then fax you a contract, which you sign and fax back ASAP, then you're done.

    I get the idea that you go through the unfilled list the night before, make a priority list of calls to make in the morning and start as soon as you can. Your only limitation is that you're working form a list of places with unfilled spots.

    At least, I think that's how it works. With any luck, none of us will have to find out.

    Take care and good luck!
    Jeff <- anxiously awaiting March 17!
  5. jazz

    jazz Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 23, 2003
    on monday you will receive an email saying whether or not you have matched. if not, then tuesday is your day to scramble. i think the "unfilled" list comes out at 12pm (noon) on tuesday. you can scramble anywhere that did not fill. keep in mind, however, that if you did apply to program X, for instance and ranked program X, and program X is unfilled .. then program X did not rank you. my guess would be that your chances are probably slim (but i'm not a program director). however, if you interivewed but did not rank program X you may have a higher chance.

    on monday night, get as much that you can together -- copy of your personal statement, know your step 1 and 2 scores, etc... get an idea of where you would be willing to scramble to and where you wouldn't. it helps to know a little about programs in general. the med school i went to had a room with a copier, fax, deans (who could vouch that you were in good standing), etc. if you can bring a friend/spouse (in medical school) with you it helps. they can make calls on their cell phones or use the phones to help you dial. i did it for a friend and a lot of places have busy lines so you have to keep redialing.... that way, between me, her, and another friend, we could attack three places at once... once we reached a place, we would put our friend (the one scrambling) on the line. plus, it's good to have some moral support.

    if you have a spouse, significant other, family, you need to know if they would be willing to move to say the east coast from california, go to the south from the north, etc...

    good luck. hopefully reading this reply will be the closest you get to scrambling....
  6. PlayHard

    PlayHard Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    I have kind of a stupid newbie question. Why would a program not rank all their applicants. I would think that if they thought well enough of the person to interview them, they would at least leave them at the very bottom of the list just so that they would decrease their chances of going unmatched. Does it cost them more once they rank past a certain amount, kind of how it costs us more to rank past 15?
  7. Apollyon

    Apollyon Screw the GST Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Why not rank all applicants? Some people look better on paper. When you and your program meet them, one or more people might say "no way, ever!".

    Part of the art of being program director is interviewing the best candidates, and presenting the best the program has. Thus, the more the candidate like your program, and you like them, the higher each ranks. If someone just does NOT fit, that is why they don't get ranked.

    Although it's a headache for the PD, not filling is not the end of the world.
  8. 8744

    8744 Guest

    Dec 7, 2001
    Dammit. I interviewed and ranked seven programs. Somebody tell me that this is enough and that I will match. What kind of people don't match?
  9. jazz

    jazz Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 23, 2003
    well it's out of your hands now. but to reassure you so that you will rest some before match day, you'll most likely rank because most people match in their top 3.

    certain people look well on paper but when you meet them it's a different story. believe it or not, some people cannot avoid being arrogant, annoying, rude, obnoxious, even when it's interview day and even when the total time spent is less than 5 hours. also, programs may decide that someone is not a good fit... you may be totally qualified but if they think you wouldn't fit in and be miserable and drag all the other residents down, you may not be ranked.

    likely, you'll match so just take it easier and enjoy your last few months off...
  10. USCDiver

    USCDiver Percocet-R-US 10+ Year Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    I've posted this before but this time of year and this thread seem the appropriate time to do it again.

    I interviewed 8 and ranked 7. My boards scores were 241 and 237, I had Honors and High Pass (A and B+) on my ED rotations. I am very personable, good sense of humor and give an excellent interview. I scrambled.

    The scramble week is as follows:
    Monday - You find out whether you rank or not. That is it. You then have 24 hours to freak out, cry or get ripped (I got ripped).
    11:30am - Unfilled programs list is released.
    12:00n - You may begin calling programs on the unfilled list (you have 30 minutes to decided which to push hard for)
    In my experience, most programs asked to have ERAS transmitted to their program. ECU later said they got about 100 or so applications. They went through each of them and then called those back that they were going to offer places to. Then the contract is faxed, signed and faxed back. It is NOT a first come first served process. That makes no sense for a program to do that. There are always more applicants than spots.

    Some of the more competitive specialties (ie Derm) may spend the whole day Tuesday and Wednesday going through their applications. EM generally is done by the middle of the day Tuesday.

    ECU was the only unfilled program I was interested in. I was about 10 minutes from accepting a spot in IM or FP at my home institution and reapplying the next year when they called to offer me a spot...whew. I got drunk again that night.

    I have spoken with my PD this year several times about what had happened to me last year because I had submitted my ERAS to ECU during the normal interview period. Last week she said she'd gotten a chance to pull my application and it looks like it had originally been put on hold for Dean's Letter (like a majority of them) and then had never been reviewed again. Somehow I had slipped through the cracks. It's too late for this year, but for all you 3rd years...Do not be ashamed to call programs you don't hear from. Hound them until they say yea or nay on an interview.
  11. SCER2005

    SCER2005 Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    Aug 14, 2004
    I was curious if you would mind sharing what you think led to you having to scramble last year? Did you rank only ultracompetitive programs? did your basic science grades suck (like mine)? Would you mind sharing the programs that you applied to? I know these are really invasive, personal questions, but I'm feeling that intense insecurity that only comes with being 1 month from match day. Also, I too ranked 7 programs. If you choose not to answer some or any of these questions I understand. Thanks
  12. jazz

    jazz Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 23, 2003
    to clarify, you also have had to have interviewed there. in other words, if you interview at a program, rank them, and then don't match and they're listed as unfilled, then they did not rank you.

