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Lives of Doctor Wives: Applying to residency

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Applying to residency

Perhaps these are questions for survivor Saturdays but now that we are beginning the application process I have a few more specific questions...
  • How many programs did your husband/significant other apply to?
  • Of those programs how many interviews did he take?
  • Did you apply all over the country?
  • Roughly how much did you spend?
  • Any advice on personal statements - from what I hear these don't generally help you and are viewed as only having the ability to hurt you?
  • Any other advice?

I know some of those may be personal questions- but if any of you care to share it would be much appreciated! I will be documenting the whole application process on my personal blog, and am also planning on keeping track of every cent it costs.

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Blogger JumpingJane said...

I had just met J right as he was starting this whole process... So my memory is a bit sketchy... Im probably not going to be the biggest help, but I know J was accepted to at least 13 interviews and went on quite a few of them. He hit two in Boston, two in north Carolina, one in st louis, California, Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado... and I might be forgetting a few. They say depending on the specialty how many you should take. So to answer your questions specifically, he applied to around 20ish was accepted to about 13, interviewed with about 10, interviewed from east to west coast, and spent a lot. He kept it a little cheaper by using things like price line and naming his own price on hotels, or staying with friends when they were in the area. He was also able to double up on some of the interviews when they were close by. I think one of the biggest things to look at, is make sure he really talks to the current residents to see if they are happy with the program, and take a look at the town its in. Could you really live there for however many years the residency is (in my case 5-7). Anyway, Im sorry if this doesnt help at all, but good luck!

July 15, 2009 at 7:09 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

M applied to over 50 programs, invited to 12, and interviewed at all of them. I really don't know how much it cost. He interviewed all over the country. A few of them reimbursed him, so that was a bit of a relief from the expense. I think the more competitive the residency, the more programs you should apply to.

July 15, 2009 at 8:47 AM  
Blogger Davita said...

-applied to 35 programs
-invited to 19
-interviewed at 13 (had to give up some interviews due to conflicting dates, ortho is notorious for purposely doing this)
-West and Midwest (interviewed multiple programs in CA, 2 in MI, NM, KS, Iowa, Cleveland, Chicago, Saint Louis)
-He had a stretch where he had back to back interviews for 4 days straight all over the country (that sucked and it was during the ice storms and had to scramble to get on earlier flights)
-Spent probably about 5k
-I think that the personal statement is a tool to make sure that you can write coherently
-The "little things" matter and help to set you apart from the mountain of 300 plus applications that all have the same grades and board scores. On almost every interview they asked him about "little things" in his application like his induction into the Football Hall of Fame as a Senior in HS, the prize winning paper he wrote, " The Irish and the Potato" while in undergrad, and his charcoal drawings. I believe one of the places had him draw something. He was also asked about his favorite book and song. The interview is REALLY about seeing if the applicant is going to fit in at their program.

July 15, 2009 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Melisa said...

I'm trying to block it out... Brad applied to both ENT and general surgery since ENT is so hard to get into. But that ended up being a bad thing because of how applications are sent automatically. Some places got the wrong application. Ugh. It was a mess.

He was already on an out-of-state rotation during October, so he was close to many of the places he interviewed. Well, close as in drivable. He only had to fly to a few interviews.

It can get expensive!

July 16, 2009 at 4:24 PM  
OpenID joz1234 said...

My hubby applied to about 12 programs (I am estimating--it's been a while ago), and interviewed at 5. Matched at the residency at the medschool he had attended.

Now we are applying to 12 fellowships, have 5 interviews...
hmm...the likeness to residency apps is eerie! The crazy thing is the likelihood he will again stay in the same place is also very great!


July 17, 2009 at 7:20 PM  
Blogger Timani said...

My husband applied late...as in Nov. That hurt him, several slot were filled so he applied to wherever hadn't filled their application slots. His Deans office got after him and said, "it doesn't matter if they say they are full or not taking applications, just apply!" A few of the "full" places ended up interviewing him. He applied to apx 50, 13 invites and 12 interviews. He went out of town twice for 5 days and had a couple of 3 days trips also. I'm not sure how much we spent...not ready to add it up even now! But I will be because IT IS TAX DEDUCTIBLE! (application, travel, lodging and a percentage of entertainment, but NOT food and relocation expenses are also!)

Personal statements...MUST be well written! An absolute must! That is where you sell yourself! Include things that set him apart from the pack. The interviewers may not look at them, but I'm sure when the residency directors or committee are trying to decided between two tied candidates they go over everything and that's is an applicants place to shine.

July 18, 2009 at 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Mrs. D said...

First time commenting on this blog, but I'm the wife of a PGY1 internal medicine resident.

He applied to about 15 programs, got interviews at 10, and attended 9 interviews. He applied only in the midwest and northeast. It was really expensive, but since most of the interviews took place before we got married, I'm not sure exactly what the damage was.

No idea what they are looking for in personal statements, but I agree with Davita's suggestion that the "little things" count. I can't remember the details, but my husband did mention being asked about certain seemingly frivolous things he mentioned in his statement. My guess is that those little idiosyncrasies really make you stand out from the endless stream of interviews.

My advice is go with your spouse to as many interviews as possible. Because of work and cost, I was unable to do this - only went to three. But the three I did attend made me feel like I was part of the decision-making process. Plus, it seemed like my husband appreciated having someone to bounce the interview off of... to share the dinners with... and to share the pressure of meeting all the residents. It was great to be there for him, rather than having to discuss the interview over the phone.

July 19, 2009 at 9:52 PM  

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