DISCLAIMER: Some personal opinions stated below. Fact check everything with the professional organizations themselves and your school when it comes to timelines, auditions, and applications.

Volunteer & Involvement Geared Towards Women’s Health

  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)- Student Membership 
  • Register an account with ACOG early. It is free for students and it gives you access to practice bulletins/clinical guidelines. It is a good way to keep up with networking opportunities and meetings you can go to.
  • They occasionally will send out emails for medical student positions and opportunities for other involvement. Go to district meetings or the annual clinical and scientific meeting if you are able to. If you can get a group of interested students, you can all go and save money by sharing rooms. Network, meet some residents, and try and talk to people on committees you are interested in. 
  • Always apply to positions. You may get rejected but that is OK, keep applying!

2. American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)- Student Membership 

  • It costs $25 for an annual membership. This organization has great advocacy/leadership/research opportunities that you can get involved in. 
  • There is a webpage that shows a list of initiatives and committees that any student can join, with opportunities for leadership roles as well.

3. Health Wagon Clinics, RAM clinics, other local free clinic opportunities in your area

  • Health Wagon and RAM are rural outreach programs
  • You usually get to do quite a bit of clinical work at these and they are relatively easy to volunteer at
  • Find local free clinic opportunities near you
    • Google
    • Cold call clinics in your area
    • Ask the physicians you work with if they know of any opportunities
    • VolunteerMatch

Things to think about 3rd/4th year

Social Media: Open Houses & Residency Showcase

  • Follow residency programs on social media once you have decided what specialty you will be pursuing
  • Programs may host virtual open houses throughout the year. You can get exposure to faculty and residents early on and see if you like their program.
  • Open Houses are different than the Meet&Greets offered during interview season for students that have received an interview.
  • ACOG has previously hosted a virtual “Residency Showcase Week” where individual programs will post on their instagram specific topics everyday for a week. Monday might be: Schedule, Tuesday: Faculty Spotlights, Wednesday: A Day in the Life, etc. etc.

Audition Applications

  • Applications start appearing on VSLO for OB/GYN around March/April.
  • NOT ALL PROGRAMS ARE ON VSLO, but a majority are.
  • Many programs have audition applications through their own website.
  • Clinician Nexus is another site that residencies utilize for audition applications.
  • Some programs don’t offer any. Don’t be afraid to email programs and ask what platform, if any, they use and how to apply if you can’t find anything about it on their website. Do not wait until the program you want doesn’t show up on VSLO to send these emails. The spots will most likely be full if you wait that long, no matter what their application process it.
  • Have a general letter of interest prepared for OB/GYN that you can edit to pertain to specific programs, your CV, a version of your personal statement (doesn’t have to be the same as the one you will use for your real application), a headshot, and your vaccination records at the ready for applications. Some apps may require an updated UDS as well.

Opinion Piece About Auditions:

