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Competitive to get in?

Discussion in 'Radiation Oncology' started by jonesk, Oct 12, 2003.

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  1. jonesk

    jonesk New Member

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    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    I've been checking out some different residencies to see what I might like to do and radonc keeps popping up. I like the surgical side of it and I would enjoy the patient interaction. I've heard the lifestyle is pretty good too.

    I've also heard it is really competitive to get a residency. I wanted to know just how competitive it is to get in? What sort of board scores, grades, etc are needed? Also, is research in the field sort of an unspoken requirement?

    Thanks to anyone who can help.

    Jonesy
  2. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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    Unfortunately for many good, dedicated and caring students, its extremely difficult to get these days. We had about 180 applicants for one seat at the last go. And we didnt even go through the match. Yes, reseach is a biggie. The field is getting filled with people now with other degrees (masters in physics, PhD's in whatever), who've mastered other areas of expertise and in general been of Benefit to Mankind.
  3. want$it$bad

    want$it$bad Removed

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    WT!?! Are you kidding?

    I guess it just goes to show how wide the swings are. Only like 5 yrs ago they couldn't fill these slots with IMG/DO's. I need to get out more, or pick up a newspaper or something I guess. I didn't realize this field took off like this.
  4. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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    you must have been a shut in for a few more than 5 years. It has been increasingly competitive for sometime now. Starting a couple of years before I applied, (which was 1998) it was doing pretty well though certainly not in the realm of "most competitive". Now its near impossible. But true, historically it was wide open. The candidates are far stronger now. In terms of applicant to seat ratio its probably more competitive than derm ( note to potential derm applicants: please don't debate, flame me etc. I said probably, I also mentioned the fact we're talking ratios, and yes we don't have as many spots as most residencies, I am not trying to compete please yadda yadda-you can't believe what a bunch folks get into about this topic.)
  5. want$it$bad

    want$it$bad Removed

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    Wow, I guess so. So what was the big turning point for this field? I mean, the last thing I remember (before my 8 yr [is that far enough back?] coma), radiation was sure to be gone soon as any sort of treatment for cancer. Apparently that never happened!?! Now, I guess, it's just assumed that this will be a good way treat people for a long time?
  6. jonesk

    jonesk New Member

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    Thanks for your help stephew. I've been planning to get in touch with someone soon about research opportunities, but I'll have to step it up I guess!

    What about grades and Board scores? I'm high 230's on Step I and about 3.5 GPA (not AOA material though). I know the whole song and dance..."you can do whatever you want, as long as you set your mind to it," but that just isn't true for some residencies. I'm pretty naive when it comes to how competitive things are.

    Thanks again.
  7. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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    That is the classic misunderstanding: that first came surgery, then radiation and the chemo which will surplant that. No in fact I expect with more conformal xrt radiation -which clearly controls local disease (and thus sometimes mets) better than chemo in most (not all) cases, - you'll see it used more. Chemo isn't curing people. all the modalities must be used to best benefit patients. Every disease is different, every stage, and sometimes patient differences make one combination better than another option, but I think in the near future (at least a generation) we're going to be further appreciating this and there will be less belief in the "magic bullit" theory.

    As for what was the big turning point: well nothing changed in terms of the need for rad onc (maybe an increased recognition as noted above) but in terms of popularity? I can only muse: my theory is that we are finally graduating the first generation of doctors not only comfortable with computers and technology but who are excited by it en mass. so students are finding their way. It is not merely the "money and hours" issue: that's not changed (and in fact its probably a little more rigerous than before in the post-residency world for all the fast paced changes. This is only speculation on my part but Ive yet to hear another theory that sounds good.
  8. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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    You're probably a viable candidate. It's always hard to say and in a small field like this (and it is very small) your application will also be looked at in terms of other areas of excellence in your life. the grades count, yes, but they want to be dazzled. I reccomend doing lots of rotations, impressing them, and doing lots of projects as you can handle. Good luck!
  9. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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    oops: posted twice. ignore this.
  10. cancer_doc

    cancer_doc Member

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    There are many factors that have throttled Rad Onc from it's "Medieval Medicine" image. The two big ones that come to my mind are: 1) technological advances in imaging, planning, and precise delivering of radiation have progressed astronomically in the last decade. 2) there have been a flurry of clinical trials in the past few years that prove the benefit of RT, whether used as primary or adjuvant therapy, for the treatment of many cancers, thereby substantiating the efficacy (and necessity) of our field.
  11. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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    I dont know if radonc is really out of the medieval med image as you call it. Questions like our friend's above are still out there. But even if it is (or will be) it will be a long time before anyone really knows what we do. Even other doctors interestingly. I like to think of it as rennaisance medicine really (pardon my horrible spelling)
    Steph

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