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adrenergic24

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  1. Like
    adrenergic24 got a reaction from Britesharpie93 in Canandian Residency- Honest view   
    I'm an IMG who matched to a competitive residency position in Canada, and I feel that while your post gets at some important issues it doesn't quite capture the full picture. 
    I would like to preface this by saying that when going through the process, I had no connections at all. I didn't personally know any staff or faculty in any programs, and I'm the first doctor in my family (so no guidance on that front either). Many of my co-interviewees were also in the same boat, so I feel it's a bit unfair to imply that having connections is required to match. Surely, having connections helps a lot. But I don't think that many people actually have them. At one point, you also said the following:
    Personally, I have not noticed this to be true. I don't feel like an applicant's ethnicity plays any role in their likelihood of matching, and it shouldn't.
    Secondly, one common idea I see among my IMG colleagues is that matching is all about the scores and the interview. And this is rather believable because one, scores are an easy 'stratifier' and can be used to objectively compare applicants, and two, because they are super important in the US. However, my experience (and my experience alone) is that while scores are important, they are far from the only thing that matters in your application. Whereas in the US having stellar scores may guarantee you a spot by themselves, Canadian programs seem to emphasize wellroundedness more. Things like electives in Canada, good letters of recommendation, research, teaching, clubs, awards, leadership, volunteering, other academic involvement (participating in journals, professional organizations, etc), and many more, together seem like they're as important as the scores you have. One common trap I see IMGs falling into is putting all of their eggs in one basket (i.e. focusing on scores alone), which could lead to them neglecting the other things I have mentioned.
    I hope my perspective is both accurate and useful. Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have.
  2. Like
    adrenergic24 got a reaction from Aurelius in Canandian Residency- Honest view   
    I'm an IMG who matched to a competitive residency position in Canada, and I feel that while your post gets at some important issues it doesn't quite capture the full picture. 
    I would like to preface this by saying that when going through the process, I had no connections at all. I didn't personally know any staff or faculty in any programs, and I'm the first doctor in my family (so no guidance on that front either). Many of my co-interviewees were also in the same boat, so I feel it's a bit unfair to imply that having connections is required to match. Surely, having connections helps a lot. But I don't think that many people actually have them. At one point, you also said the following:
    Personally, I have not noticed this to be true. I don't feel like an applicant's ethnicity plays any role in their likelihood of matching, and it shouldn't.
    Secondly, one common idea I see among my IMG colleagues is that matching is all about the scores and the interview. And this is rather believable because one, scores are an easy 'stratifier' and can be used to objectively compare applicants, and two, because they are super important in the US. However, my experience (and my experience alone) is that while scores are important, they are far from the only thing that matters in your application. Whereas in the US having stellar scores may guarantee you a spot by themselves, Canadian programs seem to emphasize wellroundedness more. Things like electives in Canada, good letters of recommendation, research, teaching, clubs, awards, leadership, volunteering, other academic involvement (participating in journals, professional organizations, etc), and many more, together seem like they're as important as the scores you have. One common trap I see IMGs falling into is putting all of their eggs in one basket (i.e. focusing on scores alone), which could lead to them neglecting the other things I have mentioned.
    I hope my perspective is both accurate and useful. Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have.
  3. Like
    adrenergic24 got a reaction from moonwalker2099 in Does anyone know an IMG who actually failed the AVP (Assessment Verification Period)?   
    Should I assume the lack of responses is a positive sign that it is exceptionally rare to fail the AVP?
  4. Like
    adrenergic24 got a reaction from ChemPetE in Canandian Residency- Honest view   
    I'm an IMG who matched to a competitive residency position in Canada, and I feel that while your post gets at some important issues it doesn't quite capture the full picture. 
    I would like to preface this by saying that when going through the process, I had no connections at all. I didn't personally know any staff or faculty in any programs, and I'm the first doctor in my family (so no guidance on that front either). Many of my co-interviewees were also in the same boat, so I feel it's a bit unfair to imply that having connections is required to match. Surely, having connections helps a lot. But I don't think that many people actually have them. At one point, you also said the following:
    Personally, I have not noticed this to be true. I don't feel like an applicant's ethnicity plays any role in their likelihood of matching, and it shouldn't.
    Secondly, one common idea I see among my IMG colleagues is that matching is all about the scores and the interview. And this is rather believable because one, scores are an easy 'stratifier' and can be used to objectively compare applicants, and two, because they are super important in the US. However, my experience (and my experience alone) is that while scores are important, they are far from the only thing that matters in your application. Whereas in the US having stellar scores may guarantee you a spot by themselves, Canadian programs seem to emphasize wellroundedness more. Things like electives in Canada, good letters of recommendation, research, teaching, clubs, awards, leadership, volunteering, other academic involvement (participating in journals, professional organizations, etc), and many more, together seem like they're as important as the scores you have. One common trap I see IMGs falling into is putting all of their eggs in one basket (i.e. focusing on scores alone), which could lead to them neglecting the other things I have mentioned.
    I hope my perspective is both accurate and useful. Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have.
  5. Like
    adrenergic24 got a reaction from moonwalker2099 in Canandian Residency- Honest view   
    I'm an IMG who matched to a competitive residency position in Canada, and I feel that while your post gets at some important issues it doesn't quite capture the full picture. 
    I would like to preface this by saying that when going through the process, I had no connections at all. I didn't personally know any staff or faculty in any programs, and I'm the first doctor in my family (so no guidance on that front either). Many of my co-interviewees were also in the same boat, so I feel it's a bit unfair to imply that having connections is required to match. Surely, having connections helps a lot. But I don't think that many people actually have them. At one point, you also said the following:
    Personally, I have not noticed this to be true. I don't feel like an applicant's ethnicity plays any role in their likelihood of matching, and it shouldn't.
    Secondly, one common idea I see among my IMG colleagues is that matching is all about the scores and the interview. And this is rather believable because one, scores are an easy 'stratifier' and can be used to objectively compare applicants, and two, because they are super important in the US. However, my experience (and my experience alone) is that while scores are important, they are far from the only thing that matters in your application. Whereas in the US having stellar scores may guarantee you a spot by themselves, Canadian programs seem to emphasize wellroundedness more. Things like electives in Canada, good letters of recommendation, research, teaching, clubs, awards, leadership, volunteering, other academic involvement (participating in journals, professional organizations, etc), and many more, together seem like they're as important as the scores you have. One common trap I see IMGs falling into is putting all of their eggs in one basket (i.e. focusing on scores alone), which could lead to them neglecting the other things I have mentioned.
    I hope my perspective is both accurate and useful. Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have.
  6. Like
    adrenergic24 reacted to zc1 in General Suggestions For A Successful Match   
    Warning: Long Post...but if you've read any of my posts then you've probably already assumed this to be the case...
     
