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averageguy

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Hi everybody! (Hi Dr. Nick!)
I'm curious about the scores and grades that it takes to get into programs in ENT. All the scores that I see posted are off the charts and I was wondering if a guy like me has a chance to get in. I was thinking ortho but the lifestyle of ENT looks much more attractive and the material in ortho isn't exactly what I thought it would be.
Any information about cutoffs for interviews, rank, AOA, research, etc.
THanks
 

aggernodi

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Hi everybody! (Hi Dr. Nick!)
I'm curious about the scores and grades that it takes to get into programs in ENT. All the scores that I see posted are off the charts and I was wondering if a guy like me has a chance to get in. I was thinking ortho but the lifestyle of ENT looks much more attractive and the material in ortho isn't exactly what I thought it would be.
Any information about cutoffs for interviews, rank, AOA, research, etc.
THanks

If your "numbers" aren't good, there's a good chance you won't be asked for an interview... In my program, we had a secretary go through the applications and cull out all applicants who didn't have the right numbers.

One way out is to do a sub-I and work your butt off and impress the attendings, residents, and nurses.

OR, do something amazing in research or some medical-related activity.
 

RS6

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Without a doubt, ENT is much more competitive than Ortho. Based on shear residents per year and program number, ENT is much more selective. That being said, if you were good enough to be competitive for Ortho you have a good shot at ENT.

From what I have been told about scores is that this year was very competitive. More so than in years past. I would like to see the actual numbers post match. Anyway, from what I can recall. The average matching board score 2 years ago was 236. The average unmatching score was around 224. Therefore, you would like to get at least a 235. Yes, it is true that programs have cut offs but no one program will tell you they have one. But seriously, like the previous post said, someone like a secretary will automatically eliminate 1/2 or 2/3 of the pile. With 400+ applicants and only 40 (average) slots for interviews they need an objective filter.

About AOA, I would say about half of the applicants on the trail were AOA. 2 years ago 33% of applicants that matched were AOA. Again, that number would be interesting to see this year. However, board scores are much more important than being AOA because it is an object measure they have that they can compare you to everyone else. AOA is highly subjective and institution dependent.

Research is also nice. There were programs that specifically interviewed people that had a strong interest in research. Having ENT publications is awesome. Working on a project during the interview season or just before is a plus as well. However, I met people on the trail that had no pubs. At the same time I didn't meet a single person that wasn't working on some sort of ENT project.

Surprisingly, your institution/letters matter extremely. If your institution has no history with another, you probably won't get an interview unless you are a crazy stellar candidate. I wish someone had told me this when I started to apply. I thought that I was a competitive candidate but I got rejected to more than 1/2 the places I applied to. Part of this was regional and part of it was familiarity with people between programs.

Bottomline, leave as many doors open to you as possible. If one thing is lacking in your application, make up for it in another area. And make sure during interviews you really shine. Good luck to you.
 
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averageguy

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Thanks that really helps. What about research concerning non-ENT subject matter in the basic sciences. Does that help or is that pretty useless?
 

chirurgino

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Multiple chairmen/program directors on the trail this year said that this is the most competitive year they have ever seen, but perhaps they say this every year. RS6 sounds like he/she has a good handle on the numbers required. Regarding comparisons with ortho--I have several good friends applying ortho this year-- my impression is that ENT is more "nerdy" in the sense that more emphasis is placed on research than in some other selective surgical fields (with the notable exception of neurosurgery), including urology and ortho.

Regarding research, I would say that if you have a significant amount of research in any field (including basic science) it will definitely help you. There were 7 MD-PhDs on the trail this year (as far as I remember), and about half worked on ENT/neuroscience fields. Pubs are nice but not critical--what is critical is that you get a very strong letter from your PI and you are able to discuss your work intelligently. Make sure that you also can discuss how your basic science research will be relevant to ENT.

