Aug 9, 2013
Medical Student
Hey guys, so let me start by saying that I'm sorry if this is all stuff that I could easily look up on my own, but I'm really kind of lost in terms of what all I should be doing and what will make you more competitive for peds, etc. I'm a small town kid from a rural part of the country and when I started medical school I really just thought there were family doctors and surgeons, I was pretty much planning on being a family doc until I became less clueless.

I'm currently in my peds rotation right now and I absolutely love it. Obviously I have a lot of rotations ahead of me and I'm keeping my options open, but I just feel like I don't have a great application and am wondering what all I should be doing. I would really love to end up in some sort of academic hospital somewhere in the midwest because I would like to end up in a teaching role at some point. I also am particularly interested in rheumatology, but I know this decision would be a long ways down the road. I got a 246 on step 1. However, I don't have a ton of volunteer experience (have done some stuff in pediatric interest group, other basic volunteering) and have absolute zero research. How important are these aspects? It's not that I'm a person who studies 24-7, but I really try to stay well-rounded (family, friends, etc) and I worked my butt off the first two years of school. So I didn't have a lot of time and I really didn't know how important research was for more competitive specialties.

I'm also wondering when most students start seeking out LORs. Is this something I should be doing now or is that more of a 4th year task? This is my first rotation and while I have gotten good evals, I don't feel like I would get as good of letters as I could if I had peds later on the year (obviously).


Essentially I'm wondering what I can do to maximize my chances of landing a spot at a respectable academic teaching hospital in the midwest. Do I need to seek out research opportunities? Do more volunteering? I know these things obviously will not hurt, but at the same time there is only so much time in the day and I'm trying to do the best I can to prepare for my rotations + studying for shelf + keeping myself human.

Thanks guys and I apologize if this is too early to even be worrying about this kind of stuff. I'm really just pretty clueless about the match and what all I should be doing... All of my 4th year friends are not going into peds, my dean hasn't been all that helpful, and my home PD just tells me to stay engaged in the rotation and do the best I can. Great help (sarcasm).


Jedi Ninja Wizard
15+ Year Member
Dec 12, 2002
Attending Physician
Focus on doing well on your third year rotations. Show up on time and *know your patients.* Know all about them. Make sure you understand the plan, why the plan is what it is, and be engaged. Look things up when you can. If there's an attending you particularly bond with, approach them and see what they are doing for research, though it's not imperative that you do research (it will be hard to find time during third year). Let people get to know you and know that they can depend on you to get accurate H&Ps. Towards the end of the rotation, you can ask someone to write you a letter of rec. They may not remember you as well at the end of the year (though you can always come back and do a sub I). Honestly do this on as many rotations as you can, and you'll be strong candidate no matter what you end up doing.