    One of the questions that seems to arise often is "With respect to the CaRMS process, how can I make myself a good/attractive candidate to (insert specialty of choice here)?" In the primary care residencies section I answered this question specifically for Emergency Medicine, but since the information is so generalizable I thought that it might be worth posting here, as well. The following is adapted from my other post:
     
    Some good ways to show commitment to a particular field:
     
    Memberships in Specialty-Related Associations
    Some Associations have free memberships for medical students -- join all of these! Others have reduced membership fees for medical students -- join as many useful ones as you can. This is a good way to get access to journals specific to your specialty area of interest (allowing you to keep up with current controversies, developments, etc). Memberships often also provide you with discounted rates at conferences. There is a specific section in the CaRMS application for memberships in and affiliations with professional associations.
     
    Administrative/Executive Positions
    National student groups (eg. CFMS) and local student groups (eg. your class council, your school's medical student society) are a good way to demonstrate interest in administrative/governance pursuits and advocacy. If your school doesn't have a club or interest group for the specialty in which you're interested, consider starting one.
     
    Advocacy
    Join advocacy groups and, if you're actually interested and will actually be able to commit to doing the work (and doing it well), then get involved in committees and help out. For Emergency Medicine, for example, there is the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians' (CAEP) Residents' Section (and medical student section).
     
    Research & Research Degrees
    More and more specialties are putting increasing emphasis on research, and having a research degree (MSc or PhD) can be a huge asset to your application. If you have a research degree and it's not relevant to the particular field to which you're applying, keep in mind that the methods learned, analytical/thought/critical appraisal skills obtained are transferable. If you took part in summer research projects, make sure you know the details very well. You will likely be asked about them.
     
    Journal Club
    If medical students are permitted at the monthly journal clubs then attend them! It's a good way to get to know about the hot topics as far as the academic side of your specialty is concerned. It's also a good forum for meeting residents and staff in what is usually a fairly relaxed setting.
     
