Humans of CaRMS – Anatomical Pathology


Which residency program did you match into? And where?

Toronto Anatomical Pathology

Do you feel that your choice of electives had any impact on your CaRMS match? If yes, please give a brief description?

Yes – my electives were heavily geared towards my top match choices

What did you do with your Med 1 and Med 2 summers? (i.e. exposures, research, etc...)

Research in Toronto in Med 1, Med II research project in Med 2.

What was the best piece of advice you received while going through the match process?

1) From Dr Horton: regard your elective time as precious investments to place in your future, esp. for competitive programs. I dual applied to pathology and internal medicine and only did 1 internal medicine elective (3 week CTU in Toronto) and got interviews for 5/6 IM programs I applied to (UBC, UT, Queens, McGill, Manitoba – no interview at Western).

2) Don’t use your pre-CaRMS elective time to learn new things. Save that for post CaRMS. If you want Internal, do a CTU elective, not a subspecialty.

3) When writing your personal letters (from a UT Internist – this probably only applies to competitive programs.) – regard it as a job application, not a personal statement. Paragraph 1: Why Internal? Paragraph 2: Vivid story that illustrates this. Paragraph 3: Why you? (What makes you a good fit? Why will you thrive?) Paragraph 4: Why Toronto (for ACADEMIC not personal reasons)? There’s no need to be creative. Just be straightforward and talk about SPECIFIC things that happened IN MEDICAL SCHOOL – this attending literally said to me that he stops reading if you mention your grandmother or the bone you broke as a kid.

What was the most valuable lesson or experience you had while going through the match process? Can you describe this?

If, by January, you 100% don’t want to go to a program and can afford to not rank it, don’t go to the interview. There were several programs I interviewed for as “backups” or “practice” but in the end I didn’t even rank them because I strongly disliked the program. One in particular made for a very long travel day which affected my interview the next day for a program I did really want.

If you could go back and change anything during pre-clerkship or clerkship, what would you change?

Would have shadowed more in pre-clerkship – had a very hard time deciding what to go for. Summers – I was repeatedly told research isn’t that highly valued (even by Toronto! They need clinicians too!). Go develop something you really enjoy. You’ll never have time off like that again.

Clerkship – one thing I did right – ask for reference letters right after the rotation, ask in person at your FITER, send the actual email asking again/confirming during CaRMS.

What did you do in your four years of medical school that you found to be the most helpful during the CaRMS process?

Do a good job during clerkship and electives. I think my reference letters really helped. When writing your personal letter, draw out a clear storyline. Think about your “personal narrative”.

Do you have any final words of wisdom or advice? If yes, do tell.

If you can’t choose between two specialties and you would be equally happy doing both, pick the one with the better lifestyle (I’m biased)