fldoctorgirl

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Hello! Current slightly neurotic M3, 99% sure I'm going to be applying IM next year. Also 95% sure I don't want to do a fellowship. I have a quick question and I'll do my best to keep it short and sweet....

Recently, through browsing the ERAS panic thread on the MD student forums and hearing personal anecdotes, I have become concerned with yield protection. I heard from an applicant who had a 260+ on both Steps and had to SOAP because most of the programs they applied to assumed that they would be ranked low as a "safety" (not IM). Most of the programs I am interested in are not very competitive from a scores perspective, as a lot of them are community programs. I am certain that my Step score is well above the average at basically every program I am interested in.

So...is this a valid concern? Is this actually a thing in the residency application process? I am concerned that PDs will see that I'm from an OOS med school and that I'm way above their average Step and think that I am just using them as a safety. Is there anything I can do to show that I really do want to go to these programs? I plan on doing pretty much all of my 4th year in my desired geographic area, including sub-Is/auditions that my school requires (thinking of doing these at programs that aren't my top top choices-- but that I still wouldn't mind going to-- so that I don't mess up my chances at my top choices since I've heard auditions aren't generally recommended for IM if you have good stats); will PDs take this into account? Also, I plan on discussing my desire to be home in my PS.

This ended up longer than I expected but really just looking for some peace of mind and wondering if I should even be concerned about this in the first place, or whether it's just another thing that's overblown on SDN. And, if it is a thing, what I can do to really convey that I do really want to go to these programs. Thank you!
 
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Elixir6

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Hello! Current slightly neurotic M3, 99% sure I'm going to be applying IM next year. Also 95% sure I don't want to do a fellowship. I have a quick question and I'll do my best to keep it short and sweet....

Recently, through browsing the ERAS panic thread on the MD student forums and hearing personal anecdotes, I have become concerned with yield protection. I heard from an applicant who had a 260+ on both Steps and had to SOAP because most of the programs they applied to assumed that they would be ranked low as a "safety" (not IM). Most of the programs I am interested in are not very competitive from a scores perspective, as a lot of them are community programs. I am certain that my Step score is well above the average at basically every program I am interested in.

So...is this a valid concern? Is this actually a thing in the residency application process? I am concerned that PDs will see that I'm from an OOS med school and that I'm way above their average Step and think that I am just using them as a safety. Is there anything I can do to show that I really do want to go to these programs? I plan on doing pretty much all of my 4th year in my desired geographic area, including sub-Is/auditions that my school requires (thinking of doing these at programs that aren't my top top choices-- but that I still wouldn't mind going to-- so that I don't mess up my chances at my top choices since I've heard auditions aren't generally recommended for IM if you have good stats); will PDs take this into account? Also, I plan on discussing my desire to be home in my PS.

This ended up longer than I expected but really just looking for some peace of mind and wondering if I should even be concerned about this in the first place, or whether it's just another thing that's overblown on SDN. And, if it is a thing, what I can do to really convey that I do really want to go to these programs. Thank you!

Applicants with great scores and sufficient interviews who don't match probably have a personality disorder or interview very poorly. Any PD with half a brain would know to rank their most preferred applicants higher and not their understanding of how the applicant might rank them.

However, the situation you describe may result in not getting interviews at places you are "overly competitive" at, particularly if the programs are outside of your region. Interviews are limited by the number of faculty available and program bandwidth, so PDs don't really want to give interviews to people they don't think are actually going to come. This is easily remedied by emailing the PD.

There is randomness in the process for sure. But this happened to me personally, and for fellowship I emailed the PD at a particular program and got an interview the same day.

Though the PDs intuition was right, because I ranked the program low and matched elsewhere.
 
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fldoctorgirl

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However, the situation you describe may result in not getting interviews at places you are "overly competitive" at, particularly if the programs are outside of your region. Interviews are limited by the number of faculty available and program bandwidth, so PDs don't really want to give interviews to people they don't think are actually going to come. This is easily remedied by emailing the PD.
Thanks for your response!

I plan on auditioning in my region and making it clear in my PS that it's the only region I really see myself in, so hopefully that will help. I guess other than that my only other option would be to send LOIs if I don't hear from certain programs.
 

Kaustikos

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No. This is more ridiculous pre-med bull**** that has lingered.
Thank you
Can we close this thread? And sticky it so people stop asking this?

As an Addendum - people who keep bringing up anecdotal stories like this are not being truthful. There's a reason why they didn't get a residency spot. There's always a reason. People just don't mention it.
 
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Dwan

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Hello! Current slightly neurotic M3, 99% sure I'm going to be applying IM next year. Also 95% sure I don't want to do a fellowship. I have a quick question and I'll do my best to keep it short and sweet....

Recently, through browsing the ERAS panic thread on the MD student forums and hearing personal anecdotes, I have become concerned with yield protection. I heard from an applicant who had a 260+ on both Steps and had to SOAP because most of the programs they applied to assumed that they would be ranked low as a "safety" (not IM). Most of the programs I am interested in are not very competitive from a scores perspective, as a lot of them are community programs. I am certain that my Step score is well above the average at basically every program I am interested in.

So...is this a valid concern? Is this actually a thing in the residency application process? I am concerned that PDs will see that I'm from an OOS med school and that I'm way above their average Step and think that I am just using them as a safety. Is there anything I can do to show that I really do want to go to these programs? I plan on doing pretty much all of my 4th year in my desired geographic area, including sub-Is/auditions that my school requires (thinking of doing these at programs that aren't my top top choices-- but that I still wouldn't mind going to-- so that I don't mess up my chances at my top choices since I've heard auditions aren't generally recommended for IM if you have good stats); will PDs take this into account? Also, I plan on discussing my desire to be home in my PS.

