All Questions Welcome!

Hi Readers,

I opened up this section of the site to answer any questions medical students/pre-meds may have about school, studying, best methods, exams, the residency process, etc. Feel free to ask me anything and I’ll do my best to answer. *Non-medical questions only please.


If you provide an Email you will receive a message, once your Question is Answered.

Hi, thanks for doing this. Besides the usual scores, research and USCE is there anything else we can do to boost our application? Thanks for your time! 5. June 2015

Hi thanks for writing!

So besides what you mentioned (and I’m assuming by USCE you also have your letters of recommendation covered) here are a few more things:

Volunteer Work:

This always looks good as a supplement to the “meat” of your applications (scores, letters, USCE). Just make sure it’s in something you care about (don’t just randomly waste your weekend doing something irrelevant).

I went abroad and did a medical mission in Nepal. This is something nearly all my interviewers talked about (imagine how interested the infectious disease attending was when I told him I visited a country with endemic TB).

Case in point: You never know when a volunteer experience will ring personally with someone (plus it’s rewarding to get involved with these sorts of things if you haven’t).

Extracurriculars: 

I put this separately because not all activities have to be volunteer work. I started writing and had a couple scattered blog posts across various websites when I applied. Some interviewees loved that I was interested in narrative medicine.

Writing doesn’t have to be the thing you do though; there are tons of other opportunities out there.

AMSA 

AMWA

EMRA

Work the World

These are just some of the places that can yield new opportunities. These were just a few off the top of my head but if you get out there and hunt around there are bound to be essay contests, leadership positions, workshops, etc.

The Interview:

One last thing; remember that your interview will probably be about your application. That means you have construct your application to showcase the best parts about you. That includes a killer personal statement! Make sure you understand your personal story (how you got where you are), let that be represented through your application (if you like to help people, do things that show that), and then be ready to talk about it interview day.

So those are the two “extra” things I recommend doing besides the usual. I chose these two things because they personally helped me out. Good luck!


Hi, thanks for doing this. I was wondering after you turn in your ERAS application, did you follow up with programs you were interested in to make sure they noticed your application? If not, do you think that would make a difference/recommend it? Thanks! 5. June 2015

Great question; completed ERAS applications are allowed to be sent to programs starting sometime in September. The upcoming months are very important.

Tip 1: Submit your applications as soon as possible.

Many programs have a set number of applications they will accept and then they will effectively stop accepting anymore. To get yourself in that pile you want to have everything that is part of your application ready as well as the programs you want to apply to all figured out the days and weeks leading up to this crucial day.

Tip 2: There is a sweet spot for when to email programs about your interest, this is usually sometime in late October/early November. 

After going through the application process last year I arrived to this conclusion based on several factors. A) General consensus from talking to classmates/colleagues B) Reading everything I can get my hands on (much like you are) and C) Hearing from classmates who were successful in obtaining more interviews based on contact with programs.

Having said that, the best time to send a nice little nudge via email is late October and early November. Those are the best months because earlier on they are still picking applicants based on their set standards. When you wait a couple weeks they usually have picked these applicants and most likely still need some more spots filled. This is then a great time for you to email them letting them know about your interest.

Also, after reading the program websites and receiving a bunch of responses to emails I sent myself…a lot of programs don’t like contact too early on.

Tip 3: Contact after the interview is much more important.

I couldn’t have finished answering your question without mentioning this. A lot of people are divided as to whether or not sending “Thank You” emails/cards helps their chances. The truth is we will never really know but after all the work you’ve put into your application its better to err on the side of being careful.

Send TY emails (or cards if you feel inclined) to everyone you interviewed with that day. Keep in mind that many of the attendings/residents have taken time out of their busy schedules to meet with you. This is also good practice for any future correspondence in your careers.

Sending a “Hi–you’re my first choice!” email nearing the end of the seasons is something I did and would recommend (worked great for me). Some programs want residents that want to be in their program (aka happy). Once again who really knows if this is true other than based off anecdotal evidence but I’d say err on the side of too much once again.

Hope this helped! Feel free to ask anything else 🙂


What kind of questions can I ask? 3. June 2015

Anything you would like really. As a graduate from a Caribbean medical school I’ve had a unique experience finding my way to a residency in the US in internal medicine.

Some things off the top of my head I can think of are questions about off shore schools, best methods in studying, applying to residency (interviews, competitiveness, step scores, etc.), how to choose your specialty, and probably a lot more.

I welcome anything and I hope to help the best I can. Cheers!


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