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How do you show interest in a school without doing an elective there?


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Hi! I want to apply broadly to programs across Canada in my specialty of choice (semi competitive), but unfortunately because of scheduling and availability issues I wasn't able to get electives at all of the schools I'm interested in. I am from Ontario, did 1 OOP elective (east coast) and unfortunately couldn't get any in AB or BC. I am really worried because there are 3 big schools in those provinces and I don't think I can visit them at all, but I'm interested in them. I've heard UBC only wants people who have done electives there, and same for Calgary. Is this true? Is there another way that I can show I'm interested in these programs? I think based on my experiences at certain Ontario schools so far (western lol) that I would rather go OOP than those Ontario schools, even though I'd be far away from my family.

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Depending on your specialty you could consider doing a related specialty there to fulfill your diversity requirements and have some exposure, then reach out to that specialty's PD while you;re there, etc. PD's will usually meet with students doing electives to talk about the program, so If you have some other connection to the city and are going to be there anyway during a weekday you could always try and reach out and ask to meet explaining that you are interested in their program and were not able to get an elective. Otherwise (as you would be doing anyway) you'll talk about why you're interested in the program in your CaRMS letter, and any connections, so they will have that. Also understand that nobody can do electives everywhere and its very common that people apply across the country for most specialties, they hopefully will understand. I personally know people who matched to programs they did not do electives at in my fairly competitive specialty.

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Also keep in mind in your CaRMS applications, you'll have an opportunity to write about why you want to do residency in X location and try to take advantage of any sort of connection you have with the city/school, even if you didn't get an elective there. Not sure how strongly you can persuade a program that way but it's still another opportunity to demonstrate interest.

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Thanks for the reply! I'm also doing electives in family med but those are even harder to get and I unfortunately didn't get any at the schools out west. Does it make sense to reach out to residents anyway if I have questions about the program? Or let's say I get a post-Carms elective there (before or after interviews, Jan/Feb) - is that enough to show interest?

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