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Possible To Apply To 2 Competitive Specialties?

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Is it possible to aim for 2 separate competitive specialties (e.g. Ophtho and ENT) by doing some electives in each (or will this just increase your probability of matching to neither by not focusing solely on one specialty)?

 

In other words, because some specialties are so competitive, you need to essentially do most/all of your electives in that specialty or in a related specialty. So will splitting your electives between two competitive specialties just likely end up leaving you unmatched by not having focused enough (in terms of research, elective, etc) towards one of the two specialities?

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There's no one formula for Carms.. of course aiming for two specialties will divide your time and energy into two.. Is it possible? Of course, anything is possible.. I know someone who applied to Plastics and Radiology and got interviews in both and matched. But I also know people who devoted all their time and energy into ophthalmology and didn't get in.. Ophthalmology and ENT are specialties that like seeing commitment, so it will be harder to match than just concentrating on one of them.. Just my opinion.

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You take the risk like everyone else.

 

Having gone through carms on the other side, I have to say it was a bit off-putting seeing that the applicant was not truly in it for radiology.  The only one I'd accept is FM.

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My past program (I'm done now) was a competative surgical specialty. It was the most desirable program for our specialty in the country. We really put much more emphasis on your elective performance with us. If you were splitting between two competative specialties but you did a great job at our center and we got the sense you were more committed to us than the other specialty, we would rank you high.

 

That being said, if you seemed like you weren't commited during your time with us, it would hurt your application a great deal. But we wouldn't assume you weren't commited just based on having done two specialties as your electives.

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I was interviewed for 2 competitive specialties and FM. I was really qualified for my top choice, had a publication in the field, presentation to the specialists, excellent LORs, more than 1 elective and interviewed well. For the surgical specialty where I landed, I had only one short elective where I applied, and the attending had to convince me to apply as he knew what field I was aiming for. I am very happy where I landed. All to say, aiming for 2 competitive fields is entirely doable.

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On 2/4/2017 at 4:22 PM, W0lfgang said:

You take the risk like everyone else.

 

Having gone through carms on the other side, I have to say it was a bit off-putting seeing that the applicant was not truly in it for radiology.  The only one I'd accept is FM.

Man that's just ridiculous. Why are students not allowed to have different interests? People can enjoy painting and wrestling, just as people can enjoy plastics and radiology, interests are not mutually exclusive. It shouldn't be off-putting.

IMO, it seems immature to put all your eggs into one extremely competitive specialty (plastics) without backing up with another specialty of interest. Putting family med just as a back-up to avoid going unmatched when your interests/talents lie in other fields is just dumb. It takes the spot from someone who actually wants family med and gives it to someone who would be miserable in the field. 

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On February 4, 2017 at 4:22 PM, W0lfgang said:

You take the risk like everyone else.

 

Having gone through carms on the other side, I have to say it was a bit off-putting seeing that the applicant was not truly in it for radiology.  The only one I'd accept is FM.

At my school, you are required to have a "diversity of electives" by having electives across three seemingly arbitrary categories, meaning I can't go all in on one even if i wanted to. So what won't make you look like you are not truly in it? 

 

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33 minutes ago, médecine said:

Man that's just ridiculous. Why are students not allowed to have different interests? People can enjoy painting and wrestling, just as people can enjoy plastics and radiology, interests are not mutually exclusive. It shouldn't be off-putting.

IMO, it seems immature to put all your eggs into one extremely competitive specialty (plastics) without backing up with another specialty of interest. Putting family med just as a back-up to avoid going unmatched when your interests/talents lie in other fields is just dumb. It takes the spot from someone who actually wants family med and gives it to someone who would be miserable in the field. 

