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MedHopeful93

Grand Rounds and Other ways to stand out

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Hi,

 

It may be a bit early (or maybe not at all) but I am fairly certain I will go for a particularly competitive specialty.  I’ve heard that “gelling” with programs and making a good name for yourself is important for matching, so I’m trying to think of ways I can stand out early.

 

Do you think it isna good idea to make your face known by regularly attending Grand Rounds/ networking?  

 

Any my other suggestions to become familiar with programs and be remembered?

 

 

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7 hours ago, bearded frog said:

Depends on the size of the program, but unless you are involved in research in that program, a medical student just showing up for grand rounds when not on that rotation would be odd. Now if you were somehow able to present at grand rounds - that would stand out :P

Get that free food!

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Agreed with above. Just attending regularly is a bit awkward; if you're there it should be for a purpose (e.g. presenting, invited by mentor, on rotation, etc.).

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Actually, it would not be odd to show up, as long as you use the opportunity to introduce yourself, and explain your presence. For small programs, you want to be SEEN. Seen to the point of being annoying. 

Some people that match to the ultra-competitive small specialities are basically like constant fixtures in the program by the time they come in for the CaRMS interview. They have hung around, shadowed so many people, done so much research, etc. that the interviewers don't have to look at the CV to recognize them.

Who do you think is going to have a better chance to match? The constant ever-present sycophantic above average med student, or the random top medical student from a far flung province with pretty much the same resume, and maybe a few more publications and here, who only a handful of preceptors and residents met over a 2-week period. It will always be the former. 

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I was accepted to one of those surgical specialties. I knew nobody, did none of the above, I had less knowledge in this field than any other applicants, I simply worked enthusiastically, hard and collaboratively, got along with others, stayed late to help out the resident. We were 80 applicants, 40 Interviewees for just 3 residency spots. Not one gunner who were all ultra qualified were accepted. It came down to soft skills and being considered a good fit. I had excellent soft skills, was considered a good fit, notwithstanding that I otherwise did not then stand out. My interview was scheduled for 45 minutes. It lasted just 10 minutes, I thought I was in trouble, but each of the 6 on the panel had independently decided they did not need more time with me as they had each made up their mind (which I learned later).

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Bambi, it would seem that you matched to a Quebec program. I'm not sure the Quebec experience can be generalized to ROC. Even competitive programs in Quebec are sometimes relatively less competitive because of the language barrier.

Of course, there are always stories about people who matched with little related extra-curricular or other "gunner" activities. Also there are always candidates that did ever trick in the book and seemed like good candidates but didn't match.

In any case, make sure you're pleasant to work with and hard working. Then work on other things to make you a more memorable candidate/stand out. "Activities to stand out" are only useful in small competitive programs.

I would suggest going to Grand Rounds during your rotation and then continue going to them sporadically if they,re at a convenient time. This way you could continue to network with the program staff and residents and keep your face fresh in their memory. See if medical students present at their resident research days. Present at conferences or just go to network. Doing research with important staff is also useful for networking.

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On 3/4/2019 at 2:07 PM, humhum said:

Actually, it would not be odd to show up, as long as you use the opportunity to introduce yourself, and explain your presence. For small programs, you want to be SEEN. Seen to the point of being annoying. 

Some people that match to the ultra-competitive small specialities are basically like constant fixtures in the program by the time they come in for the CaRMS interview. They have hung around, shadowed so many people, done so much research, etc. that the interviewers don't have to look at the CV to recognize them.

Who do you think is going to have a better chance to match? The constant ever-present sycophantic above average med student, or the random top medical student from a far flung province with pretty much the same resume, and maybe a few more publications and here, who only a handful of preceptors and residents met over a 2-week period. It will always be the former. 

Have seen the counter scenario happen many times. The people gunning from day 1 going unmatched in derm, ophtho, and uro when out of nowhere MSI4s matched IP and OOP.  Sometimes it can be to your detriment for being around too much.

 

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On 3/7/2019 at 4:37 PM, boggie111 said:

Agree with above completely. Same thing happened at my school as well. Being sycophantic to the point of annoyance rarely works in your favour. 

It's a fine line between being known to the program and being annoying to the program. 

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On 3/7/2019 at 7:09 PM, JohnGrisham said:

Have seen the counter scenario happen many times. The people gunning from day 1 going unmatched in derm, ophtho, and uro when out of nowhere MSI4s matched IP and OOP.  Sometimes it can be to your detriment for being around too much.

