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Applying to Backup Specialty, Does it Work?
by StepTaker 08-28-2013, 05:58 PM

Many of you would disagree with what I am going to say in this article. In fact, even residency application experts such those commercial companies that help residency applicants might also strongly disagree with my opinion.

However, I just want to make my point here and explain why I think that applying to backup specialty is not a good idea and leave it to you guys to decide for yourself.

Now let's ask the question. Why do people apply to backup specialty? This is because they think that they'll likely fail in getting residency in their primary specialty of interest. When you anticipate failure, it will happen. When you anticipate success, it will happen. If from the first block you think that you might not succeed then how you are going to walk the the remaining blocks? you will never do it.

I strongly believe that to succeed in getting into residency in such a competitive job market where thousands of applicants apply to a small program that takes five residents, then you have to be good and you have to be unique and you have to be focused to get their attention.

You should focus on one and only one specialty. Your electives, observerships, volunteering, LoRs, research, and personal statement should all work toward that goal specialty. You should build up your CV with one aim, being a great applicant in that specialty.

If you apply to backup specialties you will likely be erratic, jumping from this LoR to that LoR and from USCE to another so that when people look at your timeline, they'll see a haphazard aimless wandering. Program directors are not fool, they'll quickly spot you out and your application will be dropped out with a mere click of a mouse.

Even worse, some people do not even prepare anything for the backup specialty, they have their entire CV aiming at Internal Medicine and then they apply to 100 programs of Family Medicine, just in case! I think that's a total waste of money.

When I am a PD, the single most important factor that convince me about you is the fact that I see a determined, focused, elegant, smart applicant who really wants to work in my field and who's CV demonstrate that.

These are just my 2 cents and as I said in the beginning, many people might disagree.

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Old 10-23-2013
 
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What advices would you provide those who're aiming for a surgical residency program? I've read a lot about how's and areas of focus, I just want a personal advice. I'm about to graduate next summer, in the middle of my step 1 prep, haven't done any research yet, and no USCE. I'm currently doing my surgical rounds, any advice on what I should do now to help strengthen my application later? I'd profoundly appreciate any counsel.

Thank you
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Old 05-02-2014
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mo-tongji View Post
What advices would you provide those who're aiming for a surgical residency program? I've read a lot about how's and areas of focus, I just want a personal advice. I'm about to graduate next summer, in the middle of my step 1 prep, haven't done any research yet, and no USCE. I'm currently doing my surgical rounds, any advice on what I should do now to help strengthen my application later? I'd profoundly appreciate any counsel.

Thank you
Do elecvtives and get some clinical experience under your belt
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Old 07-21-2014
 
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Thank you..Really useful information that help the student and get extra ordinary results.
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Old 08-24-2015
 
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I do totally agree.
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Old 12-14-2015
 
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You are completely right, I totally agree with you.
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Old 04-09-2016
 
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i hope i don't have to do a backup
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Old 05-16-2016
 
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Thank you for this!
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Old 08-08-2016
 
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Great post

Great post. A very important point indeed.
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