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The Fourth Year Everything you need to know to have a successful interview season and Match!


The Fourth Year Everything you need to know to have a successful interview season and Match! With love, from the Utah resi dents – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Fourth Year Everything you need to know to have a successful interview season and Match!

The Fourth Year Everything you need to know to
have a successful interview season and Match!
  • With love, from the Utah resi
  • dents

  • Timeline
  • Away Rotations/Schedules
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Personal Statement
  • Where to Apply
  • Staying organized
  • Interviews
  • The Rank Ordered List
  • The Match

  • August Personal statement done, request letters
    of recommendation, hone list of programs you
    like, meet with advisors
  • September ERAS and NRMP applications in, follow
    up on letters of rec
  • October ACEP 2009 Scientific Assembly--Boston,
    10/5-10/8 Go if you can! Great opportunity to
    talk to meet residency directors--they will
    remember you in interviews
  • November Start getting interview invitations,
    schedule this month if poss!
  • December Talk to your advisor if you havent
    gotten any invitations yet
  • January Finish up interviews, write thank you
    notes early, think about second looks, start
    ranking your list
  • February Rank ordered list is due, call your top
    3-5 programs, tell your top program--and only
    your top program--that theyre 1 (this might
    give you an idea about where you stand on their
  • March Try to relax! Match day March 19, 2010!

Away Rotations
  • These really matter! Prepare and take them
  • Many program directors say they care more about
    your away rotation grade than your home
    institution one
  • If you are rotating at one of your top choice
    programs, this is your chance to shine! Stay
    positive, be outgoing and be yourself.
  • Work hard, try to get to know the residents and
    faculty, and let them know you are serious about
    wanting to come to their program

Away Rotations Contd
  • If possible, meet with the program director(s)
  • Pay attention to the details of the program--what
    are the things that you like and dislike
    (figuring out what you dont like is arguably
    more important than the opposite)
  • Ask lots of questions! Find out what other
    programs the residents liked, and why they
    decided to rank that program highly
  • Try to get to know at least one faculty member
    fairly well--youll need a strong letter of
  • The above principles also apply at your home

  • I think you know what Im going to say
  • Believe us, people will search for you. Make sure
    they like what they see.

Letters of Recommendation
  • This can be one of the most challenging and
    intimidating parts of the process, but remember
    your attendings are used to it
  • Ask those who know you relatively well for a
    strong letter
  • Ask early, ask often! The worst that can happen
    is that they say no--better this than that they
    write you a weak letter
  • Send reminders, and have back ups. People are
    busy, and you dont want to be caught without a
  • SLORs Request a Standardized Letter of
    Recommendation formatted by CORD (Council of
    Emergency Medicine Residency Directors) for all
    ED rotations you do

The Personal Statement
  • Start writing now! The earlier you get this done
    the better
  • Many say that the personal statement can only
    hurt you dont write anything youre not
    prepared to defend or talk about in an interview
  • Definitely have someone, preferably a mentor,
    read it
  • Reread it yourself many times
  • DO NOT allow spelling or grammar errors
  • Make sure that it is a reflection of yourself and
    your beliefs, and be honest.

Personal Statement What to put in it (a
  • Try to open with something catchy an inspiring
  • Explain why you have chosen EM
  • Describe experiences you have had that helped you
    make your decision
  • Tell your reader why you would be good at EM
  • Describe what you are looking for in a training
  • Describe your future career goals

Personal Statement Contd
  • Some add a paragraph at the end referencing
    particular programs
  • This is probably not necessary, and could be bad
    if you attach the wrong document to the wrong
  • It should be no longer than one page, single
  • Remember, the personal statement should be
  • There is no right or wrong way to do it, just
    make sure that it reflects your personality and
    your goals

Where to apply?
  • Criteria Here are some suggestions to help guide
  • Location
  • 3 vs. 4 years
  • Size of program
  • Academic vs. Community vs. County
  • Reputation?
  • FREIDA!! The best online resource for learning
    about programs google FREIDA or
  • http//

