A glance at CaRMS matching
The medical curriculum is divided into two main stages. The pre-doctoral program includes the theoretical portion of the curriculum (2 to 3 years) and the externship, or practical internships (1.5 years to 2 years). At the end of the latter, the student obtains his doctorate in medicine. On the other hand, in order to obtain a license to practice, the student must complete a post-doctoral program (residency), at his home university or at another university, in a given specialty (including family medicine). A new admission process is then necessary.
CaRMS (Canadian Residency Matching Service) is a nonprofit organization that works closely with Canadian postgraduate medical education programs and medical students to provide the best possible residency match, taking into account both candidate choices and training program preferences. Although introduced in English-language medical schools in Canada for over 40 years, CaRMS has been used in Quebec for only six years. CaRMS therefore allows medical students to apply for residency on a pan-Canadian basis.
CaRMS is a completely computerized system that allows medical students to complete most of their application online. After the residency program directors review the files, the successful student will be offered an interview with the postdoctoral admissions committee of the program in question. At the end of the interview period, the student draws up a selection list of programs and places of residence according to his preferences.
The student can also refuse to rate a program, even if they have taken the interview. The system then performs an algorithmic match, taking into account the candidate’s ranking list and residency programs. It should be noted that CaRMS has a contractual scope and that a student who is offered a position in a program that he has classified must accept the offer and work as a resident physician in that program for a less than one year.If at the end of the process a candidate is not matched in any residency program, he can participate in the second round. He will be obliged to start the process again, but may apply among the positions that remain vacant.
Building your CaRMS file
A candidate’s CaRMS file is built according to the requirements of residency programs (refer to the CaRMS website – www.carms.ca). It particularly includes:
- Letter from the Dean
- This document varies from university to university, but generally outlines the details of your academic background.
- Student’s academic record
- This is provided directly to CaRMS by the applicant’s home medical school
- Candidate photo
- We must aim for professionalism
- Curriculum vitae
- Cover letter
- The criteria differ from program to program and from university to university
- Letters of recommendation (usually two or three)
- Letters of recommendation can come from an externship boss or other significant person. The question to ask yourself is, “Who is the best person and who will have the most influence to promote my candidacy for this specific residency program or this university?”.
- The same person can write more than one letter of recommendation, for different universities or different residency programs.
- Letters of support
- They are requested in some study program
- They are less personal in character than letters of recommendation.
- The Supporter must complete a document that confirms the candidate is suitable.
- The person writing the letter of support may be the same person who wrote the letter of recommendation.
Note that the candidate should not see the letters of recommendation and support. Therefore, it is recommended that the student provide the letter writers with a postage-paid envelope to CaRMS. Tracked mail is also very anxiety-relieving for students, as it allows students to know precisely whether the letter has reached CaRMS.
The translation of documents, if necessary, is done at the expense of the candidate. For letters of recommendation, a postage-paid envelope can be provided to the editor at the translator’s address, and a postage-paid envelope to the translator for CaRMS.
- You must have done an internship in the field in which I am applying: FALSE.
- A good CaRMS record, cover letter, and interview explaining the student’s interest in the program may be sufficient.
- You must have done an internship at the university I’m applying to: FALSE.
- It is not necessary to be known about the residency program in which you are applying. We only have to look at the residents around us to confirm this.
- There is only one interview for the family medicine application for French-speaking universities: TRUE.
- Applicants pass a single interview, with examiners from two out of three universities chosen at random. Evaluator scores are independent and interview reports are sent to the Family Medicine Units (UMF) selected by applicants.
- It is possible to apply as a couple to CaRMS: TRUE.
- A specific algorithm which prioritizes the site of residence is then used for the match.
The role of the FMEQ
- CaRMS Complaints Office:
- Consult the FMEQ website (www.fmeq.ca) or write directly to the pedagogical affairs delegate (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- CaRMS ’Board Headquarters:
- Since 2012, students from French-speaking universities have been represented on the CaRMS board of directors. The FMEQ is present to present your concerns.
For more information
Translator services for CaRMS
In order to facilitate the translation process for the files to be presented to CaRMS, the FMEQ has done some research for you. We therefore offer you a list of eleven (11) official translators who are for the most part very familiar with the process and who undertake to provide you with follow-up on your file.
The FMEQ offers you this list of translators with the following details, reservations and reminders:
- Each of these translators agreed to follow up on the file with the student. This follow-up implies that the student will be notified each time a reference letter is received by the translator as well as when the file (or the final document) is sent to CaRMS. Unless there is a specific agreement with a translator, these follow-ups will be done by email exchange;
- Each of these translators also agreed to forward the dossier en bloc to CaRMS once it is complete or as a document or documents are received and translated. This modality should be discussed between the student and the translator and of course the student should provide an appropriate number of envelopes. Remember that the translator must have personally seen the original document before sending it to CaRMS even if it is possible to start the translation from a PDF document, a photocopy or a fax;
- The ability of each translator to accept files for CaRMS is limited, as is the speed with which they are able to translate documents. It is therefore important to transmit the documents as quickly as possible, even if this means that they are transmitted in several times;
- The price and terms of payment for the translation of a file should be negotiated between the student and the translator. The FMEQ has not negotiated any price and accepts no responsibility in this regard;
- This list is not exhaustive and is offered by the FMEQ for informational purposes only;
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