mfrederi

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I am a second year at TCOM and am interested in surg, but have gotten some negative vibe from folks both a school (upperclassmen) and on this board about a DOs chances of matching into surg. Could anyone share their positive and/or negaive experiences in the surg application process? Did you take both COMLEX / USMLE? How did that work for you? Are there some allo programs that seem especially happy to match DOs? Anyone on here just apply AOA? How competitive is that? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
 

double elle

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Hi. I am a 4th year going into gen surg. The one thing I keep hearing over and over from attendings and our cheifs is that you need to do all you can to rotate where you'd like to go. Now, I have no ideas what the REALLY competitive MD world is like....but for most reputable programs - you need to get your face known and show them what you can do. Also, I made a point to visit each place for a day (fortunately they were close) and try to feel the atmosphere a little to determine if I even wanted to rotate there. Your 4th year is very precious in the way of time and you want to rotate at the places you plan on applying...so, you can't afford to waste a month somewhere where the first couple of days you already hate it there. So, find out as much as you can about the programs - call/visit/email residents...whatever you can do to get some good, honest opinions about the program. Also, I've posted on here a couple of times for the medical students to give their opinions about the programs...have they noticed the gen surg residents being absolutely miserable, or are they pleasant (somewhat) and seem to have a good time despite the fatigue. How were the med students treated while rotating thru there?

Again - the thing I hear all the time is that rotating there and getting known is absolute. However, there will always be those that have the numbers and can go whereever they want.

Also - rotating at a place is a good thing - unless you are lazy...then, no matter what your numbers are..you've ruined your chances by rotating there and showing them that you are a total slacker. So, if you are a hard worker and are willing to pull more than your weight, keep your mouth shut and learn...then you would be best served by rotating there. But, if you are lazy at heart (we all are sometimes!) and have good numbers - you may be best served to let the numbers get you an interview and THEN try to wooo them with your charisma at the interview. good luck
 

Hometown

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Hello, I'm a 4th year DO student applying for general surgery. I chose only to apply through the allopathic match. I have friends and classmates that chose to participate in both matches and based on interview experience either chose to drop out of one or the other. Here is my experience with the allopathic match. I took the USMLE I and I suggest every DO do the same if they plan on applying to university programs. The fact is you put yourself on an even playing field and allow the program directors to assess you based on all other applicants. Not every program will be familiar with the COMLEX and it makes sense if your applying to competitive places to just make it easier for the program to assess you. If you are only considering applying to community programs than USMLE is not a must. I know of friends and classmates who received plenty of interviews without taking the USMLE. I applied to 3/4 university programs and 1/4 community programs. I went on 12 interviews and will rank 8 programs only one of which is a community program. Surgery is competitive again, so good board scores, good clinical grades and good letters of recomendation will get you interviews. I suggest that if you know you want to do surgery than set up a Sub-I in the beginning of your fourth year at a surgical program where you can get good letters of rec. A chairmen's letter is a must if you are applying to university programs and I just recommend getting one anyway. You need 3 letters of recommendations, again 1 should be a chairmen's letter, perferable a well known one in the field of surgery who has published a lot and or has been on the lecture circuit. The other two can come from surgeons who you rotated with who will write a good personal letter. You should have the letter's written and turned in by Sept. 1st. This is when ERAS opens and is a good date to ask your letter writers to have your letter finished by. This means you should ask for letters by July, August. As for as audition rotations go, this can work in your benefit if your hard working and well liked. I did one away rotation and the program has not stopped showing me love since I left. On the otherhand this can also backfire if they don't like you. You can't visit every place before you apply and programs know this. To sum all this up surgery is definetly doable as a DO. I can't speak about the west coast( but I know CA is very competitive) because I only applied to east coast and some midwest programs. Do the best you can in your third year, try and get good grades and do as well as you can on your boards. Take the USMLE I if applying to university programs (I recommend taking it anyway) Get good letters of rec., this means rotating through hospitals that have allopathic gen. surgery residencies in your 3rd and 4th year. If you have any questions, post them and I'll be happy to answer. Again, this is only my opinion on applying through the allopathic match.
 

Celiac Plexus

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you must take usmle step I and II to maximize your chances.
 

Doc 2b

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Hometown said:
You should have the letter's written and turned in by Sept. 1st. This is when ERAS opens and is a good date to ask your letter writers to have your letter finished by. This means you should ask for letters by July, August.
Hey man I'm really out of my league in this forum. But this statement confused me. Are you saying to have these written by Sept of 4th year. If so, how is that possible at some schools where you may only have one surg rotation 3rd year and have to use your electives during your fourth to do quality surg rotations and sub-i's. What if you don't rotate somewhere where the chairman is known, how do you organize all this?
 