Staying Organized
  • Make 2 spreadsheets
  • Programs with details of interest location,
    program directors coordinators names,
    website, 3 vs 4 yrs, residents, etc.
  • Application Status programs you applied to,
    status of application, interview date, thank you
  • Google Calendar!! This
    is an invaluable tool to help you stay organized,
    and to help your loved ones keep track of you and
    your schedule
  • Use it for keeping track of flight info,
    accommodations, rental cars, interview dates

Interviews outline
  • Communication
  • When to do them
  • How to schedule them
  • When and how to cancel them
  • Booking flights
  • Where to stay
  • What to pack
  • Resident Social
  • Shifts while on interviews
  • Interview day
  • Second looks

  • Your go-to person is the program coordinator
  • They really dont like to be called secretaries
  • Most importantly BE ON YOUR BEST BEHAVIOR with
    every interaction you have with program
    coordinators--this really matters

Interviews When to do them
  • Earlier is better Start in November if you can
  • It is a myth that programs will forget you if you
    interview in November!
  • Also, if you schedule an interview in January,
    there is a good chance that you will be too
    burned out/broke to go by then--trust us, it
  • Try to schedule a practice interview first at a
    program thats lower on your list
  • Youll likely be more comfortable and perform
    better on the ones you really care about

How to Schedule Interviews Its time to be a
bit obsessive
  • It pays to check your email frequently
  • Try to schedule ASAP!
  • Most programs only offer a certain number of
  • If you havent scheduled and the spots fill,
    youre out of luck

How to Schedule Interviews
  • Try to group interviews geographically--it is
    possible and will save you and time
  • Dont be afraid to politely contact program
    coordinators directly
  • Let them know youre interested in their program,
    and that youll be in the area at such and such
  • This often works, and you can sometimes avoid
    extra travel and interview earlier

How to Reschedule Interviews
  • Dont panic, this happens more than you think it
    might, especially if you are couples matching
  • Contact the program coordinator ASAP, preferably
    by phone, to explain the predicament
  • Have an alternate date in mind, and try to be
    creative and flexible--it usually works out

How and when to cancel interviews
  • If you are fortunate enough to be in this
    position, first recognize your fortune and hard
    work (pat on the back)
  • Next, consider your future colleagues waiting to
    hear from the programs youre not that interested
  • CANCEL EARLY! At least one week in advance,
    preferably two. This gives programs more time to
    fill the spots (imagine getting an interview
    offer for the next week across the country! )
  • Call or email the program coordinator (not the
    director) and politely decline, they usually
    wont ask any questions

Canceling Interviews
  • Example
  • Dear _____, I am writing to inform you that I
    will no longer be able to attend my interview, as
    scheduled on ___. I thank you very much for you
    time in reviewing my application, and I wish you
    a successful interview season. Sincerely,
  • Dear _____, I am writing to inform you that due
    to time and financial constraints I will not be
    able to attend my interview as scheduled on
    _____. I appreciate your interview offer and the
    time you spent reviewing my application. I wish
    you this best this interview season. Sincerely,

Scheduling Flights
  • Try to schedule interviews in geographic blocks
  • Avoid scheduling cross-country flights with
    layovers in the midwest
  • You can count on bad weather-you might get stuck,
    be late, or miss an interview
  • Strongly consider booking flights with Southwest
    and JetBlue when possible (you can easily cancel
    and rebook flights online, and theres no
    penalty, they just credit your account for use

Where to stay
  • Consider staying with residents, youll save
    money and get to know each other better
  • Staying with residents can be a little stressful,
    it can be hard to relax when youre trying to
    make a good impression, but youll save lots of
    money, and get a more personal look at the
  • Many programs have deals on hotels around the
    area, it pays to book something close to the
  • Some, very few, programs will pay for your stay
  • If you have friends and family around, this can
    be a great opportunity to reunite

What to pack
  • Try not to check a bag--youll be happy you
  • Time to invest in a large garment bag to carry on
  • Consider getting a travel steamer--very handy
    though not an absolute must
  • Bringing a laptop, PDA, or cell phone with
    internet access is virtually essential for
    looking up phone numbers, checking into flights,
    reading about programs, etc.
  • If youre interviewing on the East coast, bring
    warm clothes--hat, scarf, gloves, overcoat,
    consider a small umbrella
  • A camera is a good idea if you have a spouse that
    cant come along, or just for jogging the memory
    on week 8

What to Pack
  • Bring a small notebook for taking notes (try to
    spend 15 min at the end of the day writing down
    your thoughts before you forget)
  • If youre bringing a carry on, consider getting a
    cheap electric razor since you cant bring razors
  • Bring nice casual clothes for resident socials
  • Pleasure reading is nice--this is fourth year
    after all! (Also, they might ask you what youre
    reading right now)
  • You really can live for a month out of a carry on!

