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Opinion Wanted: What are my chances in matching into Dermatology?

Discussion in 'Dermatology' started by nope80, Jun 20, 2010.

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  1. nope80

    nope80 Resident

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm in a bit of a dilemma because while I would absolutely love to pursue derm, always have, I don't have the numbers. Well I don't have the step 1 numbers. I haven't taken step 2 yet. I have a good number of publications in another field, none in derm. And I haven't had the guts to approach anyone in the derm dept at my school out of fear of being laughed at; I know my classmates that are trying to do derm have amazing numbers. I also know that away rotations help but I'm not going to be able to do any before november/december with the way my schedule is laid out.

    At what point does one give up? Are there other ways of getting in - like doing a year of internal med internship and then applying, would that be an appropriate strategy? How about taking a year off btw third and fourth year to do research? How about graduating and then taking a year off to do a fellowship? Any thoughts?
  2. Dral

    Dral

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    I'm not in the best position to give advice on this kind of thing, but I believe not going to your department is a big mistake. Knowing people is a big part of the process.

    Besides, these people will hopefully be your future colleagues that you will see at meetings, conferences, etc. You should want to get to know them based on that as well.
  3. melonaid

    melonaid

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    Hi -
    I started out med school with an interested in ophthalmology, so I have set myself up to go that route. Now I am interested in derm and wondering if I still have a chance to get in. What do you think? Here are my stats:

    MSIII
    Published 6 papers in ophthalmology, 1st author on 2 of those
    USMLE 249
    My school does pass/fail/honor grades. I have passed everything and honored a few, but I doubt I will be AOA (despite working hard)

    So what would I need to do now? Try and find some derm research? I am worried I can't get into it since I didn't decide on that specialty at the beginning of med school.
  4. Dral

    Dral

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    You may know a lot about getting into Ophtho. If so, just pretend the tables are turned and one of us is the 'counterfactual' you over on the Eye forum asking if we could get into Ophtho.

    I think you're in a good spot. Get to know the derm faculty at your school and start getting into some research.
  5. asmallchild

    asmallchild Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    I'd echo the advice of getting to know derm faculty and starting with some derm research (just to demonstrate that your interests have changed)

    If you're truly feeling worried, taking a year off (obviously not a great option but in the long run, what's one year in order to truly pursue something you're passionate about?) to really solidify your CV and get involved with some serious derm research would probably do wonders in building confidence
  6. azntxn

    azntxn

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    what are my chances?

    I have no recent research experience (i hate pipettes), mediocre grades, coming from a primary care-focused med school, 249/99 step 1, probably will not have any honors on 3rd year clerkships.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2010
  7. sore eye asses

    sore eye asses

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    14%
  8. FixItUp Chappie

    FixItUp Chappie

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    Did you just take step 1? Are you just starting 3rd year? If so, work even harder and try to get senior AOA. It will make a big difference. You'll need the letters and proof that you are a hard worker. A good step scores is not enough these days.

    That being said, the step score is fine, and the majority of places won't weed you out based on that alone. It won't get you a whole bunch of extra interviews on its own though, the way a 260/270 would. If the No AOA persists, it will be even tougher. You will probably need to have sterling letters from well known academic derms and 2-3 active/published research projects going at the time of application.

    Also, you need a good story. You have to be able to explain away your interest in Ophtho as fleeting (despite 6 published papers) and why Derm is now your life's passion. Then you have to do this in a manner that doesn't scream "I'm doing it for the money and lifestyle", because that is one of the most common questions at interviews. This is hard under many circumstances, but probably particularly difficult between Ophtho and Derm.

    Then you have to be the most amazing and personable applicant/rotator at your away electives. Show up early, stay late BUT BALANCE IT with not getting on the residents nerves by being ridiculously overaggressive. It's a fine, yet important line.

    Finally make sure that everything on your ERAS is 100% truthful and 100% grammatically correct (obviously unlike this quick and dirty post :D ). You also want to spend a lot of time on making your personal statement as polished and eloquent as possible. Even if your not a perfect candidate, you can sell yourself in the PS better than anywhere else in the application.

