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WAMC - Ortho....Rising MS3 wondering if its still worthwhile going for it

MyRealFakeAccount

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Received my STEP 1 score and feel uneasy about it.

I have completed MS2 and am looking for some advice on whether I should still try to pursue Ortho (which I've always wanted to do) or perhaps something less competitive.

I attend a Low-Mid tier USMD program.

Stats:

Step 1:

240....below average for accepted applicants by a decent margin :(

Pre-Clin Grades (A, B, C, F):
A, A, C, B, C, B, C, C....was busy with research and personal matters during last 2 years so didn't perform as well as I probably should have, never failed a course tho.

Research (All Basic Science Oncology manuscripts NOT in Ortho, done within last 3 years):
1 1st author
1 2nd author
4 3rd author
1 7th author

I have some presentations and abstracts as well, but not sure how important those are.

I think my preclinical grades might hold me back and my STEP score isn't doing me any favors.

Do you think a solid performance in clinical grades and STEP 2 could raise my chances enough to go for it?


Thanks for the advice!
 
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frenchyn

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Recently, received my STEP 1 score and feel uneasy about it.

I have completed MS2 and am looking for some advice on whether I should still try to pursue Ortho (which I've always wanted to do) or perhaps something less competitive.

I attend a Low-Mid tier USMD program.

Stats:

Step 1:

240....below average for accepted applicants by a decent margin :(

Pre-Clin Grades (A, B, C, F):
A, A, C, B, C, B, C, C....was busy with research and personal matters during last 2 years so didn't perform as well as I probably should have, never failed a course tho.

Research (All Basic Science manuscripts, non-Ortho, done within last 3 years):
1 1st author
1 2nd author
4 3rd author
1 7th author

I have some presentations and abstracts as well, but not sure how important those are.

I think my preclinical grades might hold me back and my STEP score isn't doing me any favors.

Do you think a solid performance in clinical grades and STEP 2 could raise my chances enough to go for it?


Thanks for the advice!
I think your strong research compensate for your step match...next just A your subI and be a decent person you should know. My classmate this year matched w few points higher step one and no research.
 
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theonlytycrane

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Also rotate through ortho via elective time and on your surgery rotation to be sure its what you want! Your step 1 is solid and won't hold you back from most fields. So just make sure you really want to get up at 4a.m. to make the list!
 
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Frogger27

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If you want ortho, go for it. at least you are above some of the “240” screens. Get all Honors on your rotations and start some ortho research ASAP. You can definitely match
 
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Domepiece

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Kick ass, take names, crush clinicals. Otherwise, find an advisor (or even better, multiple advisors) in ortho that you can check in over the next year as your plans evolve.

You would be shocked how much prospective changes during rotations when one is actually "doing" or involved in medicine beyond listening to lectures and rumors about specialties. Don't feel bad if your heart gets stolen by something else.
 
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Flodaddy

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Med students see step scores as 245 trumps 240, so the 245 will be ranked higher. That's not how it works at all. Your score isn't out of this world, but it's good. It's puts you in the 25th percentile for ortho based on charting the outcomes. You reached the cut off, so now your app will be judged on what else you bring to the table.

Couple that with good research, good clinical performance, good step 2, and strong away rotations/LORs and you are not in a bad spot.
 
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akwho

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Received my STEP 1 score and feel uneasy about it.

I have completed MS2 and am looking for some advice on whether I should still try to pursue Ortho (which I've always wanted to do) or perhaps something less competitive.

I attend a Low-Mid tier USMD program.

Stats:

Step 1:

240....below average for accepted applicants by a decent margin :(

Pre-Clin Grades (A, B, C, F):
A, A, C, B, C, B, C, C....was busy with research and personal matters during last 2 years so didn't perform as well as I probably should have, never failed a course tho.

Do you think a solid performance in clinical grades and STEP 2 could raise my chances enough to go for it?


Thanks for the advice!

1) My first piece of advice is to make sure your heart is in it. You sound a little wishy washy. Ortho is a long arduous road and a 240 Step 1 shouldn't put anyone off pursuing ortho. If that's enough to give you pause then you should think long and hard about your speciality choice. Because it's better to decide things now with your speciality before you've put in time, energy and money into matching ortho. No shame in changing the dream. Lots of good specialities out there.

