j4pac

PM&R resident
10+ Year Member
Aug 22, 2005
2,481
2,382
www.med.navy.mil
I’ve been PM’ed by a number of pre-Physiatry med students to answer a variety of topics on the PM&R application process. It dawned on me that information on our specialty is lacking. Getting good grade scores, board scores, and LORs are all difficult enough as it is…hopefully this will help answer many of your questions and save you time. These are lessons that I have learned.

PRE-MEDS (MD vs DO vs FMG)
If you read enough SDN, the general consensus is MD>DO>FMG. But if you know for certain that you want to do PM&R, does it matter? To get this answer you have to look at the NRMP Match Data Sheets. What you will find is that MDs had the highest match rate into PM&R, 90.2%. DOs had a match rate of 61.5%. FMGs were last at 48.5%. Also note that FMGs have the lowest graduation rate of all school types. So my recommendation would be to avoid FMG. I would work hard to get into MD school, and use DO as a fall back plan. PM&R is considered a "DO-friendly" specialty, maybe the most friendly of all ACGME specialties, so consider how much lower the acceptance rate would be for other ACGME specialties.


TYPES OF PM&R PROGRAMS
I will break this up into three categories: Advanced, Categorical, and Physician-Only. Advanced programs are three year programs which start PGY-2. Categorical programs are four year programs that start PGY-1. Physician-only programs are three year programs which start PGY-2. The difference between Advanced and Physician-only is that you apply two years in advance for Advanced programs, and same year for Physician-only. Physician-only is valuable for those who have already started post-graduate training. Most programs are advanced, but there is a move toward more categorical spots. In regards to competitiveness of types of programs, categoricals are typically the most competitive because most applicants don’t want to move between internship and residency, and it is also easier to match to one program vs two (PGY1 and PGY2). Physician-only spots are competitive because there is typically less than 10 spots total available per year. Military brethren…timing is important. If you are getting out in two years…you need to apply to advanced programs now! Use applying to categorical/physician-only as a fall back plan next year. But it isn’t ideal because you need to get your separation request in before even the military match same year.

AM I COMPETITIVE FOR PM&R
Let me start by saying that PM&R, despite being one of the most competitive specialties by sheer numbers, is one of the more forgiving specialties in terms of board scores. I am not going to say that your numbers don’t matter, because they do. But you are more likely to get an interview at a reputable PM&R residency without elite scores than many of the other competitive specialties. PM&R prides itself on “fit” and “personality”. If you are a gunner…stay away, because you will stick out like a sore thumb. PM&R is a team sport and program directors want team players. How do I know this? Because I ask them who they would find to be a poor fit for their program. By far, the most common response is “not a team player”. Get interviews, and show up as a team player and you have a shot. In regards to the numbers, the mean Step 1 and Step 2 for MDs matched to PM&R is below the national mean for matched individuals at 220 and 234. The mean Step 1 and Step 2 for DOs/FMG matched to PM&R is below the national mean for matched individuals at 222 and 230. No data for COMLEX is available. Individuals matched to PM&R have fewer publications and presentations for the national mean for matched individuals. So in summary, PM&R is incredibly competitive with a match rate of about 75% and lower for DO/FMG but the average PM&R resident does not have stellar scores. The competition comes in the form of large number of applicants with limited seats.

ERAS
ERAS is the system used to submit your application to programs you are interested in. If history is an indicator of the future, plan on having a very frustrating opening day. But I would still do your best to get your application out as early on the first day as possible. Here is the reason…PM&R is becoming increasingly competitive. There are really two ways the programs hand out interviews. The first is that they review all applications, rank the applicants, and send out invites, waitlists, and rejections accordingly. The problem is that is very taxing…so many other programs use the second option…which is send out batches of invites to qualified individuals as they come across the application. So…if you are applying to a program which received over 500 applications this year and that program only hands out 90 invites…there is a chance that your application may not even be read until after all of the invites are issued. It is very stress inducing, but my recommendation is to get your application out ASAP. Let me also emphasize that you need to have EVERYTHING done on ERAS, including Updating your Profile, days before opening day. ERAS will slow considerably as opening day approaches. This is more in regards to receiving interview invites...ERAS works best on Firefox, which cannot be used on IPHONE. I would recommend getting a 3rd party app such as UC Browser to be able to respond quickly to invites.