    Finally, get an interview book, learn the expected questions and practice until you are comfortable, but NOT overconfident.

    If you can do all these things effectively: My Guess is 80% chance to match if you get senior AOA. No AOA <65%. No AOA + 2 years derm research 90%
  9. FixItUp Chappie

    FixItUp Chappie

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    I'm gonna answer this like its a real question. I can't tell if you are being sarcastic in this post.

    Chances: Probably ~5-10%. Unfortunately, a good step 1 score is not enough these days. Also, no honors in 3rd year and mediocre grades are a definite warning sign. See my post above and then work even harder. Research/great away rotation performance and LOR's are key.
  10. ogo

    ogo

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    Hi All,

    Long story short:

    1. I applied last year, had a number of interviews but didn't match.
    2. I'm a month into my prelim year.
    3. I want to give it another shot.
    4. Profile is solid (260+ boards, high GPA, solid research experience, 3rd yr AOA, etc).

    Any words of wisdom in terms of reapplying? Is it impossible to get in when applying again without taking time off to do more research? Your thoughts are appreciated.

    Thanks.
  11. azntxn

    azntxn

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    I'm just trying to see what my chances are worst comes to worst. I just started 3rd year and on my first rotation so I dont know if I will get honors or not. I'm gonna try out for the other specialties too.:xf: If they really want some research, I'll try to pick up a project within the year, I guess.
  12. FixItUp Chappie

    FixItUp Chappie

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    See now that's just it. You have only stared your 3rd year, so the rest of your medical career can be whatever you want it to be. You can't be nonchalant about your potential. Plenty of people consider derm at this point in time in their career, but you have to be willing to work HARD for it. Because as difficult as it may seem, everybody out there who wants to do Derm is working just as hard or harder than you.

    Work hard on your 3rd year rotations, be an active member of the medical team, study as much as possible for your shelf exam and put making honors a virtual certainty, not a pipe dream.

    Also, if you are serious, I suggest getting involved with your derm department ASAP for research, not whenever you get around to it. Being proactive is the key. IMO, Derm programs are looking very hard for potential residents who are internally motivated, not externally motivated. Prove that you are and you are halfway there.
  13. ogo

    ogo

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    Nobody wants to touch this one :confused:
  14. asmallchild

    asmallchild Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    I wasn't a reapplicant so I'm not sure how useful this info would be but I'd say if you feel confident you just slipped through the cracks (and looking at your stats, it seems like you did), it's possible to try again without adding anything to the CV.

    I would add that if I were in your shoes though (and across the board, it seems like your stats were all better than mine), I would be a bit nervous about reapplying without adding anything. Personally I would consider doing an additional year of research just so that I would have added something to my resume.

    Not the most palatable option I realize but a year is a small sacrifice to make if you are sure derm is the direction you want to head in for the rest of your career. Hope this helps!
  15. opencomedo

    opencomedo Blissfully Ignorant

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    I think you should re-apply now and attempt to find a research year as a back-up while you are waiting on this year's match. When I was going through the application process and looking at what I would do if I didnt match I was told by several people that this was the way to go. If you don't reapply immediately, programs may wonder as to why (i.e. you weren't confident enough in your application, you were pondering doing interventional cardiology, etc.). In the end the only thing you lose by applying again is time and money spent on the application. I say go for it this year. It is true that doing a research year will increase your chances of re-matching but the vast majority of those starting 7/11 are prob already filled, making an even stronger case for you reapplying for the match (it may be equally as hard finding a research spot that begins next July). Good luck!
  16. scrubs421

    scrubs421

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    Not sure what to do in terms of competitiveness for Derm
    (ignore the "premed" next to my name, I am a medical student).

    I am at a no name US medical school

    242/99 Step 1 (this is an "okay" score, but I was hitting 252,256, 260 last 3 practice exams... not sure what happened)

    I am doing a research year between my M2/M3... and am in a HHMI fellowship (derm related research but not with a dermatologist). I have one JID pub (3rd author), one more submitted (5th author), and will maybe have 1-2 more publications this year.

    Obv, I will try to rock third year clerkships . But, I need to know am I wasting my time though for Derm with a 242 Step 1?

