4th year away rotations from CA schools

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Apr 19, 2010
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need more info.
is your goal top tier programs or just match anywhere?
are you a solid or borderline applicant?
what type of schools are you thinking about for out of state aways?
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Thanks for the reply. I am shooting for mid to top tier, not set on top 10 (and not confident I'd even make it ;) ). I think my app is okay, probably a bit below average from the stuff I've seen on this site -- good academics (high 250 step 1, excellent to outstanding clinical scores but P/F), some research (1 non-1st author non-ophtho paper, currently working on an ophtho topic), should have solid LORs.
Honestly I dont have a particular school in mind, I was just recommended to go to a school out of state to show I had some interest in leaving. I'd probably pick an East coast school, possibly something in/near Boston as my s.o. is out there. I'd be happy with most schools, I'm trying to keep an open mind as I dont think I'm competitive enough to have much choice.

You don't think your competitive enough to have much choice? Dude, you're either a troll or grossly misinformed.
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Maybe the latter.... I was reading the match stats thread and better applicants than me seemed to be having a rough time. That and my classmates scare me a little -- I think half are opting to take a year off for research.. Also I meant choice on the more competitive end of the spectrum. Do you think that's not the case?

I think you have great academics which seems to go a long way. It opens the door to many excellent programs. Good letters, publications, and other parts of your application will make you attractive to certain programs over others depending on their preference.

I also saw on this forum that some people with your stats did have trouble matching to their top 5. However, I don't believe that's unique to people with excellent stats. It's obviously just more frightening and pronounced when you see someone with a 250 match to their 8th choice. The reality is that the match is competitive and not only based on academic credentials and publications. It's about everything you bring to the table including the subjective opinion of you through interactions at aways, and your interview day.

It's not an absolute formula, but it seems that up until this point you've done everything right. Your stats won't hold you back. I think you have a good chance outside California. If you're concerned you can always write separate emails or letters of intent to choice programs or go out to one for an away to show interest. I think in general aways help for the borderline applicant at a program where they need to tip the scale in their favor. Or if your program isn't well known or has no famous faculty, you can do an away to obtain letters. Other than that I don't think it's necessary for someone in your shoes to do an away.

Oh and don't pay attention to your classmates - they will drive you nuts.
There is some truth that programs may rank you lower if they dont think you are likely to rank them. This applies with mid to low tier programs. For higher tiered programs i dont think it matters. In your situation, i wouldnt recommend an away just to prove you are willing to leave california.
I'm from the Midwest so this wasn't an issue for me, but I remember talking to some people on the trail who were from CA and most had either not done aways or just did an away somewhere in CA (UCLA, UCSF, CPMC). Some had spent their entire lives in CA, but based on where I saw them at interviews it didn't appear to hinder them in any way. Just have an answer as to "why would you ever leave CA?" I suppose doing an East Coast away could help you answer that question more convincingly, but my opinion is that the potential downsides of an away outweigh the potential upsides.

I didn't get the feeling that many program ranked you based on how they believe you would rank them. All they get out if it are bragging rights, but otherwise it's a lose-lose situation for everybody.