Low Step scores and no aways, advice appreciated

Beeftenderloin

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    Friend of mine (who is a DO) matched a decent anesthesia program with a step 1 in your range, no home anesthesia program and a single away rotation. It can be done. Though he did also apply to several IM programs. The tippy top of anesthesia is competitive, most mid or low tier programs are not though. Apply broadly, don’t F up your interviews and you will likely be fine.
     
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    ans2021

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      I would highly recommend not applying to every program for anesthesia. There are a lot of programs that won't even take a look at your application due to your step scores. Also, obviously a lot of programs have categorical and advanced spots. I would apply to both of those spots for the programs you do apply to. If you don't match into anesthesia but do for a prelim spot, that will give you an in if you choose to follow that path. I had many interviews where they tried to tease out if I was applying to multiple specialties and it always was more impressive when I said I was applying solely to anesthesia.
       
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      BLADEMDA

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        Hi. US mid tier allopathic student. Step 1 208-212 range. Mostly HP third year. Consistently high 70s/low 80s on my shelf exams. Hoping to aim for a 230+ on Step 2. A few research projects and ECs. I plan on applying to every single program out there due to my low score. The match data gave me a 90ish% of matching which I guess are good odds. I was planning on doing aways at a few target places which obviously isn't happening. Two questions:
        1) Do I have a high shot of not matching and should I dual apply? I just feel exhausted at the thought of it but I don't want to SOAP.
        2) Any advice on how to make my app more competitive?
        Thanks.

        Every single program? Why? You think MGH is going to grant you an interview? You can skip the top 1/4 and apply to 3/4 of The programs with the same result.
         

        JiPo

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          How do I go about choosing the programs not to waste my time applying to though. Do I not apply to the top 50 programs? There doesn't seem to be clear rankings except doximity and I was wondering how accurate that was.

          Yes, your chance of matching into ANY PROGRAM is probably greater than 90%. Matching into a University program, probably much much less. I say you should apply to everywhere and see which program bites, but if you want to save some money, and this is me being brutally honest, I would apply to all of the community programs and not bother with any university program where you think "oh yeah, I've heard of that name. It sounds solid/great."

          Your score is at least 20 points below average, and your "goal" step 2 score is STILL below average for step 2... Unless you score in 250's, you can forget about any solid mid-tier prorgrams.

          One thing that will work in your favor is the current covid-19 situation. I anticipate almost every applicant will apply to more programs than in the past, and will also go on more interviews since it will be virtual interviews. Programs are aware of this, so programs will have to interview more applicants to ensure they don't go unmatched. As programs also broaden their net, it might get just big enough to include you. Good luck.
           

          naijacardriodoc

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            Yes, your chance of matching into ANY PROGRAM is probably greater than 90%. Matching into a University program, probably much much less. I say you should apply to everywhere and see which program bites, but if you want to save some money, and this is me being brutally honest, I would apply to all of the community programs and not bother with any university program where you think "oh yeah, I've heard of that name. It sounds solid/great."

            Your score is at least 20 points below average, and your "goal" step 2 score is STILL below average for step 2... Unless you score in 250's, you can forget about any solid mid-tier prorgrams.

            One thing that will work in your favor is the current covid-19 situation. I anticipate almost every applicant will apply to more programs than in the past, and will also go on more interviews since it will be virtual interviews. Programs are aware of this, so programs will have to interview more applicants to ensure they don't go unmatched. As programs also broaden their net, it might get just big enough to include you. Good luck.

            what’s a good step 1 score for UNC? Is it mid-tier?
             

            BLADEMDA

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              What about lower tier university programs like Tufts or Temple? And those in that range. Or university programs that accept quite a few IMGs. Also do you recommend using doximity to find community programs? For example, on Doximity, programs like Oklahoma and Wayne State are at the bottom of the doximity list. There's not that many community programs. I feel if I took your advice, I would have a harder time matching purely because of the lack of programs I would apply to.

              You should apply to 3/4 of the programs. This includes Tulane and Temple as well as Wayne State. You should EXCLUDE most of California Programs as well as the top Midwest and East programs. How hard is it to make a list of 30 programs you shouldn't apply to? Then apply to the rest.
               

              AnonymousPD

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                Sm90,

                I think you are getting off track here. The primary issue needs to be what you need to be doing from here on out to make yourself a better applicant. Figuring out which programs to apply to is simply a matter of checking boxes and how big a credit card charge you are willing to incur.

                Okay...so you under-performed on Step 1 by a bit. That isn't your entire application. What's in the past is done, so focus your time and energy on what's in front of you. You have Step 2 left...study for it like your career depends on it. What classes do you have left? Do as well as you can on those. You have a personal statement to write, make it compelling. Pick your letter writers carefully, pick people who know you well enough to actually talk about you in some sort of detail. I can assure you, getting a random letter from your Chair that says generic things about you will not help you in the slightest.

                This year is going to be a unique year for recruiting. No aways, so home field advantage is going to be a much bigger deal, the students from the home medical school will be the only ones we will actually know and have worked with. I assume you have a program at your institution, do everything you can to be a known asset. You are going to be doing video interviews...record yourself and see how you look. Get a good webcam and microphone so people can see and hear you clearly. Maybe even some good lighting as well.

                There already have been multiple posts about how to best to compete with people who have higher test scores. The answer is surprisingly simple. Do better than them on the other things that make up an application.
                 
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                kittykat57

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                  So... My Step 1 was only slightly higher than you, and I matched anesthesiology. I will say that my Step 2 was 240 though, not super awesome, but it worked out. Apply broadly for sure and be proactive. You can definitely get some interviews and match, but part of it will be showing interest in programs and working hard for it.
                   
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                  SnapperRocks

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                    I think UNC is a step above mid tier for sure. It's not Duke, but it's not as far behind as people think.

                    Agreed. I would say slightly behind UVA Wake and UPMC...but these would more than likely require mid 230s or whatever number is half a standard deviation above the mean these days
                     
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                    Lidolover

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                      Advice: you should not start this battle with this pessimistic attitude. NOTHING is impossible. Do u think all the peeps in the top tier programs are perfect?!?! Come ooon. We know that’s not real. As stated above, try your best to have a well-written application, great letters, indications of efforts or willingness to be well-rounded and an impressive attitude. Boom. Have faith. Good luck.
                       
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