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  1. YES, always visit the schools you want to match to most! It shows your commitment to them. You get a feel for their program, and they get to assess you as a potential resident. Your 2 weeks there will be more decisive than your interview, in many ways. But of course, the flip side is that the narrow geographic range you listed is a gamble. The western and atlantic schools may not super be inclined to interview you if you're going for a competitive specialty. So at the end of the day it's up to your personal goals and risk tolerance Most med schools do give their students "preferences" for electives in the sense that you can sign up for them earlier, contact specific preceptors, and/or drop electives closer to the start date. I don't know what year you're in, but your school will probably disseminate this info around early/mid year 3
  2. Can't speak for smaller programs, but Toronto has a database that lets you search up specific preceptors by specialty (including surg specs) and it has their/their secretary's contact info.
  3. Could not agree more with @JohnGrisham and @Aetherus To provide a different perspective to all the apparent doom and gloom: sometimes luck works in your favour too. I did an elective at a school that was not my desired location for an important, long, OOP 4 week slot. I didn't know anyone in the program or even have friends of friends who were in the city. There wasn't a schedule, and I was told to just pick a preceptor's clinic for the day...and repeat that for the whole month. I ended up getting along great with a guy who I later found out was the PD's fishing buddy. Another preceptor I randomly chose was subsequently named Head of Department. On my last day, one of the seniors pat me on the back and said, "looks like we'll be seeing you in january" (Whether that'll actually be true or not, I don't know, but I'll take it for now hahah) It is understandable to have anxiety when the stakes are so high and you've worked so hard. I never believed upper years when they told me how random this whole selection process is. But now that I'm here, staring down the carms deadline, all I can say is that it's true.
  4. Anyone else's casper results still blank on the document tracker? It's been about 4 weeks since the exam...
  5. Nice! A lot of big decisions coming your way in the next little bit! My case is a bit different so YMMV. My first choice specialty isn't a surg spec. It just happened along the way that I got invited onto a few projects by various gen sx staff. Did an elective in it this year just because I enjoy the scope, ended up getting two letters offered (albeit for my main specialty...likely would not have impressed them enough had I been a gen sx hopeful lol). After that I genuinely considered gen sx, and asked residents for their candid advice. Most R1s were still excited but the R3/4s were kinda more "you gotta love the job more than anything and anyone else". One girl was living in a basically empty apartment without furniture since she never went home anyway. Another guy missed his anniversary and kids' birthdays for the past 3 years in a row. Etc etc. Ultimately knew I could not handle the lifestyle...and anyway 4 weeks is not enough to compete with people going for the specialty imo! I kind of rambled but hopefully you found some of it helpful. Or at least mildly entertaining
  6. I appreciate your input! Understandably FM programs don't want to waste their time with people who are obviously backing up. That's totally fair! But on the flip side, how are we weak FM candidates supposed to figure out which places we actually have a shot at, if the carms data is kind of falsely reassuring (as in the case of Ottawa)?? Are we just supposed to find out by word of mouth? As a corollary, are our chances better applying to smaller locations with 4 seats, or bigger locations like Edmonton that have >50 seats? A lot of the smaller ones ask for reasons for choosing/ties to the area, which I just don't have. I agree that it's too big a risk to not back up --- but I also don't want to shotgun everywhere and spread myself thin for a basically 0 chance at some sites...
  7. Thanks for the feedback guys. I've perseverated over nothing else for the past week hahah. Going to give family a go...guess I'm not as big a gambler as I thought. It's a bad fit but probably a better idea than backing up with Gen Sx (which I could spin my CV for). Been going over data from the past 5 years but it's been so variable, especially with the surge of unmatched students and some ?UGME-PGME dealings last year. Like, what happened to Ottawa with 31 seats after first round last year?? And am I misinterpreting the point when I conclude Western is a safer bet compared to, say, Alberta which has only had 0-4 empty spots each year recently?
