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Chances for Matching Ophthalmology?

amicornea29

New Member
May 13, 2020
4
1
1
  1. Medical Student
Hey all!

I'm a stressed out rising M4 who is going to apply ophthalmology in the upcoming cycle. I'm worried because our rotations don't start back up until July (first rotation will be my home ophtho elective), and with SF match only moved up 2 weeks with the same preface that earlier app submissions get more interviews, I'm not sure if I'll be able to get meaningful LORS in time as I'm really close with only one ophtho faculty member, but not really to anybody else... worried about getting at least one other LOR from my program 1 month before the target deadline for CAS. If y'all could give any advice, please let me know... stats are below:

  • STEP 1: 252, CK planned for end of August (Prometric willing)
  • AOA (junior induction) and GHHS
  • Middle tiered public NE Medical school, traditional applicant (straight from college)
  • Honors in all 3rd year clerkships
  • Multiple leadership positions in volunteer groups (do PD's actually care about this?)
  • The research is where I'm worried... I have a good number of poster presentations that I'm first author on (4 total, 2 at ARVO with 1 presentation of distinction), 2 online little articles, and 9 other poster presentations I'm 2nd/3rd author on... however, I do not have any manuscripts published... I'm working on one now but I'm not sure if it will be published in time for apps... I feel so dumb for squandering my time and not getting my project published earlier, but hindsight is 20/20 I suppose. I see all of these other applicants with multiple "real" pubs and book chapters, and not sure how PDs will view someone with no manuscripts to date
  • I love my home program and would love to match there, but we have 6 other people interested in going into ophtho this year and with aways being cancelled, I feel like more and more people are going to try and match at their home programs...
Thank you all in advance for your advice/tips/suggestions. This app cycle is gonna be a hell of a whirlwind, that's for sure!
 
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D

deleted1038938

not an optho applicant but people at my mid-tier school match with lower stats, no AOA, and no pubs! i have no idea though what the optho pool is like just how the people at my school match.
 
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Cawolf

PGY-1
7+ Year Member
Feb 27, 2013
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Recent applicant, matched this year. Just my opinions.

Hopefully you had a chance to look at the AUPO' recent statement (https://aupo.org/system/files/resources/2020-05/AUPO 2021 Ophthalmology Match Statement_5.8.20.pdf). I will just say I think you will be ahead of many other applicants this year due to COVID-19. Also you are very academically solid - no concerns there, you will only stand out in a positive way. A comment on Step 2. You could take it, or not. I don't think you need it for your application with 250+ Step 1.

To respond to your other questions:

-Traditionally people apply with 2 (maybe 3?) ophthalmology letters, but the AUPO has made it clear that they expect most applicants will only have 1 this year. It sounds like you have one really strong letter lined up, and maybe even a second. I would try to get that second ophthalmology letter if possible, but if not, don't fret too much. Have some contingencies in place to fill your other 2 letter spots with other clinical and/or research letters so you don't have to scramble at the end.

-People do care about leadership and involvement in your school/community. There is a lot of open space on the SF Match app that needs to be filled in with this kind of information. It doesn't make up for poor boards/grades/letters/research, but that isn't an issue for you.

-Research-wise, there will always be applicants with more impressive CVs. I think you are way ahead of the curve though in this aspect. I matched at at a very strong program with what I would call below average research. The big thing is how you can take ownership of your projects, speak intelligently about your involvement, and have a good understanding of how they impact the field. Be proud of what you have and you will impress - having multiple presentations is outstanding.

-It is true more people will likely match at home. It might be you, it might not. I don't think you will have an issue matching as long as you apply broadly (not too broad though) and interview well. Best of luck future colleague!
 
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amicornea29

New Member
May 13, 2020
4
1
1
  1. Medical Student
Recent applicant, matched this year. Just my opinions.

Hopefully you had a chance to look at the AUPO' recent statement (https://aupo.org/system/files/resources/2020-05/AUPO 2021 Ophthalmology Match Statement_5.8.20.pdf). I will just say I think you will be ahead of many other applicants this year due to COVID-19. Also you are very academically solid - no concerns there, you will only stand out in a positive way. A comment on Step 2. You could take it, or not. I don't think you need it for your application with 250+ Step 1.

