Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Making a list

So we started the first step of applying to residency - and for us that was making a list. A list of all the programs we want to apply to. Since we expect the process to be quite competitive, Drew set a target of applying to around 30 programs (in order to increase his odds of matching). First we considered all the programs where we currently have friends and family. Next we looked at the remaining programs all over the country and thought "do we really want to live here?" This allowed us to eliminate the programs that were in locations that we could never imagine ourselves living - for example, Wyoming (no offense). We also looked at certain programs in which we decided - "No, I wouldn't ordinarily want to live in Timbucktoo, but I would live there if you got into program X." And through that very scientific process we were able to come up with our list of roughly 30 programs.


Jaidi and Justin Clayton and Family! said...

I got to your blog from the wives of Doctors blog. We are at the same point. One thing that we did, that you might find helpful, is we took the list on Freida and converted it in a Excel file and then added all sorts of applicable info. We added cost of living column and then came up with the difference between Salary and Cost of living. Logically it would make sense to live somewhere that the cost of living is closer to the salary. We added a bunch of other things as well. Anything that you would like to have in the town you can add a column to look include it as well. We heard from an new resident in the Ortho program that he wished he had applied to more like 40 programs instead of just 30. Right now our list is sitting at 38...

Davita said...

We didn't do an excel spread sheet, we had friends who did, but we did look at programs on Freida (the informations isn't always accurate) as well as program websites. You really aren't going to know, until you interview at the program. For ortho, if you are strong candidate, 30 to 40 programs is plenty. The thing that sucks about ortho is that there will be at least 4 or 5 dates that 6 or more programs will interview on, so you will have to chose and drop interviews because of it. My husband applied to 35, received 19 invites, interviewed at 13, and ranked 15. We really wanted to go West, in particular back home to CA. I did not want to go East or South. So, in picking programs to apply to we picked mainly West and Midwest programs. The most East was Cleveland.

Applying for a competitive residency doesn't leave much room for being too picky. You really fear not matching because so many people don't. That said, things we considered when making the rank list were "feel" for the program and the residents, gut feelings, proximity to family, medical benefits, salary, COL, access to good schools, and quality of living. We ranked them ALL, even the places we ended up hating because it was still ortho and you just want to match. Residency sucks, especially surgical residences but I really encourage you to really pay attention to how the residents get along and the feel of the program. If there is a get together, how the spouses/SOs get along with each other. Vibes. Especially if you are moving away from any familial support. If the people are really not friendly and a bit overly full of themselves, chances are that your spouse is going to be miserable and so are you. Big name programs can be important but in the end of the day, they all take the same national boards (ask how the program does on their boards, orthos take the OITE every year) and there are plenty of non big name programs that have awesome training with lots of other perks like being "family friendly." You will find that many of the programs do not invite or welcome spouses/SOs to the interviews and then there will be some of them that do but will have such stinky unfriendly attitudes that you will wonder why they even bothered doing it. Best of luck. The whole process is still so raw.

Jaidi and Justin Clayton and Family! said...


I used that for the cost of living. I put in 45000 for Lubbock which is where we live and then put in the zip code for wherever I wanted to find the cost of living for. I did 45000 because that is roughly what we would be making here and that would give us a good comparison between here and other cities. 45000 in Lubbock is a good start, because Lubbock is so cheap. I would put whatever income you would get at your school for first year and the city you live in. Then you can compare them to whatever city you are in now.

My husband was told to apply to lots of programs because you can always cancel interviews. If you have 11 scheduled (the magic number for Ortho according to 2008 match on Careers in Medicine) and you recieve invites for 5 more, you can either do the 5 more and teh 11 or be picky about which of the 16 you do want to do. It is always okay to cancel interviews, but if you don't get an invite, then you can't consider/rank it. We are going to rank at LEAST 11, but we will pick and choose as the interview season goes on which ones we will actually go on...That all assuming of course that we get the interviews!

There are 158 ortho programs, and we definitely won't do that many. But we are dropping all california schools and Florida school (Price and hurricanes respectively) And being picky about the rest. We are apply7ing to almost all the programs within 900 miles too, that Justin can drive too by himself to save money on flights. We will use the AMAA (Alliance) interview hosting program for housing as much as possible to save money on Hotels. So that is what our plan is right now.

jaidiclayton@gmail.com if you want to email me!

joz1234 said...

Wow! I thought I was a planner...but I have nothing on all of you. Our residency application conversation went about like: "I'm going to apply to X, X, X...etc..."

"okay!" was all I said.

Now we are applying to Fellowship programs...

Again, he came to me and said, I am applying to these 12 programs.

My response? "Okay, but if we go to UCLA, you have to be able to moonlight because it will be really expensive"

That's it.

Thankfully we have not heard from UCLA

Davita said...

Some of the programs can get really pissy about canceling interviews. There will also be some programs that will rescind your invite if you don't respond by a certain deadline as well. Being able to drive to the interviews is really smart as well.

Jaida, have you guys checked out orthogate.org?

Marissa, is there are certain part of the country that you guys would like to end up?

I think the most useful things you can attempt to do are 1) be open minded to the possibilities and 2) try not to get your heart set on one particular place. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. And so the match goes. If your heart is REALLY set on one place and it doesn't happen, it is so devastating. I still cringe when I think back to everyone telling us not to worry because my husband was such a great candidate, he'll match at his #1, blah blah. EVERYONE has good stuff. Sometimes you get your number 1 and sometimes you don't. For me, it's better to prepare for the latter.

I am so not looking forward to applying to fellowships this time next year.

Married to a med student - Marissa Nicole said...

Davita - (I couldn't find an email to respond to your questions so maybe you'll see my response here) Thank you for all the advice. Ideally we would like to stay in the midwest- I hate change and am terrified of moving across the country, and I am also very worried about being devastated on match day and ruining it for my husband. Anyway I can get your email to elaborate further?

Married to a med student - Marissa Nicole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Married to a med student - Marissa Nicole said...

Davita I meant to say can I get your email. If so my contact me at: marriedtoamedicalstudent@gmail.com

The Plunks said...

I found your site from Wives of Doctors blog. It is great to see that the two of you are really researching programs together. I wish I would have been more involved in the process. I told my husband I wanted to stay in the midwest but didn't even look at his rank list past #3. Match Day was devastating for me (and our families) when we found out we were moving across the country (Illinois to Washington) to the one place I said I wouldn't be willing to go. We'll survive but it has made intern year much tougher. So be prepared to go wherever he ranks no matter where it is on the list. It is so exciting when interview invites start coming in. I would suggest you try to go on some interviews with him especially for some of your top programs. It will give you a chance to check out the town and get a feel for the place. It will also give you a chance to spend time with him because interview season gets very busy. Good luck!