Am I too late?


Junior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 11, 2004
    Hey everyone,
    I'm an MS4 who, for the longest time was thinking about going into IM or gen surg. Experiences in the third year, specifically rotating on the oncology ward during my med rotation and working on an oncology surgical service have reinforced my love of onc but have totally screwed my outlook on IM and gen surg; but it did exposed me a little to rad onc and I'm now thinking that this may be a better fit for me. That being said, I'm now almost two months into my fourth year with no direct rad onc experience. I am scheduled to do a month of it at my home school in October/Npvember but from what I've read it seems like this is just too darn late to make an impact, i.e. an LOR or just general experience. Right now I'm scrambling my who fourth year schedule, i.e. kicking out my surgery and medicine sub-I's for August and September and trying to schedule some rad onc rotations around my state (the rotation at my home school fills quick and I consider myself lucky to get the month I did in October). Just wondering if my attempts are futile. To be honest, I don't know how competitive I'm going to be; I'm AOA and got a 228 on USMLE Step I. I was kind of dissaponted with step I and was hoping to take it early this year, possibly at the end of September. Minimal research experience: 1 pub with a urologic surgeon in onc (rad. related); another project with him in the works but just getting started, and a chart review with a hepatobilliary surg. onc. still going on. Does anyone think there's a shot? Do I just apply with what I've got and use letters from an IM, urologist, and surgeron (all in onc) to try and get an interview and then try and add on actual rad onc LORs that I'll hopefully garner in Sept., Oct, and Nov? Or, with the whole "rolling" app system am I screwed my not having a "complete app with rad onc letters" by early Sept. I know this is a long post but any input would be appreciated.


    Senior Member
    10+ Year Member
    15+ Year Member
    Nov 3, 2003
      Hmmm...I would say your profile looks competitive. You're AOA, which would easily put you in the top 10-20% of the applicant pool. Not bad Step 1, probably would fall around the average or slightly above average of the applicants getting interviews. The biggest obstacle, as you mentioned, is the Rad Onc LOR. Whether you apply or not would depend alot on making sure this is THE field you want to go into. Programs highly value applicants that are just straight out enthusiastic about the field. I know that you just recently got interested in the field, but do you feel your exposure to it is enough for you to get a really good sense of what the field is about? This is probably the most important thing. Doing a rotation in Oct/Nov (I would highly recommend doing it ASAP) would definitely help. This is a tough spot. What if you apply now and after you do the rotation, you decide it's not exactly what you want?

      If you do apply, then I wouldn't say it'd be a total long shot. You'd might get some interviews without a rad onc letter if they're impressed enough with your application. But since you are at a disadvantage, I would stress how much you're interested in the field in your personal statement, and perhaps explain your situation with the rad onc letter.
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