MD Competitiveness of community IM programs for a US MD with very low step1 score, words of encouragement appreciated!

tictac123

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hey guys! im a rising 4th year US MD (average school) student wanting to go into IM (not really interested in fellowships as of now). i've done a lot of research on here about the differences between community and academic programs but i am wanting to know about the competitiveness...

i know community programs in general are less competitive than academic and that IM has a wide range of competitiveness. i have a very low step1 score of 199 (first attempt) and while i haven't taken CK yet, how confident can i feel about matching into a community IM program if i just do ok on CK? have a little research and no other red flags...my advisor has said if i increase my CK score significantly then ill have a chance for academic programs but as a neurotic med student, esp during this quarantine, ive had a lot of time to think through many scenarios lol so any words of wisdom or insight from you all would be more than appreciated!
 
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Oct 28, 2015
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You will be okay as long as there aren’t any other major issues. Obviously try to improve a lot on Step 2. You might not get your first choice and should apply broadly but you will match somewhere.
 
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M&L

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I hope you dont consider my advice inappropriate, since i am only a rising M2, but my friend was in similar situation, - barely passed step 1, did average on step 2. So, she told me that she interviews better than she looks on paper, and that she performs even better than she interviews. So she scheduled additional rotation in the specialty of her choice in a good hospital, and got very good recommendation letter from them. She also asked if they would be willing to make a call on her behalf..... Of course, then rest was up to her, but this was a good step forward. Now she is a 2nd year resident in that place.... So two things i learnt for myself from this that maybe you could benefit from - improve interview skills, and dont be afraid to use connections.
 
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tictac123

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Jan 6, 2017
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Medical Student
You will be okay as long as there aren’t any other major issues. Obviously try to improve a lot on Step 2. You might not get your first choice and should apply broadly but you will match somewhere.
I hope you dont consider my advice inappropriate, since i am only a rising M2, but my friend was in similar situation, - barely passed step 1, did average on step 2. So, she told me that she interviews better than she looks on paper, and that she performs even better than she interviews. So she scheduled additional rotation in the specialty of her choice in a good hospital, and got very good recommendation letter from them. She also asked if they would be willing to make a call on her behalf..... Of course, then rest was up to her, but this was a good step forward. Now she is a 2nd year resident in that place.... So two things i learnt for myself from this that maybe you could benefit from - improve interview skills, and dont be afraid to use connections.
very much appreciate the replies!

unfortunately due to the current circumstances, away rotations are going to be very unlikely but I understand what you’re saying! I definitely interview better than I look on paper haha my clinical grades have been great compared to my shelf grades...appreciate the replies!
My plan is to definitely apply broadly when the time comes and do my best on CK!
 
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Agree with the above advice. SDN isn't the place where you come when you want words of encouragement, but in your case if that's your only issue you should be fine. We can't see the rest of your application but we'll assume there's no other big weakness. Don't cheap out at the application stage, apply broadly and to community programs and not in desirable areas, and you'll be fine.
 
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M&L

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Agree with the above advice. SDN isn't the place where you come when you want words of encouragement, but in your case if that's your only issue you should be fine. We can't see the rest of your application but we'll assume there's no other big weakness. Don't cheap out at the application stage, apply broadly and to community programs and not in desirable areas, and you'll be fine.
Btw just curious - how much does one application cost ? Like , to one residency
 

M&L

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Agree with the above advice. SDN isn't the place where you come when you want words of encouragement, but in your case if that's your only issue you should be fine. We can't see the rest of your application but we'll assume there's no other big weakness. Don't cheap out at the application stage, apply broadly and to community programs and not in desirable areas, and you'll be fine.
Of course I googled the price , I am asking about the total . Like , what does it look like in reality ?
 

JiPo

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Of course I googled the price , I am asking about the total . Like , what does it look like in reality ?
If you googled it, then you can calculate how much it costs to apply.If OP applies to 70 programs, it comes out to $1600.

But the bulk of the cost comes from traveling for interviews. Ive heard people spending $5000 during the entire season, including eras and traveling. I applied a few years back, and I applied locally, so I was able to drive to most places. I think i only spent about $1200. Everyone’s experience will be different.

To OP. With covid19, i dont see in-person interviews happening this year, so it would be much cheaper, so more the reason to apply broadly given the step score. Good Luck.
 
