Decision 2012

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I recently had a stroke of good luck with the clinical department. After getting a head’s up from a fellow 7th semester that her number had finally come up in the mysterious calculus by which they decide these things, I decided to give them a call and see if maybe I might be able to beg for my last two cores to be put on my schedule. Since I’d been unsuccessful in this endeavor twice before, I didn’t have much hope for this third try but I guess I got an extra blessing that day because not only did they schedule me for surgery in August (I’d have sworn they were going to say that there was no availability until next year) but they also gave me psych at a hospital of my choosing (however, that one will be next year, at the end of January). I almost thought they were going to yell ‘psych!’ at the end of the call but when I checked online, my schedule had indeed been updated. With this unexpected boon, a previously blocked pathway within the realm of possibility began to clear – the road to the 2012 Match.

In order to eligible for the Match, Ross stipulates that one must have passed USMLE Step 1 (passed!), USMLE Step 2 CK (will schedule) and USMLE Step 2 CS (scheduled for June) by December 31st of the year prior to the year one plans to enter residency. In addition, one must complete all clinical requirements in time to graduate by May 31st of the year in which one desires to enter residency. This allows for enough time for ECFMG to grant certification by July 1st, the date on which most residency programs begin. With the final cores in place, I can finally fill in the rest of my schedule and be finished with all my required elective rotations by the end of next April and be on track to graduate in May. In spite of all of the setbacks, if I continue to push through, the 2012 Match is within my reach! Yet…

A classmate told me that one of the worst things one could do was to enroll in the Match and not match. If one fails to obtain a residency during a given match season, one is practically marked for all subsequent attempts. If I were to fail in the 2012 Match and try again in 2013, the question on everyone’s tongue would be ‘What was wrong with you that no one wanted you the first time around?’ So while time-wise, the possibility of matching exists, all I can think of is the things that would count against me: being an Independent Applicant from an offshore school, a mediocre step 1 score, a mediocre GPA, no publications and, possibly most damning, the only letters of recommendation that have anything to do with pediatrics I will have will be from my peds core. Because of the way my schedule has been pieced together, I won’t be able to do any peds electives prior to when I submit my residency applications (September 1st). Unless I can scare up a couple of the most spectacularly-written, glowing LORs during my core (scheduled for July), what reason would peds program directors have even to consider me? Yes, I plan to rock Step 2 beyond the telling of it, but will those numbers be enough for more than a cursory glance at my application?

Doubts like these make me wonder if I should wait until 2013. If I wait, I’ll have a peds sub-I and a couple of peds electives (and perhaps, more awesome LORs) under my belt. Since I’ll still graduate at the same time, I’ll be sitting on an MD with nothing but time, which I could use to beef up my cv, with research, teaching, volunteering or possibly enrolling in a MPH program or obtaining some other advanced degree. Although I’ll probably be completely broke, accruing interest on my student loans and living in my parents’ basement, I might be a more competitive candidate and thus, have a better chance at matching if I defer my application another year.

As I’ve gone further down the path, I’ve heard more stories about the Match, both good and bad – one haunting one from a student who didn’t pass Step 1 on the first attempt and even though he did very well on Step 2, didn’t get invited for a single interview for a Family Medicine residency, reportedly the most accessible field for IMGs. And on the fairy-tale-come-to-life side of things, I met two students who received prematch offers (one in peds), one of whom actually turned an offer down and still matched successfully. I didn’t ask these students their whole academic profile so I don’t know how similar (or dissimilar) their credentials were to mine or whether I can learn anything about how I might fare based on their experiences. I don’t really have any idea of whether I should take a chance this time around or sit it out and try to build myself into a more attractive applicant. I don’t even know who to go to for advice. :::sigh:::

Right now, the plan is to proceed as if I’m going to match in 2012. To that end, I have to:

1. Make sure that I’ve got everything ready by the designated deadlines

2. Score a 99 on Step 2 CK (any tips?)

3. Pass Step 2 CS (tips?)

4. Compose the most compelling, stirring, heartfelt, original personal statement ever to have been written (Didn’t I used to be a writer or something? Why is this difficult?!?)

5. Craft an impressive curriculum vitae out of my random experiences and my old résumé

6. Follow up on LORs already requested and earn awesome ones from the next 3 rotations

Maybe if I can do all of those things effectively and apply to 50 or so programs, I might be able to get an interview or two? I can only hope.

Looks like I’ve got a lot of work cut out for me. Nobody said this stuff was easy…

Explore posts in the same categories: 7th semester, clinicals, med school, residency

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