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Hi everyone

I am a c2021 medical student. Throughout clerkship I have been planning on applying to a moderately competitive program. I unfortunately was unable to secure FM electives as a backup. I am currently in a position where I am no longer interested in said specialty, and do not have enough FM letters to apply. I am wondering regarding the feasibility of not applying this year, taking a year to do some more clinical work, and then applying next cycle. Will this be a red flag? 

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Obviously this is a personal choice and you'd have to weight the pros/cons yourself, but I would caution against taking an extra year if you intend to apply to just family med (different ball game of course if you're considering another competitive specialty than your initial one). No one knows how carms is going to look like going forward, and maybe 2022 will have a whole bunch of new rules that change the playing field AGAIN. With the flux and uncertainty of this current application cycle, I doubt programs would be too tough on you for not having 3 letters from GPs. When I applied to family as a backup, I only had one letter from my med 3 family rotation. My other 2 were from general surgeons and I got many family interviews across the country. YMMV of course but I wouldn't count you out yet :) 

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Reach out to your academic advisors. Usually their advance merely somewhat correlates with your goals, but if your question is "can i match to family medicine with my current application or is it worth doing a 4th/5th year" I think they might actually be somewhat helpful because they want you to match [anywhere] above all

Also perhaps reach out to your family medicine department to see if you can meet with them to discuss the feasibility of matching to family medicine with your situation?

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Is the fear if you apply for family med and don't get it you then be in a bad spot (red flagged as you put it) for the following year? I would also suggest talking to your advisors about your situation as it seem likely if you can apply broadly you will get family med this year anyway, and losing the year may raise flags regardless. Basically you are in a possible even probable win versus cannot make your situation worse scenario with applying this year. If that is true, and I think it is likely you are, then on a practical level it would be illogical not to apply. You cannot ever be 100% in Carms unfortunately so striving for perfection is very dangerous. 

Letters can be from other specialities as well to support your application (particular for family med), and this strange year is one where a lot of people won't have the mix they were hoping for in electives. 

Edited by rmorelan
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very risky strategy, not matching means you have very little to work with ,aside from doing a 5th year or research, which in itself will require some explanations next time you apply.

You could still consider applying to both your original specialty and FM. Transfer from 5yr program into FM is common in residency.

Price of going unmatched is too high these days. 

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People pretend that FM is more competitive than it really is. People will match to "competitive" FM programs when they are obviously backing up from other specialties. I would go for it and your one core letter should be good enough. Make sure your other 2 letters are from different/related specialties (eg IM, psych, etc)

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