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A friendly warning to future applicants...

Discussion in 'Otolaryngology' started by kilroth, 03.25.08.

  1. kilroth

    kilroth Senior Member

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    Hi everyone,
    I just wanted to give future applicants a heads up on the competitiveness of ENT. After going through the process, I feel some advice might be beneficial to future applicants.

    Just some of my stats: top 1/3 of class, step 1: 256, had a publication scheduled for release at the time of my interviews, step 2: 248 (released the week before match list due)

    I applied to 36 programs, got invited to 11 interviews (but only went on 9 due to conflicts, a couple top 10 programs). My match was 7th out of 9 on my rank list. Two of my good friends who are very smart didn't match at all.

    I'm very excited to be matched. Knowing that I will be an Otolaryngologist is an incredible feeling! Some advice: I tend to agree with what has been said on this board before about away electives. I advise not doing an away elective at a program you are highly considering. I rotated at a program and didn't even get an interview there. I had no conflicts while there but was a tad shy. After inquiring, they reponded saying that they had so many rotators they decided to only give 1/3 interviews. Take it for what it's worth.

    If you have a low board score, you need to talk to your chairman as soon as possible to get an idea of your chances. Step 1 seemed to be one of the main things programs looked for. You can still get quite a few interviews if you're in the 230s, but you might be ranked lower at each. Example, my friend in the 230s ranked almost twice as many as me but didn't match.

    Don't believe anything they say about being ranked highly, etc etc. I was told this by a number of programs where I didn't match at. It's all part of a game- even from your own chairman. Having said that- your chairman is still your biggest ally for placement at an outside institution.

    Don't bet on the scramble. Only a few 7-year spots were available and they interview you later in the week. Most schools will pressure you to take a prelim year stating that they fill within a few hours and they won't hold a spot for you to interview for a week. Plan on a prelim year unless you have a prestigious research year already lined up (I'm talking NIH, Mayo masters program, or if your school provides something similar).

    For research, no one cares about non-ENT stuff. I wasted time finishing my CV surgery research and wasn't asked about it. They only wanted to talk about my little ent review article.

    To sum it all up: start ENT research now (and don't allow them to suck you into something where you can't get a quick paper out of ), ace Step 1 if you haven't taken it yet, and apply broadly and be thrilled with wherever you match. I wish you all the best of luck. It was a nerve-wracking process over the past half a year. Have fun with the interviews and the free dinners.

    Kilroth
  2. ENT12

    ENT12

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    That is tough stuff....

    I made 239 on Step 1....and took Step 2 early....made a 266. The big improvement helped me tremendously. I was AOA (not junior)...and had 3 non ENT publications.

    I applied at 34 programs....was offered 13 interviews....ranked 10.....and matched at my #3. I was also couples matching...so it was a little trickier.

    My advice would be....

    #1 If you make 245 or above on step 1...don't take step 2 early. If you make less than 245...take it....and dominate it. Everyone I know but 1 went up on step 2.

    #2 Do away rotations. Do one at a "reach" place (Vandy/Hopkins) and do one at an average place. WORK your but off...and don't talk too much.

    I matched at a place I did an away. I am glad I did the away, and it is nice to match somewher where you know that they like you and you like them.
  3. gstrub

    gstrub Member

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    The OP stated that they didn't care for non-ENT research. DO you think this will apply to MD/PhD? My PhD is in molecular biology/biochemistry...we study lots of cancer signaling that can be applied broadly to head and neck cancer, but it is a stretch to say the least. Are you referring to clinical research that is non-ENT? I am really hoping the PhD helps me out quite a bit, as I am in the 230's, top 1/3 non-AOA crowd...
  4. kilroth

    kilroth Senior Member

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    I think that Phd research is a little different than my non-ENT clinical CV surgery research. I would also add at least a small ENT chart review for something to talk about. Capitalize on your genuine interest in research, but don't come off as someone who would rather be in the lab than in the OR.

    Kil
  5. gstrub

    gstrub Member

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    That's hysterical...wanting to be in the lab more than the OR...HAHAHA!
  6. DrBodacious

    DrBodacious H-D Sportster 883C

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    Oh Boy, I hear you Kilroth.

    I myself did not match this year. 234 on step I, lots of research but no pubs, great aways, letters from 3 chairmen because of my aways. I'm not AOA. I got 17 interview invitations, some top 5 programs, and a good range otherwise. I went to 14 interviews and thought I was money.

    Everyone at my department thought I was good and that I'd match somewhere.

    This has been a big disappointment. I really fell in love with ENT throughout this year, and I know I'd be damn good at it. Now I can't see myself doing anything else, but I really can not be certain it will happen. My plan is to do a prelim year and then follow that with a great research experience like NIH or something.

