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TOPIC: How many spots are there?

17 years 6 months ago #27956

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Unregistered User
(4/7/00 5:33:16 pm)
How many spots are there?

How many orthopaedic residency spots are available each year? and most importantly how many students
apply for these spots?

Unregistered User
(4/9/00 8:26:20 pm)
Number of spots?

I think there's approximately 549 spots (at least for this past year) at about 157 programs. Seems that for a
long time there were about 512-517 spots, so I guess some programs added a few spots. The answer to the
second questtion is TOO DAMNED MANY! Some programs will get in excess of 600 applications. With the
addition of orthopaedics to ERAS, the applicant faces a nasty double-edged sword. It's really convenient to
use ERAS, in fact, a little too convenient. Orthopaedics is especially competitive and people file more and more
applications in response. ERAS makes is very easy to apply to lots of programs. In response to the avalanche
of applications, the programs start using even more wicked screening tools to quickly reduce the number of
applications (board scores greater than 220, AOA or junior AOA). I just matched an heard a few stories,
perhaps myths, while out on the interview trail. One programs supposedly took the first few hundred
applications off the top of the stack and tossed 'em in the trash. Another supposedly screened applications by
looking at the photograph. If you didn't have a big smile plastered on your face, then your's got tossed. These
are most likely myths, but they illustrate the difficulty faced by programs in wading through hundreds of
applications. Last year, a guy in my class applied to 72 programs (he wasn't a very strong candidate and
ultimately didn't match)) and this number was completely unheard of at the time. This year, lots of strong
candidates were filing 70, 80, 90 or more applications. One guy told me his advisor said that "if you don't have
Step I scores greater than 220 and you're AOA, then you'd better apply to 100 programs." I wouldn't be
surprised to hear of someone applying to nearly all the 157 or so programs next year. My advice? Make your
application as strong as possible, do your best on Step I (and if you take Step II early, then make sure you
better your already kick-ass Step I score), get strong letters of recommendation (including a Chairman's
Letter), and do an away rotation at your dream program. Some people do multiple away rotations because it
usually meant a courtesy interview at the least. This isn't particularly true these days and my personal opinion
is that two weeks anywhere is a complete waste of time. It takes a few weeks to figure out what the hell
you're doing even at you own school! If you want to do an away rotation (or two), then do at least four
weeks each or do one six-weeker at your dream program. Doing away rotations just because you think that'll
guarantee an interview is no longer true. Finally, prepare yourself for some disappointment (the application
process is pretty wacky and often makes no sense. Once you've got the interview, then the programs look for
a good fit. There are stories abound about the good (but not spectacular) applicant getting into the great
program and the seemingly golden applicant ending up unmatched or at one of the places way down the
golden boy's list. Since you're gonna be with these people for five years, it's all about fit, my friend. I just
went through the whole match experience and was fortunate to match with my first choice. It's an interesting
process and I wish you best of luck.

Unregistered User
(4/10/00 9:44:25 am)

600 applications? rejecting applicants based on their mug shots? Sound like a lot of crap to me. If these
statements are true then it's unfortunate and makes the application process look like a joke. In terms of
applicants applying to 50+ programs at a time, consider that MBA grads send out resumes in that manner also.
Consider that a few years ago a guy in the bottom 2% of his class from my school got into ortho on his first
attempt. I say do what you can, if it works out you or not your life will not be over.

Unregistered User
(4/10/00 10:24:53 am)

Yea, I would agree that those stories are probably untrue, but the orthopaedic application process is getting
out of hand. There's plenty of geographic bias (California schools don't seem to interview anybody, let alone
send out a rejection e-mail, programs from neighboring states won't interview each other's applicants, many
schools won't interview unless you did the "now you owe me an interview away rotation." Some programs also
like to brag about how short their rank list was to fill their program and demand to know how you're going to
rank them (illegal). If you weren't going to rank them No. 1, then you were told that you wouldn't be ranked. As
far as 600 applications, check out Duke's stats last year using FRIEDA. I think they got 640 applications and
probably about the same this year. I applied to plenty of programs that had 480, 540, 600+ applications, so
don't be surprised by the numbers. Many programs are now requiring a "Insert Name of State/program Here
Statement" within the personal statement inquiring exactly why you are applying at that program (other than
it's easy to click and add to your list). It makes people think just why they are applying and it's very effective
in keeping the numbers down. And yes, I mentioned the story of the guy who is not particularly stellar, but is
a great guy and fits within the program. He might have been at the bottom, but he still matched. And, in the
not so distant past, it was common for people to apply to 8-10 programs. Recently, it seemed that 25-30 was
fairly common and now the numbers are clearly increased. And yes, I pity the poor MBAs, but to equate the
process to the residency application process by virtue of numbers is a little unfair to the residency process.
MBAs can apply throughout the year, at virtually any business, in virtually any town/state, etc., etc., and get
their interview expenses paid for.

