Apr 7, 2010
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tips on how to find out of match residency spot (personal experience)

1. have your eras (or whatever application packet) ready to fax/email/snail mail asap!
- i noticed having it in pdf form (scanning it and emailing it in pdf) was effecient, quick, and could save you time and money (versus snail mail or faxing)
- also the prospective pd can quickly glance at your application and email you on the spot for more materials.

2. if you are looking for pgy 2+ position ==> make sure you have copies of:
-clinical eval rotations, USMLE board score reports
-PD LOR/good standing letter, and a couple LOR (if not, at least easily ready to email)
-copy of eras or other materials from medical school (if available)
-if looking for surgical or ob-gyn position, have copies of your surgery case or obg-gyn case log also ready with your materials (you can send this later after the other stuff)

3. YOU HAVE TO BE AGGRESSIVE AND BE LOOKING EVERYWHERE!!!
- SDN, AAFP WEBSITE/HOTLINE, etc
- if you are willing to invest some $, get find a resident/resident swap acct (i have no direct experience nor am i endorsing it, but it's there as a resource)
- cold call/email residency programs every day (I would find on average 1 open position per 20 - 25 email/calls, so this is also an option, especially for programs that are not listed anywhere else)
- if you can, try to have your old pd/medical school advisor assist you, if this is an option.

4. when you email your materials (introduce yourself for the first time, etc).
- first paragraph introduce yourself and mention your interest in pursuing a pgy X position.
- in a 2nd paragraph, include a quick bio/info bit about you stating the following:
- name, medical school, previous residency experience (location, yrs), awards (optional) and ***KEY*** professional/clinical interests --> this also helps you stand apart and let's the prospective program know that apart from just filling in a residency spot, that you also have scholarly/research or volunteering interests! Only mention this if you
are GENUINELY interested in pursuing these things, have mentioned it in your personal statement, and/or have experience in the past that correlates with your pursuits.
- make sure you are are able to talk about these endeavors in your personal statement and in your interview. REMEMBER be honest and genuine, you don't want to be making things up because eventually it will show.

5. be persistent --> contact the program coordinators a few days later just to make sure your materials were received and/or files were opened.
- contact them no more than once a week! (email, preferably)
- as a rule of thumb, you will hear from a prospective program within one week
- ...if more than 2 weeks have passed, then more like 50/50...
- if it's more than one month, then likely it's not going to happen with that program.
- these are just rough estimates, so take this with a grain of salt here.

6. prepare for the interview (in person or phone)
- just like for medical school or your intern year, the interview is basically the same!
- make sure you have read your personal statement/cv, etc.
- obviously make sure you know or have an idea about what your LOR wrote.
- know the program you are interviewing for (strengths, positive attributes that compliment your interests, geography/location ---> key if you are going out of state!)
- make sure you have something to say about what you are doing in the meantime while looking for residency (research, voluneteering, work, traveling, etc), they will ask so just be prepared.

7. personal statement (no more than 2 pages)
- similar to your PS for your eras.
- don't go off on tangents, revise and work on it at least 3 times before
sending it out. standard stuff (grammar, syntax, etc).
- make sure to include the following
1. introduce yourself/background (don't overdo it, but keep it conversational)
2. reason why you are pursuing a residency opening (personal, family, etc) -- make sure to be genuine, honest, and demonstrate (if you had any problems or defeciencies) that you have corrected or worked around them and have learned from your hardship.
3. don't overdo part 2, but be specific and honest.
4. demonstrate what you plan to do upon returning to residency! you have to demonstrate how you will parlay your experience to be more dedicated, committed, assertive, etc, upon your return, and use this to be a better resident. BE HONEST ONCE AGAIN. I cannot stress this enough!

8. KIT - with your old PD and LOR writers.
- remember the old saying, never burn your bridges, well this is a perfect example (unless of course you left your program under unamiable circumstances).
- your PD and LOR are key in supporting you as you look for a new residency position.
- keep them in the loop, especially if you need to let them know that a prospective program will be contacting them shortly (out of courtesy...trust me, they appreciate it).
- also it's important to talk to your old pd so that you both understand and have your main story correct as to why you left your program (you don't want to have conflicting stories, this will weaken your application and raise red flags...and in the end they will likely believe your pd over you unfortunately)...so make sure you KIT and have a clear understanding before a prospective pd comes around calling/contacting your old pd.