WHICH PROGRAMS TO APPLY
I would recommend applying to every program unless you have a very good reason to not do so. I have a family and I didn’t want to live in NYC, Chicago, parts of Philly, and Baltimore. I am also under military contract until two years from now. So I applied to every Advanced program not listed in the cities above…about 45-50 of them. I don’t regret my decision at all. Money well spent. The reason is that the invite process is a bit random. You may get invites from incredibly reputable programs, and then get rejected by ones you felt were in the lowest tier. It is not as straight forward as Med School applications, which is essentially a math equation of MCAT plus GPA. PM&R tends to be one of the programs that place more emphasis on your specialty LOR and personal statement. So even if you don’t think that you are a great candidate…pan-apply to every program you would be willing to attend and can afford. The only scenario in which you should NOT pan-apply is if you have monetary restrictions or are an absolutely top notched MD applicant. If you are sincerely concerned about running out of money on your interview trail, here are my general guidelines.

FMGs/IMGS: Apply to every program

AMGs: Weak applicants (sub 210 step 1, sub 225 step 2, application red flags)- Apply to 60 programs minimum;
Average applicants (211-230 step 1, 225-245 step 2)- apply to 45 programs minimum;
Good applicants (230+ step 1, 245+ step 2)- apply to 30 programs minimum

DOs:
Weak applicants (sub 215/490 step 1, sub 225/510 step 2, application red flags)- apply to 60 programs minimum;
Average applicants (215-235/490-550 step 1, 230-250/510-570 step 2)- apply to 45 programs minimum;
Good applicants (235+/550+ step 1, 250+/570+ step 2)- apply to 30 programs minimum

ARE OSTEOPATHIC STUDENTS COMPETITIVE
PM&R is a very DO friendly field. It has the highest percentage of DOs per specialty. As of now I do not believe that it is necessary to perform a USMLE in order to match. I base this on research I performed on match rates for those who performed a USMLE and those who did not. The match rates were only negligibly lower for those without the USMLE. You can see my methods and calculations here: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/comlex-vs-usmle-and-comlex-pm-r.1114915/. Note that I can't speak specifically about every programs opinion on this topic. UC Irvine is the only program to my knowledge that has USMLE (Step 1 and Step 2 for that matter) as part of their inclusion criteria. On my interview trail about 30% of the applicants were DO. The programs last year with more than 30% DO were: Thomas Jefferson, SUNY Stony Brook, Louisville, Wisconsin, Kansas, UPMC, Missouri, UC Irvine, Michigan State, Toledo, Eastern Virginia, Minneapolis, Sinai, Jackson/Miami, Schwab, Nassau, Cincinnati, Loyola, Arkansas, and USF. But also note that only five of my sixteen invites were from this list and I’m a DO.

ARE FMG STUDENTS COMPETITIVE
The field is becoming more competitive for FMGs as the competitiveness increases on the whole. But it is becoming a challenge specifically for FMGs. The percentage of FMGs has been dipping yearly and I suspect that number to be below 10% for the first time in a long time. I have only met 3 FMG applicants on the 10 interviews which I attended. I would recommend doing an audition rotation at the more FMG-friendly programs, because you need to find something that will set you apart. According to last year’s stats, the most programs with more than 25% FMG were: UTSW Dallas, SUNY Upstate, Kansas, Case Western, Washington Univ/St. Louis, Colorado, NSLUHS, and SUNY Brooklyn.

ARE MILITARY APPLICANTS COMPETITIVE
Board scores and specialty LOR remain the most important factors to determine interview invites, but military applicants have a rare opportunity to close the gap with an excellent personal statement. The truth is that most med students’ personal statements look very similar. If you can tie together your fleet experience and training with your desire to do PM&R, the personal statement will help you stand apart. I would also say that military applicants have a good chance to stand apart in the interview process. Even if you were a mediocre med student, I would still strongly suggest that you apply to even the top PM&R programs because a PD may read your personal statement and want to meet you. That is an open door. If you are interested in knowing, I applied to only advanced programs and I received invitations from: Thomas Jefferson, Baylor COM, UT Houston, SUNY Stony Brook, UTSW Dallas, Indiana, Louisville, Wisconsin, Tufts, JFK, Loyola, ECU, SUNY Upstate, Mayo, Temple, and Kansas. I was waitlisted at UTSW Austin. I ended up matched at my #1, Mayo.