To respond to your other questions:

-Traditionally people apply with 2 (maybe 3?) ophthalmology letters, but the AUPO has made it clear that they expect most applicants will only have 1 this year. It sounds like you have one really strong letter lined up, and maybe even a second. I would try to get that second ophthalmology letter if possible, but if not, don't fret too much. Have some contingencies in place to fill your other 2 letter spots with other clinical and/or research letters so you don't have to scramble at the end.

-People do care about leadership and involvement in your school/community. There is a lot of open space on the SF Match app that needs to be filled in with this kind of information. It doesn't make up for poor boards/grades/letters/research, but that isn't an issue for you.

-Research-wise, there will always be applicants with more impressive CVs. I think you are way ahead of the curve though in this aspect. I matched at at a very strong program with what I would call below average research. The big thing is how you can take ownership of your projects, speak intelligently about your involvement, and have a good understanding of how they impact the field. Be proud of what you have and you will impress - having multiple presentations is outstanding.

-It is true more people will likely match at home. It might be you, it might not. I don't think you will have an issue matching as long as you apply broadly (not too broad though) and interview well. Best of luck future colleague!

Thanks so much for your detailed reply; seriously appreciate the effort! Also, congrats on matching this year!!!

-For the letters, the PD of my program would write one of my letters for sure since I've been working with him since I was an M1! Do you know if PhD carriers can write one of our letters? I've both done a good amount of research projects with him and done a ton of clinical volunteer work doing community screenings. I wasn't sure if programs would accept a letter from a non-MD person.

-For the research aspect, if something is "pending publication" aka submitted but haven't heard back, can we still include that with our publications?

Thanks again, and best of luck to you!! :)
 

Cawolf

PGY-1
7+ Year Member
Feb 27, 2013
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Thanks so much for your detailed reply; seriously appreciate the effort! Also, congrats on matching this year!!!

-For the letters, the PD of my program would write one of my letters for sure since I've been working with him since I was an M1! Do you know if PhD carriers can write one of our letters? I've both done a good amount of research projects with him and done a ton of clinical volunteer work doing community screenings. I wasn't sure if programs would accept a letter from a non-MD person.

-For the research aspect, if something is "pending publication" aka submitted but haven't heard back, can we still include that with our publications?

Thanks again, and best of luck to you!! :)

No problem, thank you. I am looking forward to residency.

-That sounds like it would be a really strong letter. I think this year in particular, it would fit really well as long as you have other letters that speak to your clinical abilities. I did not have a research-only letter, but are they in the visual sciences? I found that places only ever discussed or seemed to care about my ophthalmology letters. It sounds like they know you well and would be a good fit to write one.

-You can totally include projects in a variety of statuses - it is free text. People put in preparation, submitted, in review, accepted, published, etc. I think that as long as you can speak about the science, your role, and its impact in the field, any thing you have touched is worth including. That advice of course wouldn't hold up with an MD PhD who has 20+ papers, but for me as a novice researcher, that is what I did.

Best of luck to you as well. If you have any other questions you can always PM. I have a lot of free time currently.
 
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amicornea29

New Member
May 13, 2020
4
1
1
  1. Medical Student
No problem, thank you. I am looking forward to residency.

-That sounds like it would be a really strong letter. I think this year in particular, it would fit really well as long as you have other letters that speak to your clinical abilities. I did not have a research-only letter, but are they in the visual sciences? I found that places only ever discussed or seemed to care about my ophthalmology letters. It sounds like they know you well and would be a good fit to write one.

-You can totally include projects in a variety of statuses - it is free text. People put in preparation, submitted, in review, accepted, published, etc. I think that as long as you can speak about the science, your role, and its impact in the field, any thing you have touched is worth including. That advice of course wouldn't hold up with an MD PhD who has 20+ papers, but for me as a novice researcher, that is what I did.

Best of luck to you as well. If you have any other questions you can always PM. I have a lot of free time currently.

Amazing, thank you so so much! Seriously appreciate it! Yes, the PhD faculty member is involved only in visual science research and he works closely with all of our ophthalmology faculty in both clinical and research aspects.

Thanks!
 

amicornea29

New Member
May 13, 2020
4
1
1
  1. Medical Student
250 step 1, AOA, all Hs, like 10+ research experiences..."will I match?"...really bro???

dude youre good
Sorry, I know it sounds like an over-neurotic post, but seeing other people from my school who have lists and lists of pubs, multiple research years before med school, etc gets me stressed out. Plus, nothing is ever guaranteed :/ Fingers crossed for everyone this year!
 
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