What to wear
  • Everyone wears a suit
  • If you dont wear a suit, just be prepared to
    stand out, which may not be a bad thing
  • Whatever you wear, make sure its clean,
    wrinkle-free, and represents you and your

The Resident Social
  • You should try to go to this
  • Free food!
  • This is your chance to interact with the
    residents socially, and to see how they interact
    with each other--are they friends?
  • Ask questions you dont want to ask attendings,
    eg scheduling, shift length, vacation time,
    benefits, etc.
  • Find out what to do for fun, where people live,
    if they buy vs rent, if they actually have lives
    outside of the residency, etc.
  • This may be the most important part of the

Interview Day
  • Try to relax and be confident
  • Answer questions truthfully
  • Dont badmouth other programs or people
  • Remember that the best program for you will be a
    good match

Interview Questions
  • Questions we have been asked Practice these with
    a friend
  • Teach me something non-medical
  • Whats the most responsibility youve had?
  • Whats the hardest youve ever worked?
  • Name an aspect of your interpersonal life you
    would change.
  • Name an embarrassing/funny medical school
  • Tell me what your career goals are.
  • Tell me what youre looking for in a program.
  • Tell me about a mentor.

Interview Questions Contd
  • Tell me which of your volunteer experiences made
    the most impact on you.
  • Will you miss home?
  • Whats the most creative thing youve ever done?
  • What do you want us to remember about you?
  • Tell me about your biggest success and failure.
  • Why Emergency Medicine?
  • What are you reading for pleasure?
  • What would you tell us about yourself thats not
    well represented in your application?

Interview Questions Contd
  • What would you bring to this residency program?
  • Tell me about a patient youve been most
    empathetic with.
  • What event or person has most defined/shaped who
    you are?
  • Why do you think you got ___ award?
  • What would you do if not medicine?
  • Tell me about a medical error/mistake that you
    were a part of/witnessed. What did you learn from
  • Tell me about your best and worst moment of
    medical school.

Questions to Ask your Interviewer
  • What kind of residents thrive in your program?
  • What are your programs best attributes and
    distinguishing characteristics?
  • How do you envision your program changing over
    the next 5-10 or 3-4 years?
  • What are some short and long-term goals that you
    have for your program as a whole, and for the
  • What things do you do to foster balance in your
    residents lives?
  • What are your programs weaknesses and how are
    you working to improve them?

Questions to Ask your Interviewer
  • What percentage of your graduates pursue
    fellowships or go on to academics?
  • What electives are available?
  • Do you have financial/loan advisors?
  • How are your ED shifts organized (eg circadian
  • Describe the radiology and ultrasound training.
  • What are your average wait times? Boarding times?
  • How are traumas and codes managed?
  • How comfortable are your residents in treating

Questions to Ask your Interviewer
  • Are conference times protected off-service?
  • What, if any, simulation labs do you have?
  • How do you incorporate feedback from your
  • Why is your curriculum structured the way it is?
  • Is moonlighting allowed?
  • Do you offer maternity/paternity leave?
  • Where do most of the residents live?

Illegal Interview Questions
  • There are certain topics that are illegal for
    your interviewer to ask
  • If you bring these things up anywhere in your
    application then theyre fair game for discussion
  • If you get asked one of the following questions,
    you are not legally required to answer
  • How you respond is up to you, but be aware that
    your interviewer is breaking the rules

Illegal Interview Questions
  • Ethnicity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Birthplace
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Marital/family status (this includes
    having/planning to have kids)

Shifts on Interview Day
  • This is a great opportunity to meet and work with
    attendings and residents
  • You can get a sense of department flow and pt
  • People will get to know you better
  • This is essential if you really like a program
    but didnt rotate there
  • Time and energy permitting, you should do this at
    every interview (good luck!)
  • Several hours in the department is better than

