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abaeking: my prematch experience: (1) my background
作者:USMedEdu
发表时间:2009-03-21
更新时间:2009-03-21
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发信人: abaeking (The Gods Must Be Crazy), 信区: MedicalCareer
标 题: my prematch experience: (1) my background
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Fri Mar 20 19:33:57 2009)

First congrats to those who matched!!! Cheer up those who got unmatched!!! I
was one of unmatched ones one year ago and I still remember the frustration
and desperation I had experienced on the match day last year but guys, don'
t give up - at this point there is a old saying "there is will there is a
way" which sounds like old school type of thing but it is very true...so
hopefully my experience would be helpful to some of you.

------------------
*The final results:
I attended 2008 match with 4 interviews and finally ended up unmatched; for
2009, I got 20 interviews - finally two prematch offers - turned down the
first one from a community hospital and accepted one Internal Medicine offer
from a decent community program.

----------------------
*my background (I will try to provide details I feel useful for people's
comparison):

Generally speaking, I am weak in clinical, more experience in research with
good support from my work and family environment.
- Graduation year: 2000; graduation year is one of the major cut-off of
programs. Some of the programs are very stringent about it but I feel many
of them are not. So don’t be scared away by their published cutoff years.
Importance: +++

- Med school reputation: top tier in china. I am not sure how much the
medical school reputation helps for the application generally but definitely
it is a plus especially from my experience with the program I prematched -
it is certain some PDs know very clearly about med schools in China and
India. Importance: +

- I majored in non-clinical medicine...I know there is a long-time argument
about whether we can do it or not and here is the answer. Actually I heard
successful stories from most non-clinical medicine majors too. But less
clinical experience may put non-clinical medicine graduates into a less
competitive condition during the match. Importance: ++

- US research experience: came to US for PhD after graduation in 2000. Got
PhD in 2007 from a second tier graduate program and doing postdoc now. > 10
so so publications with 3 first author ones. On a NCI training grant.
Honestly I don’t believe research and publications will directly help the
residency application too much though especially for non-path programs.

I don’t have CNS paper and I don’t know how much impact those will be…
the exception is good name Univ Path programs. Even the community Path programs
don’t give publication too much consideration. That being said, the US
research experience is still important - publications are always good – at
least it can show how hard working and smart we are. In addition, the
recommendation letters from your mentors are the most reliable ones about
you as a person. The connection with the hospital system built during the
research experience is crucial. Importance: + to +++++, depending on how
many connections you can get from it with the residency programs or for
recommendation letters.

--------------
Application experience to be cont'd...


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1   [USMedEdu 于 2009-03-24 14:55:40 提到] [FROM: 10.]
发信人: abaeking (The Gods Must Be Crazy), 信区: MedicalCareer
标 题: my prematch experience: (3) IV lists and others
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Tue Mar 24 01:14:10 2009)

*Programs I applied to:

- Programs applied to: for 2009, 100 IM programs and 60 Ob/Gyn programs; for
2008, 60 Path, 15 IM and 15 Emergency Medicine.

2 cents – apply as early as possible and as many as possible. Do some study
on each program and save yourself some bucks by avoiding no-chance programs
– how to determine if you got chance or not? Of course the first hand info
from any friend in the program would be the best but it is very limited
resource. Other than that, I found the most reliable way is to look at their
previous and current residents pages online – many programs have them –
to figure out if they have IMG or CMG etc. Thank god Ob/Gyn has a website
telling us which of the programs across the country took IMG (http://www.apgo.org/residencies/by-location.cfm), which had saved me lots of time. One exception was that you have very strong connection with the program, say, the chairman of IM dept is willing to call the program up for you, etc. other than that, applying to a AMG dominated program has very low chance. That would be my first priority no matter how much scores I got and how many publications I had. Importance: the only last one thing leading you to the residency.