    in uscdiver's case, it sounds like the dean's letter may have been the culprit. em programs get hundered if not thousands of applications. obviously not everyone can interview. and an application put on hold can easily get lost in a busy interview season since it's not like a program is at a loss to get applicants. so just because you applied, but didn't get an interview, it doesn't mean that they wouldn't take you as a scramble applicant.

    i've actually spoken with a program director in the northeast who said that he rarely interviews applicants from califronia who don't seem to have a reason to be in the NE since he feels like his program is being used as a backup and he would rather interview people who are more likely to rank his place. so there are reasons why one doesn't get an interview and it could be totally not related to your application (grades, step scores, recs, etc)

    hope my ramblings make some sense.
  13. USCDiver

    USCDiver Percocet-R-US 10+ Year Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    I honestly don't know what happened. I thought I had a competitive application, my Dean's Letter was OK. My basic science grades were average (all B, B+ and one C+) my Clerkship grades were ok as well, don't remember all of them. I applied to 26, offered at 9, interviewed 8, ranked 7. My list if I remember it correctly was Christiana, Palmetto, Orlando, Maryland, MCG, Duke. Hmm, maybe I interviewed 7 and ranked 6, I can't remember.

    Anyway, at this point, your fate is probably set depending on how you rank the programs. You could call programs and try to make last minute campaigns to get your name further up the list but at this point it may backfire and a lot of programs have already certified their list anyway. After certification day (I've heard it takes the computer about 90 seconds to match everyone in every specialty) you will definitely have no say in what happens before Match Week. So get your list in order, certify it and enjoy what's left of your 4th year vacation.
  14. Sessamoid

    Sessamoid 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 11, 2003
    Los Angeles
    I suspect this is a common reason to not offer an interview to an otherwise good candidate, that he or she has not obviously good reason to want to come to that part of the country. My former PD certainly considered this highly in his decision on whether or not to offer an interview, and his opinion was the generally held one at the program. This does argue for personalizing your personal statement for some of your programs if you don't think it is obvious why you would be willing to move far away from your stock personal statement.
  15. beriberi

    beriberi Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2004
    I also scrambled in EM last year. While it wasn't pretty, it worked out very well. ERAS has a function where you can submit your application to as many programs as you want if you are scrambling. You should also have paper copies and a fax in case the programs want them that way.

    I think the scramble is where I got my money's worth for my expensive private school. (Since it didn't seem to help me in the match) The night before, I contacted the a few influential faculty at my school. They prepared well written, short introductions that they would email directly during the scamble. "Beriberi is the best! She should be at your program!" When the list became available, you need to have someone who knows a lot of emergency medicine programs to talk to (maybe the people in your class who interviewed most broadly?), because it will be hard to know where to apply (likely you didn't apply to any of these programs if you are scrambling. Then, when the time comes, the trick will be getting through. It is a lot better to have the call made by faculty/deans: "This is Dr. SuperDuper, Dean of the Best Medical School, can I speak to Dr. CrappyProgram director?

    You also need to know your priorities. You will not be offered several positions and then be allowed to choose. Usually, you are offered one and if you do not immediately take it, then they move to someone else. Decide if you are going to reapply or take a position that is geographically/academically inferior. Also, program directors are going to want to know that you are going to stick (not reapply/transfer). It is time to start talking about your dreams of living in El Paso and all of the family you have there (that you have never visited). I think that a resident who will be there for 3 years is the most important thing that a scrambling program is looking for.

    Also, I think the people I know who worried the most in medical school about scrambling were not the ones scrambling with me. You will likely be just fine.
  16. 8744

    8744 Guest

    Dec 7, 2001
    Dammit. I liked El Paso and ranked them number two after Baton Rouge. Tell me you're just joking and having some fun at yer' Uncle Panda's expense.
  17. kungfufishing

    kungfufishing Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2003
    I rotated in el paso. You'll probably like it. I did, even though I ended up elsewhere.
  18. beriberi

    beriberi Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2004
    In retrospect, I should have applied to El Paso. Honest. I think it would have been a good place to be.
  19. fuegofrio17

    fuegofrio17 Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 19, 2004
    El Paso is actually a great program that not too many people talk about very often. It is one of the best, if not the best, programs in Texas. The faculty is great and the pathology and learning opportunities are outstanding. The only questionable aspect of the program is its location in El Paso. This can be a plus or minus depending on the person. The Franklin Mountains are good for hiking and there is world class rock climbing at Hueco Tanks if that is your thing. But the big city it is not, unless you count the 1.5 million people in Juarez.
  20. beriberi

    beriberi Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2004

    Good luck tomorrow to those who need it.
  21. NinerNiner999

    NinerNiner999 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Where it's at.
    You must have gone to a great medical school... ;)
  22. doc05

    doc05 2K Member 10+ Year Member

    May 24, 2003

    not a stupid question. programs like to play games and sometimes there's funny business that goes on behind the scenes. the bottom line is that programs don't want to go too far down their match list to fill -- a matter of ego and nothing more. so they do what they can to rank people they not only like (based on the interview, etc), but also who they think like their program and would want to match their. some other programs (like a couple of gas programs in NYC last year) like to say they've got residents from top med schools, since it makes them look good. so they're more apt to rank ivy-leaguers than others, all else being equal.

    that's why programs -- even "top" programs -- might not fill. and of course there are always several programs that absolutely suck, but their not filling is usually expected.

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