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UBC radiation oncology elective needed to match?

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Hi all,

I'm an MS4 interested in radiation oncology. I've been offered electives for the same 2 week period at both UBC and Ottawa for RO. I already have another 2w elective booked at Western and several weeks in the prairies. I'm having a hard time deciding between the ottawa and UBC electives. I would prefer to attend UBC over Ottawa due to its geographic proximity to my family, but I've also heard that UBC rad onc tends to mainly match their own students. If I had to move out east, Ottawa would likely be my city of choice, so I'm also hesitant to give up that elective. 

Does anyone know how important doing an elective at either of these two institutions is for matching RO there, or if it would even be worth doing an elective in BC given the lower likelihood of an OOP candidate matching there? My decision is further complicated since I already purchased non refundable tickets to Ottawa and my wallet hurts just thinking about having to let those tickets go to waste. Appreciate any help!

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Depends on your preference and philosophy probably. I have no idea on how the selection process goes at UBC btw. But in general probably has a bit to do with ontario folk like to stay out in ontario, and BC folk like to stay out in BC. The wallet thing sucks, but you have to look at the 5 year perspective. Gun for your first choice preference or gun for your second - I think there’s no clear evidence to say that you wouldn’t be favoured at bc if you were a strong and likeable candidate, and that’s what programs want. So long as you’re not burning bridges with ottawa there, but really it is your call. Any way you can rearrange things to schedule both?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Go on electives to the locations you want to match to most. The cost of a flight is just a drop in the entire bucket of CaRMS related costs. Agree with ChemPetE that it is mostly selection bias - people generally want to stick close by to their family, which is why most UBC rad onc residents are from BC initially (but not all). Best of luck!

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There's no right or wrong. If I was in your shoes I would do an elective at my first choice. I think that it certainly helps your chances but rad onc tends to be a specialty that doesn't mandate an onsite elective like some surgery programs.

I don't know how popular RO will be this year. In the past 4 years rad onc has been in top 5 most competitive specialties as well as bottom 5. In my match year, Ottawa matched 0/2 and UBC matched 2/2. Following year UBC had an unmatched spots. These things are not predictable. Both are good programs. 

You can always try and do a post carms, preinterview elective. It would be equal if not more effective. 

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