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To do or not to do - the saga of a homeschool elective


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Hey Guys,

I was wondering about the effectiveness of doing home-school electives. I'm currently going for something competitive (emerg) and need help!

Here's the two points that I'm currently debating (enlighten me please)

1) Do a home school elective - this shows interest in the program, and previous stats show I'm most likely to match here due to the home school advantage being very blatant in their previous batches.

2) Don't do a homeschool elective  - I will be completing a core for the speciality I'm interested in anyways. I've developed strong research connections at my home school, and I'll likely get letters from my core. Apart from that, I've tried to network as much as possible. Will an extra 2 weeks on top of a 4 week core and multiple year at the school change anything? This time could be used to branch out to other schools. Have I done enough to show my interest?

 

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8 hours ago, lostsoul02 said:

Hey Guys,

I was wondering about the effectiveness of doing home-school electives. I'm currently going for something competitive (emerg) and need help!

Here's the two points that I'm currently debating (enlighten me please)

1) Do a home school elective - this shows interest in the program, and previous stats show I'm most likely to match here due to the home school advantage being very blatant in their previous batches.

2) Don't do a homeschool elective  - I will be completing a core for the speciality I'm interested in anyways. I've developed strong research connections at my home school, and I'll likely get letters from my core. Apart from that, I've tried to network as much as possible. Will an extra 2 weeks on top of a 4 week core and multiple year at the school change anything? This time could be used to branch out to other schools. Have I done enough to show my interest?

 

Talk to the program director at your home school and ask them if they require homeschool electives. If you're already doing a core rotation in EM then they'll get a chance to get to know you already. 

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5 hours ago, gangliocytoma said:

Talk to the program director at your home school and ask them if they require homeschool electives. If you're already doing a core rotation in EM then they'll get a chance to get to know you already. 

I guess the issue here is, if your home school has a large hospital network and you don't necessarily do the core EM rotation in the main teaching hospital, or with people who are even remotely involved in the residency process etc.  

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18 hours ago, JohnGrisham said:

Why would you not do a homeschool elective? You should almost always do one, especially in a competitive field. Most schools have ample elective time, that you shouldnt really need to make this risky of a decision, but depends on your school i suppose.

It sounds like they might be in the class of 2021 or later which is the first class with the 8 week elective cap. Doing an elective at your home school means you only have 3 away electives at other schools, would this be enough to demonstrate you’re willing to move?

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Hey Guys,

Sorry I couldn't comment on all the stuff last night - but great points!!

1) I don't have much electives time before CaRMS due to my rotation schedule and sufficient parallel planning.

2) As Redpill pointed out - the 8 week cap does apply to me. I can try to do psych emerg or family emerg and have it count as a psych and family elective to circumvent the cap. However, I'm hesitant to do that. The policy was put in place because students weren't exploring enough fields. I agree with the policy wholeheartedly, and I understand why it was put in place so I'm not really ecstatic about this option. Also idk if this would be looked down upon by residency programs?

3) I talked to the program director - he said that an elective at this school isn't required. However, idk if this is the politically correct answer that shadows the hidden curriculum, or he really meant it? Hard to tell at this point... My core will be at a large site so I think I should meet them?

4) I've done research with some influential people in the program - I think they know me at this point? Idk though, I'm going to keep networking during clerkship!

5) Also I'd like to do some electives OOP to increase my chances of matching. This is something that I was very weirded out by. I planned on doing 50% of my electives OOP and 50% IP (Ontario). Is this too much?

Thanks for all the help guys - electives planning is stressful so I appreciate your time!

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55 minutes ago, lostsoul02 said:

3) I talked to the program director - he said that an elective at this school isn't required. However, idk if this is the politically correct answer that shadows the hidden curriculum, or he really meant it? Hard to tell at this point... My core will be at a large site so I think I should meet them?