    Letters From Academic Staff
    These can be especially helpful if the staff person has known you for more than just "an elective" or "a chart review project." If the staff person has known you for several years and can vouch for your interest, enthusiasm, work ethic, then their letter will be heavily-weighted.
     
    Volunteerism
    This area is often neglected by medical students. Plenty is done to get into medical school, but then it tends to falls off the to-do list.
     
    Teaching
    It's kind of tough to get teaching experience, but if you have the opportunity to get involved in tutoring, for example, consider it. Teaching is part of every physician's job at some point or another. The "students" can be patients, colleagues (Grand Rounds), residents, medical students and the general public (public seminars). We've all been taught by preceptors/professors/attendings who have employed a variety of different methods. We've all had bad teachers, good teachers and incredible teachers. It's to your advantage to gain teaching experience and to start to develop your own teaching style before you get to residency and are thrown into presenting at academic half-days and rounds.
     
    Electives
    Going away (out of town) for electives can help in many ways -- (1) You get a sense of how medicine is practiced in different settings and an idea of what you feel works and doesn't work; (2) You get an opportunity to meet physicians, in your specialty of interest, from across the country and start to establish links; (3) if your out of town electives go well then the letters that come out of them are evidence that you are able to fit into more than just your local program (where everybody already knows you). It also shows true interest in/commitment to the specialty for you to spend money to take part in an out-of-town elective. People generally don't leave home to do electives in areas in which they're not really interested. All of my "backup" electives were in town. Case in point.
     
    Conferences
    Good for your own learning (current research, upcoming interventions, current controversies/issues). Not free.
     
    Core Rotation
    Show interest during your core rotation and let your preceptor(s) know that you are interested in that particular field. Be honest with them with respect to your background, abilities and goals for the rotation. Let them know what you have and haven't seen so that they can let you try out what you have seen and understood and so that they will also remember to call you to see what you haven't had a chance to see. They also might include you in activities that aren't typically part of the rotation experience for student interns/clinical clerks. Through those activities you'll also likely get to meet some of the staff and residents. The more areas in which they can evaluate you or that they can include in their assessment of your abilities, the better will be any letters of reference that you receive from them. Take interest and do well on all of your core rotations. It'll put you in good standing should you end up continuing on with residency or even practice at the same location, and will make life much easier for you. It also looks good if you're reviewing a case with an attending from your specialty of interest and have another attending from a different service interrupt and actually acknowledge you by name, just to say hello, make a joke or update you on a case that you saw together previously.
     
    Obviously you don't need to address all of the above to get a position in your desired residency program, but if you want to be sure that your application stands out for all the right reasons then these things are definitely worth looking into. I'm the type to do everything that I can and leave as little as possible to chance. I didn't want Match Day to come and go, leaving me thinking "Maybe if I had just done..."
     
    Think About The Royal College Competencies
     
    This is really one of the easiest ways to organize yourself and your application (i.e. the Royal College competencies that are the core for training specialists). The College feels that by the end of your training you will be an effective physician if you fill all of these roles:
     
    -Medical Expert
    -Professional
    -Communicator
    -Collaborator
    -Manager
    -Health Advocate
    -Scholar
     
    If you demonstrate real progress in/committment to/fulfillment of all of these roles then consider yourself a strong applicant. Gone are the days of the physician just being a Medical Expert. It's not enough for the general public anymore and it's not enough from the College's point of view, either. I don't have a copy of the CFPC core competencies/objectives of training, but that's probably worth looking into if you're interested in a career in Family Medicine.
     
    Be honest in your personal letter. Be honest regarding your accomplishments, abilities and shortcomings. Show that you have a well-researched and mature understanding of what it means to have a career in (insert your preferred specialty here).
     
    Start your application early!!! Don't wait until last minute or even for the CaRMS webstation to open up. You can start writing your personal letter(s) now. One of my preceptors (who actually wrote a letter of reference for me) gave me that advice, adding that "some people don't realize how important the personal letter is, and it definitely shows."
     
    Any other contributions or tips from others who matched this year or in previous years?
  7. Like
    adrenergic24 reacted to uhoh99 in One interview....pretty stunned right now   
    So update for any interested parties. I matched to Family Medicine! Always liked living life on the edge, but I'll admit this was cutting it close. I can still accomplish my goals through this route, just have to take a different path than initially intended.
    Thanks for all of the advice. 
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