Hey all,Currently an MS3 halfway through the year, ready to get serious about applying for urology in the next match. One thing that I just cannot seem to find concrete breakdown of is how aways should be scheduled.So far, since my year ends some time in June, I am assuming the following:Home institution elective in urology in July, and aways in August and Sept? Is that the standard? Chairman letter and another faculty letter at home, and another two at the aways?If this is all true, I expect my application to be submitted early in September without the third elective grade/letter in. Again, is this typical?Thanks for any tips! Fear and confusion consume me. :P
Deep breath. Yes that is "typical". But not standard.
That sounds like a pretty decent plan.
Ideally, you would do home in June. Then two aways n July and August allowing for you to submit the application on Sept 1st. By the time invitations for interviews start coming in (middle/end of september) you would have that last letter from august. I did July, August, September because I had no other choice scheduling wise. I had the letter from september month by mid october and at that time more than half interview invitations were sent out. To make it simple, what your planning works. The only advice I would give is that the rotation/letter you get from August will be the one that most programs will see (other than home) in deciding whether to invite you for an interivew. So if your between 2 programs, choose the one in august that would give you a stronger letter so its in your application as early as possible. Other than that, your plan sounds great, its what most people end up doing. Also if your medical school has a strong urology department with well known faculty in the community, then I wouldn't sweat it at all because those will end up being the important letters in your application. Hope this helps.
Hey uroh,Don't be confused, there really is no set game plan that every single applicant follows. Yes, the typical path is what you described- home sub-I in July, and 2 aways in August and September. However, I actually only did one away rotation, because I had my fourth letter coming from somewhere else. This worked out very well, and the utility of a second away could be debated. Alternatively, if you have the month of June free, you could do your sub-I at home in June and push things up one month.One more piece of advice- don't rely of VSAS to get you an away rotation at a program. I didn't hear back from any of the programs I actually applied to through VSAS, and initially I shied away from programs that require letters of recommendation to do an away. However, these programs are good ones, so I would ask your chairman's advice on where to do an away, and also if he/she would be willing to write you a letter for a away. Hope this helps!
When are you planning on taking step 2 uroh?Can anyone comment on whether step 2 is needed and whether or not programs asked you about it during interviews?
I took my Step 2 right before Christmas of 4th year, after interviewing. I did well on step 1, interviewed at many top and mid-tier places, and was never once asked about my lack of step 2. I know there's a rumor that UCSF requires step 2, but that's not true!If you do well on step 1 and don't feel you need to bring up your score, take it after interviews.
There is no set formula to do this. I did my home uro rotation in August, away in September, away in October. Got my away chairmen letter in September late but it still got there. Most interviews you get are based off your step 1 scores anyways. Just do it the way your school unfortunately gives it to you. Kind of have to go with the flow on this one.
Whew, thanks for the comments. I guess it's reassuring that there really is a lot of variation in this, depending on what your institution's scheduling allows, luck of the draw with VSAS, etc. I guess what I'm gathering from this is that the August away will be extremely important. As such, what type of program should I be shooting for? A "reach" (I imagine so, being an average applicant) program that I would really like to end up at, or a more middle ground place in a geographical location that makes sense for me? Additionally, can anyone comment on the August away versus an "audition" away (I only hear about these concepts, I don't truly have a grasp of them)? Are they the same? If not, what is different about their approach?As for step 2 scheduling, my step 1 is in the 240s and I don't think I am planning to take Step 2 before apps. Honestly, this is mostly because I don't want to deal with the pressure of doing well. I feel like I will have a pretty run-of-the-mill app, not stellar by any means. A great step 2 score probably wouldn't contribute much, in my mind, whereas underperforming would be a bad sign. I will probably go with the option of witholding the score unless I decide to release them, so I will probably take it some time in the Oct-Dec months.
I would spend June -September trying to calm down so you don't seem neurotic on interviews. Seriously, though, none of it matters. Do well at your home institution, do well at 1 or 2 aways, and get some good letters from all of the above. If you look good on paper, and you don't come off as weird in interveiws, you'll be set.
If you come from a home institution with a strong Uro department, I wouldn't even sweat doing 2 aways - I think one away at another institution is plenty. I simply did 2 rotations at my home institution and ZERO aways because 1) I couldn't figure out where I wanted to do an away (I was pretty open to matching most anywhere), and 2) I was broke. However, this all depends if you really want to match at a certain program, if you feel it would help you match into a certain region of the country, etc. Just make sure to set aways up as early as possible bc the most desireable spots fill up fast!