WHAT ARE THE FACTORS PROGRAMS FIND IMPORTANT FOR ISSUING INVITES
I would recommend reading this article for more information: http://www.nrmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/PD-Survey-Report-2014.pdf. To summarize…the most important factors are your Step 1, then specialty LOR, then Step 2. Personal statement could come into play, but it really has to stand apart to make up the weight of the previous three items. Research and extracurricular activities can be considered and they come into play more on the interview day. Most programs don’t put much weight into grades/class rank because it is highly school dependent; most programs just want to ensure you aren’t failing tests. So essentially…rock the boards, don’t fail, and get the best specialty LOR that you can find. That is your ticket to an interview.

I HAVE BEEN GIVEN AN INTERVIEW…WHICH DATE SHOULD I CHOOSE
The first thing that you need to realize is that you need to get your requested dates in ASAP. And don’t email back your top choice…rank all of the dates which you can attend. I made the mistake of only sending back one date…and that date was filled. Then I was scrambling. I also waited until after work one day to respond to an invite, and I missed out on my choice date. Before opening day you need to have a list of any days that you would NOT be able to go on interviews. Check with your significant others and attendings. Have that list in hand each time you get an interview request.

I did some research on when interviews are offered, and essentially peak season is from the first week of November until the week before Christmas. The lightest weeks are from open through October, the week of Thanksgiving, the week of Christmas, the week of New Years, and three weeks into January on.

Here is a strategy I propose to get as many interviews as possible:
1) Fill October
2) Fill the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years
3) Fill the non-Holiday weeks of November-December; Monday or Tuesday first if possible
4) Fill out the rest of your schedule

Notice that by taking early invitations, you are opening your schedule for later ones. If your schedule is open in December and January, it will allow you to request interviews on a space available basis by programs which have not rejected you. BTW...don't bother asking for a phone interview, it won't work.

Regionally, it would be ideal to either live in the Midwest East North Central (IL, IN, MI, OH, WI) or Northeast Mid Atlantic (NJ, NY, PA). If you could do one rotation in each for the months of November and December, you could potentially save TONS of money in the process, because you can attempt to strategize your interviews by region. Otherwise, most regions stick with peak season from November to December, the only exception is possibly the West Pacific (CA, WA) because CA has a large number of programs that conduct December and January interviews.

SHOULD I EMAIL PROGRAMS IF I HAVE NOT HEARD FROM THEM
Keep up with SDN to get an idea of which programs are offering invitations at certain times. I would recommend checking out this link to see where programs have issued invites in the past: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/when-pm-r-interviews-are-offered.1102028/. I honestly don’t think that status update requests are incredibly helpful. PC’s get tons of these each day and most see it as a waste of their time. What is helpful is expressing your interest to program coordinators while requesting an invitation if one becomes available. I received 13 invitation and 6 rejections. I was in LIMBO for the other 20+ programs. What you can do is see if those programs have issued rejections through SDN. If they have…and you aren’t rejected, then chances are that they may want to invite you but they don’t have any more spaces available. So by politely requesting that PC notify you if a cancellation takes place…it could bump you to the top of the list to get a space available invite. I was able to get two interviews late in the season this way, and ended with 16 interview offers. One of those included the program I ended up matching to. When should you consider emailing PCs? Considering that peak season is November and December, I would take advance of that time period. Only email PCs at programs you are genuinely interested in, and only do so if you know that the program has sent out a batch of rejections and you weren't on the list. Will programs hold it against you that you were a “waitlist guy/gal”? See below.