While I agree with most of your points, I think it is not so much students are not allowed to have different interests. I just think that the system itself is not amenable to that. From a macro level, the government needs to ensure there is the right mix of physicians across primary care roles and specialties and in the right locations. Whether the government is adept at doing that is another question, but that is precisely why government isn't quite driven to act with the reduced residency spots:CMGs ratio. The tighter ratio is detrimental for graduates - to your point - in that you might end up in a field that you don't have a genuine interest in. But from a macro level - it may be to the public's benefit that we have a 'better' (I use this term loosely) mix of physicians across the board to satisfy the needs of the population that physicians serve. 

For CaRMS 2017, 87.4% of CMGs matched to their first choice discipline (historically it has been >90%, but this is still respectably high!). I am presuming that first choice is a reasonable proxy for the ideal discipline for that candidate, so having 87.4% of CMGs match to their ideal choice is not bad.

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7 hours ago, la marzocco said:

While I agree with most of your points, I think it is not so much students are not allowed to have different interests. I just think that the system itself is not amenable to that. From a macro level, the government needs to ensure there is the right mix of physicians across primary care roles and specialties and in the right locations. Whether the government is adept at doing that is another question, but that is precisely why government isn't quite driven to act with the reduced residency spots:CMGs ratio. The tighter ratio is detrimental for graduates - to your point - in that you might end up in a field that you don't have a genuine interest in. But from a macro level - it may be to the public's benefit that we have a 'better' (I use this term loosely) mix of physicians across the board to satisfy the needs of the population that physicians serve. 

For CaRMS 2017, 87.4% of CMGs matched to their first choice discipline (historically it has been >90%, but this is still respectably high!). I am presuming that first choice is a reasonable proxy for the ideal discipline for that candidate, so having 87.4% of CMGs match to their ideal choice is not bad.

That's fine, I agree that the government needs to make sure there's a mix of physicians that reflects public's needs, but to be "badly viewed" by PDs for exploring different specialties and having more than one interest is ridiculous. 

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8 hours ago, sangria said:

At my school, you are required to have a "diversity of electives" by having electives across three seemingly arbitrary categories, meaning I can't go all in on one even if i wanted to. So what won't make you look like you are not truly in it? 

 

Yeah that's what I've seen as well. I think it was a 6 week limit for one specific field.

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12 minutes ago, brady23 said:

Yeah that's what I've seen as well. I think it was a 6 week limit for one specific field.

 

8 hours ago, sangria said:

At my school, you are required to have a "diversity of electives" by having electives across three seemingly arbitrary categories, meaning I can't go all in on one even if i wanted to. So what won't make you look like you are not truly in it? 

 

If you have 10 weeks and want Ortho here's an example: 6 weeks ortho,  2 weeks pediatric ortho, 2 weeks sports medicine or emerg; pretty clear what that person wants.

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55 minutes ago, a7x said:

 

If you have 10 weeks and want Ortho here's an example: 6 weeks ortho,  2 weeks pediatric ortho, 2 weeks sports medicine or emerg; pretty clear what that person wants.

Damn I can see how that's an advantage but it's also a wasted opportunity to explore different specialties. 

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10 hours ago, médecine said:

Man that's just ridiculous. Why are students not allowed to have different interests? People can enjoy painting and wrestling, just as people can enjoy plastics and radiology, interests are not mutually exclusive. It shouldn't be off-putting.

IMO, it seems immature to put all your eggs into one extremely competitive specialty (plastics) without backing up with another specialty of interest. Putting family med just as a back-up to avoid going unmatched when your interests/talents lie in other fields is just dumb. It takes the spot from someone who actually wants family med and gives it to someone who would be miserable in the field. 

You're allowed to dabble into other specialties as long as you have done the most in radiology (or whatever specialty you're gunning for).

Now say you were gunning for plastics but fell in love with anesthesia after one elective, not all hope is lost. You just have to make sure your personal letter appropriately describes the rationale behind your moment of clarity.

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23 hours ago, médecine said:

Damn I can see how that's an advantage but it's also a wasted opportunity to explore different specialties. 

No offense, but the time to 'explore different specialities' was in year 1, year 2, and year 3, not in your final 4 months of med school before the match. 

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