DISCLAIMER: Very subjective topic
  • There is no magic number of auditions. People who don’t do any auditions will match, and people that do 6 auditions will go unmatched, and vice versa. This is true for most specialties. The number of auditions you do is not the most predictive factor of whether your match will be successful. Do however many auditions you feel is right for you. It is a very true thing that some programs may offer auditions with no intention to interview you in the future.
    • There are many reasons for this but here are the two big ones:
      • Your Step2/Level2 scores may not always be back when you are applying for auditions
      • Many programs offer them on a first come first serve basis
  • The prime time to do auditions is July-December
  • If you are offered an audition after interview release day, and then find out that you have not been offered an interview on release day, do not be afraid to email the program and ask what their protocol is for interviewing auditioners. Program coordinators may be straight up with you, and tell you that they are not planning to interview you. In that case, don’t feel bad about saving your money and time and pulling out of that audition. They are understanding of that and it also gives them the opportunity to offer that spot to someone else on a waitlist.
  • Things to consider when applying for and scheduling auditions:
    • Travel and expense (can you afford to do _# of auditions)
    • Educational opportunities (are you better served at an audition or at your home institution). This seems silly but for some students they are used to hands on experience in surgery or performing deliveries at their home institution. This may not always be the case on your auditions. That being said, the benefit to auditions is:
      • Seeing how the residency program runs
      • Seeing what the day to day life of a resident at each year of training looks like
      • Getting a feel for the culture of the program while you are there
      • Getting face time with faculty and residents and seeing if you would work well with them
      • Getting to meet the PD face to face and make a good impression
    • Preferred programs- There are many approaches to choosing auditions (and when it comes time, signaling on the application)
      • Reach programs- Applying for auditions to reaches could mean that they get a good assessment of you and it could push you into or away from the interview depending on how well you mesh with the program. They could also offer you an audition but have no intention of interviewing you (if they are a first come first serve as mentioned above). I would not do all your auditions at reach programs if you can help it.
      • Good-match programs- You should try to apply to programs that you feel are a good fit for you academically and that you have a good shot at matching to. It is hard to figure out who is a good-match program, but usually you can get some feel of it based on past applicants, advice from mentors if you have them, and by looking up any stats you can find. Applying heavily to good-match programs is a good idea.
      • Safety programs- Applying for an audition somewhere that you feel fairly confident you would get an interview could be a good idea. Having an audition at a safety program could help you feel more secure when it comes to interview release day and match. Making a good impression on ALL programs you audition at is important. The goal for all students should be to be a great physician. The program you attend doesn’t determine that. The attitude, compassion, and work ethic you bring to medicine are what determine that. Remember that.
    • Your ability to be present- An audition is a month-long interview, and you will always have to be “on.”
      • Do not do auditions if you don’t think that you can be fully present: off your phone, working and learning constantly, and sociable with residents and faculty.
      • This seems silly but auditions can hurt you as much as help you. Don’t be caught being lazy.
  • When you get auditions:
    • Show up early, and go home only when they tell you to. Always offer to help with any last wrap up tasks for the day.
    • Offer to help with rounding even if it is not required of you.
    • Read the room. Ask questions for your learning but also recognize when there is a time for silence so people can get their work done.
    • Prep for cases or common pathologies the night before.
    • Be helpful to nurses, OR Staff, EVERYONE. Learn where the warm blankets are, where to grab gloves for everyone for the case, help with patient prep in the room (if you’re allowed), how to update info for the resident patient lists, etc. Be as helpful as possible and they will hopefully appreciate it and see your work ethic. Also, it will hopefully mean they trust you with more responsibility, and reward you with more things to do.
    • Sometimes there is a lot of observing rather than doing on OB/GYN auditions. Take the time to be learning, reading up on things, asking questions, and prepping for the residents (lists, induction admits, etc.).

Researching Residency

  • Decide what kind of programs you want to apply to
    • Academic
    • Community
    • Combined
  • Research and begin to create your list of programs in your third/ early fourth year, the earlier the better. Here are some good websites for exploring programs
  • These websites are good but not always up to date with some of their information, always double check on the program’s website.
  • YOU WILL NEED A SLOE (standard letter of evaluation) for OB/GYN. This may change in the future but for right now most programs recommend or require a SLOE which can be found on the APGO right resident right program ready day one page.
  • Look at each program’s website for how many letters they will require. Reach out to programs through their program coordinator (PC) if you have questions about what you will need for their application if it doesn’t say specifically. If a program has a certain “minimum” score required to apply, reach out to the PC and state your interest and say that you are only “x points” away from their cut off and would appreciate it if your app could still be considered. Sometimes, if your score is on the cusp, they will still consider your app. Anything you are uncertain about, reach out. Do not contact Program Directors with these kinds of questions.

Interview Release Day

  • As of right now, interviews for OB/GYN have always been released on a specific day. A majority of programs participate on this day and may have rolling invitations and waitlist openings after that initial day.
  • It is important that you are timely in scheduling interviews on this day. I would not wait a couple hours to open an offer because they have limited availability and you may realize that spots fill up quickly and many programs interview on the same days.
  • Being prompt and having a calendar open with all the interviews scheduled in one place is the best way to prevent a headache.
  • This may change with the new OB/GYN application platform

Lastly, and most importantly, use networking when you can.

  • Look to see if you know anyone at the programs you apply to and look for past graduates from your school.

If you want to learn more about VSLO we highly suggest this VSLO article about it. It goes into the specifics of what auditions are, why you should do them, and things you may need to apply in more detail.