WHAT ARE THE FACTORS PROGRAMS FIND IMPORTANT FOR RANKING APPLICANTS
The process in which program directors rank candidates is very different than the process in which they issue interviews. Think about this for a second. If you rank every PM&R program before and after you interview, you will notice a big difference between your pre-and-post interview rankings. Which ranking list would you trust more? Of course you would trust your post-interview ranking more, because some programs will exceed your expectations and some will let you down. The same applies to applicants. There are some people who look good on paper…high board scores, lots of research, cured cancer, etc. But at the end of the day, the PD is going to go with their gut on an applicant. The PD’s gut opinion of an applicant will outweigh a bunch of numbers. If you don’t believe me, look at this study: http://www.nrmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/PD-Survey-Report-2014.pdf. The two most important factors in determining where PDs rank applicant, by far, are the interview and interactions between staff and residents (along with prior match violations). More often than not, the numbers will serve as tie breakers. So to get back to whether or not you will be taken seriously as a “waitlist guy/gal”…the answer is absolutely. First of all, you may not have lower scores than the ones who received invites. The reason, as previously mentioned, is that many programs hand out all of their invites before getting through all of the applications. Secondly, once you get your invite you are essentially put on a level playing field. So if you are offered an interview by your dream program late in the season and have to cancel a program lower on your list…do it without hesitation. The numbers get you the invitation; the personality gets you the ranking.

HOW MANY INTERVIEWS DO I NEED TO ATTEND
PM&R was the only specialty in medicine that filled all of both its advanced and categorical spots last year. Dermatology and Neurosurgery didn’t do so…only PM&R. The last time PM&R was involved in the SOAP was three years ago. The SOAP is NOT a strategy…especially for PM&R. Feedback from program coordinators indicates that 2015 will be the most competitive year yet. Programs typically invite about 10 times the number of open seats at their program. The reason is that the average number of ranked applicants needed to fill each position over the past three years has been between 5 -6. So most programs feels that having an extra 3-4 invites per seat is a good buffer zone to ensure that they fill. Though programs are receiving more applications this year than ever, I don’t anticipate them granting more interviews. They have no need to…they fill every year. Two new programs opened, which will help offset the increase in applicants slightly. Last year MDs with 11 interviews, and DOs/FMGs with 13 interviews had a 90% probability of matching. I believe that DO is likely closer to 12. As you go up from there your probability of matching doesn’t go up significantly. So I would recommend those numbers as a baseline for determining how many interviews to attend. For more details review the PM&R section of this document: http://www.nrmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Charting-Outcomes-2014-Final.pdf.

INTERVIEW TRAVEL
I went on 10 interviews…and missed connecting flights on three of my return flights. I didn’t miss any interviews because of a good understanding of how to schedule flights. If you are able to take the earliest flight available, I would do so. The reason is because you are far less likely to have a flight cancellation early. And if there is a cancellation, you may have a chance to get another flight and still make your interview. Be sure to give yourself ideally one hour between connecting flights. I had one lay-over of 35 minutes and my first flight was delayed. Good thing I am pretty fit because I had to sprint a half mile across the Charlotte Airport with bags in order to catch my plane. You don’t want that stress. Ensure that you have enough time to get to the airport if you are leaving immediately after the interview and let the PC know your situation. Again…you don’t want to be worried about missing your flight when you should be focusing on rocking your interview. Also, if you rent a car consider the location of rent-a-car pickup/drop-off. I would recommend taking one at the terminal if possible…it will save you time. A handful of the areas I interviewed had free shuttle buses to local hotels. That can again save you money.

HOW SHOULD I RANK MY PROGRAMS
I don’t think that any one person will be able to help you with this topic. It was my most difficult topic to tackle…by a good margin. After speaking with a variety of residents, staff, and PDs…I have come up with these two questions that are helpful in determining where to rank programs.

Ask yourself the following about each program in which you interview:
1) Will I be able to gain the level of training needed to set myself up for success in fellowship/employment?
2) Is the program a place where I feel I can thrive?