Rejections happen--make sure you apply widely and that you have strong letters from multiple ENTs, including the chairman of your program. I would disagree a little bit with RS6 in the sense that ENT is such a small field that everybody knows everybody, and that that probably won't be a huge factor especially if you get a letter from your chairman. Regionalism does play a surprisingly large role, as does a program's assessment of whether or not you will actually rank them (e.g., if you're from CA, have gone to undergrad and med school in CA, will you really really want to leave and go to the frozen tundra of the midwest or northeast).
 

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Publications in other fields are always a help. I had multiple pubs in other areas of medicine and not necessarily ENT. However, like the previous post...you MUST be able to explain it quickly and intelligibly. Especially if they don't know anything about it because it is in another field of medicine. I think I had to explain my research at every place I interviewed at. I would put strong emphasis on research aspects that are translatable to any field. ie...working through IRB, writing for grants, writing discussions (of course if you did this).

Yes, rejections do happen. If you have done everything at one institution, they really are going to wonder if you would leave. I would make sure you convey that you are willing to leave if this is indeed the case.

And yes, we are a little bit more nerdy...lol.
 

chirurgino

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This concern with the regionalism is a little disconcerting for me. I am originally from southern California and really, really, really wish to go back. Would the fact that I'm originally from the area play any significant factor in their assessment of my desire to join their programs?

It may. Regional bias (funny discussing this just before March Madness!!) definitely does play a role, but only up to a point. There are a group of candidates out there who will get interviews nearly everywhere just because of their paper stuff. So assuming you meet the paper test, I think that your originally being from southern CA will suggest that you're at least open to going there.

In fact, you will find that interviewers will frequently sit there flipping through your file, and comment "oh, you went to college here, so you know how great the weather is here," or "I see, you family is all here in southern CA, I guess you'd be interested in returning," etc. Conversely, you'll also have to answer questions multiple times regarding whether or not you'll actually come to a program if you are not from there and did not do college/med school in the region. [I found this incredibly irritating--why the hell would you spend the money on plane ticket and hotel if you had already made up your mind not to go to a place]

Finally, (this comes later) you can definitely be aggressive once the interviews are done--the best way I think to do this would be to have a faculty member from your home program make a phone call to your top choice. You can also mention in any correspondence with programs after the interviews that you liked their program and are focused on returning to southern CA.
 

resxn

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Thanks, man. That alleviates some of my concerns. I've gone to college and medical school on the east coast so I thought maybe that would work against me despite the fact that I'm originally from CA.

I returned to Coloratdo from the East Coast for med school and the interviewers in Colorado made comments about me coming back being a good thing. For what it's worth.
 

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As a student at a lesser known medical school, CMS (JHU was where I received my BS from), the tone of this discussion scares and confuses me a little bit. I didn't do well my first two years in medical school, but busted my ass and got a 225 on step 1. I know its not fantastic, but all of you make it seem like applying for ENT is nothing short of a pipe dream.
I would believe all of that, but when I look at the numbers on the Careers in Medicine website, it gives me some hope. Last year, 310 US Grads applied for 264 spots, of which 243 went to US Grads. That's a match rate of >75%. I know there must be some level of self selection in the candidates, but is it hopeless?
 

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i agree, i'm a little confused myself. I hear everything from its really difficult w/o AOA + >260 to you need some publications etc etc. After much of the advice on this board i've come to 2 conclusions:
1. It is a tough match to ENT no matter your scores/grades etc.. obviously those of us not AOA its much tougher.
2. You need to be realistic and talk to your ENT chair or residents w/in the department but what seems to me to be cutoffs for interviews are >230 +/_ a few, and atleast top 1/3 of your class.
 

montypython

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I came across a power point presentation given by the chairman of the Columbia ENT program with data from the 2000-2007 match that will answer most of the OP's questions. Some of the highlights from the presentation include data from the 2006 match: a median step 1 score of 239, 38% AOA, 77% with publications, and 94% with research projects. Here is the direct link to the ppt: http://www.suo-aado.org/AADO/documents/AADO Exec Cou Mtng Version 42607.ppt
 
