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Manchester1

Internal Medicine 2017 - More Competitive Than Ever?

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So, rumor has it that there have been record numbers of applicants to IM this year with many strong candidates not even getting interviews at schools where they have done substantial elective time. 

 

Can anyone comment on this? 

 

This year seems like it'll be competitive year for IM. So was last year, however, and I haven't gotten the sense that this year is a huge departure from last year.

 

Most people I know going for IM got a healthy number of interviews. Some got less than they'd like (which could be said of almost anyone), and there are always those shocker results where someone doesn't get an interview they were sure they would get, but nothing really out of the ordinary. Many people who seem to be backing up with IM also got a reasonable number of IM interviews, though typically less than the IM gunners.

 

All this fits with a competitive year for IM, especially compared to the recent years where it had a 95% match rate, but not one that's much different than last year. Maybe it'll end up being more competitive than I've gotten a sense of, but I'll wait until I see the after-match numbers before I believe it.

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I do think it's even more popular than last year (and the application numbers objectively speak to that). I don't think it's just people backing up since there seems to have been a surge in interest at many schools. How that plays out for the match rate is to be seen.... I bet mid or even low 80s, which is decent relative to other specialties but people going into competitive specialties do that knowingly and tend to have a back-up plan. Not sure how many IM gunners would have thought they needed to apply to a back up.

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I do wonder how much is a function of people applying more broadly than previously, whether they're interested in IM as their first choice or as a back-up. Student's application strategies aren't static and change with perceived competitiveness. Last year's competitive year undoubtedly changed some approaches to the match.

 

Still, a 40% jump in applications is hard to ignore and resident- or staff-level knowledge of interest definitely trumps my non-IM applicant 4th year med student. I still want to see what the match stats say when this is all over, but my initial impression very well could be wrong.

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I do wonder how much is a function of people applying more broadly than previously, whether they're interested in IM as their first choice or as a back-up. Student's application strategies aren't static and change with perceived competitiveness. Last year's competitive year undoubtedly changed some approaches to the match.

 

Still, a 40% jump in applications is hard to ignore and resident- or staff-level knowledge of interest definitely trumps my non-IM applicant 4th year med student. I still want to see what the match stats say when this is all over, but my initial impression very well could be wrong.

 

what is getting reduced then out of curiosity - I mean IM is a huge fracture of the total residency programs so for it to go up so much means many other things have to be going down and/or family med took a hit. Zero sum game after all ha. 

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what is getting reduced then out of curiosity - I mean IM is a huge fracture of the total residency programs so for it to go up so much means many other things have to be going down and/or family med took a hit. Zero sum game after all ha. 

 

That's my question too, because I don't have an obvious answer that would account for a large jump in IM's competitiveness. Last year it was a combination of reduced interest in FM plus the secondary effects of slightly reduced residency spots. Perhaps FM's taking another hit, but FM programs haven't exactly been liberal with their interviews this year either.

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That's my question too, because I don't have an obvious answer that would account for a large jump in IM's competitiveness. Last year it was a combination of reduced interest in FM plus the secondary effects of slightly reduced residency spots. Perhaps FM's taking another hit, but FM programs haven't exactly been liberal with their interviews this year either.

 

interesting - something somewhere is, ha. I guess we will find out soon enough when the statistics are revealed. 

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what is getting reduced then out of curiosity - I mean IM is a huge fracture of the total residency programs so for it to go up so much means many other things have to be going down and/or family med took a hit. Zero sum game after all ha. 

 

I've been out of the CaRMS game for a while, now, however I want to clarify something. There is a finite theoretical maximum number of interviews a student could attend beyond which then it becomes a "zero sum game," however it is entirely possible and I would bet the more likely of the explanations that due to the perceived competitiveness of last year, along with CaRMS increased competitiveness in general, that applicants are just applying to more programs over time. This results in programs receiving say 600 instead of 400 apps from around the same base number of student cohort that would have submitted around 400 apps a year or two ago; there may be some increased backups from people applying to other specialties but I'm not sure that's the dominant factor.

