Is it just as difficult to obtain a prelim medicine spot at top IM places (mgh, penn, etc) as it is a categorical spot? Or is it easier? Would like to hear some input. Thanks.
I would say that these spots are difficult to get. Coming from the applicant pool of Rad Onc/Optho/Rad (Rad Onc myself), I can tell you the order of preference for most applicants was TY over prelim, but the next factor was usually location and in some instances there are only a limited number of first year spots in any location, making the application process very competitive. As far as VCMM comment, the excellent IM applicants that can fill these spots are trying for them. They are trying for categorical spots. Out of all my interviews I say probably 80% from Rad/Optho/etc and the other 20% from atypical pathways (took time off after med school, FMG, waiting for spouse to finsih school/residency then reapply). Having matched at a top tier IM program (wasn't my first choice, first choice was a TY spot) I can tell you the group of prelim medicine residents are very impressive. All from top notch schools, with excellent grades/board scores, and all have multiple publications. With friends from the interview trail in similar situations, I think this is pretty much the norm. I would say that it would be difficult for anyone who wasn't competitive for the catergorical positon to secure a prelim spot unless they have something else going for them.