They are broad questions…but they are incredibly important. Will you gain the tools and will you be able to stand out? If you live in a location where you don’t feel comfortable…then you will not be able to thrive in that environment. If you have a family, you want to consider cost of living, safety, schools, and livability. If you are worried about your family member’s living conditions, you will struggle to thrive. If you didn’t feel like you have a good rapport with staff and residents…then that will make it difficult to stand apart, in a good way. Being able to thrive is essential because it will determine if you are able to gain incredibly important recommendations by staff members. And that in large part will determine if you will get a fellowship or employment. Part of thriving is feeling supported by staff members. Are these folks going to go to bat for you and place calls to people to get you a job one day? Program reputation is important but it is not as important as becoming a great physician, and having a staff that is going to support you in your goals. Also note that program reputation is largely due to the reputation of the rehabilitation hospital is attached. But just because the rehab hospital is great doesn't mean that it is great at teaching residents. All programs will have trivial differences in call schedules, work hours, didactics, etc…those factors really only matter if they affect your ability to become the best clinician that you can be…and find a job/fellowship post-residency.


I wish you all the best of luck. PM me if you have questions.
 
Last edited:

sloh

10+ Year Member
Mar 31, 2008
183
128
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Kudos for writing this @j4pac. I agree personal statement and LORs are weighted much more heavily in PM&R. It's no secret this specialty lends itself to a nice lifestyle and can be quite lucrative depending on how you play your cards. That said, PDs want to know that you are genuinely passionate about this specialty
 

MedMJ

10+ Year Member
May 7, 2008
11
1
Status
Can we make this a sticky thread? Having just gone through this process I find his advice to be spot on.
 

DeeV021

ThereIsOnlyOneGiggsy
5+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2010
29
0
Status
Medical Student, DPT / OTD
Hi,
I am wanting to do PM&R. I just got my Step 1 back, 204. I haven't gotten my Comlex back yet, I'm a DO student. I got my doctorate in physical therapy before med school and worked with physiatrists, which is why I want to do physiatry. Will my 204 prevent me from getting a PM&R residemcy?
 
OP
j4pac

j4pac

PM&R resident
10+ Year Member
Aug 22, 2005
2,481
2,382
www.med.navy.mil
Hi,
I am wanting to do PM&R. I just got my Step 1 back, 204. I haven't gotten my Comlex back yet, I'm a DO student. I got my doctorate in physical therapy before med school and worked with physiatrists, which is why I want to do physiatry. Will my 204 prevent me from getting a PM&R residemcy?
With your background, as long as you aren't failing or have other red flags, I say go for it. Passing the USMLE is a good thing. Some people do considerably better on COMLEX than USMLE, especially those who are strong at OMT.

At this point I would focus on what is under your control. You need to learn on your clerkships and do well on your Step 2. You also need to hammer down a strong specialty LOR. With your background as a PT PhD, something's wrong if you don't have an elite personal statement. After you write it up...get as many opinions on it as possible. I have no problem reviewing it. Make it GREAT. You would also greatly benefit by auditioning at a few programs. You need to find ways to stand apart in other ways if the trend of below average scores continues.

I honestly have average scores and didn't take the USMLE...but I received invitations from about 35% of the programs I applied by doing my best to stand apart in other ways. I'm involved in self-directed research, I've done PM&R article reviews, I have a rockstar speciality LOR, I have a heck of a work experience, and I made a point to have the best personal statement on the circuit. I am also incredibly persistent and was able to get invites by simply asking PCs for an invite if I wasn't rejected from the program. If you want something...do everything in your power to put yourself in a position to succeed.

I had a number of PDs that told me that they like their residency classes to have diversity. They want incredibly bright people (see board scores), but they also want people with real world experience. I don't think that matching will be an issue for you...you just have to find ways to get interviews. That is going to be the key for you.
 

DeeV021

ThereIsOnlyOneGiggsy
5+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2010
29
0
Status
Medical Student, DPT / OTD
Is it okay to email schools you are interested in if I'm a 3rd year and wanna do audition rotations there?
 
OP
j4pac

j4pac

PM&R resident
10+ Year Member
Aug 22, 2005
2,481
2,382
www.med.navy.mil
Is it okay to email schools you are interested in if I'm a 3rd year and wanna do audition rotations there?
Before emailing, ensure that the program's website does not specify a way to request rotations. Not following a defined protocol listed on the programs website may come off lazy and could easily piss of the program coordinator.

If there is no such rotation request guidelines or if there are instructions to email the PC...you need to do it the right way. PCs are usually helpful, but they are busy. You want to be polite, un-entitled, and succinct. You want to get what you want accomplished in one email. In the email include an introduction, your request, specific dates you will be available for the rotation, and attached CV.