 

The result is the same with what happens on Tinder - you have one group where they have an increased pressure to like/swipe right/apply broadly, and one group where they have so many potential matches that they just select the top % of what they received. Thereby the top cohort of applicants get interviews broadly, however more average students are getting shunned out of more and more programs despite putting out more applications. Long term, the strategy to combat this by future medical students is to tailor your application really to one specialty at most, or accept that your backup may be an undesirable location in a non-competitive specialty. 

 

That's my two cents while procrastinating on my overdue manuscript draft, anyways.

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I've been out of the CaRMS game for a while, now, however I want to clarify something. There is a finite theoretical maximum number of interviews a student could attend beyond which then it becomes a "zero sum game," however it is entirely possible and I would bet the more likely of the explanations that due to the perceived competitiveness of last year, along with CaRMS increased competitiveness in general, that applicants are just applying to more programs over time. This results in programs receiving say 600 instead of 400 apps from around the same base number of student cohort that would have submitted around 400 apps a year or two ago; there may be some increased backups from people applying to other specialties but I'm not sure that's the dominant factor.

 

The result is the same with what happens on Tinder - you have one group where they have an increased pressure to like/swipe right/apply broadly, and one group where they have so many potential matches that they just select the top % of what they received. Thereby the top cohort of applicants get interviews broadly, however more average students are getting shunned out of more and more programs despite putting out more applications. Long term, the strategy to combat this by future medical students is to tailor your application really to one specialty at most, or accept that your backup may be an undesirable location in a non-competitive specialty. 

 

That's my two cents while procrastinating on my overdue manuscript draft, anyways.

 

that is a possible explanation! If true you would then have to wonder why beyond the obvious. In the past there has been more a shuffle of interest than truly a surge in apps. 

 

looks like the stats review phase will be interesting this year!

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I do think it's even more popular than last year (and the application numbers objectively speak to that). I don't think it's just people backing up since there seems to have been a surge in interest at many schools. How that plays out for the match rate is to be seen.... I bet mid or even low 80s, which is decent relative to other specialties but people going into competitive specialties do that knowingly and tend to have a back-up plan. Not sure how many IM gunners would have thought they needed to apply to a back up.

What numbers? Is this speaking w/program directors/staff or is there some publicly available data that can be really looked at?

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that is a possible explanation! If true you would then have to wonder why beyond the obvious. In the past there has been more a shuffle of interest than truly a surge in apps. 

 

looks like the stats review phase will be interesting this year!

Do you mean that there are some IM years and some FM years and some (x program) years where interest varies overall?

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My thought is just more people are applying more broadly to the general programs like IM; where previously people may have backed up or just applied straight up with their regional programs/desired programs, they're now applying indescriminantly across the board, resulting in more application reviews for the programs (eg 400->600) and a lesser chance for an individual candidate (less for average, much less for mediocre candidates) thereby giving the impression that its more competitive, where instead its still more or less the same people matching to IM across the board. rmorelan is right, the stats will be interesting in seeing the average # of programs applied to and comparing those to previous years. I suspect it's gone up as a whole.

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Manchester1, it's word-of-mouth information from the program offices. I trust what they tell us but maybe not as objective as hard stats we can see.

 

Did people not apply to programs across the country in the past? It seems like such a given now for an applicant to apply broadly within their specialty unless they were restricted to one location for external reasons.

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Do you mean that there are some IM years and some FM years and some (x program) years where interest varies overall?

 

absolutely - there is a constant struggle there - generally fixed positions but variable interest - particularly for specialties with only a relatively small number of positions. Doesn't take much really! Even one really good teacher that inspires say 5 extra people from one school to go into rads for instance in a class size of 200 would result the acceptance percentage to fall by say 7-8% across the entire country  (80% down to 73% as an example)....and rads is not all that small really. 

 

That variability is one of the reasons that CARMS is stressful. No one can predict the odds of many fields prior. Due to large sample sizes things like family and internal are very safe mind you historically speaking - not sure yet what this possible internal bump interest means though :) 

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