  8. Was feeling confident about matching to my first choice specialty anywhere across the country this year, and so wasn't planning to backup. But as the carms deadline gets closer, I find my anxiety about going unmatched skyrocketing. I've now decided to put in a last minute app for family but have no idea how to go about this, with only 1 month left to gather sufficient reference letters. For context, I have 4 weeks pre-carms of IP urban family and 1 med ed family project on my CV (not published or presented). My electives and research are completely geared towards another specialty that has no overlap with family in terms of scope/practice model/etc. My letters for family will not be of great quality and will all be from third year. So there is likely no point applying to places like UBC/Toronto/Calgary. I was wondering what are some programs where I have a decent shot, without being in the middle of nowhere? Any advice would be really appreicated, as my school's advisors have not been helpful AT ALL and most of my friends are either going for surgical specs or family/IM
  9. Depends on which specialty and what your goals are (e.g. get a letter from a big-name staff vs. network with residents vs. have as much hands-on time in OR as possible). You are right, it is tough to stand out/do much, but going to the main hospitals gives you great opportunities to meet people who are on the committee or otherwise may have a say. If it is a competitive specialty, I personally would not go to a community hospital even if it means more consistent time with one or two staff - but again, that is just my preference/comfort level. I've done some year 4 electives in both cities. General Surgery at VGH is as you described, many fellows and senior residents who take priority in OR. A lot of my work was doing consults with the R1 and ward management. Nonetheless an enjoyable rotation. The staff do take notice if you're an M3 vs M4, and you have to be proactive (no one will go out of their way to offer you a letter lol) ID at SMH was quite good, a fair amount of face time with my assigned preceptor, though more interaction with the fellow.
  10. Hah yeah it's pretty much just as @1D7said. My school traditionally has ++ applicants to this specialty, last year it was about a 3:1 ratio. I think it's because the staff make a conscious effort to offer good shadowing experiences, mentorship, projects, etc. early on = it's easy for med students here to feel connected to the program/specialty and get a great CV along the way. The ones who start early in M1-2 generally don't bother changing their minds, and then you have the people who discover it later on as well. Friends at other schools say this is not really the case for them, and they have a 1:1 ratio or less at their programs. Of course this is all hearsay but I don't really see a harm in discussing rough numbers anyway lol I will be applying across the country but would prefer to match back as my gf is a resident here. I have no illusions about home school advantage, me being a top 1% applicant, having an amazing personal story, etc. and am backing up with another specialty. The words of wisdom/honesty above are appreciated nonetheless though
  11. CaRMS online will be opening in a little over a week, so I thought it'd be fun to have a place to vent/share knowledge/be anxious anonymously. Pretty self-explanatory title...but anyway, my buddy and I are going for the same specialty and were talking about our chances of matching back to our home school. There are ~13 people going for 5-7 spots at our school. Pretty good odds I guess, without taking OOP into account. (I'm still feeling anxious af about not matching anywhere though lol) How are you guys feeling about the upcoming match season?
  12. Agree with all the above comments! At least to me, there are essentially 2 types of pimping questions: 1. The dead easy ones. You gain no brownie points for getting these right. But it would look pretty bad if you got them wrong! E.g. what is Charcot's triad for cholangitis 2. The ones you're not supposed to be able to get until like...PGY-4. E.g. what structure am I pointing to on this blah-blah-weighted shoulder MRI In clerkship, very rarely will there be a question that is appropriate to your level. But at least in my experience, the residents and staff really don't mind/care if you get them right/wrong. The fact that you're reading around the questions asked and trying to do better is great. Hope you feel a bit better, OP!
  13. On a semi-related note, does anyone have any tips for writing case reports on a tight time budget? Many of my Year 4 electives require a case report to be written every week, which is kind of stressing me out since I've never written one before...
  14. From what I understand, the quality of applicants was very high this year, even if numbers were not impressive - so many people still did not get their first or second choices.
  15. That certainly is the trend, though I heard this year was very competitive (especially at Western, Calgary and UBC). Dal, as usual, was popular as well.
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