you know......Cornell....arguably one of the best medical institutions in the most exciting city in the country? But I completely understand if you'd like to keep up to date with the usnews report rankings for ******s. Have fun twiddling your thumbs in Rochester.
Regardless of where you place the "top" institutions, radiology is an extremely competitive field. Lots of "smart people" know of the extremely high-paying starting offers and the overall benign lifestyle of the field, as of late.
I would surmise that it would take exceptional credentials (exemplified by high gpa and high boards and research and.......) to be competitive at "top" institutions. To avoid being ambiguous, I would say >240 w/ research and AOA.
To maximize the "matching potential", I would apply at local community programs, "weaker" Universtiy programs, etc.
Pretty much every radiology program in the country is extremely competitive. There were some AOA, 240+ in both steps that didn't match last year, so just get whatever spot you can. There are those few select, AOA, research, 260+, father is chief of radiology somewhere who won't have a problem matching, but for the majority of people trying to get into radiology....pretty much any program you can get into is great.
First of all, every program will screen based on some preliminary cut off point for USMLE step I, but that cut off point will be different for every program based on their profile of desired candidates who are likely to rank them high on the rank list.
Top tier programs (there is no official ranking for these programs, but these programs tend to be associated with large, research oriented universities) tend to like research, and MD-PhD's have a lot of success at these programs; they also like AOA and Step I scores >230. Not every candidate they accept will have these credentials -- knowing someone in the program who thinks well and highly of you will go a long way; also, MD-PhD's get a break for the extra credentials and experience.
Middle tier programs include smaller universities with less research, larger community programs with affiliations with more prestigious institutions, any small to medium size program in California (everyone wants to live in Calif, and even programs that aren't that good get stellar candidates). They tend to like Step I >215-225; again, MD-PhDs and people they already know and like get breaks. Interviews count for a lot since the majority of people who are applying will fall in this range, and the only way to stand out is how they present in person.
DO, US citizen FMGs, and noncitizen FMGs all have disadvantages in that order. But many of the more outstanding candidates can still get into rads, including at many middle tier program. Again, good step I, research, good subinternship evaluations/impressions, letters, etc help tremendously.
If I sound repetitive, that's good. The more/better your credentials, the better your chances. If you are an average, mediocre, or less than average applicant, then you need to be flexible about location and pestige of the program you are applying to.
Ok, this is really splitting hairs here, but I'm just curious about how my Step 1 would rank. I noticed you put >230 for the top tier and then 215-225 for average programs. For someone such as myself with a borderline 228 do you think I would get screened out with some kind of wrackin frackin algorithm, or will those measley 2 points be of little notice when deciding whether or not I'm allowed some higher end interviews?
Thanks for tolerating my analness.
Snaggle, you are anal. I understand, I was there myself once.
The cutoff is done by computer -- an unfortunate consequence of having the convenience of ERAS/NRMP done as it is now. Programs can simply choose not to look at applications with less than a minimum score unless there are other qualifications like MD/PhD or AOA -- something that can also be done by the computer for them. Computers are pretty ruthless.
By all means, apply to your dream school -- the score 230 is a generalization, not an absolute (and I don't claim to be an authority on the subject, I'm just someone who went through the process and is trying to keep abreast of the trends).
The only way to know the real cut off for a program is by asking. Even if you do not make their cutoff, I will emphasize making yourself known to your top choices with an audition (ie, a subinternship or research rotation) if it's a place that may be out of your league credentials-wise. They may just be willing to pull your individual application out of the bunch and give it a serious look, computer cut off or no.
Stop worrying about your 228 -- there is nothing you can do about it now except to take your step II's early and knock it out of the ball park.
I understand your eagerness for top tier interviews. However your score of 228 assuming all else equal should allow one to land *A* radiology residency. Top tier places probably will have an average of 240 with a standard deviation of 5 or so (my guess). Even if you get an interview you will be on the lower end of the curve and it is statistically unlikely that you will match there. Having said that, do by all means try. What do you have to loose except time and money? Just know that the odds are against you but not impossible. I think that matched applicants on the bottom end of the curve at top tier programs or below 2SD brought something unique to the table.
I know this time (interviewing) can be a nerve racking time with a lot riding on this. The fact is... there are plenty of mid-tier programs (and some lower tier) that will adaquately train you. I have the feeling from talking to many radiologists that a lot of what makes a strong radiologist is lots of studying outside of the job, common sense, and volume (in that particular order).
The top tier residency on your CV is a nice pedigree to have if you are going into academics. Private practice jobs are wide open, even in desirable locations (for now). Besides you can always do fellowship at a prestigous place if you want the pedigree.
As a practicing radiologist for eight years, I can say that it if you get into any university program, you will be well-trained. All academic programs have a few stars. Many times these people go on lecture circuit and have little interaction with the residents. An because a radiologist in private practice can make as much as five times what academic radiologists make, there has been a brain drain; and those who stay in academia may not be as bright, or as good a teacher as those who left. Star radiologists also tend to move programs to programs so that that they can promoted into leadership. I have seen programs that had complete turnovers. So the program and the attendings that you hope to learn from will not be there. And the programs can overnight become a mediocre program. In regards to jobs, the most important factor is whether you are board certified. Coming from Mallinkrodt without certification would hurt you. The second factor is whether you have taken fellowship. Nowadays, because of the lucrative market and severe labor shortage, groups no longer have the option of recruiting fellowship trained applicants only.