2) A 240 Step I won't help your application, but it's not gonna hurt except for the top tier of programs. Nobody cares about preclinical grades unless there are multiple failures, so don't worry about that.

3) As other's above have stated focus on your clinical rotations (AOA, honor's), and improving your step 2. Both these will put away any academic concerns. I would suggest that since you are coming from a low mid-tier MD school that if you decide to go ortho that you focus on lower and middle tier programs to do aways at and build connections at. Don't waste rotations on top programs that won't reciprocate the love.

Good luck and work hard!
 
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MyRealFakeAccount

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I think your strong research compensate for your step match...next just A your subI and be a decent person you should know. My classmate this year matched w few points higher step one and no research.

Hey thanks for your input. At first, I was kinda put off by my 243, but now im starting to feel better about it. Thanks for the success story!
 
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MyRealFakeAccount

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Med students see step scores as 245 trumps 240, so the 245 will be ranked higher. That's not how it works at all. Your score isn't out of this world, but it's good. It's puts you in the 25th percentile for ortho based on charting the outcomes. You reached the cut off, so now your app will be judged on what else you bring to the table.

Couple that with good research, good clinical performance, good step 2, and strong away rotations/LORs and you are not in a bad spot.

I was hoping for a higher score, but I know that my 243 will at least get me through the door to be reviewed by many programs. I probably wouldn't have gotten into programs with higher cutoffs anyway lol

Thanks for the advice! Ill continue to work hard in 3rd year
 

MyRealFakeAccount

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1) My first piece of advice is to make sure your heart is in it. You sound a little wishy washy. Ortho is a long arduous road and a 240 Step 1 shouldn't put anyone off pursuing ortho. If that's enough to give you pause then you should think long and hard about your speciality choice. Because it's better to decide things now with your speciality before you've put in time, energy and money into matching ortho. No shame in changing the dream. Lots of good specialities out there.

2) A 240 Step I won't help your application, but it's not gonna hurt except for the top tier of programs. Nobody cares about preclinical grades unless there are multiple failures, so don't worry about that.

3) As other's above have stated focus on your clinical rotations (AOA, honor's), and improving your step 2. Both these will put away any academic concerns. I would suggest that since you are coming from a low mid-tier MD school that if you decide to go ortho that you focus on lower and middle tier programs to do aways at and build connections at. Don't waste rotations on top programs that won't reciprocate the love.

Good luck and work hard!


1) If I sound wishy-washy its only because I am afraid of scrambling into a field I hate (ex: FM) as a result of pursuing my dream field (ortho), when I could have gone after a field I like (ex: EM) and definitely matched. Its not the 243 that gives me pause, its the prospect of not matching that does. Hope that makes sense

2) Thanks for the advice here. I have heard that PC grades don't matter, so it feels good to hear that sentiment being echoed again.

3) I'll keep working hard during 3rd year and focus on Step 2 and Clinicals. I think due to COVID, I'll only have time to do 1 away rotation during third year, so I'll need to make the most of it.

Thanks for the input!
 

collegestud2013

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1) If I sound wishy-washy its only because I am afraid of scrambling into a field I hate (ex: FM) as a result of pursuing my dream field (ortho), when I could have gone after a field I like (ex: EM) and definitely matched. Its not the 243 that gives me pause, its the prospect of not matching that does. Hope that makes sense

2) Thanks for the advice here. I have heard that PC grades don't matter, so it feels good to hear that sentiment being echoed again.

3) I'll keep working hard during 3rd year and focus on Step 2 and Clinicals. I think due to COVID, I'll only have time to do 1 away rotation during third year, so I'll need to make the most of it.

Thanks for the input!

You should plan on double applying to ortho and a backup specialty that you would be happy with. It's common for those applying to surgical subspecialties to double apply given their competitiveness and historically high proportion of unmatched applicants (https://www.aamc.org/system/files/2020-01/residency 2018.pdf) . Common backup specialties in these cases include anesthesiology and general surgery, but if you like EM that's fine as well. Just make sure you fit in rotations for both specialties in time for the eras deadline to get LORs for both specialties. Apply broadly to both specialties and if you find that you are getting enough interviews in ortho, you can turn down interview invites in your backup specialty. Double applying can be more work initially and more money spent on ERAS fees, but it reduces your chance of having to scramble.

