Hi everyone! Long time creeper, first time poster! I am a MS3 at average US MD school, and am very interested in radonc. My stats: -Average in my class ~50th percentile, passed every class in first two years. -Two previous research experiences, 1 poster presentation, both unrelated to radonc -Step 1: 228 I know I am a borderline applicant (given my step 1 score) however, I intend on taking a year off after 3rd year to pursue radonc research, which I am doing because I love research and really want to learn more about this specialty. I guess I have two questions for you guys: 1) After completing the year of radonc research, given my stats, what are my chances in matching radonc residency? I would be exceptionally happy matching ANYWHERE. Also, what tier programs would I be competitive at? Lower tier? Mid tier? 2) In terms of doing the year off, would you recommend going to the highest ranked program (where you may get the most influential LOR) or going wherever the best (most publishable) project is? Also, if anyone has had any experience doing a year off of research, I would love to hear any advice you may have. Thank you so much- this forum rocks and is so helpful to people like me.