    I know some other people who were great candidates and got their last choice, and are a little upset about it. From my current perspective, I would have loved getting my last choice. It is just a really tough field. There are a ton of people like myself who are having a really difficult time with it.

    But, congratulations to everyone who got a spot. Everyone who matched was an amazing candidate. Live the dream for me meanwhile.
  7. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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    I'm going to provide some input while this whole process is still fresh in my memory...

    Brief stats: Top 1/3 of class (not AOA), Step 1: 256, Step 2: 252 (released in early February), ENT research (1 case report published, a retrospective chart review submitted), 3 quality LORs from ENT faculty at my institution, 1 away (though didn't get a letter from here, didn't match there either)

    Applied to 50, received 17 interviews, went on 15, matched at my #1. After hearing stories on here I can say I feel extremely fortunate. In retrospect, I'd say that clinical grades are given pretty heavy weight and that the many, many interviews I didn't receive at top programs were because of me not having so many Honors 3rd year. AOA is much more important than I anticipated--there are so many AOA applicants that several programs use it as a cut-off. Also, I think the caliber of those applying from your institution with you matters some (i.e. they're simply not going to interview everyone from your school, no matter how stellar all of you are).

    If your clinical grades are decent, but not outstanding, I'd say you better have something else that sounds out on your application (i.e. high board score, publications, letters, an interesting hobby). One top straight-out said I had an impressive Step I score and that it certainly helped me get an interview. I would agree that people only care about ENT research. They love to discuss your projects and have debates with you.

    It's no doubt a tough field to match into, and I've been repeatedly humbled throughout my interviews (especially when the first interview question is, "Are you AOA?"). I was definitely freaking out before March 17 about whether I'd match and then insanely ecstatic when I got my #1 on March 20. Thank the lord I'm going to be an otolaryngologist, because I can't see myself doing anything else. Good luck to everyone.
  8. RockShox

    RockShox

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    Does anyone other than me worry that as the competitiveness increases the general personality of the specialty will become more sterile and bland. I mean one of the reasons I like ENT is because of how down-to-earth the people in it seem to be. I hope this doesn't change because people feel that they have to be numbers robots.
  9. 5150

    5150

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    When you guys are referring to AOA, do you specifically mean JUNIOR AOA, or just AOA regardless of induction year?
  10. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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    RockShox: haha, dude, I'd say just about everyone I met on the interview trail was very chill, interesting, and easy to talk to... these are people who manage to get the numbers but also have cool, down-to-earth personalities (hence they also interview well)

    5150: AOA, period. Doesn't matter when.
  11. kilroth

    kilroth Senior Member

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    I just missed AOA, which is probably why I matched 7th on my rank list. I probably matched because I had a great board score, letters and interviews. So you definitely don't have to have everything perfect to match in ENT, but you might need to be perfect to get your #1. :)

    My advice is to have at least one part of your application that stands out. Either 250+ boards, AOA, good pubs, etc.
  12. gstrub

    gstrub Member

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    MD/PhD students are not eligible for AOA at my program unless you get it junior. This is actually good news for me as I doubt I would be eligible anyway.

    My plan is 1: nail 3rd year when I rotate back, 2: crush step 2 before doing interviews, and 3: shadow/get to know the ENT faculty here very well before 3rd year starts while I am still in the lab. As a Step I 230 candidate, I understand that I will need to set myself apart (I hope having a MS in genetics and a PhD in molecular biology with several 1st author basic science papers will be a huge help, because I am going to need it).

    Any other advise from you wizened residents/matched M4s?
  13. kilroth

    kilroth Senior Member

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    It will be expensive because with a 230s step 1 you need to apply broadly. I only applied to 35, which was barely enough. If I were you I would apply to greater than 60. Others might disagree, but I feel it would be worth to have more peace of mind with a large number of interviews. My nine interviews had me very nervous going into match week.

    Kil
  14. kilroth

    kilroth Senior Member

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    PS. I hope I am not being too much of a naysayer here. I just want to forewarn everyone and motivate you to work harder on your CV. I'm just a little surprised at how competitive the process really was this year. Good luck to everyone! Don't be stressed, be motivated.
  15. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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    Ha, your plan basically rehashed everything we just said. Strange that they only have Junior AOA at your school, I've never heard of that. I didn't mean to imply that having AOA is absolutely necessary to match, but it certainly helps tremendously. Having a PhD will help some, but ENT-related research will make for better conversation during interviews (and thus a better rapport, a chance for people to see your personality, and hopefully then a higher ranking).

