Jul 31, 2016
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Hello everyone,

Brand new user to this forum. I just came here to ask some advice. I studied hard and managed to get a 252 on my Step 1 score and am very happy with this! From research I know this is obviously a great score for any pediatric program, but I was wondering if all programs in the "top" tier like to see more research or certain other extracurriculars or if this is really good enough to help me get interviews at those places? Thanks for the help everyone!
 

SurfingDoctor

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A good step score definitely is helpful, especially if you are able to repeat a similar score on step 2, but it is only part of the package. The more stuff you have, e.g. good letters, good grades, research or other extracurriculars, the better your chances of getting your foot in the door. In my opinion, and others may disagree, but health-related extracurriculars are what really sell an applicant. Everyone who goes through medical school can look very similar on paper as far as grades and step scores, but the people who standout are the ones that go above and beyond the required learning. That being said, when it comes time to apply, just apply to whatever program you like. You never know what will happen.
 

rdk322

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Hey @SurfingDoctor and anybody else who may have an input, I have a question on a related topic.
I'm just starting my third year as US DO student. I was wondering what I could focus on this year to make my application stronger next year since I realized I haven't worked on a whole lot.

- step 1: similar to OP (~250)
- research: absolutely none in med school... I tried lab settings in undergrad and hated it.
- Yrs 1 & 2: top 10%
- EC: AMA Volunteer Chair at my school, a coach for elementary children in the local area meeting with them twice a month over several months to introduce them to healthier eating and more active lifestyle, read for kids in the local clinic in first year while kids waited for their appointments

Also is it okay to be not 100% sure about what I want to do? I can definitely cross a few out in my mind but I can't say I won't be interested in anything else. Am I screwed if I discover what I want to do way down the road?

Thanks!
 

SurfingDoctor

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- research: absolutely none in med school... I tried lab settings in undergrad and hated it.

Also is it okay to be not 100% sure about what I want to do? I can definitely cross a few out in my mind but I can't say I won't be interested in anything else. Am I screwed if I discover what I want to do way down the road?
With regards to research, it depends what your goals are. For most top 10 programs, applicants will have likely pursued some research activity, several going as far to earn extra degrees (MPH, PhD, etc.). While it probably isn't a deal killer, it certainly is not helpful to have nothing to write there. Lab-based research is not the only research activity. There are several other avenues including quality improvement based projects, database analysis, small, pilot clinical research projects. Not all research requires a pipette. I suggest finding either a faculty you enjoy working with or a specialty that you think you enjoy and look for faculty within that department to see what projects are ongoing that you could be a part of. It really doesn't have to be published by the time you apply, but maybe an abstract and something to write in the "Research Experience" of your ERAS application.

It is okay not to be fully decided that this point, but eliminating things can be helpful. Since you are posting in a Pediatric forum, you must having leanings, so pick things Pediatric related... pediatric surgery, pediatric anesthesia, pediatric psych... whatever. that way if you choose not to go into Pediatrics, then you can have letters from other subspecialists (Surgeon, Anesthesiologist, etc.)[/user]
 
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rdk322

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@SurfingDoctor Thank you! That's a really good point with regards to research. Hopefully that's an area I can work on once I get adjusted to third year and have a better idea as to what fields I could definitely cross out.
 
Feb 21, 2018
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Somewhat related to this topic... any general estimates of what Step 1 score makes you competitive for Top 10 vs. Top 50 vs. lower-tier peds programs (these categories are arbitrary, but you get the idea)? Getting ready to apply this summer, and I've heard in general Step 1 matters less for peds than other residencies ... but clearly top programs must have some Step 1 filter they use to screen applicants that I presume to be higher than the average Step 1 for peds.

Has anyone pooled data correlating step 1 score with interview invites/ rejections at top peds programs?
 

mvenus929

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Somewhat related to this topic... any general estimates of what Step 1 score makes you competitive for Top 10 vs. Top 50 vs. lower-tier peds programs (these categories are arbitrary, but you get the idea)? Getting ready to apply this summer, and I've heard in general Step 1 matters less for peds than other residencies ... but clearly top programs must have some Step 1 filter they use to screen applicants that I presume to be higher than the average Step 1 for peds.

Has anyone pooled data correlating step 1 score with interview invites/ rejections at top peds programs?
My friend had a Step 1 score of 210 and matched at UCSF. Our program seems to use other filters than Step 1 score, though I believe they do filter by failures.
 
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shepardsun

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Many top 10 programs will have multiple cut offs for interviews, especially for particularly competitive years. Step score is definitely one of them, as are 3rd year clerkship grades at some places. I had a pretty competitive step 1 score, great research, and fantastic letters- including a great letter from a PICU away I did at a top 10 institution. That same institution rejected me for an interview, which I was later unofficially told was because they had so many applications that among other things, they had an interview cutoff of all honors for 3rd year core rotations (I flat passed psych). Whether you believe it or not is another story, but whatever.
 
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GoSpursGo

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Somewhat related to this topic... any general estimates of what Step 1 score makes you competitive for Top 10 vs. Top 50 vs. lower-tier peds programs (these categories are arbitrary, but you get the idea)? Getting ready to apply this summer, and I've heard in general Step 1 matters less for peds than other residencies ... but clearly top programs must have some Step 1 filter they use to screen applicants that I presume to be higher than the average Step 1 for peds.

Has anyone pooled data correlating step 1 score with interview invites/ rejections at top peds programs?
That kind of data definitely does not exist.

Each program and each year is going to be different. As others have mentioned, most top places have some sort of filter to help sift through the tons of applications they get. The safe thing to do is pick a few highly competitive programs that are particularly interesting to you, a majority that are middle of the road, and a couple that you feel comfortable that you would match to. Apply and see what happens.
 