----------------------------
* IV lists 2008:
- IM:
Jacobi/AECOM, NY
- EM:
Jacobi/AECOM, NY
- Path:
Yale, CT;
UMass, MA

-----------------------
*IV lists 2009:
- IM:
U. South Dakota, SD (had phone interview; on site cancelled);
Jersey shore, NJ;
Mountainside, NJ;
Long island jewish, NY;
overlook hospital, NJ;
Mt Sinai (Elmhurst), NY;
Montefiore, NY;
UTMB, TX;
NYMC Richmond, NY (cancelled);
Allegheny, PA (cancelled);
Aurora, MN (cancelled);
Jacobi/AECOM, NY (cancelled).

- Ob/Gyn:
Flushing hospital, NY;
Nassau Univ, NY;
St. Vincent Hospital, NY;
Long island Jewish, NY;
Maimonides, NY;
Jamaica hospital, NY;
Emory, GA;
St Barnabas, NJ

------------------------
*About on site interviews:
Honestly, I am not a big fan of an excellent interview can change PD’s mind
kind of thing unless you feel yourself are very knowledgeable and
experienced. A good interview won’t necessarily send you into the program
but def a bad interview can ruin your chance. So prepare well – study the
typical interview questions which are all over the place, organize your
thinking, talk clearly and fluently, always make eye contact and wrap
yourself in a good suit. People always saying to be yourself during
interview but this is def not a place to be yourself – you want good things
to be yourself and bad things to be covered in a good manner. I think
everyone will have a successful interview if you don’t play weird and show
the program that you are a pleasant individual to talk with and work with.
That would be enough. Most importantly, I found my observership experience
helped me a lot on my interviews – it is just like talking football game
with Americans – you gotta know the game before you can talk with people.
Importance: +++ if you do it OK; +++++ if you do it badly.

----------------------------
*Some comments about the specialties I applied to:
Most importantly, make sure which one is your interest. This sounds like a
stupid question but it was a question for me and I am sure it is the same
for those without too much clinical experience in our home country… here
are just some personal feelings

- Path: one of the CMG’s favorites but hard to get in nowadays. CMG with
research background can still get interviews from good even top programs.
This is hardly possible for programs of other specialties. Def worth to try
if you don’t hate it. Path look for people dedicated to path in the past,
especially those who worked on path for many years (lab research or clinical
practice). Passing step 3 is a plus.

- EM: super competitive. 99 % positions filled with AMG. And the rest 1%
filled with ones with strong support from inside. Forget it and save some
bucks.

- Ob/Gyn: relatively easy to get interviews (no or few cutoff of scores,
graduation years or clinical experience required) but hard to match (5% or
even lower compared to 10% of IM, statistically). Market for Ob/Gyn is not
so good these years but still a surgery specialty. Positions of good
programs filled with AMGs. Prematch offers not very common. I got one but
finally I turned it down. Good news for guys, I mean literally guys (male)
– male applicants will be given special consideration to offer interviews
– Ob/Gyn programs tried to balance the M: F ratio (no offense, ladies). I
don’t believe it when I was told so by one of the Ob attendings. But now I
think it is true. One thing need to consider though, is to live within a
women world – your pt, your colleague…good or bad?

IM: very difficult to get in as IMG particularly for Univ programs. Chances
are there with community hospitals. But fresh graduates with 99/99 from
India, east Europe, to name a few, are far more than us in numbers and more
competitive than us…not even talking about USIMG. Generally I think
situation is awkward for most CMG – for univ programs who may give some
consideration on research, they hardly take IMG. For community programs who
take IMG, they don’t give a **** about research (even most programs claimed
they love research). That being said, many CMG managed to get into IM
though.

Again the bottom line for application is to apply as many as possible.
Getting interview invitations is a semi-random thing – I doubt the programs
will spend more than 5 min to look at the individual application files –
so statistics has a power here.

