Since we’ve started VetMed Survival Guide, many people have asked us the same question:
If you were to do it again, what would you have changed on your VIRMP application?
In case you have the same question, we’ve decided to share this with you. You’ll hopefully learn from our missteps/mistakes and avoid them! Unfortunately, some of what we’ll describe is very common and can certainly hurt your application and chances of successfully get selected for an advanced training position.
Here we go!!
1) Trying harder in school and aim for higher grades
If you’re thinking about advanced training (and even if you don’t), you should try your best. There are many reasons for this, but in essence, some programs in the Match eliminate candidates with low(er) GPAs without even looking at the rest of their applications!! The cut off will be variable but do you really want your application to be discarded so quickly?
2) Not keeping an updated CV
Way too much time was spent making sure everything relevant was included. Regardless of where you are in your career, you should always have an updated CV that is ready to go! Even if not for advanced training positions, you never know when you’ll meet someone at a conference that will ask for it!
3) Not writing the letter of intent earlier
It would have allowed more time for revisions and comments from other people / mentors.
4) Not making comments about the programs while reading their descriptions
We wasted a lot of time going back and forth trying to find specific information. With so much going on at the same time (clinical rotations, studying for the NAVLE, the Match), save yourself some time and go hang out with your friends for a bit!
5) Take care of transcripts earlier
Since I had to have transcripts translated and mailed in from overseas, it took almost 6 weeks for the VIRMP to receive them. By the time they arrived, the deadline was in 3 days. There was a lot of avoidable stress if I had done it earlier. For non-foreign applicants, this won’t be much of an issue, but don’t leave it for last!
6) Applying to certain programs just because of their reputation
Choosing because of reputation and not necessarily because they’d be a good fit for us (and vice-versa) is a problem and should be avoided! If you’re not into emergency medicine and you’re applying to a reputable program that has 65% plus ER duty, what are the chances that you’ll be happy there?
7) Submitting an inadequate rank order list
Don’t rank programs that ultimately you don’t want to go to. Make sure it is a good fit and that you’d like to go there.
Otherwise, don’t! If you end up matching at a program you don’t really want to go to, you’re making your life harder for the upcoming year (or three!).
Check out this post for more information: Have you picked your VIRMP rank order list?
Well, you ended up matching so does it matter what you’d do differently?
We did, but not the always desirable back to back vet school-internship-residency that everyone wants!
I didn’t match the first time I applied for an internal medicine residency and my wife ended up scrambling on her internship application. If we had done things differently, would we still be in the list of applicants that didn’t get a position? Hard to say! Every year the applicant pool is slightly different, and every year really good applicants go unmatched. That doesn’t mean your application wasn’t good, it might simply mean the applicant pool was really strong that year or your rank order lists were the complete opposite of the programs that ranked you. Regardless of what the reason was (and you won’t know what led to that), the goal is to always think about what you can do to make you a better candidate for the next round of applications!
Sometimes you’re meant not to get a position
Remember, it does happen that things happen for a reason! Not matching the first time I applied for a residency allowed me to meet my wife and I ended up matching with a fantastic program the year after. That’s a great win-win situation wouldn’t you say?
Lastly, check out our eBook. It is a one of a kind resource if you want a step by step approach to the veterinary matching program!