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Did an elective, felt good, but no interview


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Hi guys,

 

I completed an elective at a program for a very competitive specialty, worked hard, and had felt very good about it. I left thinking I was certainly going to receive an interview, but in the end, they declined.

 

I realize that doing an elective is no guarantee of having an interview. I think I just had my hopes up too high, particularly because I received numerous interviews from other programs I've also done an elective at. I was just wondering if anyone else has had the experience of having done an elective at a program and ended up not receiving an interview invitation.

 

I guess I'm just kind of disappointed since I put a lot of effort into the rotation and there were significant expenses. I know I shouldn't dwell on the past, but I keep thinking about what I could have done wrong and if I should have done a rotation elsewhere... but alas, who would have known?

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Hi guys,

 

I completed an elective at a program for a very competitive specialty, worked hard, and had felt very good about it. I left thinking I was certainly going to receive an interview, but in the end, they declined.

 

I realize that doing an elective is no guarantee of having an interview. I think I just had my hopes up too high, particularly because I received numerous interviews from other programs I've also done an elective at. I was just wondering if anyone else has had the experience of having done an elective at a program and ended up not receiving an interview invitation.

 

I guess I'm just kind of disappointed since I put a lot of effort into the rotation and there were significant expenses. I know I shouldn't dwell on the past, but I keep thinking about what I could have done wrong and if I should have done a rotation elsewhere... but alas, who would have known?

 

Certainly - I have gone through the same thing myself.

 

Sometimes it isn't even about you - you just have to focus on what you do have and work from there.

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OP, I'm sorry to hear that. I hope you will eventually get what you want.

 

I know it's premature for me to be talking about CARMs for myself at the moment, but it's cases like OP's that make me wonder how candidates are selected for certain competitive specialties. I mean, in the current world we live in, where academics are simply P/F, and references are likely to be awesome for most of us (since we have proven ourselves to be so good at choosing referees), how do schools ensure they select the best candidates for their programs? Publications? ECs? MSc/PhD prior to entering med sch?

 

I don't mean to put down these criteria, but I feel that most ECs say little about one's suitability for a particular specialty over another. Eg. being a hockey player does not mean that one is more suitable for surgery over another candidate, who happens to be a musician. The same can be said of MSc/PhDs. Having a PhD in microbiology does not necessarily make one a better emerg doc.

 

It's cases like these that bring up the ultimate question: Are we truly selecting the right candidates for the respective residency spots? If the answer is NO, then it simply shows an ultimate lack of allocative efficiency on CARMs part, whose primary goal is to ensure that the right doctors are matched to the right specialty.

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Medicine attracts those who desire security and often a fair bit of structure and objectivity. But as one moves farther along the training process, the criteria for advancement gradually shift from those of the high school years (i.e. get x% and you are guaranteed admission to university) to those of the real world, where it is more about you as a person, your brand, and your fit with the organization.

 

Medical school admissions, while containing elements of subjectivity, involves a much larger volume of applicants and as such tends to be more formulaic in the creation of their ranking. While the elements of the formula are similar (ECs, LOR, etc.), residencies are smaller and the committees have more of a personal interest in their applicants as they will often be working closely with them for the next few years. Therefore, one cannot expect the same process to apply, and candidates will perceive more subjectivity, which will only intensify in the future job search process which is even less (read: not) standardized than CaRMS.

 

So yes, it would be overly simplistic to take individual aspects such as ECs and draw conclusions about career suitability, and yes, most people perform well in medical school and may not differ much on paper (which accounts for much of the apparent inconsistency in interview invites garnered by candidates). Yet, there will also be a few 'stars' (seemingly beloved by all, with CVs outweighing those of their peers), as well as those who are personally well known and respected by a program.

 

How do you define whether the "right" candidate has been selected? Only time will tell, as through the course of residency, the candidate develops into someone who will be a credit to the profession and to the training program. Although at heart this is what all programs want, as you can imagine this leaves definite room for interpretation, so do not become overly discouraged by what may simply reflect a poor fit or a very competitive pool, and continue to strive to be the best physician that you can be...

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I don't think CaRMS really has anything to do with this, as the ranking system is simply a means of optimizing applicants' preferences in light of those of programs.

 

exactly - the algorithm optimizes based on the school and applicant preferences. If those are wrong there is no organized algorithm that could correctly match things up :)

 

and those ECs you mentioned aren't as focused many of them can be. There are rads I know that got tons of interviews with a phds in MRI physics - I am positive that phd played a role in getting those interviews as an example.

 

Also don't forget that ECs aren't just about showing abilities for a specialty. Often they are used to determine fit in the team as well. Maybe hockey has nothing to do with being a good surgeon, but if everyone else on the surgery team plays hockey well and so do you then ha, that might be a factor in your acceptance. This is a job after all and a job interview process - there are factors outside of your ultimate skill in the area at play as well. They have to consider how you will help the entire team function as well.

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OP, I'm sorry to hear that. I hope you will eventually get what you want.

 

I know it's premature for me to be talking about CARMs for myself at the moment, but it's cases like OP's that make me wonder how candidates are selected for certain competitive specialties. I mean, in the current world we live in, where academics are simply P/F, and references are likely to be awesome for most of us (since we have proven ourselves to be so good at choosing referees), how do schools ensure they select the best candidates for their programs? Publications? ECs? MSc/PhD prior to entering med sch?

 

For competative specialties, almost the entire selection is based off elective experience and how you performed/they liked you on elective.

 

That's why elective time is key during 4th year.

 

In my program here are the three factors that make up the vast vast vast majority of how we rank you:

 

1) work ethic

2) like-ability (aka personality and fit within our program)

3) knowledge

 

Basically that's the majority of the rank list selection. We hardly ever discuss things like research or EC's (unless you have a landmark paper or a really interesting EC).

 

I'm in the most desired program in the country for a competative specialty by the way.

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likewise bud ... did an elective at the Foothills in Calgary for Ortho and nothing here. Heck, outright rejected by all of Alberta in general haha ... oh well. Honestly have no clue how they rank us candidates since I imagine those reference letters are most likely virtually identical

 

this is so discouraging to hear as I budget my elective time. did interviews work out for the other locations you did electives?

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this is so discouraging to hear as I budget my elective time. did interviews work out for the other locations you did electives?

 

I did 4 electives at schools beside my own, got all 4 invites from them, so don't be discouraged. There is a lot of subjectivity in the process it seems. Focus on setting yourself apart in other ways, so that when they are comparing applicants (who all have good reference letters), your application stands out as unique.

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I did 4 electives at schools beside my own, got all 4 invites from them, so don't be discouraged. There is a lot of subjectivity in the process it seems. Focus on setting yourself apart in other ways, so that when they are comparing applicants (who all have good reference letters), your application stands out as unique.

 

Yeah it is usual to get interviews where do electives so do take that into consideration :)

 

It is just like everything else there are no guarantees but there are ways to improve the situation.

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