p20s02u

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Hi Everyone-

I am currently a MSIII with 1/4 of my year left and unsure as to what field I will be going into. My question goes out to current MSIVs or anyone else who has some quality input. What do you know now about 4th year electives, residency application/interview, etc. that you wish you would have known last year at this time? If you could start with "the most important stuff" first, that would be outstanding.

Thanks in advance for your help.
 

doc05

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the most important thing is to figure out which field you will be going into. make sure you know what it's like in private practice, which is often very different than academics (in just about every specialty).
 

irlandesa

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1)If Neurology is not a required clerkship in 3rd year at your school, take it early on during 4th year (during the first 3 months if possible). Even if you don't want to go into Neuro, the subject overlaps so much with IM, EM, etc., and some USMLE 2CK forms are neuro-laden, so it's important to plan when to take this carefully. I wish I had known this!

2)If you're not sure what you want to go into; an ICU Sub-I during one of the first 2-3 months of 4th year might help since some ICU's are combined med/surg and can give you good exposure to critical care issues in both specialties.

3)Your best advisors will often be new fellows (fresh out of residency), current residents, or current 4th year students who have been through the match. Had I listened to such people more, and the administrators at my school less, I would have been a LOT less stressed out about the whole business.. Ask current 4th years about good Sub-I sites, away rotation suggestions, how they chose their speciality, etc..
 

Jackie1.

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The best advice is to have FUN your 4th year and go anywhere and do anything you want in terms of rotations....if you want to be in a certain city/location for a month, sign up for it and have your month long vacation there while doing the required work.....i did 2 away rotations, i wish i did about 4.....b/c youll never get a chance like this again to go somewhere again and still have it count for credit....also, dont do a stupid hardcore ICU rotation and be all hardcore if you dont have to...your already gonna be in residency for 3 years, so why not take a break 4th year....it doesn't count anyways in terms of applications....no one sees those grades, and thats if they even have grades in the first place...the only month you should out forth moderate effort is in your SubI so you have a taste for what youll be doing....also, get your personal statement done early so you dont gotta fool with it when you want to sit back and enjoy the summer around august instead of pondering why you wanted to be a doctor....
 

cadoc

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My advice: apply to more programs than you think you want to interview at. I only applied in CA but when I went to the interviews, I wasn't impressed by many of the programs. I wish I had applied to programs outside of CA. But that is just me.

My other advice: Seems obvious but if you do an away rotation, make it something not too hardcore. I did a subi by mistake. It's harder to shine when you are tired and post-call.

Aim high with residency applications! You definately won't get in if you don't try!

Have fun!
 

irlandesa

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yeah, I generally agree about not being too hardcore, but if you do a more intense Sub-I like ICU (which I found to be easier than the wards, but everyone is different), I'd do it early so you have more free time later on.
 

Hova2005

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Definitely agree with enjoying fourth year. We'll never get a chance to do anything like this (travel to different places and get credit, take bogus electives and hang out with friends and family that you no doubt neglected during years 1-3, etc.) again.

As far as applications go, better to overshoot and apply places you never thought you would want to go (or be accepted into) rather than limit yourself to a smaller number programs. You can always cancel interviews as the season goes on. I am satisfied with my rank list, but there are a few places I was going to apply to but talked myself out of that I wish I had checked out.