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Discussion in 'Neurology' started by chunkymonkey, Feb 20, 2007.
Anyone know what the average stats are for applicants at some of the top tier programs?
The average USMLE Step I for those who matched into Neurology last year was 219.
Thanks. I did find that information but was hoping to find something more concrete for the top tier programs.
You won't find that stat anywhere. But you can guess. If the avg score was in mid 210's for all programs, then logically the avg for "top tier" programs is somewhere above that. Who knows maybe a 220? 230? 240????? 290??????
...you are not your USMLE score.
That being said, I have no clue what the stats are for top tier programs. You can assume that top programs may have higher averages for S1 - that would make sense. But, remember an average is a measure of central tendency, meaning a program average of 230 could mean that one candidate has a S1 of 210 and someone else has a S1 score of 250. (Hence the importance of standard deviation/errors measures).
I do know, however, a varied background that adds breadth and depth to your application will make up for any blah aspects of the application (i.e., my S1 score). Now, my background is a little different than most because I am a nontraditional student, so I have some "life" experience; but I was involved in a lot of different things in medical school. I got interviews at all the programs to which I applied and was well-received. I guess my general feeling is that a program (no matter if top-tier or bottom-tier) will spend the money to feed you (and house you in a nice hotel, in many cases) if they aren't serious about you.
These are, of course, my 2 pennies' worth. YMMV.
This information is super-double-secret. You can keep looking and asking, but the people that answer don't know, and the people that know won't answer.
I would say 230 or above for the top programs
If the average was 219, a score of 220 or thereabouts will likely land you an interveiw wherever you might wish to go, and a score greater than 220 will help you to match. Obviously the higher, the better.
A score in the 230's would likely allow you to go wherever you want without any problems. 240 or greater and you shouldn't have to worry in the least. In point of reference the average USMLE Step I for those matching into Neurosurgery across the country in the SF match this year was 234.
Yes, it is unlikely that you will find a faculty member who will specifically tell you their exact stats...especially in a medium like this. But if you know the average from last year...you have a great reference point to start from.
5'10'' blond, athletic and legs that keep on going and going.........
All fine and good.
What about the rest of the stats, though? This is "top tier" we're talking about.
Now that all lists are locked up tight in the sorority/fraternity medical RUSH computer in DC or wherever it is... It seems safe to answer this question honestly...
I did not have stellar step 1s, just above the national neuro average mentioned above.
I did have a PhD in Neuroscience and a publication record of original research in learning and memory.
I got high honors in Neurology and Honors on my away rotations.
I HATE shelfs... I would have had high honors in everything if it weren't for those dang tests... any rotation without a shelf I got high honors. (not the worlds greatest test taker). (High honors in medicine 2, medical/surgical ICU, etc...).
I had strong letters of recommendation from my PhD advisor, my away rotation Doc, my Neurology rotation doc, and a Doc I did Intensive care with (managed to make key diagnoses for patients in both neuro and ICU which always impresses the attending). The deans letter "magic word" was... I forget what the word is now but it was the highest one... outstanding I think it was. This word is supposable standardized to all deans letters and reflects what quartile you fall into with your graduating class. I think programs look for this keyword to help decide if they will offer an interview.
Not knowing how competitive I would be on the national scale I applied to all the dream programs... I was pleasantly surprised to get interviews at all of them.
I think the research went a long way towards me being competitive, especially since I was applying mostly to academic programs and want to be an academic neurologist.
It all depends on what you want to do...for academia.. I think research is key... for clinical ... showing an early and strong interest in neurology is key (participate in a clinical research project or case report, or chart review paper with a mentoring neurologist at your school).
Of course, now having said all this Ill probably end up at Bimidji State, thought Im keeping my fingers crossed for my first, Ivy covered, choice.
The top tier programs are the most political. Just dont be on the wrong side of the fence
Thats what I heard..
I am the flip side of academician. I'm great at standardized exams and did well both on my Step 1 and 2. I had very little research (during the summer of my 2nd year I worked on a poster and that was it). And I matched at a top program.
I think a top program is looking for something that you excel in, meaning your CV must have something really good about it, whether it is great grades or great research, but shouldn't be lacking in other things. So a PhD with multiple Step 1 failures likely won't make it. Or a person with great grades but never shown much interest in research at all or extracurricular stuff. Of course the formula is highly variable.
Neurology is a small field and people know each other. A lot goes on behind the scenes.. Boards/grades dont matter as much as commitment to Neurology. Research matters. It can be very political.. some mentors can get you to places others wont.
So never compare Neurology to bigger fields like Internal Medicine or General Surgery..
I got an interview at what was my long shot "Dream" program. I'm a FMG, have very good USMLE scores, lot's of neurology electives (commitment to the field), I also have something special (I'm doing a year of neuropathology). But one thing that was crucial and I wouldn't have gotten the interview without was a strong letter of recommendation & support from my mentor (our PD) who had trained in the same program & new the PD's, chairmen & some attendings.
Bottom line, do you best, be nice and don't sell your self short. apply for the long shot's too.
also know the right people.
I agree. but if you're nice, you might get support from the "right people" without knowing they are the "right ones"
I'm lucky, I've met so many of them...
All of the above are important, and so is the impression you make on the interview. Research/Publication experience also helps in the more "academic" programs.
Some programs are fussy about your med school (being a Harvard grad helps, whether or not you like that), and some will not normally even consider an FMG.
I know that neuro has a reputation for not being very "competitive," but the fact is that there are not a lot of neuro slots. Neuro is a relatively small community (not as small as NS, but way smaller than IM, FP, and even psychiatry, and most PDs know each other. There are fewer than 10.000 ABPN-certified neurologists in North America, which gives you some idea of the size of the community. Thus, a very good LOR from the neuro faculty at your school, especially if from well-known faculty, will count for a lot. It might even make up for so-so USMLE scores.