Carmscast Episode 02: Getting to know a program and some thoughts on personal letters

In Podcast by Kara TastadLeave a Comment

What is CarmsCast?

CarmsCast is a podcast dedicated to helping medical students navigate the confusing and often intimidating world of CaRMS. From electives to rank order lists and everything in between – our guests and us will try to help ease some of the stress we all experience around the match!

Episode 02:

On this week’s episode we are covering how to get to know more about programs and give you some quick pointers on how to create your personal letters! Here to help us tackle this topic is our expert guest: Dr. Pardhan!

Dr. Kaif Pardhan is an emergency medicine physician and Deputy Chief of the ED at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. He serves as the Assistant Program Director for the University of Toronto’s emergency medicine residency program. He also works as a pediatric emergency physician at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton.

Click here for shownotes


Episode Questions 

  1. When we do get the opportunity to meet residents from a desired program what are some good questions to ask? (2:20)
  2. When meeting a PD or APD from a desired program what are some questions we should consider asking? (3:58)
  3. Are there any resources you would recommend to students wanting to learn more about residency programs? (5:35)
  4. How important is it to meet with residents or PD or APD of a desired program? (8:13)
  5. What is the best way to go about meeting residents/staff from another school? Especially now during the COVID pandemic? (11:40)
  6. What was most important to you when you were choosing your residency program? (16:20)
  7. What are your thoughts on students’ parallel planning? (18:43)
  8. When you are reading a personal letter, what are you looking for? (21:57)
  9. How important is it to create a unique letter for each application? (24:00)
  10. How early would you suggest starting your personal letters? (26:14)
  11. Do you think personal letters will take on added importance in this year’s application cycle? (28:18)
  12. We hear a lot about having a consistent and strong “story” in our application. Do you have any tips on how to get that “story” across and how important it is for you when looking through applications? (30:35)
  13. Often reference letters will ask for applicants to touch on very broad topics, such as your career goals, why you chose a specific specialty, or your strengths and weaknesses as an applicant. These topics often can feel quite daunting when trying to meet word count limits of 500 – 750 words, do you have any advice on how to approach writing your letters in a strong yet succinct manner? (33:14)
  14. How important is following the word limit provided by some programs, and for personal letters that do not have word limit, what length should applicants strive for in their letters? (36:27)
  15. What are your suggestions for approaching the topic of personal strengths and weaknesses? (38:10)
  16. Do you have any final tips for students applying to CaRMS in this year or future years? (40:40)

Resources Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

CaRMS Program Descriptions

Don’t Forget to Follow Us on Twitter!

Did you enjoy the episode? Make sure to follow us on Twitter @CarmsCast so you don’t miss the next episode! If you have any questions, or ideas on how we can improve, feel free to reach out to us by email ([email protected]) or leave a comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!

Copyedited and uploaded by Kara Tastad. Produced by Kevin Junghwan Dong

Kara Tastad

Kara Tastad an Emergency Medicine Resident at the University of Toronto. She is a Graphic Design Lead for CanadiEM. Outside of medicine, you are likely to find her traveling, swimming, painting, or baking.
Dakoda Herman

Dakoda Herman

Dakoda is a final-year medical student at the University of Toronto. He was born and raised in Alberta, before drifting out east for medical school. His interests include FOAMed, emergency medicine, and resource stewardship. Outside of medicine, he is an avid sports fan and an aspiring playwright.