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chances thread for an unusual rising M4

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radninja

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The weak clinical grades will hurt you at some programs, but a year off for research probably will not help you a whole lot. Seems like you have great scores and research, and a year off for a couple more publications might help some, but it won't make up for your weaker clinical grades. Strong LORs from outside institutions can go a long way to help in your situation. So as long as you line up a couple aways and get some LORs speaking to your strong clinical skills from those aways, you should be fine!
 

cefhcl

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I was in a very similar situation this past application cycle - I did two aways and that was more than sufficient, I got plenty of excellent interviews and matched very well. Only "tier" I didn't get interviews from was the Big 3 (MSKCC/MDACC/HROP) and I pretty much expected that.
 

Flukes

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Thanks for your feedback. Is there still time to schedule an away rotation in August and/or September?
 

metallica81788

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Thanks for your feedback. Is there still time to schedule an away rotation in August and/or September?

Probably, but the best way to find that out is by applying. Try calling places you're interested in to see if there are spots left before spending money on VSAS. I know M4s that are just being accepted for aways in October/November so there is a chance you'll have to wait that long.
 

thompa

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I'm barely a PGY1, so feel free to take this with a fairly large grain of salt.** However, I would say that "what are my chances?" depend largely on what you're looking for.

There were multiple programs that didn't fill this year. This included a place like Cincinnati (filled via SOAP), which has an amazing pediatric hospital, great clinical training, and is in the process of building protons. Loved my interview there. I'm not predicting they will or won't fill next year, but they're not a "bottom tier" program by any means. So, if your main goal is to be a rad onc, I think you'll do fine if you apply broadly (though you should definitely do away rotations, especially since you'll need rad onc LORs). If you want to do research at a big name institution, then your lack of honors will hurt you. An extra year of research is most likely not going to give you much of a boost at this point. I wouldn't do it.

If I learned anything on the trail last year, it's that radiation oncology residencies are looking for the complete package (as much as possible). Any single area of deficit can be compensated for in other areas, but more than one starts to really hurt you. The top ranked programs require excellence in all categories. Since you've got an excellent Step 1, strong research credentials, and a name brand school then you're in pretty good shape. Get some strong radiation oncology LORs and you'll be very likely to match. Your (relatively) weaker grades may limit you at the "top 10"-type places, but as you'll find out on the trail this year, there are very few truly bad rad onc residencies. Good luck and enjoy 4th year!

**Just to cover my bases, so you're aware of where my viewpoint is coming from: Step 1 240s, AOA, GHHS, 4 publications (none in rad onc or cancer specifically), bottom tier med school. Matched at a top 20 rad onc program (according to the methodologically flawed Doximity rankings).
 

evilbooyaa

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Thanks for all the great feedback! It's especially interesting to hear from applicants who recently applied.

A few questions that come to mind after reading all this:
1) I figured that top 10 programs were out for me (except maybe my home institution), but what is the difference in career opportunities between training at a MSKCC/MDA vs. a great program without quite as much NIH funding? If it's just access to cutting-edge research, could I just do my research year or do a fellowship at one of these places?
2) I think my school recommends a medicine sub-I. Is it helpful to get a letter from an IM or med onc faculty who I get to know from sub-I, compared to a rad/onc faculty from another institution?

Thanks!

1) Better job opportunities in academics for sure. If you really want to do research as well, this could be somewhat beneficial.

2) Not for your Radiation Oncology application. I would get a letter from IM (less so med onc) for your preliminary medicine/transitional year application. Ideally your LoRs for any Rad Onc program will be 3 (or 4) Rad Oncs. However, if you have someone who absolutely loves you and would write the best letter ever, it's something to possibly consider.
 
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