Choosing a program one size does not fit all
  • Criteria how to avoid depression during
  • Supportiveness of the residency director
  • Proximity of family/ease of travel home
  • Shift length/call schedule
  • Vacation time
  • Personalities of other residents
  • Atmosphere in ED/hospital
  • Chaos of department
  • Commute time/bike commuting
  • Feeling excited to start
  • Proximity of activities that you like

Program Details Things to pay attention to
  • Shift length
  • Ultrasound training
  • Elective time--how much and what you can do with
  • Number of ICU months, ward months and ED months
  • How far in advance schedule is made
  • Dictation versus EMR
  • Integrated peds
  • Peds sedation
  • Procedural sedation
  • Service excellence
  • Pain control
  • Patient population underserved,
    Spanish-speaking, etc.
  • Graded responsibility (managing flow)
  • Teaching possibility
  • Trauma/Airway Management
  • Radiology training

Perks to Consider
  • Orientation month
  • Retreats
  • National/Intl Conferences paid for
  • Educational stipend
  • Parking
  • Food
  • Insurance Benefits
  • Cost of Living vs Salary

Making Your Rank List the way the match works
  • (National Residency Matching
  • The process begins with an attempt to place an
    applicant into the program indicated as most
    preferred on that applicant's list.
  • If the applicant cannot be matched to this first
    choice program, an attempt is then made to place
    the applicant into the second choice program, and
    so on, until the applicant obtains a tentative
    match, or all the applicant's choices have been

Making Your Rank List the way the match works
  • Some program directors might say things like,
  • If you want to come to our program, then you
    have to rank us first.
  • Does this make sense?

Making Your Rank List the way the match works
  • The NRMP uses the applicants rank ordered list
    (ROL) preferentially to match
  • If you want to go to a program that you think may
    be a reach for you, you should still rank it 1
  • If your 1 program ranks you at the top of its
    list, thats where you go-- if youre at the
    bottom, you probably wont go there
  • If your first choice program ranks others above
    you, but those people dont rank that program at
    the top of their lists, and they match somewhere
    else, then you can still match at your first
    choice program

Making Your Rank List the way the match works
  • Its true that if you want to go to a program you
    should rank it 1
  • But if you rank a great program 2, 3, etc you
    could still go there if you are high on their
    list and you dont get your first choice
  • NRMP statistics show that if you rank 10
    programs, you will almost assuredly match, though
    maybe at 10.
  • Therefore, aim to interview at 12-13 programs so
    that you dont have to rank programs that you
    really dislike to get to 10
  • Remember rank your first-choice-dream program 1!!

Second Looks When to do them
  • Some say doing a second look at your first choice
    program is necessary (eg. shows commitment)
  • This is probably not true
  • Second looks are expensive and take time, for
    both you and the program
  • Doing a second look makes sense if
  • You are bringing a spouse along for the first
  • You really cant decide where you want to go

Second Look Etiquette
  • If you really feel you need to go back to show
    your commitment, contact the program director,
    let them know youre thinking about doing a 2nd
    look to show your enthusiasm/commitment
  • They will most likely tell you this isnt
  • If you do go
  • Do not request more time (eg no extra interviews
    or meetings with director)
  • Shift shadowing is ok
  • Remember, you should be doing this for yourself!
  • Play it cool, you dont want to seem like a pain

Beware the False Love
  • You may get VERY positive emails, letters, phone
    calls after your interviews
  • This is very flattering and exciting
  • Just remember, every programs main objective is
    for you to rank them highly
  • Try not to let praise influence your rank
    list--do whats right for you!

How to Decide
  • Everyone has different values and criteria
  • It doesnt matter what is most important to you,
    just that you figure out what that is, and make
    your decision using this as your compass
  • Truthfully, what you learn depends on the effort
    you place into learning
  • Really, you will get a good education where ever
    you go
  • Our advice go where you think you will be

Good Luck!
  • Feel free to contact the following people for
  • R1
  • R1
  • R1
  • R1
  • R2
  • R2
  • R2
  • R2
  • R3
  • R3
  • R3
  • R3