Jul 30, 2014
12
11
I scored a 223 on step 1 and 246 on step 2, which are sub-average for applying to general surgery. I spent a year doing research, and I have over 20+ pubs/posters/oral presentations. I go to a non-academic medschool in the Midwest.

I'm having a difficult time putting together a program list, because in the back of my mind I keep thinking I'm not a very competitive applicant so I'm only looking at small/rural programs in less desirable locations.

Could anyone give their input on what factors go in to interview selection besides step scores? I think I have good LORs. At this point, I've accepted that I'm gonna be screened out at a huge number of programs, and so I'm focused on applying to realistic places and hoping to make up for my scores in any way possible (personal statement, LORs, EC's etc). Any input on which programs to target as well as how to make my application more appealing would be much appreciated.

Thanks everyone.
 

Missorleans

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Aug 2, 2011
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My program director quoted 220 as their screening cutoff, and said that's a common one. Only way you'll know is to apply broadly. Or maybe call PDs and see if they'll be frank with you.
 
OP
H
Jul 30, 2014
12
11
Hah, my bad- I meant a medschool that's not affiliated with a university. A community medical school, if you will =)
 
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WinslowPringle

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Sep 29, 2014
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Be careful - some of those 'small, rural' GS programs are pretty well sought after because of their awesome operative experience and stellar board pass rates.

But with a 223 you'll likely pass most (not all) initial screening filters. And with all that research experience (hopefully much of which is surgery related?), you may be a better fit at a more university-affiliated residency, particularly if you are interested in a research career.

The other factors in interview selection are exactly what you'd think they are: LORs, grades, ECs, research, connections...

Look at where recent grads of your home program have gone; you may have more of an 'in' there either through connections or because the program thinks your home med school puts out good graduates.
 

addy

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Mar 22, 2013
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Be careful - some of those 'small, rural' GS programs are pretty well sought after because of their awesome operative experience and stellar board pass rates.

But with a 223 you'll likely pass most (not all) initial screening filters. And with all that research experience (hopefully much of which is surgery related?), you may be a better fit at a more university-affiliated residency, particularly if you are interested in a research career.

The other factors in interview selection are exactly what you'd think they are: LORs, grades, ECs, research, connections...

Look at where recent grads of your home program have gone; you may have more of an 'in' there either through connections or because the program thinks your home med school puts out good graduates.

What are some examples of those small, rural GS programs that are sought after?
 

WinslowPringle

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sunnyle

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Feb 18, 2016
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@hyperresonant , How did you end up doing in terms of matching in GS? How many (approximately) programs did you end up applying to and how many interviews did you receive?
I have lower stats than you (Step 1 212, Step 2 243), and far less pubs/abstracts/posters. Just wondering what my chances would be when applying for the 2017 match? US allo btw, top 30 schools.

Thanks!
 
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CuttingCorneas

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May 10, 2011
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@hyperresonant , How did you end up doing in terms of matching in GS? How many (approximately) programs did you end up applying to and how many interviews did you receive?
I have lower stats than you (Step 1 212, Step 2 243), and far less pubs/abstracts/posters. Just wondering what my chances would be when applying for the 2017 match? US allo btw, top 30 schools.

Thanks!
Matched this year to an academic program with 204 Step 1 and high 250s Step 2. Like Kevin Garnett, anything is possible.
 
OP
H
Jul 30, 2014
12
11
I ended up matching at a strong academic program on the east coast, which I ranked #2. I submitted ~50 apps, and got 18 invites, out of which I went on 16 and ended up ranking 15.

I cast a pretty wide net and applied to both academic programs and community programs, and I think this is important. Try not to restrict yourself geographically. Remember that you can always cancel interviews or rank programs lower that are in less desirable locations. I think my research background helped a lot, especially at academic programs, some of which I was really surprised to be granted an interview (including the place I matched). I was really surprised to find that many programs now encourage (insist?) residents spend a year or two doing research during residency, so I think there's more emphasis on that aspect of things than scores. If you're someone who really wants to train at an academic institution, I would suggest trying to beef up your resume with publications. If you don't have a preference between academic and community programs, then there is less of a need to do research.