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exmike

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wow, in 2006 OHNS had a higher % AOA and median Step 1 than integrated plastics. now i'm scurred. :scared:
 

forbin

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Very interesting stats- this link should definitely get pasted into the applicant FAQ thread. It seems to me that this data should actually give some hope to applicants with lower scores- there are still a decent number of folks with scores in the 210s or even lower who match. I also think this underscores the importance of going on a lot of interviews- if you are a borderline applicant, spend the $$$ to apply to enough programs to get those 8-10 interviews you need.
 

exmike

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I came across a power point presentation given by the chairman of the Columbia ENT program with data from the 2000-2007 match that will answer most of the OP's questions. Some of the highlights from the presentation include data from the 2006 match for a successful applicant: a median step 1 score of 239, a mean step 1 of 235, 38% AOA, 77% with publications, and 94% with research projects. Here is the direct link to the ppt: http://www.suo-aado.org/AADO/documents/AADO Exec Cou Mtng Version 42607.ppt

by the way, that 235 "mean" is actually the mean average of APPLICANTS. not matched.
 

TheThroat

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So many applicants come to the Oto forum looking for advice on applying, what scores you need, and all that. This is a good thread that gives some good advice. Thus, it is now a sticky.
 

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Anyone know how much step II's figure in? I'm in the classic debate of when to take them. I know if you have a low step I its important, but what about if you're somewhere around the mean?
 

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I'm in the same position. I've gathered that if your step I is competetive, you don't have to worry about taking step II until later in MS-4. The file in the above post for 2007 stats shows that doing well on step II can improve your odds of matching in a competetive specialty, but only about half of those who apply to ENT have their step II scores available in time for the rank list. In fact, looking over it again, not taking step II also increases your odds of matching (probably because those who didn't take it did well on step I). I guess the bottom line is that for this specialty, step I is important and step II is less so.
 

exmike

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Anyone know how much step II's figure in? I'm in the classic debate of when to take them. I know if you have a low step I its important, but what about if you're somewhere around the mean?

if your step 1 was avg I would take step 2 earlier.
 

montypython

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Anyone know how much step II's figure in? I'm in the classic debate of when to take them. I know if you have a low step I its important, but what about if you're somewhere around the mean?

Which "mean" are you talking about? If you are talking about the "mean" for all test takers, which is around 218, then I have been told to take step 2 early if you want to increase your chances to matching ENT. However if you are referring to the "mean" of applicants who matched ENT, which is around 239, then I have been told to delay step 2 and submit your ERAS without reporting your step 2 score. And as a previous poster pointed out, it looks like most applicants who matched ENT and other competitive residencies (Derm, Plastics, Ortho, Rad Onc, Rads) delayed step 2 and did not submit their step 2 scores with ERAS.
 
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resxn

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I personally think that taking step 2 will more often hurt than help. If you were a 220, say, and you're worried you're not going to get in on scores alone, then you better be darn sure you can rip a 15-20 point improvement at least on step 2. If you don't just crush it, there's really no point. If you do kill it then you have a great opportunity to make up all sorts of excuses why step 1 wasn't so hot.
 

mmag

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While on a required 2 week ENT rotation (I'm not applying for ENT), I was talking to one of the attendings and he told me that our program's cutoff score is 230. Letters are also very important maybe even more so than med school grades (well only because every applicant has great grades) as academic ENT is a relatively small community.
 

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I meant the ENT mean - 239. It seems like if 239 were the average then some of the more competitive programs would have cut offs of 240ish, but I don't know how this stuff works that well.

I think the decision became not to take it early, purely out of laziness, and not out of any kind of rational thought.
 

drivesmecraazee

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What about pre-clinical grades? I haven't started my rotations yet and Im not very familiar with USMLE because I don't live in the US...so I would like to know how high you pre-clinical "GPS" should be to have a chance with ENT? What would be a good average? If pre-clinical grades acutally matter...
Thanks
 

drivesmecraazee

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Damn!!! I really envy the attendings and residents, you're already there!!:mad:
To be honest I am sort of an average-good student...if you know what I mean...but sometimes Im not sure if I can make it, there are those moments when it get's soooo frustrating!!! Damn!!! I had one today!!!
 

Leforte

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Preclinical grades are of little importance - aside from possibly correlating with ones Step 1 score.