    All this being said, this process is not totally scientific and no matter what anyone says, you can't expect to receive several interviews/match based solely on your resume. I have heard of people with 250+ step 1 and AOA who received very few interviews. If you're not particularly liked by your dept and get a negative/mediocre LOR, forget it. I think the biggest factor in me getting my #1 choice (aside from whatever numbers I had) was how well my interviews went. I made it a point to prepare thoroughly for each interview by reading about the faculty/research/residency program structure and then would have meaningful questions to ask (not just "what are the strengths and weaknesses of your program?".. which I would personally find a little boring to answer as an interviewer). I also tried to talk to the residents as much as possible to get a feeling for whether I'd fit in/be happy at the program (this is what those awesome, fattening social events are for). It is after all called the "match" for a reason.
  16. gstrub

    gstrub Member

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    Haha I know I will have to apply broadly to say the least. That is OK though...I have a f30 grant from the NIH that supports up to $4200/year in educational expenses, which will hopefully offset much of the interview cost.

    We do have AOA at our program, but MD/PhD students are not eligible because of the structure (2yrs M1-M2, 3-4yrs PhD, 1yr M3)...there is no M4 year and we are ranked with the class we graduate with, so there is not enough time to determine if we make the cutoff or not before interviews. Either way I'm sure my transcripts will reflect that I might have been close, especially if I get several honors grades during 3rd year.

    I am going to try to use my "down time" wisely with the ENT program here. Because I am working in the lab right now I have some time to go to grand rounds with the ENT people, and when I finish 3rd year I will have several months with really no obligations except interviews. I am the kind of candidate (I think) that will do very well once I get interviews...it's getting the interviews that will be the limiting factor due to my average (for ENT) numbers.

    Either way I know it will be tough...but hey, if it were easy, I probably wouldn't be interested!
    -G
  17. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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    I don't mean to pick at you, but even with all this talk about what you can do ahead of time to make yourself a great applicant, take the time to explore 3rd year and find out what really makes you happy. ENT's an awesome field, but there are a few other great fields that I remember considering also (in fact, I even got asked about this during interviews b/c people wanted to see that I had taken the time to make an educated decision). Try not to be like other med students I know who get too caught up in doing something "competitive" for the sake of their egos and ultimately will end up being unhappy later on in their career. Medicine has so many awesome fields and you need to choose the one that fits your personality/interests the best, not just what will help you look the greatest on your school's match list and make you feel better about yourself. A lot of things we've been talking about (high board scores, stellar clinical grades, research, etc.) would help you match well in any field.

    I'm sorry that I jumped on this soapbox, but it's only b/c I remember a former Chief resident at my school advising me particularly NOT to think like this. As a med student I've heard countless stories of people doing surgery or a competitive subspecialty out of some ego-driven fantasy, only to completely hate it and realize they're happier doing something else. If you do 3rd year and love ENT, great! But if not, that's fine too.

    Hopefully I still love ENT after internship next year haha :laugh:
  18. resxn

    resxn

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    Whomever is in charge on the board (Throat?), make this a sticky. Best set of posts on the application process I've seen thus far.
  19. ENT12

    ENT12

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    1. Have something that sets you apart. Could be Step 1 over 250. Could be Step 2 over 250. Could be AOA. Could be some good research.

    I know a couple of non AOA people with 230 board scores that got in because they had real research....not some chart review.

    I know some with weak research that got in with great scores and AOA.

    Basically, have something to hang your hat on.
  20. ent

    ent

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    Here I go:

    I matched at my 3rd ranked program (my home institution) and I am very happy. I got a 235 on step I, so I took step II a little earlier than usual and got a 249 (top 5% of my class). My AOA announcement came in a little late, in late October where many of the 23 programs I applied to had already sent out invitations. I did two away rotations solely based on Geography (in the city that was my top choice). I loved my first ranked program (the people, the quality of education, and the fact that I felt like I fit in) and I did a good job during my away there. I know this for a fact and it was reflected in my LOR and the comments I got from the people there. I didn't match at my number one choice but I understand because it is a very competitive field (the program I am talking about had ~8 people applying from it's own school with an additional 12 students who did aways there). The second place I did an away was a different experience. I liked the program there but not as much as I loved my first choice program. Although one of my three favorite attendings from med school was a H&N surgeon there. Now here is where I think the future 4th years should start asking about aways. My recommendation would have been to definitely do an away at my first choice program (even though I didn't match there) and stay away from doing an away at my second choice program (others may beg to differ). Please ask about away rotations from people you know or even don't know before you schedule them!
    I did have some research experience, but no publications or major presentations when interviews were being sent out. I got 11 invites and I was able to share that I had an oral presentation at a major ENT meeting during interviews. My major ENT publication acceptance came in after my interviews, so did some other good news on my research projects.
    In addition, I know for a fact that I had an excellent Dean's letter and very good LORs. And of course, I matched, which I am very greatful for! This is just a summary of my profile and my journey in the last several months. I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed reading other people's posts and I also hope it is helpful for future applicants.

