Importance of Third Year Grades in Match

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May 30, 2016
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I am a M3 who is about to finish the final Clerkships of third year. I have always been interested in ENT as my ultimate field but have had a strong interest in Neurosurgery. Now that I am finishing my neurology rotation and rotating through Neurosurgery for a week, I am beginning to wonder if that path is more consistent with my interests. However, after years of conditioning my app for ENT, I am unsure if it is too late to rescue for NeuroSurg.

Step 1: 247
Step 2: Not Yet
Clerkships: I have received honors in all of my clinical feedback and am regarded as easy to work with, for the record. My HP grades have weirdly been by narrowly missing the H cutoff for the shelves.
Med- H
Surgery- HP
OB/Gyn- HP
Peds- HP
Psych- TBD
Neuro- TBD

Projects- 7 projects (including one away fellowship in Neurotology in M1-2 year)
Publications- 2 publications (1 basic science As second author, 1 in Head and Neck Oncology as first author), 2 manuscripts in editing (both first author in ENT)
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Dec 22, 2014
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Step 1 is middle-of-the pack, HP in surgery will hurt you a bit, 4 publications with 3 first author and the 4th as basic science is good.

Do you have a home program/is it a top 20-30 program? If so, then I'd advise you honor neurology, get a 260+ on step 1, and get at least 1 neurosurgery publication on your ERAS. If you check all of the above boxes (especially the strong home med school), then you can apply this year and be a moderately competitive applicant.

If you're missing any of the above - especially having a weaker home program - I'd recommend a productive gap year, but keep in mind that many strong applicants are taking a gap year this year because of COVID and the SNS away policy, so next year is theorized to be a very tough match.
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