I made a list of programs that I diligently researched over the summer of places I'd be interested in, and over the next few weeks emailed the program coordinators and asked whether they have cutoffs for step 1. A lot of them were honest, and told me their cutoffs were 230 or 240. If this was the case, I took that program off my list to keep costs down.

You can absolutely match into GS with step 1 scores of 200/210/220+. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Yes, some places are going to have strict cutoffs, and this is to be expected since there are so many apps for them to sort through. Your goal is to try and do as well on all other aspects of your application that you still have control over (i.e. a lot of my interviewers mentioned to me that they really enjoyed reading my personal statement). As long as you cast a wide net, you will get to interview at a wide range of places. I truly mean it when I say that I would have been very, very happy to match anywhere at my top 10 programs, in terms of both training and location. There was only 1 program that I felt was not a good fit for me, so I didn't rank them. Prepare for interviews, and please don't take them lightly! Your interactions with faculty on interview days can have a huge impact, and determine your fate more than your scores.

One last thing: I avoided coming on SDN after ERAS was submitted, because it causes unnecessary stress. It's not fun to realize you didn't get an invite from a program that sent out invites. In fact, I got my interview at the program I matched at during their second round of invites! September-January is an absolutely brutal time, but it will fly by so quickly. Good luck!
 

addy

5+ Year Member
Mar 22, 2013
438
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I ended up matching at a strong academic program on the east coast, which I ranked #2. I submitted ~50 apps, and got 18 invites, out of which I went on 16 and ended up ranking 15.

I cast a pretty wide net and applied to both academic programs and community programs, and I think this is important. Try not to restrict yourself geographically. Remember that you can always cancel interviews or rank programs lower that are in less desirable locations. I think my research background helped a lot, especially at academic programs, some of which I was really surprised to be granted an interview (including the place I matched). I was really surprised to find that many programs now encourage (insist?) residents spend a year or two doing research during residency, so I think there's more emphasis on that aspect of things than scores. If you're someone who really wants to train at an academic institution, I would suggest trying to beef up your resume with publications. If you don't have a preference between academic and community programs, then there is less of a need to do research.

I made a list of programs that I diligently researched over the summer of places I'd be interested in, and over the next few weeks emailed the program coordinators and asked whether they have cutoffs for step 1. A lot of them were honest, and told me their cutoffs were 230 or 240. If this was the case, I took that program off my list to keep costs down.

You can absolutely match into GS with step 1 scores of 200/210/220+. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Yes, some places are going to have strict cutoffs, and this is to be expected since there are so many apps for them to sort through. Your goal is to try and do as well on all other aspects of your application that you still have control over (i.e. a lot of my interviewers mentioned to me that they really enjoyed reading my personal statement). As long as you cast a wide net, you will get to interview at a wide range of places. I truly mean it when I say that I would have been very, very happy to match anywhere at my top 10 programs, in terms of both training and location. There was only 1 program that I felt was not a good fit for me, so I didn't rank them. Prepare for interviews, and please don't take them lightly! Your interactions with faculty on interview days can have a huge impact, and determine your fate more than your scores.

One last thing: I avoided coming on SDN after ERAS was submitted, because it causes unnecessary stress. It's not fun to realize you didn't get an invite from a program that sent out invites. In fact, I got my interview at the program I matched at during their second round of invites! September-January is an absolutely brutal time, but it will fly by so quickly. Good luck!

Hey, thanks for the write up! Would you still happen to have a list of programs that have a Step 1 cutoff of 240?
 
Jul 13, 2016
3
1
Status
MD/PhD Student
Hi everyone, new on SDN. Scored a 228 on step 1 and feeling not so great. Is General surgery possible for me? Pre-clinical year was P/F but with intrinsic ranking. I assume I was top 5-10% grade wise. I just started rotations, so no grades yet. Any advice on how to be competitive enough for a Gen surgery residency? Thanks in advance.
 
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Dec 5, 2012
865
699
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Hi everyone, new on SDN. Scored a 228 on step 1 and feeling not so great. Is General surgery possible for me? Pre-clinical year was P/F but with intrinsic ranking. I assume I was top 5-10% grade wise. I just started rotations, so no grades yet. Any advice on how to be competitive enough for a Gen surgery residency? Thanks in advance.
Read the posts above to start.
 