 

Ask residents, they will give you the scoop

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Given that it's a competitive specialty at one's home school, the default assumption is that you would be interested. There isn't really any reason that the program would want to "test" your interest further at this point.. My feeling is that an extra 2 weeks will not be very high yield if you already have a 4 week core at a main academic site, plus research with key people in the program. More face time becomes more risky if one is already well known enough to a program.

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33 minutes ago, Lactic Folly said:

Possibility of inadvertently annoying someone or not being able to consistently maintain the halo of impressiveness over time. Sweet spot is at the point when you've already made the strongest impression that you can. 

I agree but I would still advise a home school elective because core clerkship and electives are sometimes seen differently.

21 hours ago, lostsoul02 said:

3) I talked to the program director - he said that an elective at this school isn't required. However, idk if this is the politically correct answer that shadows the hidden curriculum, or he really meant it? Hard to tell at this point... My core will be at a large site so I think I should meet them?

lol@hidden curriculum. Just use some real world common sense.

The official answer is that in theory you could get an interview to any specialty with the bare minimum, like 1 elective and nothing else. That however would be like trying to gain admission into UofT med school with the lowest possible allowable GPA and MCAT. The reality is that for any competitive program there are an abundance of good candidates competing for a limited number of interview spots. If you want to maximize your chances at an interview and matching then you want to do a home school elective.

The only reason you wouldn't is if you have good reason to think that they're interviewing you no matter what (e.g. your research mentor is on the committee sending out interviews, you're best friends with all the chief residents, your uncle is the PD, etc.).

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  • 1 month later...

You already have tons of good advice here, and I agree with almost all of it. I think you should definitely do a home school elective in your field. There are different expectations for core clerks vs. elective students, and it isn't all about showing interest when you do electives. Especially for EM, there are many many people who "enjoy" that core and work hard during it, that aren't necessarily interested in the field. Doing an elective gives them an opportunity to see growth and essentially how you would function as an R1. Maybe consider another main site different from your core if you have that option.

Your best chance at matching to a competitive speciality is at your home school, and I wouldn't lower that chance, just to improve it a little bit at another school. I also don't think 50% OOP is necessary (esp. if you are in Ontario). If you aren't then maybe someone else can comment on their experiences. You just a couple to show you are willing to move around.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Advantage of doing an elective:
- it'll be closer to CaRMS, so they'll remember you more. Your knowledge will also have improved, so more chance to impress them
- you'll rotate at another site, where you'll get to know different staff. The more people who vouch for you, the better your chances
(however admittedly, exposure also depends on luck. You can do a whole month and only work with a staff 1 time.. so hard to make a lasting impression)

Ways to get face time without the extra elective: continue extracurricular invovlement in ER things so they'll remember your face

Best advice is really to ask the current residents at your school
 

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  • 1 month later...

I'm currently in 3rd year and thinking of applying to internal medicine.

My Medicine block is my last block, with 6 weeks of CTU in May and two 2-week sub-specialty selectives in June/July. I'm hoping to get some advice about doing another home school internal medicine elective.Right now, I have several options:

1. Dedicate one pre-carms elective to my home school CTU 

2. Dedicate one post-carms elective to my home school CTU/subspeciatly.

3. Just do electives at other schools. 

My home school would be one of my top 3 choices for residency, so I'm afraid that not doing another home-school electives would jeopardize my chances. At the same time, it'd be nice to have an extra elective space to add more diversity to my location and parallel plan in FM.

 

 

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2 hours ago, ihsh said:

I'm currently in 3rd year and thinking of applying to internal medicine.

My Medicine block is my last block, with 6 weeks of CTU in May and two 2-week sub-specialty selectives in June/July. I'm hoping to get some advice about doing another home school internal medicine elective.Right now, I have several options:

1. Dedicate one pre-carms elective to my home school CTU 

2. Dedicate one post-carms elective to my home school CTU/subspeciatly.

3. Just do electives at other schools. 

My home school would be one of my top 3 choices for residency, so I'm afraid that not doing another home-school electives would jeopardize my chances. At the same time, it'd be nice to have an extra elective space to add more diversity to my location and parallel plan in FM.

 

 

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 teaching sites.

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