Unregistered User
(4/10/00 1:54:47 pm)

Kent, If you don't mind me asking, where did you match and where were some other programs that you really

Unregistered User
(4/11/00 3:25:56 pm)
Where matched?

I matched into one of the five-year slots at the University of Missouri-Columbia. It's a smaller program with
three spots (two of which are for five years and one which includes a year of research after the intern year.
The staff is also smaller than most programs, but offered the opportunity to work very closely with each
member. If you're into smaller towns (Columbia is the quintessential college town of about 60,000), it's a great
place. Of the other places I interviewed, the University of Pittsburgh program was super. They've got a fairly
new chairman (Dr. Fu) who's full of energy, tremendous opportunities for research, top-notch training, and
very generous funding ($2000/year) for residents to buy books, travel to meeting, etc. Dr. Fu's got the right
idea. Treat the residents with great respect and help 'em out with funding and you've got a bunch of guys and
gals that'll work their asses off for you. It's one of the great emerging programs. The downside is that
everybody ranks it super high, so much so that the program only went to spot No. 10 on their rank list to fill the
eight spots (and probably had about the same success this year). And, four of the spots do a year of research
after the intern year. Unlike Mizzou's program (which has separate match numbers for the 5-year and 6-year
slots), Pittsburgh picks which four do the year of research.

Local user
(4/11/00 3:54:47 pm)
Re: How many spots are there?

I agree with most everything Kent said. I too just survived the match and was fortunate to get my first
choice. There is another discussion started to discuss programs, hopefully people will give their input.

As I stated in that thread, I applied mostly in the Midwest, and some of the best programs there were
Cleveland Clinic. They also just got a new chairman that will improve an already tremendous program. This
year, they went to # 6 on their list for 4 spots, however. Other strong programs are Pitt, Northwestern, Rush,
and Beaumont in MI. If you have any specific questions, feel free to post them, maybe I interviewed there, or
know somebody who did!

Good Luck!

Unregistered User
(4/11/00 8:30:28 pm)
another question for you Kent

Congratulations again on matching. I am from St. Louis so I know Mizzou well, actually a good friend of mine
from high school is in medical school there and loves it. I was wondering if you knew much about Slu's
program? I have heard a lot about Wash U, but if you have info on that too I would really appreciate it!

Unregistered User
(4/11/00 11:29:35 pm)
St. Louis Programs

Well, I don't know much about SLU. I applied and never even got the benefit of a turn-down (must have
learned that from the California schools!). Wash U's a top program, but I didn't interview there. I ran into a
guy from Northwestern (I think) out on the interview trail who had done an away rotation at Wash U and later
interviewed there. I was a little surprised when he said he wouldn't even rank the program because he felt it
was a little malignant. If you're from St. Louis, then SLU and Wash U are obvious picks and I'd form my own
opinion about them. The Wichita program is also good. Don't know much about the KC programs, but I've just
never had any desire to live in Kansas City. I got a great vibe from the Mizzou program and I'm really looking
forward to working with the individual staff for four-month rotations (lots of long term follow-up which is
always satisfying). They fly two helicopters and cover mid-Central Missouri so the blunt trauma experience is
supposed to be good. Nothing against penetrating trauma (if you're a general surgeon resident), but the "gun
and knife club" found in big cities isn't for me. Besides, I'm originally from Springfield, MO and the opportunity
to be closer to home (I went to graduate school and medical school at the University of MN) was an added
perk. Okay, now the plug for my own school. The University of Minnesota is a great program, has several
clinical sites and covers all the bases, i.e., you don't have to go to another city to get all the experiences.
The Minneapolis VA has to be the nicest in the nation, we've got a Shriner's Hospital and the Twin Cities Spine
Center is world renowned. The program matches 6 residents and the application requires a "Minnesota
Statement" in the personal statement. It's just a short statement about your specific reason to apply to the
program. Don't let the mythic winter weather scare you away. It can get damn cold, but the last few winters
have been mild and there's plenty of outdoor opportunities if you like that stuff. I'm a southerner and I
survived 10 years here!

