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  1. 1) Research 2) Electives 3) Networking That's essentially it... extracurriculars such as interest groups, advocacy in a certain field, etc, are all good, but have much more variable effects (usually limited) at increasing your chances at matching to a specialty.
  2. 1) Agreed with the above comment. Would do maybe a 2 week elective in your third year to make yourself known to your home program and really decide whether or not you're committing to this specialty, but try to get most of your critical electives (i.e. the programs you really want to impress and want letters from) in the early part of 4th year. 2) Yes, ask immediately before they forget you lol. I will actually provide a dissenting opinion here from Shikimate, above. Strongly disagree that clerks are automatically shit in the first half of the year and to not ask for letters... that is o
  3. U of T is one of the schools that 100% looks at and considers references, so probs not lol. To OP, definitely had a number of classmates who used high school teachers at references and made it. As others have said, it's about how well they can speak to your personal characteristics and capabilities!
  4. You’re right, I looked it up to be sure and stand corrected. Edited my original post accordingly.
  5. People successfully apply and match to derm every year with a "late" interest in the specialty, but "late" is usually relative and refers to discovering their interest sometime during clerkship-- when you still have flexibility in terms of organizing electives and potentially making connections and getting some research onto your CV. I really don't want to discourage you, but I think this year may be an even tougher year to have a late interest, since you have no access to away electives. IMO electives are one of, if not the #1, metrics for derm applicants, because 1) it's such a small s
  6. Have you considered that maybe your personal strengths just happened to align more with your arts degree than your science degree? It's freaking HARD to get as as good a GPA in arts/humanities courses than in the sciences... in STEM, it's fully possible to get a 100% perfect mark in most courses. Obviously most people aren't going to achieve this, but at least it's doable. This is very much not the case in the vast majority of arts and humanities courses. There are so many wildly subjective aspects to the grading-- not to mention to huge volume of reading and critical analysis skills requ
  7. School Interviewing at: Toronto Specialty: IM Current interview date: Jan 21 PM Date would like to switch to: Jan 27/28 would be very grateful for a trade as I tried to plan out flights and will have major timing issues!
  8. Yes, there are always the 1-2 people everyone talks about who did a single elective and somehow managed to match derm/other competitive specialties, but that isn't at all the norm. Certainly, those people have something about them or their application that stands out, whether it is exceptional research in another field, exceptional extracurriculars/other facets of their application, exceptional people skills, or exceptional connections. If you're really interested in derm, why would you not set yourself up for the best possible chance of success by doing a reasonable number of electives
  9. Absolutely possible to get a stellar LOR, and preceptors in general really do understand that we are there to get letters. I would still go forward with the elective if it’s something you want to do. Probably one of my strongest LORs was from a preceptor I had for one week on an IM subspeciality rotation split in half. The residents were super key and absolutely went to bat for me; try to ask around and see which of your supervisors is more likely to write you a letter and if there are any opportunities you can set up to get more face time (switching clinics, doing consults/call, etc.). Other
  10. I would still try to get a home school elective if possible. For you I think it may be more advantageous to come back at the end and do a post-CaRMS elective, since it sounds like you'll be at peak skills at that point & your medicine block sounds well structured to provide you with multiple LORs (if you're consistently good you could walk away with even 4+, covering all your CaRMS needs in one go). I would probably try to get it in a different subspecialty to show diversity/exploration of IM as a specialty. A different site would also be a good idea if your school has multiple main teach
  11. Hey @Taco_shell, just wondering re: Calgary-- did you get an actual interview invite, or just the status update?
  12. Shit happens, and it may not be as noticeable as you think. I read through my essays a few dozen times and still ended up having 1 or 2 typos in there. Didn't catch them until much later... when I was preparing for interviews, so clearly the typos didn't become a red flag or anything.
  13. I guess my question for you is simply: why? Why would you not take every opportunity you have to sell yourself and portray yourself in the best possible light? I understand if you simply didn't have an experience that connected with the prompt, in which I'd agree that you shouldn't force fit your experiences into the essay. But if even you feel like you have ABS items that work well with the essay topic, why would you not take the opportunity to expand upon your experiences with more words than are allotted to you in the paltry title/description boxes? Also, if you don't include your
  14. Honestly... I'd probably say yes. You'd have only held this position for what-- maybe max a month? by the time you're submitting this application. That demonstrates next to no commitment or dedication, and doesn't reflect positively on your ABS in any way. The one exception if it's like a culmination of something you've spent the past few years doing-- e.g. you've always been an athlete, and you became part of the national team in August. Extreme example obviously, but that showcases what I think is the only kind of last-minute EC that might benefit your profile in any way.
  15. You're probably overthinking things. I filled out all 48; many of my friends who applied and got in this cycle also had full or near-full ABSs. Clearly this wasn't an obstacle for any of our applications. And at no point was I grilled about the fact that I'd had 48 meaningful experiences over the past 4-5 years. I also included a number of items from high school that I felt were important or relevant; I wasn't questioned about those either and in fact brought them up when they felt relevant during interviews. That said, I didn't put activities that I recently started on my ABS, as I
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