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Merely

Account on Hold
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Jul 12, 2012
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Somewhere Sunny
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Hi everyone, new on SDN. Scored a 228 on step 1 and feeling not so great. Is General surgery possible for me? Pre-clinical year was P/F but with intrinsic ranking. I assume I was top 5-10% grade wise. I just started rotations, so no grades yet. Any advice on how to be competitive enough for a Gen surgery residency? Thanks in advance.
Why did you not do so well on step 1 but did very well during preclinical classes?
 
Nov 7, 2015
70
38
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I ended up matching at a strong academic program on the east coast, which I ranked #2. I submitted ~50 apps, and got 18 invites, out of which I went on 16 and ended up ranking 15.

I cast a pretty wide net and applied to both academic programs and community programs, and I think this is important. Try not to restrict yourself geographically. Remember that you can always cancel interviews or rank programs lower that are in less desirable locations. I think my research background helped a lot, especially at academic programs, some of which I was really surprised to be granted an interview (including the place I matched). I was really surprised to find that many programs now encourage (insist?) residents spend a year or two doing research during residency, so I think there's more emphasis on that aspect of things than scores. If you're someone who really wants to train at an academic institution, I would suggest trying to beef up your resume with publications. If you don't have a preference between academic and community programs, then there is less of a need to do research.

I made a list of programs that I diligently researched over the summer of places I'd be interested in, and over the next few weeks emailed the program coordinators and asked whether they have cutoffs for step 1. A lot of them were honest, and told me their cutoffs were 230 or 240. If this was the case, I took that program off my list to keep costs down.

You can absolutely match into GS with step 1 scores of 200/210/220+. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Yes, some places are going to have strict cutoffs, and this is to be expected since there are so many apps for them to sort through. Your goal is to try and do as well on all other aspects of your application that you still have control over (i.e. a lot of my interviewers mentioned to me that they really enjoyed reading my personal statement). As long as you cast a wide net, you will get to interview at a wide range of places. I truly mean it when I say that I would have been very, very happy to match anywhere at my top 10 programs, in terms of both training and location. There was only 1 program that I felt was not a good fit for me, so I didn't rank them. Prepare for interviews, and please don't take them lightly! Your interactions with faculty on interview days can have a huge impact, and determine your fate more than your scores.

One last thing: I avoided coming on SDN after ERAS was submitted, because it causes unnecessary stress. It's not fun to realize you didn't get an invite from a program that sent out invites. In fact, I got my interview at the program I matched at during their second round of invites! September-January is an absolutely brutal time, but it will fly by so quickly. Good luck!
Beautiful! :)
 

VCorp

5+ Year Member
Jun 17, 2013
408
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SW
Status
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@hyperresonant , How did you end up doing in terms of matching in GS? How many (approximately) programs did you end up applying to and how many interviews did you receive?
I have lower stats than you (Step 1 212, Step 2 243), and far less pubs/abstracts/posters. Just wondering what my chances would be when applying for the 2017 match? US allo btw, top 30 schools.

Thanks!
Matched this year to an academic program with 204 Step 1 and high 250s Step 2. Like Kevin Garnett, anything is possible.
Sigh, being a [email protected]$$ is so difficult. I wish I were smarter. Im a US-IMG with a 229 Step 1, 5 publications, strong LORs, but for the absolute life of me an struggling so much on CK. I'm just barely passing my NBME exams. My UWSA was a 204. Currently sitting at 70% on UW second time around with less than 900 questions left. Pushed my exam back a week to this Friday. Means I won't have my score back till Nov 2nd, missing the deadline for a good # of programs with Oct 31st deadlines.
 

COLOMBIAN_DOC!

DrLuv
10+ Year Member
Nov 16, 2006
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Matched this year to an academic program with 204 Step 1 and high 250s Step 2. Like Kevin Garnett, anything is possible.
thats so awesome! I am on the same boat, same step 1, and will be taking step 2. Any tips on prepping? I feel like I'm just not a good exam test taker and i frustrates me. Congrats on your accomplishment!