    Congrats to everyone who matched and I truly hope that the people who did not match will succeed in the future, either in ENT or any other field they choose. As Catalyst said, there are many wonderful fields in medicine and please don't decide to do ENT because it is one of the tough programs to get in to and you have a stellar step I score you don't want to waist or any similar reason. Once you get in, ENT will be your career, your professional life, and it is truly worth trying to make an educated decision before you apply.
  21. VomerSimpson

    VomerSimpson

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    I'll add my cautionary tale.
    I was probably in the top 1/3 to 1/4 of my class, Step 1 259, not AOA. Non-ENT pubs and research. NO ENT research, and decent letters from my home program.

    I applied to about 45 programs, received and went on 15 interviews and ranked 10 programs. To be honest, I was a little surprised at the low yield of my interviews. Granted, I picked based on location, and most of them were prime, but I really thought a 259, top 1/4 and a non ENT pub would get me further. I was disappointed to say the least.

    Despited overtures in both ways with my top choices, I landed at my #5 spot of the 10 I ranked. In retrospect, I'm thrilled to be where I am, but there might be some cognitive dissonance going on.

    I think what hurt me was 1) the lack of any ENT research whatsoever, and 2) The lack of a ENT letter from a bigwig. From talking to people in other competitive specialties, it really seems like a outstanding letter from a bigwig can make a huge difference. I definitely dropped the ball there because I didn't bother getting a letter from the 'bigwig' at my home program.

    I did not match at the two places I did away rotations (but I did interview) even though I ranked them as my top two. Granted, there were several reasons why my chances were low at these two programs anyway (highly desireable to many other applicants, for one). Oddly enough I thought I botched my interview at the place I matched at, so perhaps one shouldn't read too much into feedback you get at the interview. Which leads me to...

    reiterating that just because they gush over you like you're the greatest thing since the rigid bronchoscope doesnt mean diddly when you rank. Don't let that influence you.

    I'm seriously stoked about where I'm going in July, so in the end it worked out for me. Best of luck to the 2009 class
  22. OTO Staff

    OTO Staff

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    Hi all,

    I'm a recent grad (within the past 5 years) , fellowship trained, and now junior faculty. Can't tell you where for obvious reasons. I've been involved with the selection process at 3 institutions. Here are some common denominators:

    Step I > 235 (of course there are exceptions)

    AOA junior or senior doesn't matter, exceptions apply again

    Clinical rotation grades. I can not stress this enough. Honors in surgery AND medicine (believe it or not) are critical. More important than AOA

    Research of some kind is important. OTO research is best, publication is nice but not a requirement. That said, first author on a basic science paper published in Nature carries a heck of a lot more weight than a case report in ENT Journal.

    Get to know your chair early and get as much "face time" as possible. Same goes for the program director if it is a different person. Letters from both that are not of the "form letter" variety are key. Phone calls on your behalf may be somewhat influential but I think this is highly dependent on who your chair is and/or who they know well.

    Away rotations are tricky. If you are introverted or bookish in personality they can hurt you, especially if you end up rotating with really extroverted residents/chief. That said, most of us recognize and appreciate people who bust their butts and are not arrogant or smug while doing so.

    Finally, just like they told you before medical school interviews, do something that sets you apart or makes you memorable. This usually will peak a little interest in your written application. We all read dozens of these things and, at least for yours truly, it is nice to see/read something a little different once in a while. It may also help you break the ice during the interview and help to settle your nerves. Much lower pressure to talk about something you are an authority on (at least more of an authority than us).

    Best of Luck to you all
  23. OTO Staff

    OTO Staff

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    Hi all,

    I'm a recent grad (within the past 5 years) , fellowship trained, and now junior faculty. Can't tell you where for obvious reasons. I've been involved with the selection process at 3 institutions. Here are some common denominators:

    Step I > 235 (of course there are exceptions)

    AOA junior or senior doesn't matter, exceptions apply again

    Clinical rotation grades. I can not stress this enough. Honors in surgery AND medicine (believe it or not) are critical. More important than AOA

    Research of some kind is important. OTO research is best, publication is nice but not a requirement. That said, first author on a basic science paper published in Nature carries a heck of a lot more weight than a case report in ENT Journal.

    Get to know your chair early and get as much "face time" as possible. Same goes for the program director if it is a different person. Letters from both that are not of the "form letter" variety are key. Phone calls on your behalf may be somewhat influential but I think this is highly dependent on who your chair is and/or who they know well.

    Away rotations are tricky. If you are introverted or bookish in personality they can hurt you, especially if you end up rotating with really extroverted residents/chief. That said, most of us recognize and appreciate people who bust their butts and are not arrogant or smug while doing so.