Do as well as you can - and once you have your score, despite what it is, if you want to do ENT, apply and see what happens.
 

drivesmecraazee

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yeah...I've heard that before but you know how your teachers of pre-clinical subjects keep telling again and again that those grades are very important, not the knowledge, but the actual grade, that freaking number!!! and I don't know what to believe...It's just because of this brainwash, I don't know why they do it, why do they want to feel that their desicions are soooo important in your future? or maybe they do it with good intentions, you know, just so you can learn the most, maybe they're just frustrated doctors that want to piss you off all the time.
 

TheThroat

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Preclinical grades are of little importance - aside from possibly correlating with ones Step 1 score.

Do as well as you can - and once you have your score, despite what it is, if you want to do ENT, apply and see what happens.

Problem with saying the preclinicals don't matter is that it is pretty rare for a med student to be mediocre in didactic courses and then be a superstar when on rotations. Besides, the preclinical scores DO matter when it comes to making AOA and class rank.

If you are in the bottom half of the class after didactics, you have serious thinking to do about trying to get into the more competitive specialities.
 

drivesmecraazee

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Problem with saying the preclinicals don't matter is that it is pretty rare for a med student to be mediocre in didactic courses and then be a superstar when on rotations. Besides, the preclinical scores DO matter when it comes to making AOA and class rank.

If you are in the bottom half of the class after didactics, you have serious thinking to do about trying to get into the more competitive specialities.

I think that the most important thing about those didactic courses is to LEARN so you can success on rotations and not the actual grade you get.
Students with good grades on the didactic courses should succes on rotations but that doesn't mean students with average grades on the didactic courses can't success in their further rotations.
 

resxn

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I think that the most important thing about those didactic courses is to LEARN so you can success on rotations and not the actual grade you get.
Students with good grades on the didactic courses should succes on rotations but that doesn't mean students with average grades on the didactic courses can't success in their further rotations.

drivesmecraazee, you're right about what the most important thing is for those courses. But don't underestimate what those scores can do for you. As The Throat said, preclinical scores are crucial for rank and AOA. There is also a fairly good correlation with Step I scores as LeForte mentioned.

Preclinical grades themselves aren't crucial, but those three other aspects related to them are absolutely essential.

Also, the proper use of that term in your sentences is "succeed."
 
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drivesmecraazee

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drivesmecraazee, you're right about what the most important thing is for those courses. But don't underestimate what those scores can do for you. As The Throat said, preclinical scores are crucial for rank and AOA. There is also a fairly good correlation with Step I scores as LeForte mentioned.

Preclinical grades themselves aren't crucial, but those three other aspects related to them are absolutely essential.

Also, the proper use of that term in your sentences is "succeed."

What's AOA?
Excuse my errors, I haven't been using my english frequently since high school...and didn't use it that much back then...:rolleyes:
 

resxn

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AOA is the honor society that many US medical schools institute to provide distinction for their top students in each class. It's one clear way to say that you are the cream of the crop.
 

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So I am thinking about either orthopedics or ent as a first choice with gen surg as a back up. My board scores are on the low end of average S1: 231 and my clinical grades are very mediocre 1H surg 2HP (med and peds) and the rest passes. I completed a PhD in an orthopedics basic science lab with about six or so pubs.

I am considering ENT because I really like the clinical field and the research possibilities are great. From what my med school dean tells me third year grades trump everything, and the likelihood of matching is poor. She thinks I aught to focus more on gen surg programs where she believes I have a fighting chance of matching.

Anyone care to offer me some candid perspective.
 

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Which "mean" are you talking about? If you are talking about the "mean" for all test takers, which is around 218, then I have been told to take step 2 early if you want to increase your chances to matching ENT. However if you are referring to the "mean" of applicants who matched ENT, which is around 239, then I have been told to delay step 2 and submit your ERAS without reporting your step 2 score. And as a previous poster pointed out, it looks like most applicants who matched ENT and other competitive residencies (Derm, Plastics, Ortho, Rad Onc, Rads) delayed step 2 and did not submit their step 2 scores with ERAS.