    Should I be considering taking Step II early and rocking it as much as possible?

    Feedback (including the amusing soreyes) is greatly appreciated.
  17. sore eye asses

    sore eye asses

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    your only hope at this point is to kill yourself and hope to be reincarnated as a dermatologist. Are you serious????!!! A 242??!! Mother f'in pathetic!! I have had bowel movements that scored higher than that after only studying for 3 hours.

    dude, you're fine. a 242 is right near the derm average. you've got tons of research, and you're type a to the max (derms love this).

    now go out there and keep being the pretty lil angel i know you to be.

    byeeee
  18. azntxn

    azntxn

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    I've rotated through derm before and I thought it's a perfect job for laidback types, ie, me (no offense dermatologists). I think I'll just do FM or IM and do some kind of postgrad diploma program in Derm
  19. sore eye asses

    sore eye asses

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    Great job! you're probably the most laid back hippest dude i know. i want to pinch your cheeks and check you for sacroiliitis.

    and i want to do it nude from the waist down. me, not you. you can wear your clothes.

    kisses
  20. scrubs421

    scrubs421

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    sore eyes, comments as always appreciated.

    Anyone else care to chime in?
  21. asmallchild

    asmallchild Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    This advice doesn't apply to the superstars out there but I found it to be of great solace when I was on the interview trail.

    For the normal people out there, the goal is to focus on making yourself outstanding in one area as opposed to fretting about areas where you're lacking. (yes yes I know that's human nature)

    So your Step 1 score isn't going to draw a lot of attention but it should get you past most if not all the cutoffs.

    Your research experience seems pretty substantial so I'd certainly build on that. Doing well clinically never hurts, and if you find yourself with a large chunk of time 4th year, I'd say go for Step 2 early. My experience has been that those who really put in the time to study for Step 2 tend to do much better on it. If you are typically a strong testtaker, it might not be a bad idea to add a stellar Step 2 score to your CV to compensate for a "weak" Step 1 score. (btw I really don't think a Step 1 > 240 is anything to scoff at. Things get a little crazy when viewed thru derm-tinted glasses :p)

  22. scrubs421

    scrubs421

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    Thanks for the feedback... good to get some perspective on my score (everyone made me felt that less than 250 = screwed)
  23. mohderm

    mohderm

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    scrubs,

    go for....i matched this year with a 238 step 1 and a 242 on step 2.

    only research was a case report

    did have good evals, recs and grades and AOA but my numbers were not that great

    as long as you are normal you will be fine

    i would recommend away rotations...i think they were key for me
  24. N-Surge

    N-Surge Emeritus Moderator Emeritus

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    1. Great STEP 1 score
    2. Pubs, w/ skin stuff
    3. Still able to go for M3 O's, honors, whatev your school does
    4. Still able to do rotations, away/home, and get mad LORs

    Dude! Keep up the drive! Don't give up! :)
  25. SkinPath

    SkinPath

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    i agree with the above posts. re-apply this year but also be prepared to not match again, so start looking for a research fellowship as well.

    also, be on the look-out for programs that will add new spots outside of the match. several programs, for sure, will be looking to fill spots (outside the match) for a july 1, 2011 start date. happens every year. these spots are usually not advertised though, so get your name out there and make sure programs know that you are ready and eligible to start on july 1, 2011.
  26. ogo

    ogo

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    Thank you all for your thoughtful replies – much appreciated during a time when I'm often plagued with some self-doubt.

    SkinPath – any suggestions in terms of "how" to get your name out there without coming off as annoying/desperate?
  27. DOCTORSAIB

    DOCTORSAIB Ophtho or bust!

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    Off topic a bit but any idea why you didn't match the first time? Your application is beyond solid.

    Whatever you do, I'd really put some dedicated time towards polishing up your interviewing skills. Not saying it's bad as I don't know you personally but it's an area often neglected by med students. They spend 4 years focusing on grades etc and most students never really practice interviewing beyond re-reading their application.

    I'd check out interviewing books at B&N and practice interviewing in front of a mirror or even better with coresidents. You'd be amazed at how often people fidget, say "um/like," have poor posture when sitting or stumble for words when answering difficult questions.