    Finally, just like they told you before medical school interviews, do something that sets you apart or makes you memorable. This usually will peak a little interest in your written application. We all read dozens of these things and, at least for yours truly, it is nice to see/read something a little different once in a while. It may also help you break the ice during the interview and help to settle your nerves. Much lower pressure to talk about something you are an authority on (at least more of an authority than us).

    Best of Luck to you all
  24. neutropeniaboy

    neutropeniaboy Blasted ENT Attending

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    This is a game. It's a big game with high stakes.

    One thing I see consistently is that people who apply all look the same on paper: good scores on Step I and Step II. Honors, etc. Research.

    There are three things I think that kill an applicant.

    1) Away rotations. I've done them. I've seen medical students do them while I was a resident. I've seen medical students do them while I was a fellow. This is the biggest opportunity for you to present to an institution how unqualified and unlikable you are. There's no two ways about it. Of all the students doing away rotations I've been exposed to in the last 5 years, only 2 have impressed me. I remember them by name. I know what they did for research. I know where they ended up for residency. A handful end up being the types of people you really get along with and would have beers with, but in the end they're not as sharp as their applications suggest. The rest really let their ignorance shine, their unwillingness to stay late become apparent, and their general state of disinterest become clear. The last sub-I who impressed me made his superstardom apparent when we dismissed him from the OR at the end of the case to catch his flight home, but later I saw him in the recovery room talking to the patient we just operated on!

    Don't do away rotations.

    2) Weak letters of support/wrong choices of letters of support. If you spent three years in a lab with someone, get a letter from that person. If research is so important, don't you think it is obvious that a letter from the PI would be important? I've read letters from people that end up being 1 paragraph and 4 sentences long -- and I don't mean Jerzy Andrzejewski/Gates to Paradise sentences either. Your chairman's letter is obvious. You need that. Give your chairman an opportunity to know you. If you're meeting him once or twice during the rotation, what is that doing for you? Don't get letters from people in internal medicine. No one cares about them.

    3) Your fifteen minutes in the spotlight to sell yourself can go down the tubes really fast during your interview. Limp handshake=bad. Arrogance=bad. Nodding off=bad. Not knowing any of your research=bad. Overly enthusiastic=bad.

    Applicants really seem to harp on Step I, AOA, and grades. These are important. These things get you in the door. Once you walk through it, the other things screw your chances.
  25. TheThroat

    TheThroat SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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    Have been a little busy or would have "stickied" the thread earlier.

    I wholeheartedly agree with NPboy on the LOR's and interview thing. The reason that "great" applicants don't match after getting 10-15 interviews is because of one thing: the interview. The reason that you get the 10-15 interviews is because of your paper application (scores, LOR's, research). Once you interview, most of that goes out the door.

    For most applicants, I agree with NPboy re: the away rotations. SOME people have been able to pull off good aways and matched at their away place. I can think of at least two people who did this at Iowa. The problem is that a lot of people think that they can pull it off and they come off either arrogant, annoying, or sycophantic. I can't tell you what you will do on your away rotation, but I was glad I didn't do one (I would have been pretty annoying, I bet).
  26. blz

    blz Senior Member

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    This is a very good thread especially since I'm an upcoming applicant. I'm actually taking a year off to do research so I'm going to keep all these tips in mind. I'm planning on doing academic medicine since I love to teach. Any tips on matching at some of the top programs? My step 1 score is 263 and I'm in good position to get AOA. My year off should help me with my research (no pubs yet but finishing up an ENT project in June). I'm guessing at this point point its going to take connections and such. ENT is getting pretty tough these days. We had 4 this year who wanted it and matched but I dont think any of them got their #1.
  27. RockShox

    RockShox

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    So I would like to throw in my hat into the conversation...

    First - I did match at my #5 choice BUT it really was my #1 or #2 choice for programs (I have a significant other whose happiness and say in the decision makes a big difference to me too and so 4 of their choices went first). It really is a "match" process because I think I fit the best at the program I am going to (in contrast to the others which were great too but made based on factors out of their control).

    Second - My app Step I : 256 Senior AOA, several non-ENT research and ENT research at well known institution. NO publications until well into the year. Honors in all of my clerkships, every one. Surprisingly, my grades stuck out to people for reasons I did not expect the #1 response being that if I could honor all those differing areas I must be able to work with anyone and any team well (hadn't looked at it that way).

    Third - I had 27 invites and did 17 of them ranking 15 total. At first I thought I was a complete moron and went to way too many but after reading some of these posts maybe not....

    So my take. Everyone I met on the trail was awesome...not so much by the numbers cause I don't know what they had for that but as people. I really could have been happy working with any of them.