9. Don't give up. residency spots open up throughout the year, particurlay mid year (Sep - Dec) and then again in Feb/March when renewals offers are made. So stay focused, positive, proactive and ready to go. This is a little different (and harder) than applying through eras, but if you are dedicated and persistent, you CAN and WILL find a spot.
 
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Feb 25, 2010
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Hi,
In #3 you mention programs that are not listed anywhere else. Where would you find these programs? Thanks!
 
Apr 7, 2010
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some programs do not advertise, either because they are prestigious and don't want to look 'bad' adrvertising that they have a residency opening, they'd first prefer to fill the spot internally or already have someone in mind, or don't want to spend a lot of time/$/resources posting and getting people to interview ---> remeber this takes time and resources to accomplish. many times they will inquire internally (for example with an internal medicine opening, they would contact anesthesia, surgery, or other internal residency programs first....then call any local or close pd contacts...then lastly advertise).
 
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Apr 1, 2010
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Thanks alot for this post. Its very helpful.
Do you suggest calling every program in every state, to find out about any available position? Do you send your file to every program for them to have, incase a position becomes available? DO you suggest going to the hospital to inquire about any opened positions?
Also, when you say be "aggressive", how often do u suggest we should call the programs? Once every week? Every other day?
SOrry about all the questions. I am in this situation now, desperate to find anything. Have had no luck so far.. Just want to make sure I am doing things the right way.
Thanks again, for all your help.
 
Apr 7, 2010
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1. you should call every program in what ever region in the country you
are looking for, YES! I know it's a little painstacking, but you can send emails or call them, whatever you prefer (if they don't return your email within 48 hrs, then call them).

the yield (in my experience) was about 1 program per 20-25 that i contacted with an unlisted opening...remember all it takes is just one program to be the one!

use freida.com to assist you in getting the contact info. for the programs of interest.

2. i would not suggest sending your personal file to every program at first when inquiring about an opening, although it doesn't hurt to include your full little short bio (name, address, medical school, previous residency experience/awards/professional/personal interstests) in the initial email, just so that they know who you are...sometimes that first initial email is sent from the coordinator to the PD, so it can make things easier.

once you do get an affirmative response (ie, there is an opening), then yes definitely send them everything.

as i mentioned in the OP, once you send them your materials don't call or badger them every day....no more than once a week, ok.


3. i would initially think it's a little ineffecient to visit the hospitals to inquire, since they will give you the same response whether you call them, email them, or see them in person. but that's up to you.

4. what i mean by aggressive is to be persistent, constantly looking for openings, taking initiative, etc. remain positive!

also, once you are done inquiring with all the programs first cycle, don't call them again the following week asking the same question. i would wait about 4 - 6wks, or so, to inquire about an opening again. you DONT want to get on the bad side of the coordinators.

as always with all form of human interaction, be tactful, professional, and courteous...these things do go a long way.

best of luck!
 

paciencia

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These were great hints. Thank you very much.
 
Apr 1, 2010
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This is solid advice and info...Its much appreciated. Would you by any chance be able to augment this if say a person matched into Psych from SGU and is now wanting to do FP or IM primary care. The thoughts are either to find a PGY2 or apply again via ERAS and go through the match. A question on the mind of some is what happens if you don't match, can you go back to your program...any info would be welcomed..thanks
 
Apr 7, 2010
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scenario 1 - match as an FMG (i assume this is what you mean, given that you mentioned SGU) into a specialty that you don't want anymore (for whatever reason).

scenario 2 - you don't match and have to scramble.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

i don't have much experience in either of these two personally, but i'll take a crack at it.

scenario 1.
i don't know if being an amg or fmg is a big difference - if you match as a pgy 1 and it's not what you want anymore, at this point in the game i think you need to stick with it for 2 reasons.

a) intern year in most specialties (im, fm, prelim, etc) is pretty much the same, albeit with a different emphasis (ie, surgery vs. medicine prelim). it's suppose to train you to learn basic core principles that any resident physician should learn (which is the reason why you take step 3).

b) it will draw red flags if you decide to uncommit at this point (from a prospective pd). it's better to honor your agreement unless you have a guaranteed swap, which going from inter-specialties might be difficult at this juncture.

