am i crazy...

Scout26

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    to think this is a possibility? I'm a non-trad MS3 at decent state allopathic school, and i've just re- "discovered" radiation oncology. One problem is that I can only apply to residency programs in NYC.

    I'm prob. in the middle of my class or sl. below, with a decent STEP 1 score (238), and will have strong clinical grades (all H & HP). I actually worked in a cancer center doing clinical research (med & rad oncology; research coordinator) for 2 yrs., and also worked as a research summer intern for a hospice program (largely cancer pts) btwn 1st and 2nd yrs. One of my parents is undergoing rad onc cancer treatment, and I've been very involved, and have realized that this is what I want to do.

    Givne how competitive the field is, and given how limited my rank list will be in #, do I have a chance? Could/should I also rank another field as a backup? Any advice or insight would be much appreciated!
     

    mikedc813

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      to think this is a possibility? I'm a non-trad MS3 at decent state allopathic school, and i've just re- "discovered" radiation oncology. One problem is that I can only apply to residency programs in NYC.

      I'm prob. in the middle of my class or sl. below, with a decent STEP 1 score (238), and will have strong clinical grades (all H & HP). I actually worked in a cancer center doing clinical research (med & rad oncology; research coordinator) for 2 yrs., and also worked as a research summer intern for a hospice program (largely cancer pts) btwn 1st and 2nd yrs. One of my parents is undergoing rad onc cancer treatment, and I've been very involved, and have realized that this is what I want to do.

      Givne how competitive the field is, and given how limited my rank list will be in #, do I have a chance? Could/should I also rank another field as a backup? Any advice or insight would be much appreciated!

      When you say you've done research, what does that specifically mean? Do you have any publications or presentations?
       

      Scout26

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        <<When you say you've done research, what does that specifically mean? Do you have any publications or presentations?>>

        no pubs or presentations (not even sure what "presentations" means). I worked as a study coordinator, enrolling pts. in clinical trials (writing consent forms, working with IRB, working with PIs, etc) -- both for Rad & med onc studies. And did work for hospice program, but no pubs (mainly did pt. visits, created database for program, nurse education on chemotherapy agents).
         
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        RetroX

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          U won't know if you are crazy unless u apply. You have a decent shot, I would say... It really depends on your school reputation, your letters, research endeavors, and how well you interview. R.
           

          Gaius Baltar

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            You'll increase your chances of getting in with research/abstracts/papers, away rotations and good letters I believe. My thoughts/recommendations are as follows:

            1) I'm not certain if the databases you've designed were constructed for addressing a clinical question or just as a database to track who's who in regards to treatment. However, if they are research databases that can be used to address a clinical question you can hopefully transform them into papers. Papers in general are good, but the more applicable they are to radiation oncology (ie. basic science, clinical or physics) the better off you'll be. Also, working with the datasets that you have, if you can use it to generate an abstract and give a talk, again preferably at ASTRO or RSNA, the better off you'll be

            2) Doing away rotations is another way to get great exposure to another program and vice versa, get some great letters of recommendation and potentially to do some research at that institution. Publishing with an institution is the best way to get yourself recognized and show your commitment to said place. About the letters - you should probably get it from some of the big wigs - sadly, this field is plagued by name dropping and name recognition. The loaftier the name, the more weight it holds when some of the "upper" programs evaluate you. UGH...

            3) Take a month or two and devote it to doing clinical research at your home institution - generate a database, write an abstract, submit to some conferences and then during 3rd year/early 4th year, finish the paper.

            4) So, here's the not so nice advice/perspective. I don't know how other people feel or what other people have heard, but my experience from three separate institutions including my home institution is that rad onc is so competitive nowadays that not casting a wide net is a death sentence. It's happened to two individuals I know and scrambling really isn't an option since I believe all positions fill. I'm not certain why you have to limit yourself to only NYC schools - that I think will be a serious problem for you and matching will be very to almost difficult. Since Yale is next door and Philly is only two hours away. Along with Syracuse and Buffalo a mere car or airplane flight away, could you consider them as well?

            5) if you are serious about Rad Onc, taking a year or two off after med school or in between 3rd and 4th year to do serious research (basic or clinical) with a big wig in rad onc or rad bio would go a long way to making you more attractive. That would obviously improve if you did research and then an away and got a letter from said institution you're interested in being at.

            Hope that helps. Good luck.
             

            acepoint

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              I'm in a similar situtation to Scout's. Not the best board scores and no research as of yet because I've been having trouble finding a PI.

              How different is it to match at one of the "lesser" programs. Is there a significant technology gap? Would I not learn a good deal of info by going to a less known program? Do these programs have trouble attracting patients? Any information about the less competitive programs would be great. Thanks
               

              Scout26

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                hey, acepoint:

                good question, and one I also now have. since I last posted, I talked to people at my home institution, which is fine for some things, but apparently isn't well-respected for rad onc - certainly one of the "lesser" programs, to which you refer. I was told by one of my deans that I would have a much better chance of matching at my home school than elsewhere, but I know that some students have opted to NOT rank my home institution.

                I'm not clear as to whether any match is a "good" match in rad onc.

                Acepoint: if you want to pm me, pls. feel free. i'd love to confab with someone in my shoes. :)
                 
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