mddo2b

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mfrederi said:
I am a second year at TCOM and am interested in surg, but have gotten some negative vibe from folks both a school (upperclassmen) and on this board about a DOs chances of matching into surg. Could anyone share their positive and/or negaive experiences in the surg application process? Did you take both COMLEX / USMLE? How did that work for you? Are there some allo programs that seem especially happy to match DOs? Anyone on here just apply AOA? How competitive is that? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
FIrst off, I am a 3rd year surgical resident in an allopathic program and went to NYCOM....I don't care what anyone says, if you want to do an allopathic residency you can. I was given TERRIBLE advise by my advisers, and was basically told to do the DO match because i didnt have a chance in the MD MAtch...unfortunatley, i belived tham for a short time, until i went on the interview trail. This is what i tell every medical student who asks, and even if they dont ask....take the USMLE1 and 2....i know it sucks, but if yo want it it is the best way to level the palying ground. I had one program director say that he was so happy to see i had USMLE because know he had an objective way to compare to me to the other applicants. I know that will piss off someepeople, but too bad deal...when in rome...
Second, and i cannot emphasize this enough, go to places you are interested in, do a sub-I there, tell them your first day (and by them i mean anyone who asks) that you are interested in during a residency at that hospital...and take call every 3rd night. There is NOTHING that can compare to you shining for 30 days. My grades in med-scool where OK, my board scores OK at best, but when i did a rotation i worked my ASS off, stayed post call, and showed my residents that i could take care of patients and could handle the responsibility. Of course that meant being the first one in and the last one to leave...but believe me, the people who count noticed. I was told severa times tht on paper i would not have been taken seriously, but after my rortaion, their perception of me changed. Of couse, that means that 4th year will be hard, unlike your classmates doing FP, Int-Med or Peds, but who the hell want to do that stuff anyway.
I also think that the best way to find out where to go is to get in touch with program and see if they have DO's in the program , and talk to them. See where they did rotations, and where they applied. The truth is is that some palces wont take us...fine, there loss. But there are many more who wwill take us, and it is our responsibility to blow thaem outof the water when we get ther, so it will be easier inthe future.
If I can help in ANY way, email me and we can talk more.
:D
 

cutaway

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mfrederi said:
I am a second year at TCOM and am interested in surg, but have gotten some negative vibe from folks both a school (upperclassmen) and on this board about a DOs chances of matching into surg. Could anyone share their positive and/or negaive experiences in the surg application process? Did you take both COMLEX / USMLE? How did that work for you? Are there some allo programs that seem especially happy to match DOs? Anyone on here just apply AOA? How competitive is that? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
From my experience and the reports of my classmates, allopathic surgery is a increasingly difficult but not impossible match for DO students.

On the good side: As several other posters note, if you do a sub-I at a surgery program and wow them with your performance, you probably have a shot. Surgery residencies want people who will perform to a demanding standard, and all but the most old-school residency directors will operate on what they see you do, not what letters are after your name. However, I would say that you should take both COMLEX and USMLE - that just makes it easier for them to evaluate you. If you beat the average MD applicants on the USMLE - that can't hurt.

On the bad side: This applies to general surg only ... ortho is insanely difficult even for allopathic applicants and almost no DO grads do allopathic ortho each year. (Course, as a DO, you have an easier time than MDs getting ortho if you are willing to do a DO program, if which there are quite few.)

Also important in the fact that after several years of weak matches and substantial numbers of programs not filling, gen surgery appears to be climbing back into the 'competitive' specialty group in 2004, with only 2 categorical slots not filling in the MD match. That will make it harder for DO's, as residency directors will have a better selection of MD candidates.

As to my experience: I did 2 surgery sub-I's at a MD university program in CA, and only got interviews there and one other MD surgery on the East Coast. My USMLE's (I+II) were not as good as my COMLEX, and the impression I got is that surgery programs are not very interested in seeing COMLEX scores. Feeling that I was unlikely to match at either MD program, I lurked on the DO match and scrambled into a DO gen surg slot that I had not expected to go unmatched, one of about 12 that were open after the match (TX, MI, NY). Several of my classmates are still hoping surg in the MD match - and I think a couple might get burned. Keep that in mind.

-C
 

Hometown

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Doc 2b said:
Hey man I'm really out of my league in this forum. But this statement confused me. Are you saying to have these written by Sept of 4th year. If so, how is that possible at some schools where you may only have one surg rotation 3rd year and have to use your electives during your fourth to do quality surg rotations and sub-i's. What if you don't rotate somewhere where the chairman is known, how do you organize all this?
What I'm saying is that Sept of your 4th year should be a target date. My letters were not in until Oct, but remember some programs will not give you an interview if your application is not complete. I would suggest having your letter's into ERAS no later than Nov. 1st, this is when the Dean's letter comes out. Many programs give interviews on a first come first serve basis. You might have great scores and letters but if you don't have your application complete or apply late, programs may have filled up their interview slots. As far as the Chairman's letter goes here is my opinion. Not every institution will have a chairman who is known across the country. At the same time there are only a few hundred chairman. Get a letter from one who knows you and were you did your 3rd year and Sub-I. If you want to do an away rotation, try and get on the chairman's or program director's service. Work your butt off, show enthusiasm and tell them of your interest in applying to surgery. At the end of your rotation ask him/her if they would feel comfortable in writing a strong letter of rec. for you. If they say no, so be it, but you tried and it's not the end of the world. Good Luck :thumbup: