Northwesterly

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I know these types of questions can reliably answered "it depends," but I'm wondering if anyone here has any insight into the issue of child neurology program size as it relates application/interview yields. I know that for more mainstream specialties, all things being equal (class rank, step scores, etc.) we're all told to apply to [15, 20, 30, insert your number here] programs and interview at ~10.

How does this change when programs have only 1-4 residents per year? (And interview cohorts are proportionally smaller, I assume.) Do you need to apply to 3x as many? Rely on the fact that there are very few applicants? Or (as I suspect and worry may be the case) does this simply make for a more unequal, inconsistent distribution of application to interview ratios, in which some students (PhDs with 260+) can apply to 6 programs and be guaranteed 5 interviews, while others (middle of class and 240s) might need to apply to 40 programs just to get a dozen invites?

Asking for a friend, of course. ;)
 

OddNath

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? Why would someone with Step 1 in the 240's need to apply to 40 programs? That might be the case for derm or something similarly hypercompetitive. Are there even 40 child neuro programs out there?

Application competitiveness for child neuro is similar to pediatrics or IM. So, no, you wouldn't need to apply to 3x as many programs as a peds applicant.

The only caveat is if you have your heart set on a program with only advanced positions, and would need to also match to a pedi prelim at another institution. Pediatric prelim programs are extremely competitive (very few spots and lots of derm and ophtho applicants going for them), so if you really need one of those, apply to a bunch.
 
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Northwesterly

Northwesterly

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OddNath, thanks for the reply. 40 sounds crazy to me as well, but at my (mid-tier) school we've been given pretty much a blanket recommendation to apply to at least 20 general peds programs, so I was wondering how the fact that there are only ~110 Peds Neuro spots nationwide (and that programs with 1-2 residents probably aren't interviewing more than 10-20 applicants?) might change things. I know I'm overthinking this, but I figured I'd see if anyone out there had any first hand experience, since none of the resident/fellows I've spoken too are very good comparisons (PhDs, AOA at Harvard, etc.)
 

OddNath

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The piece you are missing here is that not many ppl apply for pedi neuro every year. Like, there are probably fewer than 110 AMGs applying for those 110 spots (this is what the data looked like a few years ago). There are spots that go unmatched every year.

So, 20 is probably overkill, but I guess a good number if you're nervous. More important than the number of programs is making sure that you apply to a good range of places. If you really don't know where you stand, apply to a mix of top tier and smaller programs, and see where you get interviews. That will essentially answer your question.