    It is very true that there are few if any bad programs. The HARDEST part of my rank list was not 1-5 but was 6-10 WHY? because all of them were great programs, with people that would be fun to work with, at supportive institutions. In truth I would have been happy at any of them. There were some programs that I did not rank some had to do with living issues others because it was such a bad fit for me I would rather do IM for life than match there (that really is saying something).

    I think for the app it is like saving money in the bank...the more you can put in it the better you can hedge. As has been said before the numbers matter for initial screening, I think now that we are starting to see 40%+ people matching who are AOA (based on Charting the Match 2007) it matters. But at the same time I think to bet the house on it is just not the most secure. Covering every area on the list research, Extra-curr, pubs, etc. Covers your bases.

    As for research....you don't want to get me started on the educational debate about med students spending too much time on research when they should be learning how not to kill people but that aside...I did not have pubs. I was asked about it at only a few places and most didn't act like they were concerned. Perhaps I could have busted out some case study or something (though I would possibly feel like a whore) but I have never been motivated about those things as much as I am about big, long-term, far-reaching projects. So I think because my projects were well funded basic science type things it helped. Now I can’t say whether it made a difference but….I am sure it didn’t hurt

    Aways – I did none, was told to do none, that at best I would work my butt off and make my chances of matching there worse. I think if there is a place you MUST go to or you want to see what another program is like sure. But even better I think is to set up a NON-ent rotation and then come to ENT grand rounds etc on the side. Like set up cards, or research, or something non-surgical. You get face time, get to see the place, and are not exposed to scrutiny.

    I have more to share but I just finished my last day in med school ever and I am going to Disneyland. Try your best to be your self and not some robotic ERAS recipe and you will get noticed.

    REMEMBER it is the MATCH... Not getting your number one may say nothing about you as an applicant just that you may have not used the right criteria in judging the fit of a program when you made your list. I may not have gotten the #1 on my list but I know I got one of the programs I thought fit the best.
  28. medstylee

    medstylee 1K Member

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    thanks, everyone, for posting your thoughts/experiences on here. for those of us who will (hopefully) be following in your footsteps in the near future, this is all really helpful and interesting. best of luck to you guys in your residencies. :horns:
  29. THE armada

    THE armada

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    Pretty eye opening thread. Thanks for the motivation folks. As an MSI finishing up the year with a midterm in a week and a half, I needed the motivation.
  30. kilroth

    kilroth Senior Member

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    I'm glad that my thread got so many people who have been through the process to give the younger students great advice. It's also great to hear from the M1/2s that this thread is giving them motivation. Remember: we don't mean to scare anyone away from ENT, but to motivate you to work as hard as you can on your CV.

    Everything works out in the end. I wasn't thrilled at first about the location of my residency (only because no family), but now I'm about to make an offer on a great house. I never could have afforded that back home. It's going to be a great five years. When do I get to start operating!?

    Kil
  31. DrDre311

    DrDre311 Makaveli

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    This statement seems a little unilateral. While I agree that if you aren't as sharp as your app suggests, then aways can hurt you, I still think away rotations are an excellent means to evaluate different programs. Rotating at various programs lets you see their strengths and weaknesses, which gives you a much better perspective on what you want in a program (as opposed to only knowing what things are like at your home program). Also, aways are a great way to get good LOR's from famous surgeons--and I'm pretty sure ENT is an old boys' club, like plastics.

    Applicants do tend to predicate their chances of matching purely on their numbers, but once you get an interview then it's all about the connection you make with a program during the interview. Numbers mean much less once you show up on interview day, and I was totally blind to this aspect of the process until after I went through the Match.

    My take on the situation is that if you're very wooden or have poor interpersonal skills, then don't do aways because the residents/faculty may think you'll be a poor fit and your app will suffer. Of course, if you're not the superstar your app suggests and you do match, you and your co-residents may be miserable for 5-7 years. However, if you're hardworking, knowledgeable, and have good OR/people skills, then aways can really boost your chances. Plus, if you're not overly gregarious then a one-month audition lets you showcase your personality and forge relationships much better than a 15-20 minute interview.

    I don't think I would have matched nearly as high on my rank list if I hadn't done away rotations. That being said, I think I'm pretty easy to get along with and I was that med student who never took a day off, showed up early, and refused to leave the hospital unless forced to do so.

    Another thing to remember about away rotations is that they aren't simply a way to increase your chances of matching at a specific program. Aways let you see a side of a specialty that you'd never see if you just do one or two months at your home program. At every interview I attended I was asked about the places I'd rotated and I think it was a way for the interviewers to ensure that I was truly committed to becoming a plastic surgeon--not just looking to match in a hotshot specialty. And again, I cannot overstate the importance of having good LOR's from VIP surgeons. Interpersonal connections trump numbers almost every time.
  32. thedrjojo

    thedrjojo Counting down the days until I lose my freedom

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    I have a question and comments that haven't necessarily seemed to come up (atleast in this thread).