The extent that pre-clinical grades matter depends on how your school specifically reports them on your transcript and Deans letter. Some schools report only P/F on your transcript, and numerical or letter grades are only kept internally. Generally, pre-clinical grades matter only to the extent to which you perform relative to your class if your school reports a quartile ranking. Otherwise, individual letter grades (assuming no failures) less helpful.

You should try to meet with the PD of your home ortho program with your CV and see if you can get advising and see how strong of a candidate you are, as your home program may be your best shot. Also get some ortho related research done this year or perhaps take a research year between M3 and M4.
 
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MyRealFakeAccount

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You should plan on double applying to ortho and a backup specialty that you would be happy with. It's common for those applying to surgical subspecialties to double apply given their competitiveness and historically high proportion of unmatched applicants (https://www.aamc.org/system/files/2020-01/residency 2018.pdf) . Common backup specialties in these cases include anesthesiology and general surgery, but if you like EM that's fine as well. Just make sure you fit in rotations for both specialties in time for the eras deadline to get LORs for both specialties. Apply broadly to both specialties and if you find that you are getting enough interviews in ortho, you can turn down interview invites in your backup specialty. Double applying can be more work initially and more money spent on ERAS fees, but it reduces your chance of having to scramble.

The extent that pre-clinical grades matter depends on how your school specifically reports them on your transcript and Deans letter. Some schools report only P/F on your transcript, and numerical or letter grades are only kept internally. Generally, pre-clinical grades matter only to the extent to which you perform relative to your class if your school reports a quartile ranking. Otherwise, individual letter grades (assuming no failures) less helpful.

You should try to meet with the PD of your home ortho program with your CV and see if you can get advising and see how strong of a candidate you are, as your home program may be your best shot. Also get some ortho related research done this year or perhaps take a research year between M3 and M4.

Yes, I think I will dual apply EM and Ortho- the last thing i want to do if end up scrambling. Thanks for the advice! I think my school bases class rank on 3rd year grades much more than preclinicals, so i can still end up in the upper third or quartile even with my mediocre preclinical grades (i hope!)
 

MyRealFakeAccount

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@OrthoTraumaMD

I know you don't "chance" people, but do you have any advice for me moving forward? Also, do personal statements matter much for matching?

For example, I've had multiple knee surgeries including one during medical school, so I feel like I can really explain why I'm drawn to this field more than others who might only be doing it for $ or prestige. I'm not saying everyone has to have ortho surgery to be genuinely interested in the field obviously, just that I have a clear answer for my motivations to pursue this field and I know it would come across well during interviews

Thank you!
 

Miles Gloriosus

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When I was a resident, we had a chance to interview applicants. The only personal statements that stood out were the bad ones. No one had the time to read all of them carefully. Also, a lot of people had their own personal stories of their various ortho injuries/surgeries. I would say that your story of knee surgeries will probably not be unique as compared to others.
 
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Frogger27

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@OrthoTraumaMD

I know you don't "chance" people, but do you have any advice for me moving forward? Also, do personal statements matter much for matching?

For example, I've had multiple knee surgeries including one during medical school, so I feel like I can really explain why I'm drawn to this field more than others who might only be doing it for $ or prestige. I'm not saying everyone has to have ortho surgery to be genuinely interested in the field obviously, just that I have a clear answer for my motivations to pursue this field and I know it would come across well during interviews

Thank you!

This is the last thing they want to hear about tbh. I'm sure they would rather you say you just want money/prestige vs the ol' ACL story
 
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MyRealFakeAccount

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When I was a resident, we had a chance to interview applicants. The only personal statements that stood out were the bad ones. No one had the time to read all of them carefully. Also, a lot of people had their own personal stories of their various ortho injuries/surgeries. I would say that your story of knee surgeries will probably not be unique as compared to others.
This is the last thing they want to hear about tbh. I'm sure they would rather you say you just want money/prestige vs the ol' ACL story

Thanks for the advice guys lol glad I asked!
 
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@OrthoTraumaMD

I know you don't "chance" people, but do you have any advice for me moving forward? Also, do personal statements matter much for matching?

For example, I've had multiple knee surgeries including one during medical school, so I feel like I can really explain why I'm drawn to this field more than others who might only be doing it for $ or prestige. I'm not saying everyone has to have ortho surgery to be genuinely interested in the field obviously, just that I have a clear answer for my motivations to pursue this field and I know it would come across well during interviews

Thank you!