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tictac123

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You are a us md. As long as you are flexible with location and have a wide net you should be able to match. In less desirable locations you might even get an academic spot if you have an average step2 with good letters .
Agree with the above advice. SDN isn't the place where you come when you want words of encouragement, but in your case if that's your only issue you should be fine. We can't see the rest of your application but we'll assume there's no other big weakness. Don't cheap out at the application stage, apply broadly and to community programs and not in desirable areas, and you'll be fine.
Thank you guys for taking the time to reply! Means a lot to the neurotic med student haha I will definitely apply very broadly and intelligently.
 

tictac123

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Jan 6, 2017
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Btw just curious - how much does one application cost ? Like , to one residency
If you googled it, then you can calculate how much it costs to apply.If OP applies to 70 programs, it comes out to $1600.

But the bulk of the cost comes from traveling for interviews. Ive heard people spending $5000 during the entire season, including eras and traveling. I applied a few years back, and I applied locally, so I was able to drive to most places. I think i only spent about $1200. Everyone’s experience will be different.

To OP. With covid19, i dont see in-person interviews happening this year, so it would be much cheaper, so more the reason to apply broadly given the step score. Good Luck.
Yeah they have told us that interviews will be online this year so going to be interesting how that impacts things! Of course it’s unfortunate but hopefully that results in programs granting more interviews etc. and financially, it should help.
 
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Of course I googled the price , I am asking about the total . Like , what does it look like in reality ?
It's been a few years but I believe everything including interview costs came out to about $5k for me. But that involved a fair amount of cross country travel.
 
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AlteredScale

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hey guys! im a rising 4th year US MD (average school) student wanting to go into IM (not really interested in fellowships as of now). i've done a lot of research on here about the differences between community and academic programs but i am wanting to know about the competitiveness...

i know community programs in general are less competitive than academic and that IM has a wide range of competitiveness. i have a very low step1 score of 199 (first attempt) and while i haven't taken CK yet, how confident can i feel about matching into a community IM program if i just do ok on CK? have a little research and no other red flags...my advisor has said if i increase my CK score significantly then ill have a chance for academic programs but as a neurotic med student, esp during this quarantine, ive had a lot of time to think through many scenarios lol so any words of wisdom or insight from you all would be more than appreciated!
Your advisor is correct that a strong step 2 may get you some attention at more academic places.

In the meantime, prepare for the worst, research FRIEDA and look at minimum score cutoffs. If they don’t have them then great, you should apply to those. If they have a 200 cutoff you should contact the program and ask if a strong step 2 will allow for consideration for a step 1 below their cutoff. All of this should be jotted down on a an excel sheet so that you know, before ERAS opens up, what programs you’ll be applying to.


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tictac123

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Jan 6, 2017
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Your advisor is correct that a strong step 2 may get you some attention at more academic places.

In the meantime, prepare for the worst, research FRIEDA and look at minimum score cutoffs. If they don’t have them then great, you should apply to those. If they have a 200 cutoff you should contact the program and ask if a strong step 2 will allow for consideration for a step 1 below their cutoff. All of this should be jotted down on a an excel sheet so that you know, before ERAS opens up, what programs you’ll be applying to.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Thank you for taking the time to reply! I will definitely take that advice...do you have any insight into how strict the listed step 1 cutoffs are? I've heard many mixed things. Some have said they are incorrect or can depend on your step 2 score etc. I assume contacting the program through email (or phone?) is probably the best way to go but any information would be appreciated!
 
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Thank you for taking the time to reply! I will definitely take that advice...do you have any insight into how strict the listed step 1 cutoffs are? I've heard many mixed things. Some have said they are incorrect or can depend on your step 2 score etc. I assume contacting the program through email (or phone?) is probably the best way to go but any information would be appreciated!
I think some programs avoid telling applicants they have strict cut offs because it may “eliminate” applicants who have other things that the program wants. Reaching out to programs directly may be your best bet because you can use the email as an opportunity to demonstrate your interest in the program and show them that you are personable and engaged.
 

DameJulie

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Now, if. US DO applicant has a USMLE score of 199, how far will he/she get?
 

AlteredScale

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Thank you for taking the time to reply! I will definitely take that advice...do you have any insight into how strict the listed step 1 cutoffs are? I've heard many mixed things. Some have said they are incorrect or can depend on your step 2 score etc. I assume contacting the program through email (or phone?) is probably the best way to go but any information would be appreciated!
Each program on FREIDA has a "update by PD on xx (someday)" on the main page so you can see how accurate they are. I say contacting the program coordinator is best when your scores are very close to their cutoffs.

Now, if. US DO applicant has a USMLE score of 199, how far will he/she get?
Well on top of score cutoffs if the applicant decided foolishly to apply to more competitive programs, they will probably get screened with the "view US MD only" filter IF the PD/PC decides to use that filter first if not, they will then get screened by scores.
 
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