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Time Table for Ophthalmology Match (SF Match)

October 19th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Applying for Ophthalmology residency can often be very frustrating, because you need to start applying at the beginning of 4th year, but many schools preclude doing an ophthalmology rotation prior to the beginning of 4th year.  As a result, getting letters of recommendation can be rushed/tedious process, but don’t worry most candidates are in the same boat.  Since only a few of your classmates embark on this path each year, often there is little help from the facility and admin office, but fear not, the application process is no different than medical school/college and is easy with a bit of planning.

For an in-depth look at the match please see my sleep-deprived post-call rant and my mildly more coherent post on the interview process.

Time Line: Based on 2010 application
1st, 2nd, 3rd year: If you are fortunate enough to know you want to ophthalmology early, during your first or second year contact the ophtho program director and ask if there is a research project you can assist with.  You will likely be tacked onto a second year resident’s project.  Most projects are very easy, and allows you to get to know the attending and residents, and more importantly they get to know you.  This will put you in a very good position to get good letters of recommendation and a publication is great.
April – May of 3rd year: If you medical school permits, do your 1 month sub-internship (or elective) in ophtho.  This will give you good exposure to ophthalmology.  Let you get to know the staff when few people are doing aways.  The residents are well-seasoned, so the attendings will teach the medical students more.  Do a grandrounds (it actually easy).  Ask for at least 2 letters of recommendation.   And this will allow you to start applying to away rotations in July  (This is key because it will allow you to get letters of recommendation from 2 institutions)
April – June of 3rd year: Get your letter of recommendation from your non-ophthalmology person.  Remember for SF match you need to send the letter (not the admissions office).
May of 3rd Year: Start applying for your aways.  Please see my rant about where to apply.
June of 3rd year: SF Match application opens.  Download the application and start working on it.
July of 4th Year: If you have not already done so, do your Sub-I at your home school.  If you have already done one or cannot get a sub-I at home, do an away.  It is critical that at the end of this month you have at least two ophthalmology letters of recommendation in your possession by the end of the month.  Some programs (notably Tulane, require a 4th chairman’s letter, now is a good time to ask)
Last week of July, 4th Year: Have attendings (letter writers) review your application/personal statement.
August 1st, 4th Year: Target date for sending in application.  Yes, I know SF match’s target is Sept 1st.  But you want your application to go out on the first CD that SF sends.  This gives you time to guilt trip attendings to finish their letter of recommendation.  Early is always good.
August 14st, 4th Year: If SF Match has not sent an automated confirmation letter, call them to confirm they have the complete application.
September 10-14th, 4th Year:  The SF match is infamous for messing up distribution lists.  If a program is important to you, contact the program coordinator to ensure your application made it.  Now is opportune time to express your interest in the program and say that something extra that is not on your application.  Ignore this step at great peril.
October 26: Release date for Dean’s Letters is Nov 1st.  BUT they can be send it early, so the delivery date will be on Nov 1st.
October-December, 4th Year: Interview season
December, 4th Year: Rank List
January 6th, 4th Year: Rank list due – do not change at last minute, SF Match is infamous for being unable to confirm a new list at the last minute
January 14th, 4th Year: Match Day

See not so bad 😉

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