i would stick with the specialty you matched into, and then use my recs to try to transfer out into a pgy 2 residency position later on. if you do take this route, make sure you do a great job during intern year to gain your pd's confidence and support, and let them know a head of time, out of courtesy (ie, don't wait till the last minute).

scenario 2.
well, i guess if you didn't match, you'd try to get access to the scramble list and literally cold call/email every program that you can think of and get your medical school advisor's assistance. at this point (as of this writing) i don't know how that outlook is like, although from experience I've seen people not honor their pgy 1 contract up until one week from the start of residency, so i guess there's that hope.

my guess would be that you would be looking for a pgy 1 spot during the residency yr (for people that leave prior to intern year completion). this does happen quite often (leaving for personal, medical reason, etc.)

in the meantime between now and then keep your eyes and ears opened...openings can occur anytime, but usually most programs announce this around nov/dec (around halfway, when these problems usually come up...during the winter months, no doubt).

i would then go ahead and follow my recs when the time comes around to apply (ie, send your eras application, etc.) in the mean time don't lose faith -- remain confident and do something productive if you can (research, tutoring/mentoring, teach mcat prep, etc), and of course be ready to go at any time.

i hope this helps. good luck everyone. :thumbup:
 

CoolHand Doc

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Thanks for putting together this clear and concise list of options for us folks scrambling for a position! I've used cold-calling, I am registered with findaresident, and I have all my application materials ready to be faxed or emailed. I hear you about persistence being the glue that holds it all together. :)
 
Apr 7, 2010
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the most important thing is to remain optomistic and positive!

as long as you have all your application materials ready to go at a moment's notice, you just have to remain alert and keep in close contact with previous LOR writers/PDs/advisors, since they can sometimes hear about things earlier than you can!

keep in mind that in the end whether it's a 4, or 6, or even 12 month interval between residencies or med school/residency, it's about being proactive and doing something of value (personal or professional, such as mentoring/teaching, research, or even pursing a graduate degree) in between residency.

all of us had worked hard in one way or another getting in and through medical school, so while normally transitioning from med school to residency is the natural order of things, keep in mind that you have so many have various options at your disposal, but maintain your clear vision of returning to residency when the opportunity arises.
 
Apr 1, 2010
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Thanks for your informative reply. So basically, I'll go ahead and complete my PGY 1 year, and at which point in Sept I'll reapply to lets say FP via ERAS. So when do I tell the PD I am planning on doing this given I will only have July and August done before applying?


Also another question, can I land a combined program ie in Psych now but would rather do Med/Psych, in the match or will funding be an issue ?

Next question, what are some of the easier areas to transfer into from Psych if you are aware?


Thanks as always, your added info is truly appreciated
 
Apr 7, 2010
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1. If you decide to transfer after completing your intern year in psych, just make sure you have the FULL support and committment from your PD, you have done a solid job, and give them a heads up around half way. Remember, it's not just about you leaving the program, but also giving them enough time to fill your replacement. To transfer out you don't need to go through ERAS again (you're not going through the match, you'll be an out -of match applicant looking for a pgy 2 spot), but
keep copies of all of our ERAS paperwork to help you re-apply. Also, if you're leaning towards primary care, i would recommend getting some clinical exposure (ie, outpatient clinic time) during your intern elective time to keep those skills up to par.

2. There are combined med/psych programs, just look it up in freida.com
Funding shouldn't be an issue. I know it's been mentioned before in other
posts, but I've never found it or heard of it as being an issue, from
my personal experience.

3. I guess (I don't want to generalize) that specialties that lend themselves to more patient contact, continuity, and less procedure oriented types, such as primary care (FP, IM, preventive medicine). It really depends on what YOU want, your vision, professional and personal goals, and what you really enjoyed doing in medical school, and what you see yourself doing well as a career.

Make sure to really work on your new personal statement explaining why you are changing specialties, what lead to this new perspective, your passions in the new specialty, and why and how you can contribute to that field not only in residency, but beyond. In other words, make sure that you genuinely demonstrate that desire, since they will know that you initially chose a different field. It's fine, people can change their mind, they just want to make sure that you don't change it again with them.

Above all else, make sure you do your best and accomplish quality work, seek help/guidance when needed, and treat your colleagues and patient's well. It's commonly overlooked, but remember besides board scores and where you went to school, it's about how you are as a person.

