Just as the interviewers at all those residency programs are asking you questions, getting to know you, and determining if you'd make a good fit (match) there, you are doing the same.
Depending on your personality, cognitive style, and emotional framework, you might be keeping a detailed spreadsheet (click here for sample
) on each program where you have applied and had an interview. Or, you might think back upon your interview day and on the program with a more holistic view. Whichever your style, now is a good time to organize your thoughts, makes notes (oh, and send thank you notes
), and keep track of what you learned, felt, and experienced so that the programs don't all blur together. It is
okay to ask follow up questions of your interviewers, residents, or program staff in the upcoming months, if
there is something meaningful that you want to ask and you compose the questions and conduct yourself professionally.
What data might you be putting into your spreadsheet? Of course, there are features like the size of program and geography/weather, but also... does the program have any special (clinical, advocacy, research, educational, cultural, elective, fun) opportunities that interest you? The ACGME has things pretty well spelled out as to the program requirements in order to be accredited, but there are also other things like the feel of the place, the people, the distinguishing features of the program, the benefits (stipends, vacations, etc), the call rooms, the cafeteria... What is the program's relationship with the broader community? Did you meet residents
when you interviewed, or were they somehow oddly missing (hiding, not there, too busy, not interested, not proud of their program, reluctant to talk with you).
You will ultimately (in 2012 the date is Feb 22) need to put your options in order for your rank list
for the match... omitting from your list only those programs (if any) where you feel it would be worse to train there than be at no residency program at all. Do plan to meet with your adviser(s) again at some point, even though your list is your own private business.Stay tuned for more on MATCH WEEK and the new SOAP-scramble in an upcoming post.