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TOPIC: Ortho App Advice from an M4

Ortho App Advice from an M4 1 year 3 months ago #35844

Hey ortho homies,

I'm bored and figured I'd answer many of the questions I've seen below. Keep in mind these are my own opinions, but I have seen many places and talked to many others to help form these opinions. Good luck!

Aways:
- Way too early to be worrying about these until March/April. At this point, research places that you're interested in and look what you have to do to apply
- I don't think I heard back until April/May
- do 2 or 3. 2 is more than fine! That being said, many people do 3 if their school is cool with it
- be smart, for example, if you don't want to live in NYC, don't rotate at HSS (even for a letter) because these schools are your best places to match
- similiarly, don't rotate at a "safety school" if you're not that interested. Rotate where you want within reason (don't rotate at top 10 programs with a 230 step and no research)
- there is no one way to pick aways, there are some programs that will work you like crazy (Vandy, UW, Pitt, Colorado, etc) and others that are more applicant friendly (many midwest ones), do what's best for you
- schools won't know where you did aways unless you get a letter from them, and I haven't met many people that thought it opened up regional areas
- for example, I rotated only in home region in midwest and received letter from one place, ended up with interviews in all regions (but much less in south), also heard from many in the south that they got no midwest love
- be strategic, many people used letter from a school in Chicago that they rotated at and they were rejected to all other Chicago schools
- some schools get crazy amounts of rotators (WashU, HSS, UCSF, Stanford), realize you really need to stand out at places like this
- other places notorious for not bringing everyone back (Carolinas, Utah), realize this may not be the worst thing if you are at the bottom of their list
- many interview as part of rotation, another +/- situation as you won't be refined for interview, won't really know what they think of you, and won't see the interview day show BUT also may free up days for other places and there can be tons of conflicts in your schedule

Letters
- get a chair one from home school if at all possible
- get one from an away if possible
- don't just go for all big names, I have heard many people seeing their letters and having very impersonal letters
- can only use up to 4 letters for each school BUT can use different letters for different places
- very very few need an non-ortho one (nowhere that was on my list)

Application
- there is no perfect applicant but things IMO that seem most important:

1. Step 1 score of at least 240/245 (screening tool), obviously higher is great BUT there are multiple people with 260s that received few interviews if this is their whole app. Anything below this and you'll need another part below to be very strong to make up
2. AOA/3rd year grades- had some places ask me why I had a couple HPs even tho I was AOA
3. Ortho research, especially for academic places (HSS, Rush, WashU, Mayo), non-ortho research is better than nothing too (you can list all presentations and everything that has been submitted by September)
4. Letters, especially having home program and away, people with connections
5. Step 2 scores, I did NOT have and it did NOT hurt me at all. Released in Dec once I got it back and saw it was available to later interviews. Want to match score on Step 2 at least (average scores are ~10 higher for everyone on Step 2)
6. School reputation. I'm not from an ivy league place and got lots of top interviews. Others may have different opinions on this
7. other random stuff (leadership, volunteering, personal statement)
- in here as well, your away performance can be huge for that specific place (good or bad)

Also this an incredible reference, please keep it going for future years (there is a tab with applicant stats if you are interested):
docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1aMkEUHqG.../edit#gid=1254850953

Good luck! Please ask if you have other questions as this was basically stream of consciousness. No matter how incredible of an applicant you are, you will get rejections and ghosted from many programs. I would recommend strong applicants to apply to 60-70 programs and average applicants to maybe do a few more. It is very expensive to apply on ERAS and travel to interviews to each program so be strategic. They say the magic number is 12 ranked schools on the rank list, but many people in ortho do more.
Last Edit: 1 year 3 months ago by bonesarelyfe.
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