Being a potential ortho female applicant, you might be interested in a short article in "Academic Medicine." It's
in Vol 73, No 6 June 1998. If you decide to go for orthopaedics, then you're a rare find. If you've got a good
record and strong application, you can just about write your own ticket. Best of luck!

Global user
(4/12/00 6:28:31 pm)
how do you know

Is there a way to find out how far different programs had to go down on their lists? Do they know how I
ranked them?
from the other side
Unregistered User
(4/13/00 4:22:44 am)
do they know where you ranked them

no they dont know where you ranked them
and you cant find out how far a program went down their list unless
they tell you

ive logged in with our program director

Unregistered User
(4/13/00 12:16:36 pm)
How do you know how deep the list went?

Yes, the only reason I knew that Pitt went to spot 10 to match 8 spots is that they told us this fact during
the interview. It's a little bit of a bragging point, but they've got a very attractive program and it was said in a
nice way. I was told by a resident that a famous program in North Carolina was actually demanding to know
how you would rank them because they wanted to fill their 8 spots with the first 8 candidates on their list.
That way, they could brag about their "clean sweep". I didn't interview there this year, so let's hope they
aren't still pulling that crap.

ortho number boy
Unregistered User
(4/13/00 12:23:25 pm)
Curious how many spots were left unmatched?

Out of the 549 spots this year, three were left unfilled. One was at Wake Forest, one at an Ohio program
(either Akron General/NEOUCOM or at Summa Health System/NEOUCOM, I just can't remember which) and the
third spot also slips my mind. It would be interesting to know how many were unfilled before the scramble,
since these three apparently represent unfilled spots even after the scramble. Also, I wonder why those three
weren't snagged by somebody? Still it represents something like a 99.5% fill (and very comparable to past

Local user
(4/13/00 1:02:35 pm)

The three spots were Wake Forest, Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI, and Akron General (not SUMMA).

Also, these were unmatched spots BEFORE the scramble, not after. I'm quite sure that those three were filled
by somebody.

Incidently, SUMMA is a very good community ortho program. The residents are a good group of guys, and very
happy with their program. They have a large caseload and spend a lot of time in the OR. If you're looking in
the Midwest, they are definetly worth a look (they pay for your hotel room, so the interview is basically free if
you can drive there).

Global user
(4/13/00 6:44:49 pm)
unmatched programs None after the scramble

Please see my prior response to the unmatched program question - about wake forest.

That list was before the scramble! There were a lot of people who tried to scramble into those 2 spots. The fill
rate you quote was pre-scramble. 100% of the accreditted positions have bodies to fill them. Those of you
who matched be proud.

Unregistered User
(4/17/00 2:56:40 pm)
St. Louis programs

I actually know a girl who got fired as a PGY 2 at SLU
From the sounds of things it was a nasty place to work
and an all boys club.

Wash U is very malignant.
You'll be a well trained ass when you are done.

Unregistered User
(4/17/00 8:54:03 pm)

Thanks for more feedback on St Louis, but do you have more details on why SLU sounded so nasty?
Global user
(4/18/00 10:15:40 pm)

I am a med student at SLU, and i have not heard any malignant type things, especially compared to Wash U
(one of the students here husband is a ortho resident there)I know that all the spots here went to SLU
applicants this year. Any other questions?
Global user
(4/18/00 10:17:56 pm)
Hey kent where are you from in springfield?

I am from there also. I went to SMS undergrad and am now a MS2 at SLU. I almost went to Mizzou for med
school and am very interested in their ortho program.
Chris Wise
Unregistered User
(4/19/00 3:02:38 pm)
SLU- cont'd

Thanks so much for adding info on SLU! Since they took only SLU students last years do you think it would
help to do an away rotation there to kind of make up for going to another medical school?
Any other info you can think of would be helpful!
Global user
(4/19/00 9:30:22 pm)
Re: SLU- cont'd

I would say it certainly could not hurt. I talk with one of the 4th years that matched in ortho here a lot and i
know he did quite a few away rotations. I THINK he ranked SLU first, but I dont know for sure. From the info
on FRIEDA it seems that the ortho guys here put in a lot of hours, although I would be able to tell you better
after I actually do an elective in it next year.
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