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Why not go ahead and reject me....

Discussion in 'ERAS, SOAP, and NRMP Match' started by Sarcophageal, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. Sarcophageal

    Sarcophageal Intern
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    I realize that it is mid Dec and 99.9% of all interviews have gone out by now. So why aren't programs just rejecting me (those who have not contacted me at all)? Or wait-listing me? That is fine. Or hey just let me know....

    I am thinking about it from the whole professionalism aspect. Programs want a notice if you can't make it. They have their lines. All this is fine. But, you know, we all put in hard work with our apps, arranging trips, saving weekends or certain dates for certain schools, etc. Is it not unprofessional for a program to just hold on to your application with no intention of interviewing you? Doesn't it only take a mass email?
     
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  3. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    While all programs have an initial interview schedule locked in for all interview dates by now, there tend to be lots of cancellations in January as some applicants who are interviewing come to the realization that they aren't really going to bother interviewing at 50 programs, etc. Programs like to keep applications on hand so that if they have cancellations, they can shoot out emails and try to fill any open slots (they want to interview X many so they don't like to leave spots open if they can be filled). If you didn't get an interview or a rejection, you might still be in that group who has a shot at conceivably getting an interview on short notice if there is a cancellation.
     
  4. Samoa

    Physician Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

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    I've gotten a couple of emails in the last week from programs that hadn't rejected me, saying that they had completed their interviews and therefore couldn't offer me one.

    I guess I was on their waitlist and didn't know it.
     
  5. Faebinder

    Faebinder Slow Wave Smurf
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    I have come to realize why programs do sooooo bad at these applications.

    My program is an example... there are over 800 applicants for 2 (possibly 3 positions). There is no button on ERAS to reject catagories of people, only to filter them. So how does 1 secretary/coordinator who does a million other things for the department as well manage the 750 remaining applicants? Go to each one and click "reject" on each and send them an email? What if she's unsure she might need 50 more?

    The complaints should be sent to the "Program Director's Workstation" which makes the software that the coordinators/directors use to pick people. They need to make it more user friendly and have lotsa handy buttons. As it is right now, it's versatile but not very friendly in terms of making things faster. I.E. There is no automatic reject anyone below 190 and send them the generic letter if they send an application to program X.
     
  6. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I'm pretty sure there are already screens that let programs only look at folks above a certain score. But you don't really want programs to be able to reject whole scores of folks without some consideration as to why. Although board scores are certainly heavily used in this process, it is also pretty universally agreed that they are a horribly bad yardstick, and probably don't measure what programs really want to be measuring. Even the NBME concedes that these tests are being misused for something they never meant to be used for, which is why the whole Step system is being revamped in the not too distant future, to make these tests be less involved in the residency selection process. These tests were designed to test for minimum proficiency, and do a poor job if used otherwise. If you made your competitive residency cut off 220, for example, you are going to be interviewing some lame folks at 220 and rejecting some far more impressive ones who got 219. So sure someone who got a 240 is probably a safer bet than someone who got a 190, but when you get closer in numbers, there simply is no basis for where you draw the line, making cutoffs foolish and fuzzy borders requiring individual consideration a wiser approach.

    Just like med school, this process is only partly about the numbers, and so programs need the flexibility to look at multiple factors. And you can't do that well with a broad stroke. The only people who would want this kind of cut-off approach are the folks with high numbers and nothing more to back it up. And as with med school, those folks never do as well in these processes as they personally think they ought to (probably for good reason). Because it's never all about the numbers.
     
    #5 Law2Doc, Dec 18, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2008
  7. aProgDirector

    aProgDirector Pastafarians Unite!
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    This is incorrect. ERAS makes it very easy to do this.

    Let's say I have a minimum criterion of passing the boards. I generate a filter asking for all students who have failed a USMLE step. I then can quickly skim through the applications, looking for any "exceptions" -- perhaps someone who rotated with us, or someone with an LOR from someone I know. Or, perhaps I make no exceptions. Regardless, I can then ask the ERAS software to reject all of the applicants in the filter, and then send them all a rejection email. Takes 2-3 minutes, no more.
     
