MDapp06

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Hi All,

I am a third year med student interested in applying for Ophthalmology residency positions. I just wanted to know if you have any advice for me as I prepare my application. I know that my stats are not competitive (Step 1 between 200-210, 9 Honors in M1 and M2 years, 3 HP in third year rotations (the rest are Passes)). I plan on taking Step 2 at the end of July in order to have a score available by 9/1, and I am aiming for my score to be substantially better than my Step 1 score. I am planning on taking the last two weeks of June (after third year rotations end) and the month of July to study for and take Step 2.
Currently the 4-week Ophtho elective offered at my school in July is full. I can get a spot in the 4-week Ophtho elective offered in August, but will that be too late in terms of the application timeline? I wanted to get LORs from the docs I work with during the elective, and I am worried that the end of August is too late to request LORs and have them submitted in time to be considered by residency programs.
I was planning to get 2 LORs from Ophtho attendings and 1 LOR from an internal medicine attending I worked with during my third year rotation. Is this a good strategy or should all 3 LORs be from Ophtho faculty?

Sorry for the long post, but any advice would be appreciated...

Thanks!

mdapp06
 
Sep 12, 2009
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Hi All,

I am a third year med student interested in applying for Ophthalmology residency positions. I just wanted to know if you have any advice for me as I prepare my application. I know that my stats are not competitive (Step 1 between 200-210, 9 Honors in M1 and M2 years, 3 HP in third year rotations (the rest are Passes)). I plan on taking Step 2 at the end of July in order to have a score available by 9/1, and I am aiming for my score to be substantially better than my Step 1 score. I am planning on taking the last two weeks of June (after third year rotations end) and the month of July to study for and take Step 2.
Currently the 4-week Ophtho elective offered at my school in July is full. I can get a spot in the 4-week Ophtho elective offered in August, but will that be too late in terms of the application timeline? I wanted to get LORs from the docs I work with during the elective, and I am worried that the end of August is too late to request LORs and have them submitted in time to be considered by residency programs.
I was planning to get 2 LORs from Ophtho attendings and 1 LOR from an internal medicine attending I worked with during my third year rotation. Is this a good strategy or should all 3 LORs be from Ophtho faculty?

Sorry for the long post, but any advice would be appreciated...

Thanks!

mdapp06
Def get that 3rd letter from the internal medicine attending if it can be strong. There is always debate about what types of letters to send, but my personal (2cents) is that 2 Ophtho plus 1 med/surg letter will definitely be fine (and likely show you as well rounded), especially if the other letter is very strong.
 

MstaKing10

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Aug 17, 2009
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Any research experience? How is the rest of your application (other than grades and step scores)? I would recommend 2 letters from ophtho at most. You should have at least one from IM/Surgery rotation or someone in another rotation that can write you a strong letter. Stronger letters trump the specialty that they are coming from, so don't get too hung up on that. And I agree that more variety is consistent with a more well rounded application.

Good luck.
 
OP
M

MDapp06

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Thank you so much for the responses!

I am pretty confident that the IM attending will write a strong letter for me. I haven't had my Surgery rotation yet (it is my last rotation of third year), so I may be able to ask for a LOR from a Surgery attending but it all depends on my experience on the rotation.

In terms of the rest of my application: I was President, VP, and Secretary of 3 different student groups as an M2; consistent volunteer work during med school both through student groups and church; I have 3 years of work experience in business consulting prior to med school; top 10 undergrad and graduated 1 year early with honors (degree in finance). I go to med school in the Chicago area. In terms of research, I have Derm research experience that resulted in 1 poster presentation at an annual AAD meeting and 1 publication (first author). The dean's office at my school basically indicated that residency programs don't care too much about prior work experience...is that true? Also, will the Derm research be a helpful component of my application? I unfortunately don't have any ophtho research under my belt, and I'm not sure I'll have time to get involved with substantial ophtho research before applications are due. Should I try to get involved in some ophtho research now, even though I'm not sure how much time I will be able to dedicate to it (given that I'll be starting my Surgery rotation soon)?

Should I go ahead and register for the 4-week Ophtho elective in August at my school? Also, do I still stand a chance with my sub-par Step 1 score and no third year Honors (so far)? Is taking Step 2 at the end of July a good strategy?

Thank you for all the advice - it is really helpful!
 
