As we head into the latter part of October, I just thought I would check in to see how you all were faring. Some specialties are slower than others, and the season does run through January.
If, by the end of the month, you haven’t gotten the number of interview invitations that you need, it’s time to check in. Check in with your advisor, as some specialties are slower than others to get their invitations out.
And feel free to check in with my office.
You should be meeting with your advisor and/or myself if there are concerns. Now might be the time to think about either broadening your application pool or working on that backup plan that might be in order.
Here are a couple of questions that students have asked in the past that might be of interest to you –
On which invites to accept or decline:
A true to life scenario: The typical approach is that if I get interviews from desirable locations and programs, I may cancel some of the less desirable ones and replace them with the new ones. BUT - as so often happens in life - there is a choice to be made: The "cooler" location ones may be more competitive to get into, whereas some of the "less cool" locations may have been my "security" programs. My fear - stated proverbially, at least - is that I might be losing a bird in hand while vainly grasping for two in the bush.
That’s right on, and you need to balance the interviews that you accept. Certainly do take and enjoy some of your highly desired program invites when you receive them, but remember you may interview there but not be chosen ultimately. So also accept some of your acceptable and less competitive safety-net invitations as well.
Are the program directors or other interviewers allowed to ask me where I plan to rank them or where I am interviewing?
No to both questions.
They can’t ask where you plan to rank them. This would be a violation of the NRMP rules. It is inappropriate and a violation for the program to make you feel uncomfortable or pressured. You can volunteer where you are interviewing, but you should not feel coerced to share that information. A generic response such as “ I’m interviewing at a variety of different programs to get a feel for the opportunities out there” should be sufficient. If you get pressed further, change the subject or just say “ I don’t feel comfortable in discussing that”. Be familiar with the rules of the match (and SOAP).
Is it OK to call and ask about an interview offer or to send additional information or LORs to the programs?
It is OK to call the prelim program coordinator if you are interviewing for a categorical program there and you need a prelim year. It is also OK to call if your couples match partner has gotten an interview in a program and you are still waiting. Be selective about making phone calls and sending additional letters of rec, grades, updates to publications or awards. Such communications can become annoyances, so try to estimate the impact such actions might have.
How should I interview in the programs I am not quite as interested in?
You should interview as if they are your number one choice! It is important to put your best foot forward throughout this process. Interview as though you really want to go there, you can always change your mind later. There will not be a chance to go back and do over, so be your best, most enthusiastic, sincere self and enjoy the chance to see what other places and programs do, even if they are not at the top of your list.
Let us know if there’s anything we can do to be of further help to you at this stage.
Stay in touch.