MS3 Newly Interested in Ortho - Chances?

5 years 9 months ago #33921 by medschoolchick90
MS3 female here at a top 20 MD school.

Finished my surgery / ortho rotation recently, and decided to pursue ortho instead of my original plan to pursue pediatrics. As a result, I feel like I'm pretty late to the the party, and my application is lacking in some areas. Stats below:

preclinicals: all pass (P/F system)
step 1: 262
clinicals: ob-gyn (honors), surgery (pass), peds (pending), currently on fam med
research: 1 poster in peds, no other research
ECs: anatomy TA, undergrad mentoring, acapella, some other small ECs

My main question is, since my application is weak in research, what else can I do to make myself more competitive? I have been trying to contact faculty at my school regarding mentorship and projects, but they are all saturated with other students currently. When should I take Step 2?

Additionally, how can I gauge how competitive I am? I am currently deciding on sub-I's to attend, and don't really have a gauge of how I compare to other students since I'm so weak in research.


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5 years 9 months ago #33923 by butterfingerbbs
Honestly, I think the pass in surgery is more of a detriment to your application than lack of research. You need to secure honors in medicine, all of your ortho subI's and some additional rotations to show you are competent in clinical care. As for research, you need to have something ortho-related, even if it a case report or a chart review. If the attendings aren't responding, figure out which residents are publishing frequently and ask them if you can help them with a project. As for Step 2, I would recommend taking CK early, like May or June. If you can get a good score, it will help to draw attention away from your surgery pass and demonstrate that you have good clinical knowledge. Choosing subI's is tricky, especially with no research, but given you are coming from a top school, I would pick 1 reach program (preferably where students from your school have gone in the past) and 1-2 other programs that you like the location but they aren't quite as competitive (ie, not HSS, Rush, Jefferson, UCSF, Harvard etc). Keep in mind this is just one person's opinion, and others may have an alternative take. I would try to talk to MS4 students from your home school as well. Good luck.

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5 years 9 months ago #33924 by CallieTorres
Congrats on choosing orthopedics! It is the best field, and I believe many of my colleagues will agree with me on that! :)

My biggest advice to you is that the end of the day, you need to do what you love. Please do not be so hesitant to apply into orthopedics because you feel that you are not competitive enough. If this is what you want to do, you should go for it.

I decided late in the game as well - probably around this time last year too. Although you did not go into medical school knowing you want to do orthopedics (like most applicants), I think it can show that you had an open mind during your third year and truly chose what you thought would be the best fit for you after experiencing it clinically on a rotation. So what I am saying is that it is never too late!

I agree that you probably need to get onto an orthopedic research project. However, I was in your shoes as well in that I did not have any ortho research and several posters in pediatrics. Even though I eventually found an ortho project, most of my interviews asked me to speak about my pediatric research because they saw that my project in pediatrics was more fruitful and could be discussed in detail. If your pediatric research was more hand-wavy, that will be hard to swing. I would definitely try to find an orthopedic mentor who can look at your application to advise you further.

In my opinion, your Step 1 score is really high. Unless you think you can do better than that, it will only hurt you to take Step 2 early. I took Step 2 early, but my score was not nearly as high as yours.

One of the most important things that programs look at is AOA. If you are still in the running for it, try to honor the rest of your 3rd year to get it. It is worth it!

When you go on sub-I's, crush them! Do whatever you can do to be the best and most helpful sub-I on your team. Prove to them how great of a resident you will be and how dedicated you are to becoming an orthopedic surgeon. If you can get letters showing that you did great at an away, it will truly help you.

Feel free to message me if you wish to talk further! Best of luck!

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5 years 9 months ago #33948 by TangoYankee16
i agree with the previous poster that you have a strong Step 1 IMO and have strong clinical grades. I am getting the sense that the Step 1 score is huge in getting the door open to an interview by getting through the weed-out process..

Even though you may not have Ortho research, that could be beneficial if you can swing the interview conversation to your pediatric research which Orthopods may find different and interesting. Also maybe you can talk about your switch from peds into ortho in your personal statement and that could also make you seem different from the rest of the applicants.

I think you have a great shot and don't be afraid. Do what you want to pursue and everything will work out the way it is supposed to!

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5 years 8 months ago #34014 by medschoolchick90
I'm from the west coast (born here, undergrad / med school here). I've heard that it might be advantageous to rotate in other parts of the country. I've also heard from other people that it doesn't matter and that I should just rotate in where I want to go. Any truth to these statements?

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5 years 8 months ago #34015 by bonetrauma2
No one can really say for sure if it opens up a region. The only way it theoretically could is if you get a letter while you are there from someone well known in that region. It would show that you rotated in a specific area and received a (hopefully) good letter from a respected faculty member in their area. Otherwise residency programs don't/can't see where you did your away rotations when interviews go out so in that sense it does nothing to open up a region if they don't even know you rotated there. As has been said surely 100 times by now on this site, rotate where you think you want to end up or places that interest you. If you are interested in a specific program outside of your region then by all means apply there but don't apply to do an away rotation there just because you think you will get more interviews in that region.

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