    Best of luck!
  28. N-Surge

    N-Surge Emeritus Moderator Emeritus

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    With regards to interviewing, I recommend this. It had been recommended to me and I am thankful for it. Some of it seems obvious. But I think it is pretty good none the less.
  29. ogo

    ogo

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    It's a great question and one that I spent a lot of time thinking about. With regards to the interview, you hit the nail on the head &#8211; I do think I neglected that somewhat. Even beyond that, however, I didn't get invited to very many interviews. I saw many people getting 10+ interviews and were traveling all over the country, while I only had 6 interviews, 2 of which were places at which I did rotations. So really only 4 "new" interviews. I have no idea why or how that happened but hope that it doesn't happen again this time around.

    Thanks for the interview suggestions, that's definitely an area I can improve.
  30. ogo

    ogo

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    Thanks for the suggestion!
  31. FixItUp Chappie

    FixItUp Chappie

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    It's not over by a long shot. In fact, I think you have a GREAT shot. Just keep doing the things that people are advising you to do. I also come from a mid-low/low tier school that few people have ever heard of outside my geographic area. I matched this year and I had one point higher than you on my boards. So there is virtually no difference between us except you have a lot more research than I had at that point in time. The JID's a big deal, as is the research fellowship.

    So work hard, get AOA if you can (it makes a big difference), do reasonable away rotations and play to your strength's. Right now, you are doing all the right things. Keep it up, and good luck.
  32. uclakid

    uclakid Senior Member

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    hahahaha it really is just that easy!
  33. Agmed

    Agmed

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    I'm a 4th year, and just decided I want to do derm. I was hoping for some opinions about my chances of matching.

    Current stats:
    Step 1: 260
    Class rank: 3rd
    Junior AOA

    Potential problem-research
    Might only have a few case reports or poster on application

    Should I go for it?

    Thanks for the advice! :)
  34. Dral

    Dral

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    lor's?

    Go for it. Just work at figuring out what is special about you and play that up (ie. derm/med/research related...not that you can balance 10 spoons on various portions of your body at the same time...not that that's not special).
  35. FixItUp Chappie

    FixItUp Chappie

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    Definitely. Even with only a few case reports/minimal, you've got a better chance than 75% of people who apply to derm.

    If you can get involved in a project (big, thoughtful paper) then you can talk about it on your interviews.

    Also, make sure that you are internally motivated during this whole process and that you can prove it. PD's can sniff out externally motivated people.
  36. asmallchild

    asmallchild Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    Just stickied this thread. Please feel free to use this to inquire and as a forum, we'll do our best to provide an answer (with the very clear note that most of us are likely not PDs so we're all guessing really!)

    I figured this is a much cleaner way to approach this commonly asked question as opposed to starting a dozen new threads about it. Thanks
  37. boogah

    boogah

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    Hi Everyone, I am currently a 3rd year and considering dermatology.

    School: Mid tier
    Step 1: 250
    Research: 6 publications in radiology (two 1st authors, two abstracts, two 3rd authors)
    Dont know if I am AOA yet (just started 3rd year) but I have honored most of my 1st and 2nd year courses.

    As I read the a similar post above, I know that I need to get into some derm research to support change of heart from radiology, and work my butt off during 3rd year. My question is what are my chances and should I take Step 2 early? I know a 250 is 'kinda eh' in dermatology so I am wondering if I should risk it...Thanks!
  38. N-Surge

    N-Surge Emeritus Moderator Emeritus

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    The more I read this question the more I realize we are unable to provide the answer. We don't know who you are, personally.

    With that said, I strongly advise doing rotations in Dermatology at places you would rank at the top of your list and at places from which you would want LORs. This is my advice if you are really easy to get along with and are able to demonstrate the kinds of attributes any company hiring you would want to add to their business associates. After all, it is a job you are matching into.

