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TOPIC: Should/can I apply? Application evaluation.

Should/can I apply? Application evaluation. 1 year 1 month ago #35840

I am currently a 3rd year MD medical student at a state university that isn't even ranked on the US news list but we do have a home ortho program. Until the end of 2017, I was one of those student that didn't know what they wanted to do when they grew up. All rotations seemed interesting to me but over the winter break I realized that orthopedics is my calling. Now, the problem is getting into a program. My current stats are not ideal but not necessarily abysmal and if you peeps can review them let me know if it is even worth going this direction I would be forever grateful. I am fine with getting into any program as long as I get to do orthopedics at the end of it.

Gender: M
School: State MD school with own orthopedic program that tends to take some people from our class
Pre-clinical grades: Pass and High-pass (no honors), Barely missing the 2nd quartile of the class
Clinical grades: All high passes until now, not done with surgery yet but rest assured will try my hardest to ace that
Step 1: 234
Step 2: Not taken yet
AOA: No
Research: Undergraduate research publication, some marginal research during the summer between 1st and 2nd year but nothing came of it, I am currently reaching out to do more research.
ECs: Leadership position at the student clinic
Aways: This is where you guidance will help.

I would say I am team player, and people generally don't seem to mind working with me. It goes without saying that I will work hard and try to honors the rest of rotations and impress at aways. So, realistically should I still pursue ortho?

Also, I don't mind doing a prelim year if that means there is a better chance at matching ortho, but it seems people hardly make it in a year after graduation and I don't think that is worth the risk. Although, ortho is goals, I wouldn't really mind settling for gen surg and it would really be settling. What are your thoughts about dual applying in my scenario?

Thanks for reading this, and I appreciate all your answers. Please don't feel like you have to answer all the questions, just answer what you can.
Last Edit: 1 year 1 month ago by LordBonedemort. Reason: Typos
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Should/can I apply? Application evaluation. 1 year 1 month ago #35842

sure, go for it. that being said, you probably will only get a few interviews. try and rock your rotation at home (best shot), be strategic on aways (do 2-3, pick community places that won't care as much about your scores/research).

you may want to do a research year or backup with a gen surg prelim year (research year is probably considerably better for app).

Not having any honors yet is definitely a red flag, so do you best to stay late, offer to help without being needy, and study like crazy for your shelfs.

Also take Step 2 early and crush it. getting a 260+ would be huge for you

Good luck
Last Edit: 1 year 1 month ago by bonesarelyfe.
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Should/can I apply? Application evaluation. 1 year 4 weeks ago #35852

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For what it's worth, I have a similar story to you.

Decided on ortho late, tiny school without a ton of infrastructure to give ortho guidance, no strong contacts in ortho to speak of, STEP 1 below the 2016 average for ortho, late on the ortho research train, etc, etc. Was asking this same question a year ago, deliberating and laboring over this 'Should I go for it, should I not, and if I do, how the heck do I even start choosing aways considering my STEP 1 didn't blow anyone's face off' decision.

Some kind soul suggested I look into a research year, and because I was willing to do at least one prelim year if it meant eventually matching ortho, I figured I may as well pay that year up front before I graduated than enter the fray that is trying to match out of the prelim pool. I ended up getting a position, so I took 5 weeks to lock down a solid STEP 2 score immediately after 3rd year, then started as a research fellow.

I've met with the PD here a few times, and been told multiple times that this was the right decision to make because:

1. The hard facts are, 230-240 may get you some interviews but it won't make the screen cut at a lot of places. This means contacts become a BIG DEAL. The likelihood you'll match somewhere you rotate is high to begin with, but if your STEP 1 is below average, it's way higher.

2. If you're working under an attending that has contacts (or, even if you're not directly under them but reach out and ask them if you can work with them that year), and they see you remain constant and reliable over a year, it goes far. Both for your chances at that program, and for letters.

3. You have time to look at orthopedics, make sure you're really set to grind out this road (That's harder than most, but not futile), and create a plan of attack as far as aways, letters, and 4th year scheduling.

4. Pubs never hurt

I'd recommend it for a few more reasons, but again, just my two cents based on how my story has gone. I'm happy to give more details if you want.

Good luck my friend!
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