For example, if you're viewed (not implying anything) as a pariah in your program (ie, lazy, uncooperative, are not trusted, show no dedication, etc) you will have a more difficult timetransferring than, for example, someone who isn't like this but is a solid worker with say "average board scores and pedigree." In other words, you don't have any control over where you went to school or your previous board scores, but you have total control over how well you do during your intern year, and this will determine how many doors open for you if you decide to transfer. So
prepare to do your best no matter where you go.

Good luck.
 
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alittlestory

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Hi, to the original poster.

First of all, thanks for taking the time to put this together!

Secondly, will cold-calling work at this point in time (i.e. after the match & post-match scramble, everything is full- no?) Or should I wait a few months, for example early june to make phone calls?

As for in-person requests- would it be more tactful in your opinion to CALL program coordinators and request an appointment or just, you know "drop by".?
 
Apr 7, 2010
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Hi, to the original poster.

First of all, thanks for taking the time to put this together!

Secondly, will cold-calling work at this point in time (i.e. after the match & post-match scramble, everything is full- no?) Or should I wait a few months, for example early june to make phone calls?

As for in-person requests- would it be more tactful in your opinion to CALL program coordinators and request an appointment or just, you know "drop by".?
- no problem guys, i'm glad to hear that my experience is somewhat useful for others who are on the same boat.

1. Cold calling/emailing works best during high yield seasons (Nov - Dec, Feb - March), but it's all a numbers game. As you can see here on other SDN threads there are some people across the country withdrawing or deferring their internship contracts, which means that there are some openings here and there. Unfortunately by this time in the season I would suppose that 97% of the spots are taken...but there still is that 3%, sort of speak.

So I would be more trategic in my cold calling/emailing and do the following:
- either talk to someone who has a find-a-resident or residentswap acct (or pay and open one), and definitely call all of those programs that are opened.
- if you can't do the above, go to the find-a-resident site and count the number and geographic locations of where the supposed vacancies are at.
then by process of elimination call those states in that geographic location (it takes like 5 - 10 min do do this, but it can save you some $). for example, there are like 4-5 states in the "mid-atlantic" region, and if it says 5 openings in a specialty exist, then go to freida.com and get the phone #emals of all of those programs in those states. the key is to be trategic in your plan to save time.

2. regarding in person requests, remember that you're mostly dealing with program coodinators when inquiring for residency vacancies at first, so in reality i don't know whether they would prefer a meeting vs. email vs. a phone call to give you that information. i personally would prefer to be effecient and find out the quickest way possible if a vacancy exists or not.
 
Apr 13, 2010
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hi guys, im new here i just wanted to get some addvice on my situation.i applied for this years match and went unmatched.i m interested in IM/FM i have a externship in radiology in june at a university my question to you guys is :
will this improve my chances in IM/FM residency for nxt yr?
what else can i do to improve my chances?
do people with a single attempt get into a residency? my scores are not that great!
its had to stay optimistic please advice.
Thanks!
 
Apr 13, 2010
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Also in what mnths shd i call/email the programs and see for any unexpected openings?
I am already registered on findaresident.I also emailed the programs and all said that they are full.
Thanks for all the help!
 
Apr 9, 2010
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anyone have a residentswap account and want to help me out by telling me what would be available for me?? its too early in the game for me to register myself...
 

hippuppy

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I am a military physician. I completed my PGY-1 year in 2007 and realized all too late that I should have applied for anesthesia programs this past match for the 2011 CA-1 start. I have been trying to get my LOR, dean's letters, etc together to my school to use the remaining ERAS time (until 31 May) to do exactly what you have mentioned.

Do you think at this late in the game this is something I should do or should I wait until July and try at that time?

Any advice could help.

R/
Hip
 

mrs_doc

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Again I join other fellow members to thank you for this great post. I have a special case that fit more into (2) but with a little twist. I'm completing my PGY-1 now and already got my contract for PGY-2 singed and turned it in. My program is so malignant that 1 or 2 residents are let go every year and I feel this could happen to anyone in the program especially those without any cover like me.

So my dilemma is ...how do I go about looking for a PGY-2 somewhere else without exposing it to my program? You mentioned "PD LOR/good standing letter" which is definitely a NO GO for me as it may lead to my program taking preemptive action and canceling my contract. How likely is it to find a spot without having the new program contact your current PD while evaluating candidates?

