imanu

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With the recent posts involving stats on matching into a plastic surgery residency, it has gotten me a bit worried about my chances. I was wondering if someone could help me realistically determine my chances of matching - hopefully in a city on the east coast - NY, Phila, or DC. Here are some of my stats:

Middle tier medical school (not top 50) with no plastics residency program but a plastic surgery department, Step I: 251, First/Second/Third year all honors, will be Senior AOA, and some research/publications not related to Plastics.

Appreciate any help I can get. Its getting time to make a decision and kinda lost.
 

DrDre311

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No one can accurately predict your chances in the match. As has been posted before on this board, plastics is the hardest match. If you restrict yourself geographically, that makes it exponentially harder. To give yourself the best shot you should apply anywhere you are willing to go.

The most direct way I know how to answer your question is that for the 2007-2008 matches your numbers/statistics are average. You fall right in the middle of the pack in terms of Step I, AOA, research, etc. I have seen applicants with weaker numbers match and I have also seen applicants with stronger numbers not match. There are no guarantees no matter what your statistics are. This is a personal decision that you have to make, and you shouldn't make it based on whether a bunch of faceless people on an internet message board think you can "get in."

I tell all students who ask me this question the same thing: if you really want to be a plastic surgeon, then go for it--balls out, all the way--and let the chips fall where they may. But be aware that you cannot guarantee yourself anything, and be prepared to go the traditional route if that's the hand you're dealt. The converse also applies, and by that I mean you might get a spot in your dream program. The bottom line is that it's up to you and what you're willing to risk to be what you want to be.
 

MOHS_01

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Numbers alone will not get you in, but you are ahead in the game in that your numbers will allow you to meet any threshold criteria. Beyond that, doing away rotations and making an impression are your very best bets as it gives you alternative "home" programs -- it is advantageous to be a "known" quantity compared to another interviewee.

Plastics, much like derm or anything else, is not impossible to obtain. Work hard, be respectful, keep your nose clean and you will get there. Don't get caught up in the cut throat gunner world.
 

mountainman123

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Simply interpreting the stats according to last years match for plastics on the nrmp website:
For those who scored between 251-260 on Step 1 17 of the 18 applicants in that range matched indicating two things- 1) a 251 is not average of the matched applicants as there were about 60 others below that range who matched. 2) If you have between a 251 and 260 on step 1 you have about a 95% chance of matching.

Sorry if I am way off as I am very tired right now.....
 

DrDre311

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Simply interpreting the stats according to last years match for plastics on the nrmp website:
For those who scored between 251-260 on Step 1 17 of the 18 applicants in that range matched indicating two things- 1) a 251 is not average of the matched applicants as there were about 60 others below that range who matched. 2) If you have between a 251 and 260 on step 1 you have about a 95% chance of matching.

Sorry if I am way off as I am very tired right now.....
The statistics referred to by the previous poster are for the 2007 main residency match and are available at http://www.nrmp.org/data/chartingoutcomes2007.pdf . The statistical breakdown for the 2008 main residency match has not been made available yet.

As an aside, basing your chances on the match results from just one year is misleading. For example, in 2006 the mean Step I score was 231 and it jumped to 241 in 2007. Also, there were 6 unmatched applicants with Step I scores between 250 and 260 in 2006, versus only one in 2007. Making a judgement of probability based solely on numbers from one match cycle is not sound.

When I stated the the OP's statistics were average, I did not mean that they were literally the mean or median statistics for matched applicants (in fact, I'm not sure how this would apply to a yes-no variable like AOA). Rather, I meant that those statistics are neither exceptional nor prohibitive. Based on what I know about applicants who matched in 2008, which I grant does not include all 92 matched applicants, the OP's numbers fall somewhere in the middle of the pack--not ridiculous, like 280/bunch of plastics pubs/top 40 med school, and not lower-end, like 230/no pubs/random med school.

The median USMLE Step I score for matched applicants in 2007 was 243, whereas the mean was 241--this means that the distribution is positively skewed, and there were more scores at the higher end of the spectrum than would be expected in a normal distribution. Step I scores in the upper end of the spectrum have been increasing yearly, and I believe that for 2008 the median score for matched applicants will be high 240's--there is no reason to think that the trend will not continue, leading to a median score for matched applicants in 2009 of close to 250.

So, to clarify for the OP: I'm certainly not trying to discourage you. With the given academic profile, if you get good LOR's, have good extracurriculars, perform well on away rotations, and interview well, then you have a good chance at matching in plastics. You should just be aware that numbers alone do not guarantee anything. I was quite serious when I said that I have seen applicants with better numbers fail to match, and I have seen applicants with much lower scores get spots. The Match is a fickle beast.
 

What the pho

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If you look at the match data everyone with 260+ matched last year and the year before. So if you'd bust your but another month or so to squeeze another 9 points you were in for sure.
 

DrDre311

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If you look at the match data everyone with 260+ matched last year and the year before. So if you'd bust your but another month or so to squeeze another 9 points you were in for sure.
I won't try to argue with numbers, but Step I scores are a lot more important to medical students than plastics PD's. An article in PRS Journal published fairly recently details that integrated plastics PD's consider AOA membership and LOR's to be the most important criteria in selecting applicants for residency. The trend to which you refer is more likely reflective of the fact that applicant's with very high Step I scores tend to have stronger application profiles overall--as opposed to a strict numerical cutoff for a guaranteed successful match.

Having great scores helps with interview cutoffs, but having a 260 vs. a 255 isn't going to guarantee you a spot. There is so much more that goes into the ranking process than an applicant's Step I score--especially in a field where the majority of applicant's also have great scores. The point is that it isn't smart to say "OK, I've got great test scores so I can write my own ticket for wherever I want to go." You still have to bust *** and get a little lucky to get a plastics spot.
 

Tristero

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hey i just matched this year as well and am very familiar with the nrmp data and consider it to be a valuable resource for all med students

thats being said, i can guarantee you at any of the decent programs on the east coats or west coast, esp in the cities you mentioned philly (penn), nyc (nyu, sinai, cornell/columbia), dc (georgetown), thats those numbers are definitely middle of the pack.

hell, when i interviewed at wake forest (which is a fabulous program btw, just less popular bc of location) the averages for interviewees was 251 step I and 50% AOA...thats from the program directors mouth

i dont think dre is trying to discourage you by any means, but he is giving you an extremely realistic picture of what the plastics match is today and what you are up against. its really getting ridiculous how competitive plastics is, and i consider myself extremely fortunate to match at all.

i did what dre did, balls to the wall, and it paid off. for others, it didnt. you have to roll the dice and see what happens, but make no mistake...you must come with your A game, and be strong in every possible category...these programs are looking for the best of the best...bar none.

people who makes excuses of how plastics isnt competitive or this or that are deluding themselves. we have been through the process, and it woul dbe prudent to listen to dre.