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Do I need to apply for a backup specialty?

Discussion in 'Emergency Medicine' started by link2swim06, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. link2swim06

    link2swim06 Physician 10+ Year Member

    Dec 14, 2007
    My EM application isn't super competitive.

    Will it hurt my EM app to also apply to IM as a backup?

    What are the logistics of applying to two specialties?
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2013
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  3. NERDY

    NERDY Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 22, 2004
    1. Make sure the LORs go to the correct specialties. You don't want the IM PD to read a letter saying "this MS4 would be an excellent EM physician".
    2. Also, if you apply at the same place for both fields, I think you risk not making either rank list since it appears you can't commit to the field.
    3. It is still early in the EM application season, apply to as many places you can and attend every interview.
  4. PrimaryCare11


    Jul 24, 2013
    I thought the PDs can see the other places that you applied to. This would mean they can see that you applied to IM as well which would be bad.
  5. spelledout

    spelledout 7+ Year Member

    Jul 28, 2008
    false. they can't see where you applied. after the match they can see where you matched, but during interviews they have no idea unless you spill the beans
  6. Emquestionns


    Jun 24, 2016
    I have two red flags on my application, I failed both my first block of M1 year and first block of M2 year. Had straight passes in my M3 year. Step 1 was 238, Step 2 I'll take the first week of August. Don't know how my SLOE's are going to come out but if I'm going to be honest, I'm an average student so I likely am not going to be kicking those out of the park.

    Without the two red flags, I would probably just apply widely but I'm wondering if they're serious enough to warrant applying for a backup specialty (it would be IM). For various reasons, I simply can not take the chance of not matching and reapplying next year.

    Anyone with experience care to give some input?
  7. gman33

    gman33 Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2007
    I had a lone fail in M1. Maybe it hurt me somewhere, but I matched at a very good program.
    And there was nothing that special about my overall app.

    I'd apply to every program as well as a some IM stuff based on your comments.

    Even if you get a bunch of EM interviews, I'd still go on IM interviews and rank some programs.
    The match is a crap shoot and if you are dead set on only applying once, you want to max your chances.
  8. gro2001

    gro2001 SOCMOB Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Jul 4, 2006
    the desert
    You basically answered your own question. If you can not take the risk of not matching, then do everything you can to match, including applying to to a backup specialty. Most importantly, apply very broadly within EM.
    racerwad likes this.
  9. WildcatS11

    WildcatS11 7+ Year Member

    Jul 17, 2009
    Those 2 red flags will definitely be a killer at some programs. You have a good step 1, but otherwise everything sounds average. From what you told me, you don't have a lot to stand out from the masses, and you have a couple reasons for programs to hesitate.

    However, people like you match every year in emergency medicine. Apply broadly. Like, all programs that you could stomach going to. And add on a handful (10-20? I don't know how Interviews go for those - obviously don't pick Hopkins and Harvard) internal med programs. Definitely do a practice interview and get your style down, so that you make the most of the interviews you get.
  10. Tenk

    Tenk Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Jan 5, 2007
    Depends on your personality. Those things are hard to overcome for sure but if you can prove to a PD that you're a stellar badass that's all that matters. Plan your aways wisely.
  11. gamerEMdoc

    gamerEMdoc Associate PD; EM Clerkship Director Physician Faculty Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

    Feb 10, 2016
    That'll matter very little if you do well on rotation and get good SLOEs. Noone really cares what happened on your neuroanatomy block in 1st year if you excel on your EM rotation. Well, maybe the highest tier programs may care, but there's a much bigger number of programs that won't if you do well on your rotations.

    As for the SLOEs, realize that even if you are an average student, and you get "middle 1/3" status on your SLOEs, those people match too. Do they match at hopkins? No. But they match. Most programs go into that 40-60 range until they match all their spots. They go into the "middle 1/3" part of the list, and many go past it into the "low 1/3" part of the list. So don't be too discouraged. If you do well on rotation, your chances are pretty good you'll match.
    Makati2008 likes this.
  12. Magneto1


    Jun 16, 2016
    Were you ever asked on your interviews if you are applying to multiple specialties? I fear that by acting committed to whatever specialty you are at an interview for and somehow the specialty uncovers it (for instance every away rotation was dermatology and not IM), that would just be a recipe for bad news. Basically I'm wondering how you efficiently and successfully applied to two specialties.
  13. GandalfTheWhite

    GandalfTheWhite Chillin in Isengard 5+ Year Member

    Aug 8, 2011
    Middle Earth
    just to piggy back on this, how important is volunteering and class quartiles if you have above average step scores and research with pubs (PMIDs)?
  14. gamerEMdoc

    gamerEMdoc Associate PD; EM Clerkship Director Physician Faculty Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

    Feb 10, 2016
    All are minimally important. Board scores will help you get some interviews. Good SLOEs = match. SLOEs are without a doubt the single most important part of the application and there isnt a close 2nd. All else makes very little difference as you'll find on the interview trail.

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