    I would argue 250 is far from "eh" for Dermatology. Furthermore, your STEP scores are not the only measure.
  39. boogah

    boogah

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    thanks for the reply N-Surge. I agree with you, you cant take much about my personality based on some numbers. I hope (and think ;)) that I am generally amiable and well liked by others that I work with :)xf:) . that being sayed, although a crude extrapolation may be required, which schools in big cities and/or anywhere in california do you think are reasonable for me to rotate through and that I have a good chance at with my stats (presuming I get a couple of 3rd year honors but not all, and sprinkle in 1 or 2 derm papers/case reports)? I am originally from california and would love to return, but wouldnt mind the Big Apple either (but any city would be wonderful). I guess I am trying to gauge where I can be considered competitive, your input is appreciated!!
  40. Neuro or Derm

    Neuro or Derm

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    Hi, I've been thinking of Derm vs Neuro, but I am wondering if it is even worth it to apply for Derm. I am a Caribbean IMG with no derm rotation/LOR, no research experience, no publications. My step 1 is 256 and step 2 is 246. I have outstanding LORs from IM physicians and straight As. There is no AOA at my school. if all things remain the same, i.e. no chance of getting a rotation, derm LOR, research or publications, what are my chances based purely on my step scores? Should I even bother?

    Thanks!
  41. Dral

    Dral

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    You're good to go with your board scores. The lack of research and especially the lack of derm rotation and LOR hurt.

    If you decide you're really set on derm (this is hard for you to project since you don't seem to have much clinical derm experience), then you may have some other avenues. You may be able to glean some information from the posts of this thread:
    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=750669

    GL.
  42. Neuro or Derm

    Neuro or Derm

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    Thanks for the reply! I was looking at the NMRP data tables and realized that only one US IMG (which is my category) matched into dermatology in this match. If that is the general trend, I guess my chances are pretty slim to actually match next year as a 4th yr US IMG, and the lack of derm experience negates that even more!
  43. N-Surge

    N-Surge Emeritus Moderator Emeritus

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    You've got the score. Now get the connections.

    Rotate where you want to go knowing you may end up elsewhere. Want Cali? Then rotate in Cali and get to know people. Connections matter! After all, if they like you then chances are they will like to continue working with you for the 3 years they have you in their program.

    Want big name programs? Then rotate at those placing knowing your chances may be even more difficult. But in the end, connections can be made and must be made in this case as well.

    Connections, connections, connections...
  44. whizkidytj

    whizkidytj

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    Hey all,

    This is for the people who matched into Derm and have some experience as Derm residents (i.e. you know what PD's and colleagues are looking for).

    I'm re-applying to Derm this year. Last year I only got 4 interviews, and I was in the Derm scramble but didn't get a spot then.

    I'm currently doing my internship. Here are my stats.
    Publications - 12 (10 Derm related, 3 are in PubMed, 2 are accepted but will not be published in time for the application, the others are peer-reviewed but are abstracts or book chapters, etc)
    Presentations - 5 (3 are derm related)
    Step 1 - 237
    Step 2 - 225 (BIG NO NO, I know, but while I was studying for it I had a major life crisis at the time - you can say of disaster proportions, i.e. one death plus multiple near deaths in family, and then some - which anyone can empathize with). This score was not available when I interviewed btw.
    Grades - 8/9 Honors for year 1 & 2, 8/15 Honors in year 3 & 4 (more in 4th year, 3rd year I had another major life incident which really took a toll)
    AOA status - negative (this is probably my biggest flaw i think)
    Other - dozens of school and outside honors, awards, scholarships, lots of volunteer/extracurricular work, including medical missions with Derm component, attendance at national/international Derm conference, etc.
    School name - average I think (i.e. not one of the 40 major research school)
    Personality - 99% of the people I know think I'm a nice person :)
    LOR - I have very strong LOR's from the Derm PD at my school as well as his colleagues, and my current attending in residency.

    I'm pouring my heart out to you all here. Please give me realistic and honest feedback on my chances of matching this year without a research program. I'm also applying for research programs for next year anyways, but I don't think this will help my current application for Derm.
  45. sustentaculum

    sustentaculum

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Messages:
    30
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Hi. I am an MS2 I have a strong passion for dermatology. I have mediocre first year grades, though some of it was pass/fail (whew!). I am doing research now, but not in derm. I was not able to get a derm research position because there just wasn't enough spots to go around. I am the vice president of a dermatology interest group at school, and am hoping to meet the department that way. I am hoping to do some derm research after getting to know people. My questions are:

    1.) I come from a school with some name (top 20); my classmates are very competitive and I don't know if I can ever be AOA after the way my first year grades are. I may not be in the top half of my class now. How much will the name of the school count when it comes time for residency applications?

