YeahNoMind

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I'd like to preface this post by adding some sort of value, and hope to anyone who has similar Step scores/logistics as me that low board scores aren't the kiss of death to your application.

When my score reports came back I barely made the cut. I'm definitely not happy with my performance but it could have been worse. I'm not about making excuses. It is what it is. I can't change it so onward, and upward.

I'm still cautiously optimistic because the only field I'm passionate about is FM, and fortunately below average board scores don't break your application at some programs. When I spoke to my seniors, and attendings, they all concurred that it was time to work on networking, and strengthening my application.

I got involved in FM as a research assistant for 8 months at a prestigious FMRP in Texas. It was a good experience, and at the very least I got 3 strong LOR's from FM physicians. Even though I probably won't get into the program I did research at - I'm glad that there is proof via my LOR's that I'm dedicated to the field.

Some things that I'd recommend to anyone applying next year

  • Whether you're an US medical student, or IMG - Attend the AAFP national conference in Kansas City. Great networking opportunity. ~250, maybe more residency programs are there. Whatever you're looking for as far as Family Medicine training, you'll find programs there that offer it.
  • The amount of time it would take you to cold call, email, or physicially visit these programs would take several months, but you have a three day window to meet residents, program directors, and program coordinators during the conference. It's an invaluable opportunity for anyone interested in the field.
  • Try to secure away rotations
    • Again, this comes back to the conference / other networking opportunities. If you're genuinely interested in a program, ask if they offer sub-internships, or away rotations. I was able to secure two sub-internships next month, and the following month. Most programs will at least interview you if you did a good job on your sub-i/away rotation. Plus from what I've heard, your application will be looked at more closely, because they actually know you. A lot of programs want to take someone with good credentials, but spending time at that program, and seeing patients allows them to get a better idea of who you are, and if they'd want to work with you.
  • Get involved in research.
    • I have a friend in residency at the program I did research at, and asked him to introduce me to the Family Med doctor who is the most involved in research in the FM department. He did, and I told her my situation, and she was nice enough to get me involved in one of her projects.

  • Have something that makes you stand out on your application. I have a medical blog, and am into film production. Talk about that in your personal statement, and when you're networking. Be different from the other 2,999 people applying for the same spot.


US-IMG - Very average Caribbean school

Step 1 - <200
CK- 209
CS- pass

No multiple attempts.
Don't need a visa
Research project in FM submitted for publication this past month.

Shooting for December - January for ECFMG certification.

I'd like to gather an idea of how many FM programs to apply to, and how many programs would screen me out solely based on my board scores.
 

hallowmann

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In terms of number to apply to, I'm seeing suggestions for IMGs in the 70-100 range for average and slightly below average candidates (the median for all independent candidates is probably around 60-70 for the last cycle). Because your scores are below most averages in FM programs and below the 200 cutoff that I've seen on a decent amount of programs, I'd suggest applying to more than that. I'm honestly not sure how much more is enough, but the link below could give you an idea (its from the 2015 cycle though, so take it for what it is.

http://www.nrmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Applicant-Survey-Report-2015.pdf

Basically you need enough to get interviews and rank at least 8-10 places, preferably closer to 15-20. The top quartile of application numbers for FM is in the realm of 160-200. I would not apply to more than that, unless you really want to and can afford it. It'll really depend on how you target your app as well. If you are applying to 100 places that regularly take IMGs in the midwest, you have a better shot at reaching that interview threshold than 100 places filled with AMGs that are concentrated on the coasts.

Generally speaking, applying is the time to err on the side of more rather than less, and you can be a bit more judicious with which interviews you accept. Applications per program are at most $26 each, so we're talking a relatively small cost compared to that of travel, but not really small enough to apply to a ton of reaches or anything like that.

Obviously don't apply to programs that don't have any IMGs, have 210+ cutoffs, etc. Beyond that, its up to you how much more you want to narrow it down.
 
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@hallowman How do you search for programs that mostly have IMG? Do you have to go to every program website or are these info readily available in FREIDA?
 
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hallowmann

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@hallowman How do you search for programs that mostly have IMG? Do you have to go to everyone program website or are these info readily available in FREIDA?
It depends. Freida includes this info for some programs, but only if they've filled out the additional/expanded info and they specifically answered the trainee demographics part. This info is under the "Faculty & Trainees" tab at the bottom. For example below is for Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. Their info says they have 38% DOs, 49.5% IMGs, and 12.4% US MDs.

https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/programDetails.do?pgmNumber=1200511057#faculty

In my experience, about 1/2 to 2/3 of programs actually have this info, but it is highly variable. Anything not indicated on Freida could be checked out on the individual program websites, but its tedious and they may be outdated, they may not tell you where people went to school, they may not even tell you who their residents are.
 
