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PM&R chances in California

Discussion in 'PM&R' started by lovetolie13, Feb 28, 2019.

  1. lovetolie13

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    Hi, I'm an MS1 at a T20 school right now who is interested in doing PM&R. I am very very fortunate to go to the school I am at, but I think that I may be in over my head. I am passing my classes, but I consistently score 1 standard deviation below average, putting me in the bottom 1/3rd of the class. Despite entirely revamping my study habits and incorporating Anki and focusing on active rather than passive learning, I still score around that same percentile.

    Based on my experiences shadowing, I think PM&R would be a good fit for me. The only caveat is that I would like to do residency in California (where my family and SO are), and there aren't too many programs in California. Assuming I score at the average step score for PM&R but remain at the bottom 1/3rd of my class, what are my chances to land back in California? Will my low class rank sink me?
     
  2. j4pac

    j4pac PM&R resident
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    Your T20 school means very little, especially if that T20 school isn’t within the state of California. You absolutely can match within the state, but realize that it’s going to probably take more work than matching to a BETTER program outside the state of California. California has a strong reputation of taking their own at every level of education...and it can be competitive (much like NYC) for reasons other than the quality of education.

    Your class rank also means very little. It’s important that you don’t fail. My school happened to have the top COMLEX scores in the country the year I graduated...so how do you compare an average student at the top scoring school to the average student at the lowest scoring school? It’s why most programs don’t really care about class rank. Definitely don’t fail and try your best to learn the material because it will be reflected in your USMLE score. I’d also try to be a strong well rounded applicant and audition within the state of California.
     
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  3. RangerBob

    Physician 5+ Year Member

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    I’d like to echo j4pac’s advice. In addition, try to keep an open mind on programs. I initially wanted to return to CA for residency. I did two award there. I ended up declining the interview at one program because I had enough interviews to be comfortable and I just didn’t think the program was a good fit (I was rather surprised, in a bad way, with my rotation there).

    CA programs just generally don’t have the reputation/good balance that many other programs have. They are more competitive than they would be if they were located elsewhere-lots of people just want to be in CA. Most CA programs are too outpatient focused and are not strong for inpatient rehab (though most applicants seem more interested in outpatient), with the exception of Stanford, which seems pretty well balanced.

    I was genuinely surprised by many non-CA programs during my interviews. My favorite programs ended up all being all in the Midwest, with the exception of one in the South. Never thought I’d think that as someone raised in CA.

    Keep in mind the NorCal programs are extremely competitive-Stanford is the most well balanced and honestly is more competitive than it should be because of its name (and location). It’s a great program-just not a top program as you’d expect given its name. Davis only takes 3 people per year and is quite selective. They really make sure their residents mesh well together and they have the luxury of being able to be selective enough to ensure that.

    If you do decide you want pursue PM&R and go to CA, I’d highly recommend doing away rotations at the programs you want to go to. And really impress the heck out of them.

    FYI, I am now back in CA after doing med school and residency/fellowship out of state. And now grumbling about COL after owning a home in residency that cost me less than $800/month for mortgage/taxes/insurance. I don’t miss the humidity and the bugs... I do miss the snow and lack of privacy fences-that took some getting used to but was actually really nice.
     
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  4. sloh

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    I was born and raised in Southern California. Original plans were to stay in California for residency. After interview season, I ranked mostly the midwest and east coast programs at the top; quality of training seemed to be better. Finishing residency this year and have signed a contract already to be starting work around LA/Santa Monica after I graduate. Also had offers in other locations like Newport Beach, the OC, San Diego.
     
  5. Mr Kenobi

    Mr Kenobi Jedi Member
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    Inpatient?
     
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  6. sloh

    10+ Year Member

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    Outpatient MSK
     
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  7. OP
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    lovetolie13

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    How are the Socal programs like Loma Linda or UCLA or UCI or OPTI west? Are they attainable for a middle of the road PMR applicant, or is it like the top tier IM programs where I'll need to be very competitive to get in? I'm not too picky about Norcal vs socal. I just would like to end up somewhere in California since my family and my SO and my SO's family are in Cali. And even if I have to fly to visit them, a 1 hr flight beats a 5+ hour one.

    In the last couple of months, I've started missing them more and more, and honestly I wouldn't mind going to a program that is slightly worse in training if I can be a little closer to home.
     