Personal statements don’t matter. Still, write whatever you think helps them see the real you.
Research (ortho specific), step, and rotations are the three most important things.
 
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Frogger27

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One more question:

Assuming I perform well this year and get a 260+ on Step 2, but am not able to obtain meaningful Ortho research, do you think a research year would be in order?

Thanks!

It should not be that hard to start up a couple of projects and have something tangible in the next year. You have a lot of research productivity so just need a couple ortho things to talk about.
 
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GoSpursGo

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Yes, I think I will dual apply EM and Ortho- the last thing i want to do if end up scrambling. Thanks for the advice! I think my school bases class rank on 3rd year grades much more than preclinicals, so i can still end up in the upper third or quartile even with my mediocre preclinical grades (i hope!)
For the record, think long and hard before you decide to dual apply. There's no way around it--if you dual apply, you're hurting your chances at making the best match you could make in either field alone. You're spending time to write two sets of personal statements, make connections in two fields, get two sets of LORs, that could be better spent just shoring up your main application. EM in particular is a difficult field to use as a backup because you need to do an away rotation to get a SLOE.

If you really want ortho, go all in on ortho. Failing to match is scary, but nothing says you have to take what you can get in the SOAP--most schools will allow you to extend your school by a year to do a research year, and then you can either re-apply or commit to EM. That year is painful but may be worth it to give yourself the best chance to match in the specialty you truly want.

If you really think ortho is a stretch and you would be happy with EM, then just do EM. But if you try to do both, you will hurt your chances of matching ortho and/or may match at a worse EM program than you otherwise would have.
 
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longhaul3

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I don't think applying ortho and EM in the same year is really viable. You have to do your aways and everything in ortho. EM has its own application process that is pretty involved and also requires aways and the SLOEs. In fact from what I understand EM is the field that cares the most about demonstrating your interest in and dedication to the field in order to fend off double-appliers. It's not like gen surg where you can just throw out a few apps and count on your M3 clerkship to support your backup application.
 
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CanIMakeIt

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Personal statements don’t matter. Still, write whatever you think helps them see the real you.
Research (ortho specific), step, and rotations are the three most important things.
I agree
all the people who matched Ortho worked their butt off during the rotations and did research with the attendings and did electives. All of them matched with similar steps.
Keep working hard - if you really interested, it is hard to not notice. Everyone wants hard working residents!
 

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I don't think applying ortho and EM in the same year is really viable. You have to do your aways and everything in ortho. EM has its own application process that is pretty involved and also requires aways and the SLOEs. In fact from what I understand EM is the field that cares the most about demonstrating your interest in and dedication to the field in order to fend off double-appliers. It's not like gen surg where you can just throw out a few apps and count on your M3 clerkship to support your backup application.

Not anymore. Because of COVID away rotations a virtually non-existent right now. And accordingly, most specialties including EM has stated they only expect 1 rec letter from each applicant from that specialty: their home institution rotation (https://www.cordem.org/globalassets/files/2020-res-app-consensus-statement-v2.pdf). So OP should just do ortho and EM rotations at his home institution and get 1 letter from each which should be enough to double apply.
 
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MyRealFakeAccount

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Just wanted to come back and update y'all with whats been going on....

Finished my first clerkship and did really well on the shelf (80+ percentile), but prob won't get honors bc of subjective grading :(

Will keep working hard and wont be deterred!

Thanks everyone!
 
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slowthai

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It's not going to cost you...only 40% of matched applicants have AOA according to the latest Charting the Outcomes. (I mean, it's a lot relative to other fields, but it's not the majority.) The only thing is that it'll probably be hard to break into top tier programs. If I was in your position, I'd be hustling for research, and do all my aways at low and mid tier programs.
 
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throwaway1224

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Nearly finished with surgery rotation and the hours are torture...

If I decided not to pursue surgery and wanted a specialty with better lifestyle and good pay, what would you guys suggest? Ive been considering DR

Have you looked at MSK radiology? From what I understand (which is limited) they can do procedures as well as read imaging. + MSK anatomy (which I assume you like)
 

MyRealFakeAccount

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Only ended up with a Pass in surgery due to shelf performance....but did an elective in ortho and loved it....really confused about what to do now and wish I had made more time for studies during my surgery rotation :/

Is a below average surgery shelf score a nail in the coffin for ortho?
 

