FMS Interviews Jess and Megan at Swap&Snooze
Swap&Snooze is an awesome way for medical students to help each other out. Free to join, free to use, and free for sleeping when you’re on the interview trail. You have to prove you’re a medical student, which is an easy process that took less than two days last year, and then you can contact other students for a place to crash pre-interview, and offer your own couch/spare room/air mattress in the kitchen to other students. Today we ask some questions about the site, changes to come and when it opens for Match 2017.
Last year you were both MS4s on the interview trail yourself, so I can guess how the site got started… but could you tell us how you got from generation of the idea to making the site?
As an MS3, I saw many of my MS4 friends go through significant financial hardship when traveling for residency interviews. Around the same time, my younger brother had recently completed a bicycle tour through Europe and was able to travel for four months without ever paying for housing. He did so through a website called Warm Showers, a free service that connected cycle tourists and enthusiasts. Additionally, he recounted great experiences staying with new people and exploring the places he stayed with a local. I was aware of sites such as CouchSurfing, but had never used them myself. In about August of 2015, I started thinking about the anticipated costs of my own upcoming interviews and my empty bank account. Remembering my brother’s success staying with strangers on his recent journey, I was inspired to create a community designed to help connect medical students traveling for residency interviews with available hosts with the intent to reduce overall cost of interviews.
I pitched the idea to my friend Jessica, who is always up for a challenge and an adventure. Together, we began brainstorming the site and created it. We then got the word out to as many MS4s as we could through emails and through the EM CORD listserv. We relied a lot on social media and word of mouth to share our idea. We were so thrilled to see people get excited about it and use it! We’ve been fueled by their stories of new friendships.
Did you track the reciprocal hospitality? Do you have any numbers of students who were hosted versus who were hosts?
Last year, we did not track the exact number of students who were hosted or were hostees, our website simply wasn’t sophisticated enough to do that. We informally surveyed people after the interview season and found a wide range of experiences. Overall, over 1000 students signed up, about 500 of them actually used the service as a host/hostee.
Is the site still limited to MD and DO students this year?
The site was intended for anyone applying to residency – MD, DO, IMG.
What are your future plans for Swap&Snooze?
We are using a new system this year which we hope will make it more user-friendly, with editable profiles and availability calendars, and we hope to expand total users this year. We also hope to get MS1s, Ms2s and Ms3s to sign up to host. We would like to eventually expand our service to pre-med students and other professional schools such as psychology and dentistry.
Where should students go to sign up to be notified when the site is up for the 2016/2017 Interview Season?
What’s your new site, Share&Snooze, about?
Share&Snooze is based on a similar principle – that friendship and frugality can make the interview process more pleasant! Through this branch of the site, interviewees can find people who will be interviewing in the same city on the same day and potentially join up to share the cost of a hotel, transportation, or a meal.
Any question you wished I had thought to ask you about?
Remember that this is a free service! We’ve funded it out of or own pockets, so if you feel inspired to help, consider a donation. Unfortunately, we cannot offer tax receipt for donations.
Thank you so much Megan and Jess!
I really appreciate you taking time out of your hectic intern year to talk with me and share your awesome website. While I never got a chance to use it last year, I did loan my couch out to other med students. It’s a great thing to do to help people whose pockets are as light as your own, a fun way to meet people, and a huge cost-savings for the interview trail. Check out the Swap&Snooze site for yourself!