Will a higher Step 1 make up for a low-tier MD school for the big academic places?

Discussion in 'Pathology' started by bunya12, Jun 29, 2017.

  1. bunya12

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    I know there's much more that goes into a residency app than just step 1 score, but I'm currently interested in an academic career. Two strikes against me are the fact that I'm from a low-tier MD school and I only have 2 abstracts and 3 presentations currently. I'm finishing up my first rotation of third year so I have a ways to go yet, but just trying to figure out if I should attempt to get some more research in or what else I could do to be more competitive.

    Just got my scores back and did much better than I anticipated, so I was wondering if a step 1 >260 could make up for subpar research and a low ranked MD school? Interested in Vandy/Emory/Stanford/Hopkins in particular for research purposes. Any advice is welcome! Thanks!
     
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  3. Dave CX

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    If you broke 260 then you spanked that test hard. You have an excellent chance at a top tier residence. I would put UVa on your list too.
     
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  4. Dave CX

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    The way you carry yourself on your interview is key.
     
  5. Dave CX

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    And your research experience seems very solid in my opinion.
     
  6. SoDakMLS

    SoDakMLS Good luck on the Path!

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    Unless you have red flags on your application (Step 2 problems, criminal record, start bombing clerkships), or in your personal statement your stated goals are the opposite of the program, that score will buy you an interview at essentially any path program you want. Truly. You are an American, interested in path, and have a Step 1 score all the ortho and derm gunners would kill for. Don't worry about the number of publications--you've done something (which is more than I had!).

    I know you have ~1 year before applications, but realize you can be selective in where you apply. You are already forming a short list of places (message me if you'd like my plug for WashU), which is good. Next year when you apply, there is really no need to apply to more than 12-15 programs. You'll get invites to all of them, and it will save you time and money. Believe me, after the first 5 or so, everything starts running together and the process gets tiresome. Pathology residency is a buyer's market for AMGs.
     
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  7. bunya12

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    I appreciate all the advice! I have a few follow-up questions that I haven't been able to find consistent answers to. With that step 1 score, what is the general consensus on when to take step 2? Do most programs require a step 2 score before offering interviews? Basically just trying to figure out my schedule with regard to the test and away rotations, so I welcome any advice and insight.

    Also, since I am interested in academic programs and research, would it be more helpful to attempt to get one or two more research experiences/potential publications in the next year at the cost of potentially not performing quite as well on some rotations or should I prioritize clinical grades in rotations like family/ob/peds above research?

    Thanks again!
     
  8. Dave CX

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    Do NOT let any other projects interfere with you doing a good job on your rotations. That would be a mistake. You have done plenty to show your academic interest. Play it cool and focus on finishing strong in med school. I see no benefit to delaying step 2.
     
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  9. tiredguy

    tiredguy Not a New Member

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    I agree. From a low tier medical school, a high Step 1 score will help but some people at some "big academic places" will also consider your class rank in which case you don't want to rank average or poorly at a low tier medical school. This is for match ranking purposes, not for deciding to interview you. It may not ultimately matter that much but I've seen it discussed.
     
  10. bunya12

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    I just wanted to give a quick update and ask a couple of follow-up questions:

    -Step 1: 267
    -Thus far I have completed surgery, psych, IM, and family with all honors. I have yet to take peds or OB. I also completed a path elective at my home institution and will have 1-2 LORs from pathologists there.
    -As far as AOA, I'm in the running but doubt I will get it.
    -I have not completed any additional research.

    Based on the schools I'm interested in (Emory, Stanford, Hopkins, Vandy, WashU), would it be beneficial for me to do an away at one (or more) of these schools? I do plan to do another path elective at my home institution. I'm just trying to decide if I should begin working on applications/VSAS.

    Also I've had multiple people tell me different opinions on step 2 timing. Some have said take it as soon as I finish 3rd year, while others have said that given my step 1, I should wait to take it so that my score will come out after ERAS is submitted so I can decide whether I want to release it or not. I'm just trying to decide when to schedule it.

    Thanks for the advice!
     
  11. mikesheree

    Physician Lifetime Donor Gold Donor Classifieds Approved

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    You are over-thinking this. In general, take your exams (all) as soon
    as you can unless there is a damned good reason not to. You WILL
    get a quality residency unless you are a douche/ have horns, etc.
     
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  12. bunya12

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    Thanks, I appreciate the advice. You're right, I'm probably over-thinking it, I guess I just blame it on the fact that none of my classmates are applying to path so it makes me a little more neurotic since I have nobody to discuss and hammer out the details with. Any opinion on the value of away rotations to get a big-name LOR, experience a big academic program, make a connection to another part of the country, etc.? I like to think I'm not too much of a douche and I get along with pretty much everyone..
     