Unfortunately this is so very very true. I know lots of great students who should have matched but were beat out by random candidates who have limited/little exposure in the specialty.  Honestly, sometimes CaRMS is a black box and the more you try and understand the more lost you get (if that makes any sense...).  

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Yes, being considered annoying is the kiss of death. Chances are better for a less well-known candidate who looks good at interview/application. They still have that halo of excitement and potential, unsullied by the pitfalls that can come with too much exposure. The point of more exposure is to make people feel that you belong in that program - not to annoy them, which is the opposite effect.

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On 3/4/2019 at 5:53 PM, Bambi said:

I was accepted to one of those surgical specialties. I knew nobody, did none of the above, I had less knowledge in this field than any other applicants, I simply worked enthusiastically, hard and collaboratively, got along with others, stayed late to help out the resident. We were 80 applicants, 40 Interviewees for just 3 residency spots. Not one gunner who were all ultra qualified were accepted. It came down to soft skills and being considered a good fit. I had excellent soft skills, was considered a good fit, notwithstanding that I otherwise did not then stand out. My interview was scheduled for 45 minutes. It lasted just 10 minutes, I thought I was in trouble, but each of the 6 on the panel had independently decided they did not need more time with me as they had each made up their mind (which I learned later).

First and foremost: Congrats on matching!

This may also be an excellent example that for many programs: the panel has ALREADY made up their mind on who they want in their program before the interview has even been conducted (with the interview now being a mere formality). This is something that I've not only come out of interviews feeling but this was also later confirmed by many residents of different programs whom I spoke with about this "culture," which I dub "The Politics of Medicine."

 

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While I wouldn't go so far as to say the interview has no weight, I believe that there is a common perception (likely not unwarranted) that anyone can be personable, enthusiastic and present oneself as a congenial team player for 20 min, but this may or may not correlate to their actual performance once in the program. Therefore, more weight is placed on other parts of the application such as elective performance, references, and CV. This approach is more practical than political in basis IMO. Having made it through medical school admissions already, most people interview pretty well at this point in their careers, and are difficult to distinguish based on a limited interaction (unless they are exceptionally charming, or do something to turn the interviewers off).

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On 3/4/2019 at 2:53 PM, Bambi said:

I was accepted to one of those surgical specialties. I knew nobody, did none of the above, I had less knowledge in this field than any other applicants, I simply worked enthusiastically, hard and collaboratively, got along with others, stayed late to help out the resident. We were 80 applicants, 40 Interviewees for just 3 residency spots. Not one gunner who were all ultra qualified were accepted. It came down to soft skills and being considered a good fit. I had excellent soft skills, was considered a good fit, notwithstanding that I otherwise did not then stand out. My interview was scheduled for 45 minutes. It lasted just 10 minutes, I thought I was in trouble, but each of the 6 on the panel had independently decided they did not need more time with me as they had each made up their mind (which I learned later).

So you think. This is prime example of survival bias. For everyone that got matched to where they wanted, there is another person who did the exact same things, perhaps even better, and didn't match. If we had a random generator that could somehow transform you into, let's say a aboriginal overwright female, everything else being equal, you might not be here writing that paragraph. Important to realize that.

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On 3/18/2019 at 1:11 PM, moonwalker2099 said:

This may also be an excellent example that for many programs: the panel has ALREADY made up their mind on who they want in their program before the interview has even been conducted (with the interview now being a mere formality). 

This is a valid point. It is more likely than not that the resident (with whom I worked and who knew that the attending wanted my acceptance) acted as my advocate when discussing Interviewees with the other 5 interview panel members prior to the interviews. In a sense, therefore, the interview was my chance to mess up and lose the momentum - which did not happen.

As an observation, I was extremely qualified for another field for which I was interviewed and was not selected. Although ai had excellent evaluations and LORs, perhaps the same process (in reverse for me) occurred prior to the interviews. 

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17 minutes ago, Bambi said:

This is a valid point. It is more likely than not that the resident (with whom I worked and who knew that the attending wanted my acceptance) acted as my advocate when discussing Interviewees with the other 5 interview panel members prior to the interviews. In a sense, therefore, the interview was my chance to mess up and lose the momentum - which did not happen.

As an observation, I was extremely qualified for another field for which I was interviewed and was not selected. Although ai had excellent evaluations and LORs, perhaps the same process (in reverse for me) occurred prior to the interviews. 

Would you say this "uncertainty" is more common in the match for competitive specialties?

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I have no way to judge, I would only be guessing. I do think that it is a major advantage, especially in competitive fields, to do a rotation st the school where you are applying, thus becoming known to the decision makers so they can assess if you would be a good fit according to their criteria. 

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