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Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by Homer17, Nov 13, 2002.
I'm a sophomore in college and was wondering what are the easiest and hardest matches?
Hmmm...well there are LOTs of threads dealing with this issue, but I'll try...
First, a disclaimer. What follows are generalizations. That is, while IM may *in general* be an easier match, there are certain programs where it is infinitely more difficult to obtain a spot than in many other specialties. So take the following with a grain of salt. Conventional wisdom has it that...
EASIEST (in no particular order and probably forgetting some)
HARDEST (notation as above)
ER (although dropping in popularity as of late)
Everything else is somewhere in the middle...Gen Surg is getting less popular (as are all surgical residencies), PM&R more popular, Rad Onc pretty tough, etc.
I'm sure others will chime in with some I forgot, to correct or argue with me, but this should give you the gist of things.
I would add Family Practice to the easiest list as well. Might add Ophthalmology to the hardest list. And obviously, the terms "easy" and "hard" match all depend upon the applicant and the specific program.
is rads really hard to match? i thought rad was not so hard to match now; after all they have 1050 spots/yr. but i may be wrong...
u r correct gen surg is goin down the toilet - my attending said MGH gen surg didn't fill last yr ..
Why is it that ER is dropping in popularity?
Thanks for the addition of FP to the easiest and Optho to the hardest matches; I would agree.
And yes, Rads is difficult to obtain a spot these days. The popularity has increased dramatically the past 2 years - while I don't have numbers, the faculty and residents here and elsewhere all saying the same thing. Rads used to be a cake-walk...no more.
There are places where Gen Surg didn't fill - I would take the pronouncement that MGH didn't fill last year with a grain of salt - just because a reknowned place didn't fill in the match doesn't mean they didn't fill or really tells you nothing about the FIELD but rather the program. With people interested more and more in regular hours, better lifestyle, etc. more rigorous programs (in any field) will often attract less applicants (in addition, that weaker applicants will not apply to places they fear they won't match). But all in all, gen surg has been stagnant the last 2 years, although apps are up this year from last.
I'm not sure EM is significantly dropping in popularity. Here are some #s...
The unfilled stats are 21/1073 in 2002
and 6/1001 in 2001
So we're talking 2-3% or so unfilled programs. Compare that with IM or FP or Peds and EM is still quite competitive.
I think with the ?unfortunate? trend of medical students using lifestyle as their main criteria for residency choice, EM/Anes/Rads/PM&R will continue to be competitive (or get more competitive).
If you are still in college, then this kind of information is of little value... By the time you apply for residency, things will probably be significantly different.
One thing to keep in mind though is that "competitiveness" is often a misleading descriptor. For example, radiology has a LOT more applicants going out for it than does rad onc, but I would say that rad onc is much, much harder to match in than rads mainly due to the fact that there are only ~100 spots vs. ~ 1100 for rads. Also, just because there are a lot of people competing for spots, doesn't really indicate how competitive the field is FOR YOU. For example, you might have marginal numbers for neurosurgery, but you would be a virtual lock for rads.
Having said all that, I tend to agree with the above posts. They are all good generalizations.
As for general surgery... GS is turning out to be more competitve this year since the number of applicants this year exceeds the number of offerred positions. This is a reversal from the last 2-3 years when applicants < spots available. Also, MGH is extremely competitive. At the top surgery programs, they don't really care if they don't fill. They would rather leave the spot unfilled than take an applicant that they consider unqualified. They can always pull someone from the lab if they need the manpower. I don't think that MGH was crying in its beer over the unfilled spot (if there really was one).
Good luck all.
There were 900 slots in radiology last year and around 850 the year before. In the early 90's there were around 1200.
Never said it was dropping significantly, but rather had peaked - which yor data support. Its still competitivce, just not as much as it once was.
I think the overall trend now has been that the "shift" type residencies with fairly good compensation (ie derms, rads, rad onc, and even pm&r, anes, & ER) have become a bit more popular.
Whereas high compensation, high call fields (ie ct surg, gen surg, GI [but not neurosurg]) have experienced a slight dip in popularity.
Meanwhile, the high call, low compensation fields like FP, gen IM, & peds continue to take a nosedive.
Not sure about some of the IM subspecialities, but my guess is that fields like cardio, neuro, and heme-onc haven't been attracting many more candidates because they aren't growing quite as fast as more lucrative fields.
However, with the 80/wk rules coming into effect, some of these trends may change.
btw, i think step I scores are becoming less important for match...but i doubt the planned clinical skills test will ever much figure into the equation, (assuming it ever happens at all) since many ERAS might already be filed before the scores come back.