  8. RangerBob

    Physician 5+ Year Member

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    I definitely understand wanting to be near family-ultimately that is why my wife and I moved back to CA even though we could’ve made more (and bought a home for much much less) in the Midwest. Or just about anywhere else for that matter... Fortunately I’m not in SF or LA, so it could be worse...

    I was a middle of the road applicant and interviewed at UCLA. I can’t recall if I applied to Loma Linda or UCI.

    I loved UCLA. The only two things it had against it were the outpatient bias (they’re upfront about that) and that it’s in LA (LA just isn’t my cup of tea). But the Program Director was the nicest one of all the places I interviewed and the residents were insanely happy.

    I don’t know anything about OPTI. I haven’t heard of them-is that a formley DO program, or a new one?

    Either way, I’d highly recommend doing away rotations-but only if you can present yourself well. We had a few students rotate with us and it hurt them because they just were just so socially awkward and/or lazy. Being socially awkward doesn’t kill your app necessarily, but at our smaller and more close-knit program, it certainly would.

    Others impressed the heck out of us, and we (the residents) had say in the ranking process. Our attendings also regularly asked us what we thought about rotators while they were with us, and if I thought highly of someone I really talked them up to the PD.
     
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  9. dangEras

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    When I was initially applying, california programs were at the top of list. But after word-of-mouth, rotations, and interviews, my rank list is very different.

    Stanford
    -1 month rotation.
    -Rotation felt just like my NY rotation. Work hard, famous faculty, great facilities, reputable name, lots of research.
    -Essentially a manhattan program transplanted to CA.


    UCDavis
    -2 week rotation.
    -Small intimate program.
    -Good inpatient. Great inpatient with the upcoming standalone rehab.


    UCirvine
    -2 week rotation.
    -strong outpatient.
    -Medium size program. Pretty tightly knit.
    -PD and chair are great.

    GLA VA
    -Interviewed here. Oh boy do I have a rant about them.
    -They have a rep for putting out questionable/weak grads. Then on interview day the residents bragged about how little work they do :smack:
    -Summing up the three topics residents were fixated on: 'we work less than any other program', 'traffic sucks', 'our pain faculty is well-connected'


    Edit: there is also unsubstantiated rumors of UCSD starting a PM&R residency. Maybe that'll be another option
     
    #9 dangEras, Mar 3, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
  10. OP
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    lovetolie13

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    I'm not actually certain, I pulled the list of California PMR residencies from here:
    PM&R Residency Programs

    @dangEras Thanks for sharing your experiences with each of the programs. What were your stats like, and do you think I would be able to get interviews at those places if I had an average PMR step score? Also, that would be absolutely amazing if UCSD opened a PMR program; my SO is actually working in the greater San Diego area (well, for now at least, he might move up to the bay area in the next couple of years)!
     
  11. dangEras

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    My application was just evenly above average. Aproximately 60-80th percentile among pm&r applicants on boards, research, and letters.

    The results can be widely variable.

    If you have a totally blank application, you'd need a 240+ on step 1.

    If you have great research and letters, you can get away with having a 220.

    If you have something extenuating such as being a URM, you will interview at pretty much every program you apply to.

    If your were a DPT prior to med school, that would be like +10 to your step score.

    If you're an MD-PHD that's like +5.
     
  12. SuperiorColliculus

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    Being a URM is an extenuating circumstance? :eyebrow: I applied broadly to about 30 programs and received 9 interviews with above average step scores, good research, and great LOR's... as a URM. So there's that.
     
  13. j4pac

    j4pac PM&R resident
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    I think that some programs care about it more than others. But I’m surprised that you didn’t get more options if you had good scores. Being a military applicant, I shared a similar experience. Some programs could care less, but the ones that did care undoubtably were going to rank me to match.
     
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  14. Gauss

    Gauss Damnit Jim!
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    1. CA programs have always been weaker training-wise but as competitive to match into as midwest and east coast programs
    2. there are not enough PM&R jobs in the desirable parts of CA for all the residents in CA and the residents wanting to return
    3. Kaiser is probably the biggest employer but your practice is what they need it to be. private practice is dying or dead in CA. the other large hospital systems are mostly saturated. VA has some openings
    4. If you are hell bent on returning to SoCal or Bay area above all else, I would strongly say rethink your specialty choice to one that can easily move into those locales based on the job market in those areas.
     
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