  13. tiredguy

    tiredguy Not a New Member

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    Yes, do an away rotation if you can. Benefits: meet more people, experience more pathology, LORs, higher ranking at the program if they like you, shows a commitment to pathology, gives you insight into what is really happening at a program beyond just a 1-2 day interview.

    You will probably match someplace you end up liking even if you don't do an away so no, it is not required. If there is one program that you are much more interested in than the others, then it is more helpful to you to gain the above benefits.

    P.S. Despite what is mentioned by others above, there are least a few programs that will hold a "lower" tier school against you though this will be partially alleviated by your high USMLE score. Every program is different and I'm sure there are plenty that don't care about school tier. If a program gets to know you (favorably) over a month that can count for a lot.
     
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  14. moneybreh

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    You have to do well on rotations. That's still important. Especially since you want good letters. Doing well in rotations will also help with Step 2. Probably doesn't matter when you take Step 2 as long as your score doesn't drop by much. Clearly you're a good test taker so you should be fine in that respect as long as you don't blow it off.
     
  15. moneybreh

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    I'm of the party that doesn't see any sense in waiting. That's usually the advice given to people who struggle with the exam and really may risk bombing it. If you got 260s on Step 1 and are clearly doing well in clinicals then study hard for Step 2 and take it as soon as you can. As far as aways I would personally say it's only worth it to 1) do it somewhere you know you really wanna go and 2) if you know you're weird, awkward, or anything like that probably better to air on the side of caution. This is just my opinion but aways can hurt people way more than they help (just my opinion)
     
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  17. LADoc00

    LADoc00 There is no substitute for victory.

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    this all seems beyond excessive. You realize aside from maybe Stanford for purely lifestyle reasons I doubt any of the other places on your list are that challenging to get into, unless things have dramatically changed since I was an applicant. And assuming you apply to some additional places on the off chance you are the worst in person interviewee imaginable, the want ads are filled with so many academic openings (and pretty much have been for a quarter of century plus), you just need to be ever so slightly motivated with a measurable pulse to get a staff position.

    Making a living off it will be the real challenge.
     
  18. MSTP18

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    I agree with not tanking your rotations to do research, but if you have a step 1 >260 you should definitely take Step 2CK late enough to not be on ERAS - don't put it off until the very end, but at least give yourself the option to hide it until later if you do poorly. With a 248 I was told by everyone from pathologists to my designated med school advisers to delay CK (which I did) and I still got interview invites everywhere I applied to except for some of the bottom tier programs I applied to as backups. With that Step 1 score, a great CK is a "duh, look at his Step 1" and a bad CK is a red flag.

    Personally, it was a much more enjoyable process to have ERAS behind me and just focus on CK for 3.5 weeks. When I got my CK back (>260) I had already been on several interviews and just updated my USMLE transcript and emailed all the programs to make sure they saw it.
     
    #16 MSTP18, Jan 20, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2018
  19. jupiterianvibe

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    Do you speak English?
    Yes?
    You're Harvard material.
     
  20. Euchromatin

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    As far as timing for step 2 CK goes, I don't feel all that strongly either way and I think it depends a lot on your personal schedule. My medical school made it easy to take some time during the summer going from 3rd year to 4th year to get it done, but I'm sure this varies. I also had my scheduled skewed with a lot of easier ambulatory rotations (and more path electives) that wouldn't be very helpful in terms of including CK-relevant material during 4th year, so putting it off would have just given me more time to forget things. I also had a reasonably high step 1 score (and knew I was a good test-taker) and I felt more comfortable just getting it out of the way. This may have changed or I may be remembering inaccurately, but I thought when I went through that some path programs wouldn't interview you (or maybe it was just they wouldn't rank you?) until you had your step 2 CK and CS done.
     
  21. MSTP18

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    I would imagine the bold is still true
     
  22. chooks

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    Interesting. I had a 252 and received the exact opposite advice from my med school (take CK/CS as soon as you can to get it out of the way). I was told that Step 2 scores were typically higher. They were right (in my case) and I was glad to be done and able to focus on other things.
     
  23. MSTP18

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    Yes, the CK national average is higher but that's what percentiles are for. We have an early September CS deadline because the school wants to guarantee you have time to retake before the match in case you fail (happens rarely and not a surprise when it does as the students almost always have failed our in-house exam during MS3 meant to mimic CS) but the CK deadline is in December if you did well on 1.
     

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