    I'm MS3 at a school thats not top Tier but with pretty good clinical reputation (L1 Trauma center, all that crap), 254 Step 1, No clinical research (undergraduate Honor's thesis which will count for nothing, but the ENT department here offers a 4th year elective for students interested in ENT to get research to put on their application), not going to get Junior AOA but should get Senior AOA unless I screw things up, have some interesting things about me when I had the ability to have a life (competed nationally in chess [in HS], was a lisenced umpire for baseball, big into hunting and fishing... hopefully something in there peaks the interest of interviewers). While I haven't decided on ENT yet, I am seriously considering it... in September I hopefully will take an ENT elective and really get to see if this is what I want or not.

    My big concern is that I am very geography restricted (being Married to a medical student in a different year puts a little bit of a limit on me if I ever want to see her during my intern year and the 5-6 years of residency). Basically there are about 10 programs that I can seriously consider being able to go to (NYC, Philly, and NJ). Obviously this leaves me in a really bad situation since the lowest I've heard on these forums is people applying to like 30 programs and thinking that is a low number. I saw stats that show some ENT students rank more than 1 specialty, so do you think that doing that would be advisable if ENT is indeed what I want to do? Will it hurt me having both ENT and Gen Surg applications out there? Would it be bad to use the letter I'd have to get from the chief of surgery for my ENT applications, or use my ENT letters for the Gen surgery application (if so, then getting the letters I need alone might prevent the duel application). I don't want to have to limit what I do because of my constraints, but I guess I shouldn't get myself all worked up and excited about ENT if its probably not something realistically possible. Thanks for your input and for all the information.
  33. DrDre311

    DrDre311 Makaveli

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    Restricting yourself geographically is going to hurt your application no matter how competitive an applicant you may be. If you choose to dual-apply, I do not advise you to apply for separate programs at the same institution; PD's will, in most cases, talk to each other, and interviewing for separate specialties at the same institution will hurt your chances of being ranked highly.

    If you do end up dual-applying, you should get entirely separate sets of letters (and do separate personal statements) for each specialty to which you apply. The only thing the two applications must have in common is your MSPE--you can only have one of those, and if you dual apply, it'll have to be generic.
  34. Bigpwn

    Bigpwn Resident

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    Your numbers are definitely good enough. I say if you restrict yourself, you need to focus on a program. I would look for a program you feel you have legit shot of getting in, and work your butt off during that rotation. Tell everyone you genuinely want to stay in that program for both professional and personal reasons. Eight of 10 times for someone in your position it's always the home program. That's what happened to me.

    Another option is to ask your wife to see if she is willing to accomodate to your competitive specialty and broaden your application. You didn't mention if you guys are ok with being long distance for a year or two. That's also important.
  35. Leforte

    Leforte Member Moderator Gold Donor

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    The other option is to do a year of research or an additional degree (MPH, MBA, etc) and the two of you apply as a couples match. Then you could apply to as many ENT programs as you wish.
  36. intel

    intel

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    hi,
    iam doing my residency in india,still 1 and half year is there for me to complete it.
    Interested to do fellowship program in US,please pass on the information if u have any.

    thanks.
  37. sarsmon

    sarsmon

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    awesome thread.

    any advice for an M1 interested in ENT? Should I shadow and try to get involved in ENT research this early? are my first year grades very important? and is there an appropriate way to ask if working on a particular project will get my name on a publication without coming off as an ass?

    thanks
  38. rmm262002

    rmm262002 Junior Member

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    Try setting something up for the summer between 1st and 2nd year, and shadow once or twice if you want. I don't think there's an appropriate way to ask, but just try to do as much as you can (including the writing), so it would just seem natural to add you.
  39. kilroth

    kilroth Senior Member

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    Don't fret over single grades but try your best so you can possibly get AOA, or top 1/3 of class, etc. I matched with a few "passes" on 3rd year clinicals, but overall was top 1/3rd.

    One thing I've learned as an intern is that you are really being interviewed the whole day on your interviews. Meaning that the residents are evaluating you during breaks, lunches and our input matters. If you are texting on your phone on all of your breaks and not socializing with residents, it looks like you don't want to match there. I've seen this happen and it made an impact on rank.

    Lastly, please make sure you really love ENT and operating. The residency is not as easy you may think. The hours, stress, intensity has been just as hard as general surgery thus far.