This ended up longer than I expected but really just looking for some peace of mind and wondering if I should even be concerned about this in the first place, or whether it's just another thing that's overblown on SDN. And, if it is a thing, what I can do to really convey that I do really want to go to these programs. Thank you!

Yield protection, in particular geographical, is a bigger thing for fellowships and smaller fields than for IM. If you have a strong app, you should have no problem getting a bunch of interviews in IM, even at random locations. LOIs can be helpful as well, in the cases where you think your application/interest might have been overlooked.
 
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BacktotheBasics

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I don't think you need to worry about yield protection given you're applying to IM which is a pretty large field and you're explaining things clearly. That said, there is probably some yield protection going on. Take a nice IM program that doesn't fill every year for various reasons. Let's say they have the capacity to interview 200 and then they accept 20. If the candidate they examine seems above what they typically recruit, they may second guess giving them one of their 200 spots because if they do that with too many of their applicants, they run the risk of having all their interviewees being gobbled by bigger fish. This is often stated in rejections letters saying "We had 3000 applications this year and could not interview all qualified candidates". That being said, I DO NOT think this is your case applying IM and if you plan to allude to your motives in your PS. If anything, I recall applying pretty broadly, interviewing at many of what I considered safeties, and those programs expressing interest via pre-match communication.
 
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collegestud2013

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If by yield protection, you mean programs are concerned that they will go unmatched and have unfilled spots because they're interviewing too many "overqualified" candidates who are unlikely to rank them highly then yes this happens to some extent outside of top programs in large field like IM that is relatively non-competitive for U.S.M.Ds.

Remember that the NRMP Match algorithm is applicant-proposing (it used to be program-proposing back in the day but was switched circa 1997) which means that applicants can rank their programs in order of true preference without being penalized for ranking a program lower. Of course if the algorithm is applicant-proposing that means programs will need take account the applicants' perceived interest in the program into account in addition to how much they really want the applicant. That means if programs rank too many applicants at the top of their list that don't match to their program, they are also at increased risk of not getting the applicants lower on their rank list and having to SOAP applicants.

In most specialties these days including iM the number of applicants exceeds the number of spots once you factor in all the IMG applicants so most programs usually will fill in during SOAP and the program usually doesn't end up understaffed. Obviously it will likely be filled with a less desirable applicant or an applicant who did not match into a more competitive specialty and are scrambling into a backup specialty, and since the individual program Match information becomes publicly available afterwards it looks bad for programs who don't fill in the main Match.
 
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fldoctorgirl

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Thanks everyone for the feedback :)

It seems like the answer is just to make sure I communicate in my PS why I want to be in the area, and then send LOIs if I don't hear from said programs.
 

BacktotheBasics

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I would recommend communicating early next year. During application season the program's are too busy to listen to anything. Request a virtual meeting with a program director and be like, yo, I'm interested. That should seal it assuming your application checks out.
 

fldoctorgirl

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I would recommend communicating early next year. During application season the program's are too busy to listen to anything. Request a virtual meeting with a program director and be like, yo, I'm interested. That should seal it assuming your application checks out.
Hm, interesting. I've never heard of anyone recommending anything like this.
 

NotAProgDirector

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Remember that the NRMP Match algorithm is applicant-proposing (it used to be program-proposing back in the day but was switched circa 1997) which means that applicants can rank their programs in order of true preference without being penalized for ranking a program lower. Of course if the algorithm is applicant-proposing that means programs will need take account the applicants' perceived interest in the program into account in addition to how much they really want the applicant. That means if programs rank too many applicants at the top of their list that don't match to their program, they are also at increased risk of not getting the applicants lower on their rank list and having to SOAP applicants.
Sigh.

This is absolutely not true. At all. It's not how the match works.

For both applicants and programs, the best ranking strategy is to rank programs / applicants in the order you want them. If an applicant goes unmatched or if a program goes unfilled, that result will be the same no matter what order the list was entered. In both cases the entire list was processed, and hence the order no longer matters, at all.

Programs and/or applicants might take perceived interest of the other party into consideration during ranking. Programs want applicants who want to be there, applicants want to be at programs where they will be appreciated. This is human nature, and it's fine.

Lots gets made of "applicant proposing" and "program proposing". The only difference between the two is how ties are settled. The proposer wins the tie. So in an applicant proposing system, ties will be settled in favor of the applicant. This affects less than 1% of all matches, so no matter whom proposes, 99% of everything stays exactly the same.
 
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BacktotheBasics

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Because it's pretty bad advice.
OK... Why? I don't like giving bad advice.

1) If OP is not perceived as a fit for her program of interest, whether it be because of her medical school reputation, board scores being higher/lower than than the status quo etc., why would program X not be wary about offering Applicant A an interview? I can see what NotAPD is saying in the above post when it comes to ranking post-interview candidates, but if programs have limited interview spots why wouldn't they prioritize inviting candidates who will actually rank their program?

2) OK. Maybe asking an extremely busy PD for an individual meeting catered for you is stupid. I can see that, but what would be wrong with sending an email expressing your genuine interest in the program? Especially if it's done before the application season (Sep-Dec) when everyone's mailboxes aren't full and not all candidate's are acting like program X is their dream program?
 
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