That would allow the PC to email you back with one email (hopefully a confirmation for the rotation)...which greatly increases your chance of accomplishing your goal in a timely manner.

If the PC does not email you back after a week...call, prepared to give the same information.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Troy McClure
OP
j4pac

j4pac

PM&R resident
10+ Year Member
Aug 22, 2005
2,481
2,382
www.med.navy.mil
Hi, it was a great post. How is the job market of PM&r after graduation?Is it possible for an IMG to be accepted in a university hospital? Thanks
I know very little bit about fellowship and employment at this time. I haven't even started PGY-2 yet. :) I'll try to make an addendum at some point in the future after I get that figured out.

From what I have heard, academic appointment isn't always easy. There are tons of jobs in PM&R, but the more choosy you get, the less likely you get what you want.

Looking at the trends, I don't think that there is any question that ACGME programs are becoming more restrictive toward IMG/FMGs. PM&R is likely one of the least discriminating specialties, as they have taken taken DOs in high numbers for years...but I would still apply broadly. If you do well in residency, especially at a major rehab hospital with a decent network...I think that you could land a job at a major university hospital.
 
Oct 1, 2015
4
3
Status
Academic Administration
Just a tip to all applicants that have been "rejected". Writing letters to the Program Director/Program Coordinator does not improve your chances, and are frankly annoying. You're application was thoroughly reviewed and you weren't chosen. It's nothing personal.
 

Louisville04

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 8, 2005
319
4
Status
Attending Physician
Just a tip to all applicants that have been "rejected". Writing letters to the Program Director/Program Coordinator does not improve your chances, and are frankly annoying. You're application was thoroughly reviewed and you weren't chosen. It's nothing personal.

Improving chances for what? They have already been “rejected.”

I see nothing wrong with someone asking for constructive criticism on how they can improve their credentials/application.

It is partially personal. Maybe they were too boisterous or too reserved. Applicants aren’t picked solely on board scores.
 
OP
j4pac

j4pac

PM&R resident
10+ Year Member
Aug 22, 2005
2,481
2,382
www.med.navy.mil
I wouldnt ask a program why you were rejected unless it was after not matching. To do so with an opportunity to match to a different program is a massive waste of time to both the PC and the applicant.

Not to mention that it's not a PCs place to explain why you were rejected. It's a low yield request...abe I don't blame PCs for not playing that game with you.

If you don't match, you likely know why. And if you don't...I'm sure a medical school advisor will be able to explain to you why you didn't match.
 

lobelsteve

SDN Lifetime Donor
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
May 30, 2005
13,573
3,460
Canton GA
www.stevenlobel.com
Status
Attending Physician
I would not contact a program after a rejection. It is a red flag for someone who would create problems if on your service. It could also come back to bite you down the road.
 
  • Like
Reactions: padresp
Jan 21, 2015
52
17
Status
Medical Student
If you are rejected from a program, what is the point to email them? They already made up their minds. You're not going to get an interview.
 

RUOkie

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 3, 2009
760
53
Status
Attending Physician
I see nothing wrong with someone asking for constructive criticism on how they can improve their credentials/application
.
Unless the applicant already has a personal relationship with the faculty, I would NOT bother them with any questions, even when framed constructively. This is a VERY small field, and you don't want to be "that guy" (or gal).
 

ampaphb

Interventional Spine
10+ Year Member
May 13, 2007
4,352
723
New Orleans, LA
Status
Attending Physician
I wholeheartedly disagree with this thread. Information is king. Learning why you were rejected will enable you to improve your application for the following year. As for the dire predictions that you will somehow be harmed asking? The coordinator was "annoyed". So what. That program already rejected you. If you can gain insight how to improve your chances for the following year, bothering the delicate sensibilities of a glorified secretary doesn't seem like a bad trade off.
 