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YeahNoMind

YeahNoMind

5+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2014
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NY
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Medical Student
In terms of number to apply to, I'm seeing suggestions for IMGs in the 70-100 range for average and slightly below average candidates (the median for all independent candidates is probably around 60-70 for the last cycle). Because your scores are below most averages in FM programs and below the 200 cutoff that I've seen on a decent amount of programs, I'd suggest applying to more than that. I'm honestly not sure how much more is enough, but the link below could give you an idea (its from the 2015 cycle though, so take it for what it is.

http://www.nrmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Applicant-Survey-Report-2015.pdf

Basically you need enough to get interviews and rank at least 8-10 places, preferably closer to 15-20. The top quartile of application numbers for FM is in the realm of 160-200. I would not apply to more than that, unless you really want to and can afford it. It'll really depend on how you target your app as well. If you are applying to 100 places that regularly take IMGs in the midwest, you have a better shot at reaching that interview threshold than 100 places filled with AMGs that are concentrated on the coasts.

Generally speaking, applying is the time to err on the side of more rather than less, and you can be a bit more judicious with which interviews you accept. Applications per program are at most $26 each, so we're talking a relatively small cost compared to that of travel, but not really small enough to apply to a ton of reaches or anything like that.

Obviously don't apply to programs that don't have any IMGs, have 210+ cutoffs, etc. Beyond that, its up to you how much more you want to narrow it down.
I've heard that the 200 cutoff is a pretty standard rule at a lot of programs. I'm lucky enough to not have to worry about money during application season. I was originally thinking in the realm of 120-150 FM programs. I could just as easily apply to 200. As far as "For sure" interview invites go, I think I'll be at 2 because of the away rotations. I'm trying to hit that sweet spot of 10-13 interviews.

Right now, I'm preparing for my away rotations, getting paperwork together for graduation, and periodically visiting/emailing back and forth with programs I kept in touch with throughout the year. Not sure if this will increase my odds of being invited for and interview or not. What are your thoughts on this?

The NRMP charting outcomes for the match says that independent applicants applying for Family Medicine had an ~80 percent match rate if they went on 12-13 interviews, and ranked every program they interviewed at.
 

hallowmann

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I've heard that the 200 cutoff is a pretty standard rule at a lot of programs. I'm lucky enough to not have to worry about money during application season. I was originally thinking in the realm of 120-150 FM programs. I could just as easily apply to 200. As far as "For sure" interview invites go, I think I'll be at 2 because of the away rotations. I'm trying to hit that sweet spot of 10-13 interviews.

Right now, I'm preparing for my away rotations, getting paperwork together for graduation, and periodically visiting/emailing back and forth with programs I kept in touch with throughout the year. Not sure if this will increase my odds of being invited for and interview or not. What are your thoughts on this?

The NRMP charting outcomes for the match says that independent applicants applying for Family Medicine had an ~80 percent match rate if they went on 12-13 interviews, and ranked every program they interviewed at.
It sounds to me like you're doing everything you should do, but honestly, I'm applying alongside you, so I really am not sure.

If you have the funds, it might be worth it to apply to every place that won't screen you. It might not be many more than the 150 number you had in mind. There's ~480 programs, and I wouldn't be surprised if half screened you and some more weren't IMG-friendly. The nice thing about FM is that there are so many programs that even with eliminating 200-300, you still end up with a huge number to apply to.
 

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@hallowmann What is the latest time should someone take CS so programs can get your result before they submit their rank list. I was told that it takes 3 months to get your CS result back... and 3rd year rotation for me will be over early August 2017.

Sorry if I highjack the thread... Did not want to create one for just one question...
 

hallowmann

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@hallowmann What is the latest time should someone take CS so programs can get your result before they submit their rank list. I was told that it takes 3 months to get your CS result back... and 3rd year rotation for me will be over early August 2017.

Sorry if I highjack the thread... Did not want to create one for just one question...
As a US student, the earliest you'd really need to have the pass by is before ROL time, and that's really dependent on what your school requires to certify you for the match and what individual programs you're applying to say they want (e.g. do they want your score in by the time of interview, etc.). Because of this, if it takes 3 months, I'd try to do it by the end of Oct.

Here's the thing though, if you're one of those few that fails it, you want enough time before ROL to retake by the end of Oct and get the pass in before ROL. If you're able to study enough for it and feel confident, you could take it by the end of August. That gives you time to submit your app before the score comes back and have enough time to retake it if you fail, or alternatively if you pass you'll be able to resubmit early and probably get the score in in time for most interviews.

Based on this, I would suspect the best time to take it would be between August and October, but obviously the most important thing is that you are prepared for the exam regardless of when you take it.

Again though, I'm just an applicant at this point.
 
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