Frogger27

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Only ended up with a Pass in surgery due to shelf performance....but did an elective in ortho and loved it....really confused about what to do now and wish I had made more time for studies during my surgery rotation :/

Is a below average surgery shelf score a nail in the coffin for ortho?
No, but you need to keep working hard and doing the best you can. Make sure you improve on whatever caused you to get a pass, keep making strong connections in the ortho department (research, etc) and choose your away rotations wisely (low-tier programs known for favoring/interviewing rotators)
 
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socialcriticism

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there's an ortho resident in the DO boards with similar stats as you do except 4x the amount of pubs during application. im thinkin the MD vs DO thing places you guys on equal grounds so you'll probably match im guessing.

 
A

AnatomyGrey12

there's an ortho resident in the DO boards with similar stats as you do except 4x the amount of pubs during application. im thinkin the MD vs DO thing places you guys on equal grounds so you'll probably match im guessing.

Eh that guy is really unique, I wouldn’t use him as any sort of a measuring stick.
 
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dllsl7

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If you've been following the most recent ERAS threads, (take this with a spoonful of salt) people have been saying that for applicants who submitted only their step 1 scores, they are not getting as many interviews as they originally predicted. For applicants who submitted a step 1 AND an improved step 2 score, conversely, they have been getting more interviews than expected.

What this means is that maybe more residency programs are placing more weight on step 2 now, this could be because of the step 1 p/f change that's going to come soon. So just make sure you consistently study for step 2, and kill it (260+) and you should still have a shot.
 
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Frogger27

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If you've been following the most recent ERAS threads, (take this with a spoonful of salt) people have been saying that for applicants who submitted only their step 1 scores, they are not getting as many interviews as they originally predicted. For applicants who submitted a step 1 AND an improved step 2 score, conversely, they have been getting more interviews than expected.

What this means is that maybe more residency programs are placing more weight on step 2 now, this could be because of the step 1 p/f change that's going to come soon. So just make sure you consistently study for step 2, and kill it (260+) and you should still have a shot.

235-239/250-254 and have 20+ interview offers. Definitely take step 2 if you have a lower step 1. I’d argue probably worth taking and doing well unless you have >250+ Step 1
 
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MyRealFakeAccount

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235-239/250-254 and have 20+ interview offers. Definitely take step 2 if you have a lower step 1. I’d argue probably worth taking and doing well unless you have >250+ Step 1
Hey man, I've been following your posts and just wanted to say how happy I am for you. Congrats on those interview invites! I feel like if I get over 250 on step 2 I might be able to make it
 
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MyRealFakeAccount

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Hey guys, so I'm now onto my final clerkship and still haven't gotten a single Honors :/ and I only got Passes in medicine and surgery (the other two were high pass) I've tried my best but I cant seem to score more than the mean on shelf exams.

At this point, should I just jump ship and go for a different specialty? I know that clinical grades are super important for matching and I really don't want to SOAP.

What sucks is that I've already committed to a research year for ortho and now I'm depressed thinking I'm going to be busting my ass for research that isn't even going to be valuable for me down the line
 

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Personally, I would recommend jumping ship. If you still want surgery, focus on gen surg. My friend in AOA with honors in Surgery and Ortho Sub-I had to SOAP into a prelim surg spot after going unmatched this cycle. I wouldn't wish SOAP or Scramble on my worst enemy.
 
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CommyØ

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MyRealFakeAccount said:
Hey guys, so I'm now onto my final clerkship and still haven't gotten a single Honors :/ and I only got Passes in medicine and surgery (the other two were high pass) I've tried my best but I cant seem to score more than the mean on shelf exams.

At this point, should I just jump ship and go for a different specialty? I know that clinical grades are super important for matching and I really don't want to SOAP.

What sucks is that I've already committed to a research year for ortho and now I'm depressed thinking I'm going to be busting my ass for research that isn't even going to be valuable for me down the line
That's so BS how something so subjective like not getting honors could decide your future. Can you dual apply GS/DR/something else so you have a backup?

I would still go for it -- give it everything you've got or you may regret it down the line. Perhaps use some time during the research year to get started on gathering materials, writing personal statements, etc for a dual app.
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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What sucks is that I've already committed to a research year for ortho and now I'm depressed thinking I'm going to be busting my ass for research that isn't even going to be valuable for me down the line

This isn’t necessarily true. In a lot of fields, research is research and will still help even if it’s in a different field.
 
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