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NurWollen

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Many top 10 programs will have multiple cut offs for interviews, especially for particularly competitive years. Step score is definitely one of them, as are 3rd year clerkship grades at some places. I had a pretty competitive step 1 score, great research, and fantastic letters- including a great letter from a PICU away I did at a top 10 institution. That same institution rejected me for an interview, which I was later unofficially told was because they had so many applications that among other things, they had an interview cutoff of all honors for 3rd year core rotations (I flat passed psych). Whether you believe it or not is another story, but whatever.
If they were using cutoffs like that, they were just being too lazy to give each application a fair look. It's not like fellowships have anywhere near the number of applications to review that residencies do. And that they would stick to a cutoff like that even for someone who rotated there and did well... I'd be pretty insulted.

"We can't consider your application for a pediatric intensive care fellowship because you only got a pass in psych as as a med student four years ago." Lol.
 

mvenus929

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If they were using cutoffs like that, they were just being too lazy to give each application a fair look. It's not like fellowships have anywhere near the number of applications to review that residencies do. And that they would stick to a cutoff like that even for someone who rotated there and did well... I'd be pretty insulted.

"We can't consider your application for a pediatric intensive care fellowship because you only got a pass in psych as as a med student four years ago." Lol.
My impression is that they were applying for residency at said institution, just happened to do the away rotation in med school in PICU. But I may be wrong...
 

NurWollen

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My impression is that they were applying for residency at said institution, just happened to do the away rotation in med school in PICU. But I may be wrong...
Oh, I re-read it and I see what you mean. That seems more reasonable for residency than fellowship. Still very stringent, but not as ludicrous

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shepardsun

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Yeah, 4th year sub-I in the PICU, then subsequently applied for residency. I had a really good time on the rotation, and got a great letter out of it from the director of the unit, so it left a pretty bad taste in my mouth when I didn't even get an interview. They could have been blowing smoke with the psych rotation thing to make me feel better, but my completely arbitrary feeling is that if you shell out the $ to come for a rotation and aren't a complete dumpster fire, the least they can do is give you the courtesy of an interview, even if they have no intention of taking you...clearly I'm still a little bitter six years after the fact :p
 
Feb 21, 2018
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That kind of data definitely does not exist.

Each program and each year is going to be different. As others have mentioned, most top places have some sort of filter to help sift through the tons of applications they get. The safe thing to do is pick a few highly competitive programs that are particularly interesting to you, a majority that are middle of the road, and a couple that you feel comfortable that you would match to. Apply and see what happens.
@GoSpursGo, any resources you recommend re: classifying peds programs into "highly competitive" vs "middle of the road"? I suppose I have a general sense of the highly competitive ones (CHOP, Boston Children's, Northwestern), but do you have more complete info you can point me to? Am interested to know which middle of the road programs are still big academic programs that would make me competitive for the fellowship of my choosing.

Geographically, focusing on Midwest and East Coast (maybeeee Pacific NW but less likely).
 

GoSpursGo

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@GoSpursGo, any resources you recommend re: classifying peds programs into "highly competitive" vs "middle of the road"? I suppose I have a general sense of the highly competitive ones (CHOP, Boston Children's, Northwestern), but do you have more complete info you can point me to? Am interested to know which middle of the road programs are still big academic programs that would make me competitive for the fellowship of my choosing.

Geographically, focusing on Midwest and East Coast (maybeeee Pacific NW but less likely).
Honestly, your best resource would probably be speaking with the PD at your home institution. They understand you've got to look at other programs, and at least at my med school it was normal and even expected for you to sit down with the PD to discuss where else you should apply.
 

sliceofbread136

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@GoSpursGo, any resources you recommend re: classifying peds programs into "highly competitive" vs "middle of the road"? I suppose I have a general sense of the highly competitive ones (CHOP, Boston Children's, Northwestern), but do you have more complete info you can point me to? Am interested to know which middle of the road programs are still big academic programs that would make me competitive for the fellowship of my choosing.

Geographically, focusing on Midwest and East Coast (maybeeee Pacific NW but less likely).
Doximity is pretty decent, also talk to your pd.

And northwestern is not close to CHOP or BCRP
 

GBFKicks

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Doximity is pretty decent, also talk to your pd.

And northwestern is not close to CHOP or BCRP
Regardless of whether Northwestern is “close to CHOP or BCRP” or not, it’s still a highly competitive program. Just out of curiosity, which programs should be ranked in the “top ten” and above Northwestern?
 

sliceofbread136

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Regardless of whether Northwestern is “close to CHOP or BCRP” or not, it’s still a highly competitive program. Just out of curiosity, which programs should be ranked in the “top ten” and above Northwestern?
Sure it is but that wasn’t the question.

Bcrp, chop, cinci, seattle, Baylor, Stanford, jhu, ucsf, pitt, Colorado, chla, Columbia
 
Feb 21, 2018
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Sure it is but that wasn’t the question.

Bcrp, chop, cinci, seattle, Baylor, Stanford, jhu, ucsf, pitt, Colorado, chla, Columbia
No need to get snarky here ;) I didn't necessarily differentiate "top ten" vs "highly competitive" in my original question, but thanks for pointing out that difference to me. I'll take a more thorough look into these programs. Thanks everyone for the advice!
 

GBFKicks

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Sure it is but that wasn’t the question.

Bcrp, chop, cinci, seattle, Baylor, Stanford, jhu, ucsf, pitt, Colorado, chla, Columbia
With the understanding that it’s more fun that useful to subjectively rank programs like that, I’d maybe put four of those ahead of NU in terms of competitiveness. Realistically, you’re going to get excellent raining at any of those places—your decision about where to go should be based more on factors that likely aren’t clearly evident in a “top ten” list.
 
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