OP
j4pac

j4pac

PM&R resident
10+ Year Member
Aug 22, 2005
2,481
2,382
www.med.navy.mil
I wholeheartedly disagree with this thread. Information is king. Learning why you were rejected will enable you to improve your application for the following year. As for the dire predictions that you will somehow be harmed asking? The coordinator was "annoyed". So what. That program already rejected you. If you can gain insight how to improve your chances for the following year, bothering the delicate sensibilities of a glorified secretary doesn't seem like a bad trade off.
I can understand asking for help after not matching. I think posing the question immediately after being rejected screams butt hurt, neurotic med student. If someone doesn't match it probably doesn't require a conversation with a PC or PD to figure out why.
 

ampaphb

Interventional Spine
10+ Year Member
May 13, 2007
4,352
723
New Orleans, LA
Status
Attending Physician
Applicants try and put your best foot forward. Clearly, if you weren't selected, either your scores were in high enough, where there something else in your record that led to that outcome. I still see no harm in asking what you could improve for next year's match.

Program directors are only the most important person in your life during residency. Thereafter, they hold very little sway. Most of us go into private practice. At that point, it's the quality of your work that establishes your reputation. What some academic, who couldn't survive in the real world, and so instead chose to hide inside an ivory tower, has to say about you has very little bearing on your career.
 

Gauss

Damnit Jim!
15+ Year Member
Mar 3, 2002
1,207
259
Status
Attending Physician
i see no harm in asking why your app was rejected, however you must understand we will wordsmith a pleasant PC statement. it may be of little use to you
 

ampaphb

Interventional Spine
10+ Year Member
May 13, 2007
4,352
723
New Orleans, LA
Status
Attending Physician
Which is why it is worth a CALL, not a letter. People are typically more honest when not given the opportunity to edit their response multiple times
 

Gauss

Damnit Jim!
15+ Year Member
Mar 3, 2002
1,207
259
Status
Attending Physician
even on the phone I would calculate my response because recorded conversations have been known to occur with resulting lawsuits and ACGME inquiries.
 

DrKendrickLamar

Army Physician
10+ Year Member
Nov 19, 2005
171
1
California
Status
Attending Physician
Thank you j4pac for this thread. Do you have any updates on this thread for applicants during the summer of 2018?
 
OP
j4pac

j4pac

PM&R resident
10+ Year Member
Aug 22, 2005
2,481
2,382
www.med.navy.mil
Thank you j4pac for this thread. Do you have any updates on this thread for applicants during the summer of 2018?
I occasionally have people private message me with how their match season went. People have told me that this post is pretty useful. I've had a number of fringe-type applicants PM me who ended up matching into PM&R. A good strategy could take you a long ways...fit is incredibly important.

There is a new charting outcomes. https://www.nrmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Charting-Outcomes-US-Allopathic-Seniors-2016.pdf

The highlights:
- PM&R has the third lowest mean USMLE Step 1 and 2 for matched applicants.
- Mean USMLE step 1 for matched applicants = 226; unmatched = 210
- Mean USMLE step 2 for matched applicants = 238; unmatched = 221
- 10 of 19 applicants with a USMLE Step 1 between 191-200 matched into a PM&R residency
- 1 of 3 applicants with a USMLE Step 2 between 191-200 matched into a PM&R residency
- Mean USMLE Step 1 score to have a 90% chance of matching = 220; 80% change of matching = 204

- Mean number of contiguous ranks by matched applicants = 14; unmatched applicants = 5
- Mean number of contiguous ranks to have a 90% of matching = 10.5

- PM&R had the highest mean number of research experiences for matched applicants of all specialties (8.4) but was average when it came to mean abstracts, presentations, and publications (3.9). What makes a research experience different from abstracts/presentations/publications? Who knows.
- PM&R had the second highest mean number of work experiences for matched applicants of all specialties (3.6)

The numbers above aren't very different than when I matched back in 2015. Something that I probably undersold was the importance of standing apart from the crowd. There are a handful of exceptional applicants that every program would love...but when you take those people off the board, people look pretty similar. Even with interviews, it's still probably difficult for programs to make a rank list...because applicants don't look incredibly different. So if there is something about you that does help you stand apart...you need to sell that. Just about everyone liked their PM&R rotation in med school...it's assumed that you have the necessary exposure and you like the field. But that alone doesn't help PDs sift through the large number of applicants. If you have a work experience or volunteer experience that plays into your interest in PM&R...that's what helps to make you different from the average applicant. Not everyone has that type of experience...and that is when audition rotations can definitely help set you apart.