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If you’re applying to smaller specialties — like surgery subspecialties, ophthalmology, dermatology, rad/onc, PM&R, etc — you’ll often find that programs only have a few interview dates to choose from. Schedule your interviews strategically so that you don’t miss out on an interview simply because you have a conflict.
Each year, interviews tend to cluster around different weeks or days. The timing of this “cluster” usually depends on the specialty. If given a choice, try not to schedule interviews on those dates. You never know if you’ll need to keep those dates open in case a program has only one interview date, or if you receive a last-minute “trickle” interview from somewhere else for one of those dates. You can often find interview dates from prior years on the program’s website to get a sense of when interviews usually get scheduled.
In general, there aren’t as many interviews at the very beginning of the season, and interviews also thin out towards the end. So try to schedule your interviews either at the beginning or at the end of the season.
Pro tip: for programs you’re really interested in, schedule their interviews in the middle. That way, you’ll get a little practice before those interviews, but you won’t be super burned-out at the end of the interview trail.
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