Thursday, September 26, 2013

Assessing Competitiveness - Part 1

Step 1 is to figure out how competitive a candidate your are.  Your advisor's should be able to help you sort yourself into one of three "buckets":  the average candidate, the above average candidate, and the below average candidate.

Above average candidates have:

  • Honors in everything clinical
  • Board scores that are above average (>240)

Above average candidates have little to worry about and should not be reading blog entry's on how to get a residency. Make a list of spots you like and would like to train (15-20).

An average candidate is going to match in EM if they make a reasonable list of programs to apply to.

The average applicant has:
  • Board scores that are in the neighborhood of average (~220  >220).
  • EM grades and letters that sum up as: going to do well in EM (Honors or High Pass with a supportive letter, & hopefully followed by Honors on the second rotation).
  • No red flags.
Goal is a diverse list in different regions of the country (25-40).

If you fall short on any of those criteria you should consider yourself to be a below average candidate and plan appropriately.  This means applying to lots of programs (40-50), not wasting money on the most competitive programs, and having a back-up plan for not matching in EM.

This is additionally complicated if you are an Osteopathic or Foreign Medical Graduate looking to join an Allopathic EM program.  Only some programs (68%) will even consider your application.  The programs open to you have their pick of candidates and they are looking for the cream of the crop.  If your not at least an average candidate AND you are from an Osteopathic or non-U.S. school, your chances are slim and you need a back-up residency plan like IM or Family Medicine.

Fortunately, the receptive programs are easy to find by going to their website.  Look at their "residents" pages and see where their residents came from.  If you see residents who are D.O.'s or are from your country/med school, they will probably give your application a fair review.

Now that you have a sense how competitive you are, you can try to figure out the programs...

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