When would be the best time to take step II? And a little off topic, but what if your research is just be submitted but hasn't been published - are you still more competitive than say the person who didn't do any research?
 

montypython

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When would be the best time to take step II? And a little off topic, but what if your research is just be submitted but hasn't been published - are you still more competitive than say the person who didn't do any research?

The following is advice I received from residents and faculty regarding Step II:

You should take Step II when you are ready. In regards to taking it early or delaying it, you should think about how much a good Step II score will improve your application (i.e. is your Step I score high enough to get your foot in the door or did you bomb Step I and thus need to redeem yourself on Step II)

In regards of research, you can refer to Resxn's post about the different tiers of research here:

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showpost.php?p=5651359&postcount=4
 
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78222

Can anyone give me a little insight in where I stand right now in regards to applying to ENT because reading this threads makes it sound like you need a 260+AOA+Nature Article to be competitive for ENT.
Preclinical grades: Pretty much entirely High Pass (nothing lower and a few higher)
Class Rank: Somewhere in the top half
Step I: 248
Research: none currently but planning on doing a research project with the ENT program here.
 

Bigpwn

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Can anyone give me a little insight in where I stand right now in regards to applying to ENT because reading this threads makes it sound like you need a 260+AOA+Nature Article to be competitive for ENT.
Preclinical grades: Pretty much entirely High Pass (nothing lower and a few higher)
Class Rank: Somewhere in the top half
Step I: 248
Research: none currently but planning on doing a research project with the ENT program here.

So the average score last year was like 238. You can do the math whether you are competitive or not. It's kind of funny all these people with 250 board scores asking in forums whether they are competitive or not. It creates a false impression. Yes it is competitive, and there are people with exceptional score not matching, but in general if you have about a 240, above average grades, and is from a school with an ENT program, you should match. Unless you are the worst interviewer on the planet, did not apply to enough programs (<30) or have a dark, mysterious past. Research is important only in selective programs. I have program directors from top programs telling me that they don't care that much about research. Most ENTs just love to operate. Hope this helps.
 
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78222

So the average score last year was like 238. You can do the math whether you are competitive or not. It's kind of funny all these people with 250 board scores asking in forums whether they are competitive or not. It creates a false impression. Yes it is competitive, and there are people with exceptional score not matching, but in general if you have about a 240, above average grades, and is from a school with an ENT program, you should match. Unless you are the worst interviewer on the planet, did not apply to enough programs (<30) or have a dark, mysterious past. Research is important only in selective programs. I have program directors from top programs telling me, they don't care that much about research. Most ENT surgeons who they are because they love to operate. Hope this helps.

Thanks, I wasn't really worried about my board score. Mainly just the fact that my preclinical grades were pretty average so I am not at the top of the class like it seems most posters are. I admit, research isn't something I love. I will do it because that's what it seems is expected of ENT applicants but in all honesty, I just want to operate and be a clinical physician.
 

DrJD

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Quick question... How much of a role does the name of the medical school you attend determine your chances at getting an Oto spot? As I'm going through the medical school application process this year I am curious if I need to be thinking in terms of "name" if I think I may be interested in become an ENT. Thanks!!
 

-Goose-

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Quick question... How much of a role does the name of the medical school you attend determine your chances at getting an Oto spot? As I'm going through the medical school application process this year I am curious if I need to be thinking in terms of "name" if I think I may be interested in become an ENT. Thanks!!

If ENT is like neurosurgery, it's not so much the name of your school but the name of your faculty members writing letters to support your application. These tend to go hand in hand, but not necessarily. Some "big name" schools actually have less-than-stellar NS/ENT depts. and vice-versa.

At your stage of the game, I wouldn't focus too much on which school has the best ENT department but rather I'd focus on which school will make you happy and provide you with the best environment for excelling in school, which is ultimately more important than anything else.

Also, keep in mind that your interests are likely to change (probably several times), no matter how interested in ENT you currently are.

Best of luck.
 