    2.) How much do i need a publication in the field? If I have a publication outside the field how much would that count, if any?

    3.) What is the best way on your interview trail to show programs how much you are interested in derm?
  46. Palintology

    Palintology

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Messages:
    64
    SDN 5+ Year Member
  47. sore eye asses

    sore eye asses

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    Messages:
    472
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    1.) How much will the name of the school count when it comes time for residency applications?

    Quite a lot, esp if you can align yourself with your home dept over the next 2 yrs. Geography and medschool play a big role for interview offers.

    2.) How much do i need a publication in the field? If I have a publication outside the field how much would that count, if any?

    there is really no such thing as a bad pub. nonderm still count (my most discussed pub on the interview trail was nonderm). but derm>nonderm, obviously. that said, shoot for 2+, and try to do something beyond a case report. If not derm, then it should be compelling and more than a case report.

    3.) What is the best way on your interview trail to show programs how much you are interested in derm?[/QUOTE]

    do you mean on away rotations? I mean, by interview time, of course they will know you're interested because you will have submitted a personal statement saying so, and they will have invited you based on what you said there (and other junk in your app).

    be cordial and efficient on your aways. be pleasant. sense of humor goes a long way. you want to be somebody that everyone in the dept likes and will want to have around for several years. if you have aspergers or any weird ticks where you can't help but be a gunner or a jerk or a know it all, then stab yourself in the area of the brain you most suspect is causing the problem. if this doesn't work then take some barbiturates each day before work and paint a smile on your face with eyeliner. That way, when you interact with people, they'll always come away with a good happy feeling, even though you were asleep the whole time.

    just some thoughts.
  48. N-Surge

    N-Surge Emeritus Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Messages:
    816
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Physician PhD SDN 7+ Year Member
    As you use up your medicaid funding doing IM your chances probably go down. So, I wouldn't go beyond completing the intern year, if this is an option. And I'd be working on setting up a research fellowship if you don't Match again this coming cycle.

    Speak with the program where you are doing IM. Might be a great starting point. Do a Derm rotation this year, if you can swap it in somehow.
  49. whizkidytj

    whizkidytj

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]

    Thanks! Yeah I'm only doing a prelim year at my IM program. I have no intentions of starting PGY2 unless it's in Derm :)

    I'm definitely doing a 1 or 2 year research fellowship (1-year if I match this year, 2-year if I don't). I'm also trying to do an away in Derm, but my current institution is giving me hell about it (i.e. malpractice/liability issues). I'm in good terms with the Derm program where I am, and in fact I'm doing a few research projects with them this year. The thing is though, the program only accepts 2 people :(

    Thanks again. Your input is much appreciated!
  50. sawtella

    sawtella

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Messages:
    98
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    I apologize for posting up yet another one of these threads but as I'm about to graduate medical school and as I'm still unsure about what I want to do, I could really appreciate your help. So since my m1 year, I've been gung-ho about ENT and so have been working hard to put myself in good shape to match. I wasn't very happy during my 4-week rotation at home but I just thought i was getting cold-feet and that with time I'd learn to enjoy it more. Then I did my second away rotation and that's when I really started to have second thoughts. Now I'm about to finish my last rotation and for the most part, i've been pretty miserable. I always had an interest in derm but thought I was a more surgically oriented person until i had these rotations. Anyways, what's the best way to go about to make this career change? I'm a pretty competitive applicant: 256 on my step 1, honored all my clerkships, AOA, and have several unpublished papers in ENT. I'm guessing it's nearly impossible to make the switch this late in the year, so I was considering maybe taking a year off to do research but I don't know where to turn to. From my understanding, most paid fellowships require that you apply well in advance. So I'm guessing if I do research, I'm going to have to do it unpaid for a year. Anyways, any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for listening
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