I'm a M3 at a mid-tier ranked USMD school on the East coast, originally from California and looking to match in SD, LA, or OC. I was wondering what my chances were at the top academic programs and how I can improve them over the next year. Currently, I have 0 research or ECs, focused on step 1 the past two years. Step 1 is 260. Will I need to get involved in research to match at these programs?