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JeffLebowski

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So the average score last year was like 238. You can do the math whether you are competitive or not. It's kind of funny all these people with 250 board scores asking in forums whether they are competitive or not. It creates a false impression. Yes it is competitive, and there are people with exceptional score not matching, but in general if you have about a 240, above average grades, and is from a school with an ENT program, you should match. Unless you are the worst interviewer on the planet, did not apply to enough programs (<30) or have a dark, mysterious past. Research is important only in selective programs. I have program directors from top programs telling me that they don't care that much about research. Most ENTs just love to operate. Hope this helps.

Yeah but the thing is, how competitive are they? Harvard? Hopkins? Bumbletown, PA Community Program? I think it's really hard for students to know (even if they're pretty sure they're competitive for the field) just what kind of place they should be shooting for. And a lot of people have almost all of the stuff you mentioned...but may be deficient in one or two areas, so they don't know how hard that's going to ding them.
 

medstylee

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...Research is important only in selective programs. I have program directors from top programs telling me that they don't care that much about research. Most ENTs just love to operate. Hope this helps.

really? i feel like everytime i hear about research it's something different. one faculty member at my school tells me it's more of a novelty (if you have it, great! if not, don't sweat it), then another says i really need to try and get something published to be competitive. it's confusing!
 

Bigpwn

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really? i feel like everytime i hear about research it's something different. one faculty member at my school tells me it's more of a novelty (if you have it, great! if not, don't sweat it), then another says i really need to try and get something published to be competitive. it's confusing!

So say you are currently MS3 or lower. I would do research and start getting to know the faculties. More is bettery. However, if you are already applying as a 4th year, do not be overly anxious if you have very little research but have solid board scores and class rank/grades. If you have 240 with very little research and decent letters, you should have >90% chance matching. If you have 240 with great research, you will have like >95% chance matching. These numbers are arbitrary, what I am trying to say is that based on my experience, high board scores, good grades and good LOR should be enough, except for selective heavily research oriented programs. Hope this helps.
 

medstylee

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So say you are currently MS3 or lower. I would do research and start getting to know the faculties. More is bettery. However, if you are already applying as a 4th year, do not be overly anxious if you have very little research but have solid board scores and class rank/grades. If you have 240 with very little research and decent letters, you should have >90% chance matching. If you have 240 with great research, you will have like >95% chance matching. These numbers are arbitrary, what I am trying to say is that based on my experience, high board scores, good grades and good LOR should be enough, except for selective heavily research oriented programs. Hope this helps.

thanks - i appreciate the advice. i just started on a project with a resident here which is a relief. i had been trying to get involved with something for a while (very small department) and that was a big source of frustration.
 

ACSlatered

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So say you are currently MS3 or lower. I would do research and start getting to know the faculties. More is bettery. However, if you are already applying as a 4th year, do not be overly anxious if you have very little research but have solid board scores and class rank/grades. If you have 240 with very little research and decent letters, you should have >90% chance matching. If you have 240 with great research, you will have like >95% chance matching. These numbers are arbitrary, what I am trying to say is that based on my experience, high board scores, good grades and good LOR should be enough, except for selective heavily research oriented programs. Hope this helps.

I understand what you're saying, but what if you have a 240, middle of the pack class rank and little research? I've got a 246/254 (Step I/StepII) decent clinical grades (2 H, rest HP) and mediocre preclinical grades. Add that in with the fact that I'm only now getting started with research. From what it seems to me, all I've got to hang my hat on are board scores and a decent personality. So where do I fit in with the pack?
 

Pir8DeacDoc

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I understand what you're saying, but what if you have a 240, middle of the pack class rank and little research? I've got a 246/254 (Step I/StepII) decent clinical grades (2 H, rest HP) and mediocre preclinical grades. Add that in with the fact that I'm only now getting started with research. From what it seems to me, all I've got to hang my hat on are board scores and a decent personality. So where do I fit in with the pack?

As someone who is on the other side of the process I can tell you that I think you will get attention just because of your board scores. However, we look closely at your letters as well. If you have solid board scores, (which yours are above average for Oto), work well with the important people at your hospital, and don't limit yourself too much geographically when you apply then you should do just fine.
 
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