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Beginner CaRMS Questions: References and Research


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Happy holidays everyone! I'm an M1 with a couple questions about CaRMS that I haven't been able to answer through googling. I know it can seem gunner-y to be thinking about CaRMS so far out, so I should note that my more proximate concern is how important research is in the summer between M1 and M2. I feel that knowing a bit more about the CaRMS app - and what I should aim to have accomplished by application season - could help me figure this out.

References: Should most/all reference letters be written by clinical supervisors, such as clerkship preceptors? Or is it desirable to have some letters written by people in other positions, such as research PIs? Additionally, approximately how many references do programs request?

Research: Are there any stats about how much research output a typical applicant has at the time of application? 

Thanks very much!

 

 

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The importance of research may depend on whether you are targeting a research-heavy program or specialty, but usually the focus of letters is one's clinical performance. I'd only submit a non-MD research PI letter if you were applying to a clinician investigator program (MD in a department that you have done research with is different and usually helpful). You can check the CaRMS program descriptions available online for the instructions that programs have made available on references (minimum 3 letters, some programs may allow more).

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Thanks both! 

Lactic Folly, I browsed through the CaRMS program descriptions and I see what you mean, it looks like there's a strong emphasis on clinical skills-focused reference letters as opposed to research skills-focused reference letters.

And thanks IMisLove for pointing out the networking/indirect benefits that research can provide.

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  • 2 months later...

Sorry, striders02 hope you don't mind if I piggy-back on your thread.

M2 here. Struggling recently with deciding whether or not to even look into doing research lol. I'm only interested in applying to FM. I was under the impression that reference letters (and therefore clinical performance) on rotations/electives are the main way you make oneself competitive. I've heard heresay that research honestly doesn't even matter (extra-curriculars in med school included). Given that I know I want FM, am willing to apply broadly within Ontario (1st choice, like many others, somewhere in the GTA), should I even bother with research? In light of the COVID-19 stuff going on, I honestly don't think PIs would be interested in taking students on anyway tbh

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36 minutes ago, PeterPatting said:

Sorry, striders02 hope you don't mind if I piggy-back on your thread.

M2 here. Struggling recently with deciding whether or not to even look into doing research lol. I'm only interested in applying to FM. I was under the impression that reference letters (and therefore clinical performance) on rotations/electives are the main way you make oneself competitive. I've heard heresay that research honestly doesn't even matter (extra-curriculars in med school included). Given that I know I want FM, am willing to apply broadly within Ontario (1st choice, like many others, somewhere in the GTA), should I even bother with research? In light of the COVID-19 stuff going on, I honestly don't think PIs would be interested in taking students on anyway tbh

You don't need any research to match to FM and I'm honestly not convinced that it helps much either. Maybe just do a small project/poster so the Research section of your application isn't empty if you want, otherwise don't bother.

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