  8. Abram Hoffer

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    Then why don't they do this -- send out rejections? I agree with the OP that there needs to be professionalism on both sides of the ERAS fence. I am hanging on to hope for a huge number of apps that never gave an answer.
     
  9. google_singh

    google_singh Junior Member
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    I personally feel that these filters are not justified. As aPD mentioned that one can run a filter to sort the applicants who have an attempt on USMLE exams. But he says that he skims through them to look if there's one jewel in there. But many PDs probably leave this to their PC's. I called up one program and the PC told me that only those applications are viewable to the PD who do anot have any attempts on the USMLE exams. She said my app is not even visible to the PD because i have a 2nd attempt on one of the steps. So many PDs probably leave it to their PCs to forward them the 'apparent cream' and hence may be missing out those jewels

    So if used intelligently, these filters can make things easier for the PD.But if the PD is not even going to look at your application just because of some silly attempt or just because you have a score 1 point below their cut-off, it makes no sense.
    Moreover the application is not free , you pay bucks for each program you apply to.

    I feel the ERAS should make it mandatory to the programs to list what filters they are going to use well before sept 1st. And the program should not be allowed to use any new additional filters after that. And these filters should be visible in the applicant interface of the ERAS as well so that each applicant knows if he is eligible there or not. In fact, the applicant's ERAS interface should provide with a warning or something when the applicant tries to apply to that program if the candidate is likely to be filtered by a particularly program by its software filters.

    Moreover when i get rejected by a program , my interface should display if i had been rejected by a filter and if yes, what filter. I have the right to know why I am rejected , so that I can improve upon my weakness and not make the same mistake next year.

    Or otherwise they should make ERAS free. After all its just like an email server. They should probably just take some sign up fees but no fee per program applied. Because if I am to be filtered by some software and not going to be reviewed by a human, then i think it doesnt matter if a program receives 150 apps or 15000 apps.

    ERAS is not applicant friendly.
     
    #8 google_singh, Dec 18, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2008
  10. Old_Mil

    Old_Mil Senior Member
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    Yes, it does only take a mass email. As far as the professionalism aspect, I think by now you would have realized that in medicine professionalism is expected from the lips, but not from the ass they are kissing.
     
    Psych_hopeful likes this.
  11. Ashers

    Ashers Bacteria? Don't exist.
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    I've received rejections, interviews, waitlists, and nothing.

    The waitlists are nice because then you're not sitting in limbo. I got off a waitlist recently that I didn't know I was on, and I had assumed I was rejected. I prefer to know rather than be in limbo. However, the waitlists are definitely not the majority. I'll probably never hear anything from a few programs.
     
  12. Doowai

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    They kind of do this - if you look at programs websites, they usually have a page called "criteria" or "applicants". On that page they list things like : applicants need a minimum of 85 on step 1 and 2, no failed attempts. International applicants need at least one year of US hospital experience (observorships do not count) etc.

    I have gotten interviews at a couple of places whose criteria I did not meet,, by first writing to the program, telling them who I am , why I want to be there and giving them a good reason they want me there (selling myself) and asking if I apply will I get an interview. I have had some programs grant me interviews even though I did not meet their criteria by pulling my application through their filter even though I was not up to their standards.

    But if you look at their websites they usually give a page of clues as to what their criteria are.
     
  13. google_singh

    google_singh Junior Member
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    Well I meant that not just the criteria, but the filters that a program wants to use should be listed under the MyERAS tab of that particular program. And once the program chooses what filters it intends to use, then the program should not be allowed to use any other additional filters and the chosen filters should be visible to the applicant before he even applies to that program

    What you have mentioned is something that is not mandatory. Some programs list the criteria whilst many dont. So while a program may say that they are very strict about attempts, but you may see a few candidates with attempts in the interveiews.

