“We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
So many people ask the question, what does it take to get into orthopaedics? I have posted before some statistic on what many programs look for in an applicant. But, my view of this is like drafting in the NFL. The statistics do not give you the intangibles. Randy Moss and Terrel Owens are great receivers; but if they are in the wrong system or with the wrong combination of players, they don't do well. And, who can forget the Ryan Leaf or Akili Smith. Then there are players that put in the right systems they flourish, Willie Parker and Tom Brady. With that prospective, I believe that there are people and programs that are a better fit. That is not to say that if you have some of the basic stats (USMLE, Grades, etc) you are or are not a shoe-in to a program. But, I do believe that there are better fits.
From the program end, what we try to do is know who we are. We understand what type of program we have an what residents do particularly well and which don't. We can look back over years and know what is our normal pattern of applications. We know what schools and states we receive a lot of applicants from and which ones we do not. This makes that application selection process different. In our program, we are not necessarily looking for some statistical wonder or the ugly duckling. What we generally prefer is a solid individual that fits what we feel is our personality profile.
From the applicant prospective, I believe that best approach to applying is to be realistic with yourself. Know what you strengths and weaknesses are (yes we all have them) . This is an important inventory but difficult to do, well. Next, you need to see where you would like to be located regionally, and look at you school's history of placing people in programs in that location. Then you should look the programs in that area and evaluate how they fit into your personality profile. This will help you in choosing the best program that will help you flourish.
In the end, most of those that obtain a residency will complete and become an orthopaedic surgeon. The more important question is will those same people have a positive experience and become the best with their abilities. My view is that not every flower will be beautiful in every soil; but, given the right soil, every flower can be beautiful.
“The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be”