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How many home electives to do for desired specialty?


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I'm a 3rd year interested in ortho. Having spoken to residents and staff from my home institution, I've consistently heard that they tend to prefer taking their own students. Of course this is still hearsay but I do believe it has merit given the past matching stats.

My question is how common is it for people to only do 1 elective at their home institution? Ideally I would have liked to only do one 2-week elective at my home school so that I could maximize my chances by doing 3 visiting ortho rotations. But after talking to upper years from my school, they told me that they all did 4 weeks of ortho in our home school. 

My goal is to maximize my chances of matching to any ortho program, but also keeping in my mind my potential home school advantage. I fear that by only doing 2 weeks at home, I would axe my chances at my home school where I have the highest chances. But by doing 4 weeks at home school, I can only do visiting ortho at 2 other programs which I worry is putting too many eggs in too few baskets.

 

Thanks all

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Were the current senior students in your program restricted to home electives because of Covid? Only in the past year were visiting electives reinstated. Or did they choose to do only electives at their home school even with the option to go elsewhere?

In most cases, it is more beneficial to spread your electives around and visit as many programs as possible to maximize your chances of matching. There are still more applications applying to your program than spots so the more people who meet you face-to-face the better. 2-weeks is often enough time for people at any program, including your home program, to meet you and form solid opinions about you. You also have your core rotation at your home school and can build connections through research and networking events. My advice would be to do 3 visiting electives rather than spending more time at your home school.

 

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I agree with robclem21. You want to maximize your chances elsewhere while keeping the home school advantage and I believe this strategy meets your goals, notwithstanding advice to the contrary by upperclassmen in the program.

If you are hesitant, by all means, do 4 weeks at your home school and do only 2 visiting electives. Back in the day, I did a 2 week elective for a competitive surgical specialty at my home school, I did no electives elsewhere, I only applied to my home school and of 40 interviewees for just 3 spots, I was selected. Interestingly, I was the weakest candidate in terms of knowledge, however, I had great soft skills - which nailed it for me. Not one gunner was selected. The panel of 6 determined that I was "a good fit" for the team and they were correct. In the end, its all a lottery where luck plays a role zand you should follow your gut! Good luck.  

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Thank you both for your great responses. The upper classmates were not in the covid cohort (they're just one year above me) so they were able to do visiting but most of them chose to do 4 weeks at home school. 

I really do want to spread out my electives as much as possible. I just feel that in the worst case scenario of going unmatched, I would regret not having done my 4 weeks at home and maximizing my chances there as per the advice by the upper years + my perception of better chances at home. I figure that the one visiting elective I'm losing out on could be somewhat rectified by doing a related elective at that school (neuro spine or plastics hand) and also acquainting myself with the ortho committee members of that program. Does this make sense as well? 

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In general 2 days (let alone 2 weeks) of working with someone is enough time to know if they will be a good fit for your program. Most people who do extra electives don't gain much benefit and often only shoot themselves in the foot by running into more people they may rub the wrong way or do something stupid. Express your interest during your elective by reaching out to PD, talking to residents, going to all rounds, etc.

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