13 October 2014

Med School Update: Applying to Residencies

I would like to say here and now that fourth year is no bueno.

Sure, there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel.

In general, though, "the tunnel" hasn't been all that bad... except this last stretch. Why?

1) Because the students of COMP-NW (and many osteopathic medical schools, as well as some allopathic schools) spend the first half of their fourth year traveling to all of the various residencies to which they want to apply. These audition rotations are great for Scott, as he shines in person and is able to get a feel for whether the residency would be a good fit. However, Scott will spend approximately five weeks at home between July and December. That part is no bueno.

2) Applying to residencies is almost exactly like applying to medical school back in the beginning, and that was a big no bueno in my book. Hopefully by the beginning of fourth year (if not earlier) your student has decided how they want to spend the rest of their lives. Then they have to look at all the potential residencies in the United States. Even if your student knows what attributes they like best in a residency, it can be tricky figuring out which residencies would be a good fit for your application (there wasn't a search for sports experience on FREIDA). Is there a sweet spot for number of residencies to apply to? I've heard 10. I've heard 20. Some say apply to them all. It probably depends on the specialty your student has chosen to pursue.

Then you have the essays... Describe - in the most entertaining, but profound manner - why you want to be the bestest doctor in the world. Not that again!

Is this the face of someone who loves writing application essays?

The list of application no Buenos goes on: applications fees, the stress of waiting for invitations to residency interviews, the interviews themselves, THE MATCH!

You get the picture.

3) Fourth year is expensive. Students are still paying tuition, not being paid for working hours, paying to travel for rotations, shelling out applications fees, paying for travel to interviews, paying for travel to boards that can only take place in Pennsylvania... It's a good thing Scott has a sugar mama like me.


Now that I have sufficiently described for you how fourth year is no bueno, and all med students and med school wives should bask in the glory that is Years 1-3...

You should know that we are doing great! Not sarcastic. All things are copasetic. Despite how not cool this year is formatted to be, we've gotten used to some not cool things and have learned to just keep swimming.

In August applications opened for residencies connected to osteopathic medical schools. Scott decided not to apply to any osteopathic residencies. This is not a reflection on the quality of residencies or osteopathic opportunities. He would love to keep up his OMM training. It just so happens that the majority of the residencies Scott has elected to apply for are connected to allopathic medical schools. Since the osteopathic residency match happens before the allopathic residency match this year (supposedly will change in future years); Scott decided that if his top choices were in the allopathic match, he would be better off only applying there. Allopathic residency applications opened in September.

I did a lot of researching on residencies for Scott. We were lucky to find a list of five residencies that were an ├╝ber good fit for Scott (great sports medicine integration in the curriculum, some with OMM training too). Since Scott felt fairly confident after completing his first audition that he could be accepted into one of his top five choices, we supplemented that initial list with five more (sweet spot of 10?) residencies in the western United States with decent sports experience included in the curriculum.

Because I know you're curious, and because I love maps, here they are:

D.C. is the capital, not a residency. A residency in Hawaii (yes, ma'am!) is that star in the Pacific Ocean.

Interviews will begin in November. Scott has heard back from the residencies where he has already done audition rotations. We are thinking that in some cases auditions may be given first priority for interviews. One of Scott's audition rotations offered for him to go through the interview process before he left, which is a nice way to save on travel expenses... not to mention the effort of taking time off from the rotation he would have be on during interview season. We are still waiting to hear back from most of the residencies to which he applied.

Like I said, all things copasetic.