---------------

Want to take this chance to thank those who posted here and especially to
some old IDs such as LifeinNY, zbbh, gira, cyclincyclin, ericusa, scrub2008
and stomach for their help in the past. Particularly, I do appreciate dok’s
generous input to this board. I don’t have a chance to personally contact
with dok but after my struggling last year, I can tell his input is without
reservation and do come from his experiences. Very valuable and people
should seriously consider what he had said before. They may not apply to
those talented, experienced or super lucky ones but do benefit common
population like me with relatively weak clinical experience. One thing I
mostly agree with him was that as CMG we need to be realistic. From my own
experience I have to say it is very difficult to be realistic during the
application process and that was my lesson last year. Partially b/c the
programs may give misleading info about your application intentionally or
unintentionally for their own benefit – that is the reason why don’t trust
words like rank you high unless you got the contract. In addition, CMG who
might graduate from top schools with advanced degrees and many publications
generally have high expectation about goals. But Medicine is a tough world.
I realized that when I first stepped into hospitals, I found myself only
marginally better than MSIII students here not even count the language
barriers. There is a long way for me to go…thinking about this, I am very
satisfied about the result of getting a prematch from a community program
with good reputation and most in house fellowships. I did have a reasonable
chance to match to a univ program but I don’t regret to back off as I don’
t think that is my place and in a community program I probably can get
better support as an IMG.

Finally wish all the matched ones including myself perform well as residents
and that is the best we can do for the coming people. Please feel free to
send me messages and I will be glad to answer.

--

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2   [USMedEdu 于 2009-03-23 15:21:49 提到] [FROM: 10.]
发信人: abaeking (The Gods Must Be Crazy), 信区: MedicalCareer
标 题: my prematch experience: (2) application package
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Mon Mar 23 14:39:34 2009)


*My application experience:

- USCE/OB: 1 month IM – nephrology consult; 1 month Path; 1 month Emergency
, 1 month IM – floor; 1 month IM – ICU (@the program I prematched); 1
month Ob/Gyn; 1 month free clinics. All were part time observership with
some hands on experience. I joined pre-rounds starting from 5 am to 7 am
depending on places till finish of the round at 2 – 3 pm and then worked in
the lab after that. During rounds, tried to talk with and exam the pts (
depending on program policies), present pt cases, write admission notes,
progress notes (non-officially) and do the topic discussions. Path was a
little bit different – it was a whole dept rotation with hands on
experience – I had rotated thru most of the divisions with experience of
reading slides, autopsy, grossing in the mornings and then signing out with
attendings in the afternoon. Free clinics were very interesting outpatient
experience and very hands on. Generally those were very tough – compared to
AMG, my performance falled between MSIII and MSIV as when they go to Sub I,
their clinical ability will grow very fast. But I am glad I did those –
excellent chances to learn and update myself plus for the recommendation
letters. Importance: +++++

- US LOR: 9 letters including 4 from my research and 5 from the attendings I
observed with. 4 of them are with director or chairman titles in the
related clinical fields. Can’t emphasize more of its importance – I had an
observership with the chairman of IM dept who was known to be a tough old
school type physician – I was even told that I should not do with him but
if I do it, do it well and it will be a happy ending for me. Finally it
turned out to be true. Importance: +++++

- USMLE scores: 89/87/CS first attempt/no step 3. My scores are poor…quite
shameful numbers so I am not a good one to tell how to prepare for the exams
. But because of my poor scores, I think my experience would be more
encouraging than those of 99s. Honestly I didn’t feel my applications were
jeopardized by those scores – at least the programs I interviewed with did
say anything bad about my scores. But my scores weren’t beneficial to my
applicatio either i am sure. I think 99s will boost your interview numbers
but after that, it will be another story – some programs like to rank high
scores but many of them don’t. But still we need to target to higher scores
b/c this is probably the only thing we can control. There is an interesting
argument saying that 99s have counter effect but I don’t agree with that.
The reason is very simple – 99 is better than 89 even though it is still on
paper. One thing I noted was that NY programs, which are well known to be
IMG friendly, prefer to interview ones with high scores and fresh graduates.
Importance: +++

- Visa status: GC. Some programs only invite GC holders as I found out with
NJ programs. But for most NY programs, H1b after step 3 is OK. Importance: +
++
------------------
IV lists to be cont'd


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