Thanks in advance for you advices.
 
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Jan 20, 2010
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Again I join other fellow members to thank you for this great post. I have a special case that fit more into (2) but with a little twist. I'm completing my PGY-1 now and already got my contract for PGY-2 singed and turned it in. My program is so malignant that 1 or 2 residents are let go every year and I feel this could happen to anyone in the program especially those without any cover like me.

So my dilemma is ...how do I go about looking for a PGY-2 somewhere else without exposing it to my program? You mentioned "PD LOR/good standing letter" which is definitely a NO GO for me as it may lead to my program taking preemptive action and canceling my contract. How likely is it to find a spot without having the new program contact your current PD while evaluating candidates?

Thanks in advance for you advices.
hey mrs doc.. if i were in ur position i would just stick to the program ur already in. its hard to get pgy2 without ur current pd's blessings :rolleyes: .. plus u already signed pgy2 contract.. i think you should just try to stick to the program.. life can get hard at times.. true.. but it can get a lot harder if u mess with pd's and contracts:eek: :scared: .. hope it gets easier for u too tho :thumbup:
 
Apr 25, 2010
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Hello guys,
I was released from an IM residency program after completing 7 month with above average evaluations. What happened was I got off on the wrong track with some of my senior residents and two of them stated under the ethical section that I have said that I have done certain things when I havent such as ordering labs/consults..etc...which I might have unintentionally a couple of times but nothing that has lead to any serious comprmise to patient care or anything of the like. So I was taken to a departmental meeting where the chair of the department has made the decession to release me from the program even after I presented my case. During this whole time I had a great reltionship with the PD. After, they made that decission I left and started an MPH program for the past year. Now I will be re-applying for residency again this year. I havent talked to the PD since the department chair made that decisson. I recently have scheduled an appointment to go back and talk with the PD to ask for his support as I am going to reapply for residency. He seemed pretty positive about setting a meeting. My questions to you guys is : What should I address during the meeting? Should I ask him for a letter of rec? Is it possible for me to get credit for those seven month? My medical school program director said that she could offer me a second year spot if I have credit for those month? Is it ok to ask the program director if I can get credit for those month or should I just keep it simple and just ask for his support as I reapply for residency. I also have two letters of recommendation from my attendings their.
 

aProgDirector

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Getting a letter from your prior PD would be VERY helpful. Regardless of how you spin this to other PD's, we are going to worry that we're only hearing 1/2 of the story -- the half you want to tell.

Getting credit for your prior rotations would also be helpful. Not sure how another PD can give you a PGY-2 spot, since in the best case you'll have only 7 months of PGY-1 credit, but having said credit can only help.

If you do "match" for a PGY-1 spot in July, you should be prepared to repeat the whole year. However, there is some chance that while you are interviewing a program will have an open off cycle PGY-1 spot, and then the 7 months of prior credit could be very helpful.
 
Jan 20, 2010
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i agree with kave dweller .. i think you should be able to get the credit.. but more important is good letter from that pd in my opinion.. everyone's gonna wanna know what happend last time..so if pd writes a good letter.. that's a huge plus i think.. :thumbup:
 
Apr 25, 2010
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Hey guys,
Thank you so much for all the advice. I have met with my PD and he said that I will get 7 month of credit for the time I spent their. He said that if I find an offcycle spot that is willing to take me than he will personally call the program director tell them about my situation and officially transfer all my evals and procedure logs for me to get credit. He also said that he will right a letter explaininng my situation.
 

shsgrad

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Hey guys,
Thank you so much for all the advice. I have met with my PD and he said that I will get 7 month of credit for the time I spent their. He said that if I find an offcycle spot that is willing to take me than he will personally call the program director tell them about my situation and officially transfer all my evals and procedure logs for me to get credit. He also said that he will right a letter explaininng my situation.


That is GREAT NEWS! :clap:
I am a 4th year med student looking for a transitional year. Won't get degree till June. My question is, how do I go about finding "off-cycle" spots?
 
Jun 25, 2018
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Hi, I am an IMG and currently going through this same issue. I have completed my step 1 & 2 along with CS and am studying for my step 3. I can not find any open programs and am willing to take avalabitly in any state if it arises. Do any of you by chance know of any programs looking to fill a first year residency spot that I could possibly get an interview with?