Sunday, April 18, 2010

How To Switch: Know Yourself

Going through the switching process you will do a lot of self analysis. First you have to make your decision, which can involve a lot of thinking and second-guessing yourself. Once you are set to go it is important to sit down and figure out a way to articulate why you are switching fields in a clear, concise manner. If you go through the match again, you will have to write a personal statement, and the new programs that are reviewing your application are going to want to know why you are switching. Even if you pursue a spot outside of the match, programs are going to want a personal statement or a cover letter that explains why you are leaving another field for the one you are applying to. And you will need to be able to explain why you are switching at interviews. I was asked about it at every interview, as I expected, except one where the interviewer said he never understood why anyone would want to be a pathologist in the first place, so there was no need to tell him why I needed to leave. That was quite an interview...

Basically, you need to be able to convince a new program that you have legitimate reasons for switching, that you know why the current field was a bad fit for you, and how you know that the new one will be better. Think about past experiences you can use to make your case. For me looking back to medical school and even before was helpful. Be able to articulate clearly why your current specialty is not working for you and how you came to that conclusion. Have a vision of what your future in the new specialty will look like 5-10 years down the road.


David Prosper said...

congrats on your new match.

Out of curiosity, why Peds?

The Lone Coyote said...

Favorite clinical rotation in medical school by far... love the kids, the people are great, lot of opportunities to make a difference, and on an intellectual level pediatric disease interests me.