    Kilroth
  40. LoveNeo2011

    LoveNeo2011

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    Hi Kilroth,

    My board scores are in the upper 80s (the 2 digit number). Despite this I know I would make a great resident. My question is: you can't change your Step I score. So if you don't match does that mean you will never match bc you will always have that score. Now I went up substantially on Step 2 and have good ENT research. It bothers me that scores matter so much when work ethic and dedication should be at the heart of everything.
  41. Pir8DeacDoc

    Pir8DeacDoc Cerumen Extractor

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    A significant improvement in Step II shows you took the bull by the horns and improved yourself. I think a lot of places would look favorably on that. You could find a program or two that might be favorable to your situation (i.e. not uber competitive and maybe likes to take students from your school) and do an away and blow them away. My program has ranked people with significantly lower board scores very highly if we knew them and liked them. It's a small field and we gotta be able to work together.

    Keep the dream alive!
  42. starkcrazy

    starkcrazy

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    i am really bummed to hear that non-ENT research doesn't count for much. hopefully, i will be 4th/5th author on a basic science article. i also have a clinical resaerch article in emergency medicine. publications have to count for something?? surely they do not expect all medical students to know in the summer after 1st year that they want to go into ENT? :(
  43. CorazonDoc

    CorazonDoc

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    I have to disagree with anyone who says non-ENT research doesn't count, but I do agree that becoming involved in ENT research even late in the process can help.

    I was worried about this same thing for my application to ENT. I spoke with multiple folks involved in the residency application process who told me that research is important because it shows an academic leaning, but that it doesn't have to be in ENT.

    What I found more important is the story you tell about your research and the story you tell about what brought you to ENT if much of your research is in another field. I was asked numerous times on the interview trail to describe a research project that I was involved in, what the findings were, etc. and it seemed that the point of the exercise was to be enthusiastic about the projects you've worked on, show you understand them, and be able to communicate findings efficiently.

    The second part is to be able to tell the story of what brought you to ENT in a convincing manner. It is true that someone who has spent 4 years doing ENT research has an easier time doing this than someone who has no ENT research, but it it is not exclusive.

    My advice to those with no ENT research is to be proud of the research you've done and be enthusiastic about it. If you are thinking ENT now, try to get involved in a project of some kind to show your academic side and interest in the field. It is never too late. Although you may not be published in ENT when applying, it'll give you something to talk about with the rare interviewer who only takes ENT research seriously.
  44. Ponger

    Ponger

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    Hi I'm a soon to be 2nd year med student interested in ENT. I just finished a preceptorship in ENT and am looking for ways to bump up the ol' CV. I have a few questions about if my anticipated amount of research would be enough.

    I have a Masters in Biology and will have one basic science paper (non-first author) out of it. It's non-ENT related.

    I just joined a clinical research project studying the incidence of AOM in children between differing environmental (i.e. viral) and genetics causes. The study group has published in pediatric Oto journals before but this work will most likely published in either Pediatric infectious disease journals or Virology journals. Is this ENT-related enough or should I look for another project? I chose this project because all of the research projects in the Oto dept are all basic science and I've had my fill of that.

    Assuming I could get 2-3 papers done in two years with that group, would my amount of research make me a competitive candidate from that standpoint? The clinical AOM papers would probably non-first author as well.

    Thanks for any help!
  45. Dirt

    Dirt From the earth.

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    posted this in another thread to catch more hits.
    Last edited: 07.19.10
  46. DeciBel

    DeciBel

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    From what I have been told by my attendings that will make you about average for research and keep you competative as long as USMLE scores and grades are in order
  47. spooky42

    spooky42 Senior Member

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    If you already submitted your application, and found out you made AOA later how can you add that to the app?
  48. macabi

    macabi

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    Did you guys check the 2010 PD survey report at the NRMP site? It's quite interesting...
  49. Repdsesstuinas

    Repdsesstuinas

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    There has been a lot of talk about research on this thread and I was hoping to get some specific input on what research to include on my CV. In my undergrad I did 3 years of research of material engineering with the Air Force that resulted in one second-author publication and two poster presentations.

    Even though this research was during undergrad and it is engineering in nature is it still worth keeping on my CV? It seems like everyone says non-ENT research is of much less significance but listing this work also shows I have done the research process, presented posters and published. Any input would be great!
  50. Blondnuttyboy

    Blondnuttyboy

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    Well reading this thread thoroughly has definitely diminished my optimism. I am an MSIII, school in California and I am totally a sub-stellar applicant.
    Step 1 -> Low 230's
    Step 2 -> Not yet
    Not even close to Junior AOA
    My third year is littered. Honors in surgery, hp and P on everything else.
    Non-ENT research, although I'm starting ENT research soon..probably won't get a publication.

    I'm planning for 2-4 aways...I'll straight up slave at wherever I go.
    Also, I have NO geographical restriction. No joke, I'll apply to 100 programs.

    Thoughts? Think i can do it?? I'm officially freaking out and I may switch back to medicine (my original choice).

    ~ Bnb

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