    So I mean the programs should be made to select what filters it is intending to use in screening process before the application season starts. But this would mean much less money for ERAS.
    This is only beneficial for the applicants and not for ERAS or the programs.
    Bt its the applicants who pay the max, so it should be app friendly
     
  14. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    These criteria are almost always specifically for international applicants. They don't law out the criteria this well for domestics.
     
  15. aProgDirector

    aProgDirector Pastafarians Unite!
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    Just to be clear, this is one thing that ERAS cannot do. I can filter by your most recent USMLE score -- so if your last attempt was a failure, I can find that. But I can't generate a filter that shows me everyone who took a step twice. I ave to review USMLE reports by hand to do that.

    This makes total sense to me. If we have a cutoff criteria, we have it for a reason. If you are below that cutoff, then you do not get interviewed. If I set a cutoff of 220, it might not seem fair if you got a 219. But then if I look at 219, what about 218? 217? When does it stop?

    In my experience, USMLE performance clearly predicts residency performance -- those with low scores do not do well. Those with high scores don't necessarily become superstars either, but the vast majority of my residents who struggle are on the lower end of the USMLE spectrum.

    I get none of your application fees. So encouraging frivolous applications, as might seem to happen for medical schools, does not financially benefit me.

    This is an interesting idea, but the way you've written it is unreasonable, and impossible. First of all, the "filters" you talk about we use every day. Sometimes I use a filter to try to decide whom I want to interview. But I have filters for "Applicants interviewing 12/17" and "Applicants invited to interview but are missing an LOR", etc. We use, change, and apply filters every day. I have 100's of filters, and you seeing them is not going to help you in any way.

    What I think you're trying to say is that ERAS should have programs list their minimum criteria in the software system, such that you could "filter" programs on your end that meet your application. Really, the only things that could be handled this way are year of graduation and USMLE scores -- things like US experience are too nebulous to try to measure in ERAS. So, I could list a year of graduation cutoff date, and minimum USMLE scores (perhaps different values for USMG's and IMG's), and then you could decide whether to apply. As Doowai points out, there's always a chance that I'll make an exception. It's an interesting idea, but I don't know if it would really change anything. Many programs might choose not to list a minimum.

    I disagree. You have no right to know why you were rejected. If you get rejected from a job, school, or if you lose an election, you do not necessarily get told why, and you certainly don't have a right to it. Perhaps you would like to know why, but it's my option to answer or not.

    You also misunderstand how filters work. Filters don't block applications. A filter is simply a logical rule applied to the whole group of applications to show a subgroup. I can create filters for "all USMLE scores <200" or "All applications with a middle initial of X" or "everyone who applied after November 1st". If I have a minimum cutoff of 220 on the USMLE, then I can create a filter for that, then reject all of the applications in the filter -- but it's not the filter that rejected you, and from a software standpoint you can't tell if someone closely reviewed your application or simply rejected it after finding out your USMLE score was too low.

    It should not be free, and it totally matters. If it was free, people would apply to every single program. Why not? Costs nothing, right? Might as well apply to MGH and BWH.

    If I got 15000 apps, you can be sure I would simply choose a USMLE cutoff and reject everyone below it. I would have no choice -- there would be no way to review all of those applications. Or, I'd create a secondary application, with a fee, to weed out those who are really interested.

    ERAS is a godsend to programs and applicants. I remember not too long ago when fellowships did not participate in ERAS. My residents spent hours typing each application -- the same information over and over again, in different formats. And each application had a fee, so this is no more expensive.

    You are wrong. You have not experienced the alternative. Again, imagine applying to 50 programs, each with their own application. Each application would need to be typed, unless you were lucky enough to get a PDF file you could type into. You'd need to send your transcript, USMLE's, and letters to each program individually. We'll all want originals, so you'll be paying whatever fee the USMLE requires for each transcript. And if you take a new step, you'll need to send it again, probably for another fee. Let's not forget that your letter writers will need to make 50 copies of their letter, sign each of them in ink, and mail them in individual envelopes -- which if you know what you're doing, will be sent via trackable mail so you know when they arrive (which costs). And you'll have no way to track all of this, since it won't be online. And programs will get all of those applications on paper, so you can be sure that some will get lost, and we probably won't even bother to reject the bad applications, simply throw them away (which I understand may be happening under the current system, but would be worse).

