Sep 19, 2017
Medical Student
Hey guys,

I'm new to this board/forum and have so far found it to be a great source of information. I've definitely tried to search for the questions I want to post here and haven't had any luck so here I am.

Little bit about me - I'm a non-trad applicant. I worked in investment banking for a few years before entering medical school. I started a business with my dad when I started med school and have kept that going throughout my time in school. With all that being said, the combination of running that business, being not that great a test taker, and dealing with some hardships leading up to both step 1 and step 2, I have lousy step 1/2 scores (219 and 216 respectively).

My two questions involve my scores and doing an away rotation:

Is there any possible way to address my scores other than bombarding each program with an email? Hell, should I even address my scores? I get that life happens and that I made the decision to start a business and allow it to take away time from my studies. I am in no way suggesting I should get special treatment. I'm just curious to know from those more knowledgeable on this board if I should address it, and if so, how do I do it?

What would be a reasonable place to do an away rotation? I decided late in the game to go for anesthesia and admittedly don't know much about the landscape of it besides what I've read here. I go to a state school in the southeast, only have family in Georgia and D.C., and desperately want to get out of the southeast for residency. Just looking to do an away to show I'm willing to 'spread my wings' and at a program that could be a realistic possibility to match.

Thanks in advance guys.


5+ Year Member
May 19, 2013
Multiple things to address here but hopefully we can address some of those concerns..

With your step 1 and step 2 score I think what hurts most is that you went down in your score from step 1 to step 2. usually with applicants, a 10 point increase into step 2 is average.. so decreasing by 3 points is pretty significant. That being said I think you can still match into anesthesia if you apply broadly. NRMP data shows that with your step 1 134/138 people matched and with your step 2 53/58 people matched.. so you shouldn't be too worried. Anesthesia is at a point right now where it will almost take anyone, and plenty of ortho/derm/uro rejects get soaped into anesthesia anyway.

In terms of addressing the score with programs.. I don't think it will be necessary. You wont be the first person applying with those scores and while you won't be the first person they want to interview, you'll probably still get interviews just by being a US MD grad and having passed your boards.

I'm guessing you're applying next cycle? In which case you're not late in the game, many people decide much later on. If you're planning to apply this cycle and haven't done an away rotation yet I think it may be a little late in the game. Either way, don't waste your time going to a big name to do an away.. I've heard it doesn't make much of a difference. Shoot for a place where doing an away can allow people to see how hardworking you are and that you will be a good resident despite your slightly below average scores. Heck, running a business isn't easy and for some residency programs they may see that as a strength you have that other co-applicants could not.

Specific programs I can't recommend but I would look into the lower tier academic programs. If you're going to do an away it should be at a target school, not a reach, but also not a safety school either. And yes, I think you will have safety schools with your stats.. so for the away just go to a place outside the southeast region, preferably in a place you want to do residency so that those programs in that area know you're willing to go and live there. Good luck!


7+ Year Member
Mar 5, 2012
Resident [Any Field]
Apply broadly, by that I mean apply to EVERY program you would consider going to that isn't in the top tier. I'd honestly recommend applying to every single program outside of the top 20 or so and take every interview you are offered. That may be very few, but it only takes one. Igeak makes it seem easy to get in, but the truth is that there are more students than residency spots. Apply broadly, have a backup plan and contact the programs early if they haven't rejected you but haven't responded back. Good luck.
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