Jul 22, 2009
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i might try to at least get involved with an ophth project now even tho it wont be done in time for applications, only because it will at least show your dedication to the field, and you will be able to talk about it on interviews. Most likely they wont ask you about your derm research unless its a very interesting topic to non-dermatologists. Also, the derm research showed you were at least committed to that at some point, and without ophth research, maybe it looks like a haphazard decision? I don't know for sure, but I'm just trying to see how an interviewer might look at it.

I would register for the august elective, but get on a wait list for july. If you really want july, you can plead with them and say you need this for your application.

You absolutely stand a chance, but you need to kill step 2 I think. July sounds right for that.
 

eyesupply

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Nov 18, 2008
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In terms of research, I have Derm research experience that resulted in 1 poster presentation at an annual AAD meeting and 1 publication (first author). The dean's office at my school basically indicated that residency programs don't care too much about prior work experience...is that true? Also, will the Derm research be a helpful component of my application? I unfortunately don't have any ophtho research under my belt, and I'm not sure I'll have time to get involved with substantial ophtho research before applications are due. Should I try to get involved in some ophtho research now, even though
Go into dermatology.

In derm, you can chat with the patient, do a skin exam, and finish in 10 minutes.

In ophthalmology, try to take the history, visual acuity, IOP, muscle balance, refract, do dilated exam and slit lam exam, do Titmus and/or Ishihara plates, CVF, and other things. It is physically impossible to do in 10 minutes. If you hire a tech, note that the dermatologist doesn't need to hire a tech.

Bottom line. Ophthalmologist make less money. The days of $2500 cataract surgery are a distant memory. With $600 cataracts, unless you run 2 rooms and have a phenomenal crew, you can make more seeing derm patients. Even the salary figures show that radiologists and other specialties make more than ophthalmologists. Ophthalmologists may think they are in a high paying specialty but they are really getting into it as a public service to mankind or are ignorant about the work vs. salary ratio.
 

DOCTORSAIB

Ophtho or bust!
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Go into dermatology.

In derm, you can chat with the patient, do a skin exam, and finish in 10 minutes.

In ophthalmology, try to take the history, visual acuity, IOP, muscle balance, refract, do dilated exam and slit lam exam, do Titmus and/or Ishihara plates, CVF, and other things. It is physically impossible to do in 10 minutes. If you hire a tech, note that the dermatologist doesn't need to hire a tech.

Bottom line. Ophthalmologist make less money. The days of $2500 cataract surgery are a distant memory. With $600 cataracts, unless you run 2 rooms and have a phenomenal crew, you can make more seeing derm patients. Even the salary figures show that radiologists and other specialties make more than ophthalmologists. Ophthalmologists may think they are in a high paying specialty but they are really getting into it as a public service to mankind or are ignorant about the work vs. salary ratio.
I'm not sure where and how you practice but I have some friends a few years into private practice who are doing quite well - granted they all did fellowships and avoided Cali and NE area like the plague.
 

4424

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Feb 15, 2005
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Go into dermatology.

In derm, you can chat with the patient, do a skin exam, and finish in 10 minutes.

In ophthalmology, try to take the history, visual acuity, IOP, muscle balance, refract, do dilated exam and slit lam exam, do Titmus and/or Ishihara plates, CVF, and other things. It is physically impossible to do in 10 minutes. If you hire a tech, note that the dermatologist doesn't need to hire a tech.

Bottom line. Ophthalmologist make less money. The days of $2500 cataract surgery are a distant memory. With $600 cataracts, unless you run 2 rooms and have a phenomenal crew, you can make more seeing derm patients. Even the salary figures show that radiologists and other specialties make more than ophthalmologists. Ophthalmologists may think they are in a high paying specialty but they are really getting into it as a public service to mankind or are ignorant about the work vs. salary ratio.
interesting advice. just going out on a limb but some, like myself, may have gone into ophthalmology knowing the salary and just enjoyed it and the patients. but if you think they are doing it as a public service or ignorance, you are entitled to your opinion. i will maintain that you have to be able to get up in the morning and enjoy/tolerate your work or you will be miserable but that is my opinion.

as for the original question, i agree with what has been said. waitlist for july, but absolutely sign up for august, i don't see another option. maybe do an away during july if available. aways may help you get interviews if they liked you since your step 1 score is a bit low. i think you should get involved in ophtho research, not everyone knows what they want to do early but showing interest at this point would be helpful and something to discuss on interviews.

good luck!