    Trust me, ERAS is wonderful.
     
  16. DarthNeurology

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    Great reply from APD on what really occurs on the program end. I think that a lot of applicants feel that if their application passes some initial "filter", like a Step 1 cutoff, then their application will get equal consideration with other applicants who had high Step 1s . . .

    In the end, the program director will sit down with an applicant who has a low Step 1 and usually asks the applicant why they did poorly or how they plan on mastering something as complex as internal medicine, etc . . . So there is a lot of worry about passing filters.

    All applicants would like to believe that their application is special and when they pass such a filter they will be viewed in a very positive light, in the end the ultimate filter is the residency committee and program director.

    I am uncertain however, about what legal rights an applicant has to discover why he/she got rejected from a residency. It does seem fair that any individual applicant could contact a specific residency program to see why their application was not received favorably. Albeit, this would be a lot of work on the part of the program director if he/she is filtering applications for interview and might seem unfair to do from that perspective.

    Since residency is a job/education financed by the federal government and not a private corporation, in theory a person could use legal means to figure out why someone else was choosen over them. Of course this would be very impractical and could result in such a person being black-balled from other residency programs and I doubt anyone would do that. But if residency spots become scarce, sure, someone could make a legitimate case I am sure.

    In the end, there is not a lot of transparency in medical school or the residency selection process.

    Some residency programs might be able to give feedback to applicants in clear cases of poor USMLE scores, . . . since we can' see our LORs the residency program would probably ask not to divulge that a bad LOR from such and such a professor bomb their application to ortho . . . I could envision scenarios where a letter writer bombing a student with a bad eval could come back to hurt the letter writer by word of mouth.
     
  17. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    I cannot agree more. There are still some surgical fellowships that do not use ERAS and I did exactly what you outlined above...individual applications to multiple programs (even finding a typewriter was a bit of a chore), photocopying each, mailing etc. ERAS for residency was MUCH simpler.
     
  18. Faebinder

    Faebinder Slow Wave Smurf
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    Ahh.. i stand corrected and allow me to be the first to join my voice with the OP and say... you PDs and PCs are damn lazy..... very lazy. :poke:

    If it's that easy and you know you aren't going to look at people scoring 186-190 then give them the courtesy rejection.
     
    #17 Faebinder, Dec 20, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2008
  19. peter90036

    peter90036 not out fishing
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    not everybody does well with computers/wants to learn the system.
     
  20. DarthNeurology

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    I don't think APD is being lazy at all. ERAS allows for PDs to be more efficient, i.e. with electronic applications and the ability to filter applications, actually such a system probably makes it easier for applicants who have failed Step 1 to get an interview as the program director can look for "charity cases" i.e. applicants who have failed Step 1, but have a connection to a program or something.

    If we went back to the old paper applications then a secretary would have to look through hundreds of applications and shove some in the trash as the program director would not have the time to phyisically look at all of them. ERAS is undoubtedly more efficient for everyone, both program director and applicant.

    Obviously the Step 1 cutoffs are not hard and set, and a program may decrease their cutoff in any given year I suspected depending on the number of applications. Everything goes in cycles and a residency program could get slammed for perhaps having a new PD who isn't popular/well liked by the residents.

    I believe that many programs hold on to applications for a while, waiting to see who will apply for their program, nothing inherently lazy or wrong there. Plenty of applicants cancel interviews at the end of the season which hurts some fellow applicants and programs as well.

    Especially in internal medicine there is such a huge variability between BOTH programs and applicants that each side has trouble seeing if they have the best deal for them, so undoubtedly the process is prolonged. If you apply to dermatology with a Step 1 failure, I would suspect you would hear back pretty quickly that you aren't going to get interviews from a lot of programs.
     

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