First off, for those of you who just found out you did not match, my sincere condolences. Having been in your shoes last year, I know it's a terrible feeling and I urge you to take some time recover and rethink things before taking the next step.
If you should decide to pursue a research year and re-apply (and for med students looking to take a gap year before applying), I'd like to share a fantastic research opportunity at the University of Utah that I've participated in this past year and would strongly recommend.
A few details:
Location: University of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT
Title: Urologic Oncology Research Fellow
Primary mentors: William T Lowrance, MD, MPH and Heidi Hanson, PhD, MS
Responsibilities: Simply put, be academically productive. You will have a very flexible schedule and nobody will micro-manage you. You will decide which projects to work on and will be first author of projects that you do the majority of the work for. All faculty are very approachable and love to have a motivated research guy around, and you are encouraged to work on projects with whomever you like (and Dr. Lowrance will also help you say no to projects you're not interested in, if that happens to be the case). Project opportunities range from clinical outcomes research in uro/onc, infertility, and reconstruction, to population-based studies using the Utah Population Database (UPDB) with a uro/onc focus.
A few reasons that I think you should consider this opportunity above others:
1. People/Support - everyone here is incredibly easy to work with and friendly. When it came time to apply, at least 3-4 faculty members made calls both to help me land more interviews, and to my top choices once I made my ranklist. I had multiple interviewers tell me that they didn't think it's possible for anybody to write more outstanding letters. I missed over 1 month of work for interviews with the complete support of my mentors.
2. Productivity - as with anything, what you make of it. The opportunities are more than plentiful, and with the UPDB team, in many cases the data pulling and analysis is done for you and you just have to write the paper. By the end of my time here, I will have:
14/15 abstracts, including 2 podium presentations at Western Section of AUA, 1 at SUO, and 1 podium at the main AUA in Boston
5-7 papers, including an AUA update on prostate cancer screening
3. Location/ Quality of Life - SLC is heaven for anyone who remotely likes to be outside - 4 ski resorts <45 mins away, incredible bike/running/hiking trails, and is just absolutely beautiful year round. For those who like music/arts, I'm told it's got a great art/music scene and museums (though I confess I've not explored this too much firsthand). Cost of living/rent is very low and I've been living in a very nice furnished room for $700/month 10 minutes away from work.
All in all, I've had an amazing year that has been relaxing, productive, and most importantly, resulting in a successful match.
For those interested in applying, please send a CV and ERAS application to email@example.com. For questions (whether about the research year or just input about what to do if you don't match) email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Very best wishes to everyone and I hope to see you all become my future colleagues!