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Competitiveness of Neurology

Discussion in 'Neurology' started by prominence, Mar 20, 2004.

  1. prominence

    prominence Senior Member
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    How competitive is Neurology among US medical students?

    What kind of USMLE Step 1 scores do you need to be competitive? (For example, you need at least a USMLE Step 1 score of 220 to apply to most ER programs if you want to get an interview).

    How difficult is it for USIMG to get a Neurology residency position(anywhere), if the applicant has mediocre grades? (i.e. USMLE Step 1 < 80, 3rd year gpa= 3.0, and good but not stellar letters of recommendation)

    Any feedback would be appreciated.
     
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  3. PainDr

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    In all honesty, USIMGs must be exceptional to get a spot in a good program. Unfair as it may be, when it comes to desirability, USIMGs are at the bottom of the list behind USMDs, DOs and FMGs. What is your 3 digit USMLE score (I forget what the 2 digit score means)? Also, why are your LOR only good and not stellar. Surely you must know that the only way to make up for mediocre grades is to be a stellar worker.

    At this point, your best strategy would be to do some audition rotations at your top choices. Your goal should be to work circles around the other students and land some stellar letters. Also, plan to take step II (with an improvement in your score) prior to interviews. It's not too late to improve your situation, but you'll have to work hard to make it happen.
     
  4. UCLA-Neuron

    UCLA-Neuron Junior Member
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    The competitiveness of neurology depends on the programs that you are looking at. If you want to go to a top academic program, you need to have top credentials. This is true even for US seniors. For example, Columbia offers eight positions every year. They receive about 300-400 applications and they interview about 50-60 applicants for the eight positions. I am sure there are more than 50-60 US seniors applying to Columbia for a position. For objective number, I think the average USMLE Step I score for those that matched this year was 220.
     
  5. FowlersGap

    FowlersGap The Original Knight Rider
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    what about for DOs?

    how competitive is it for DOs vs MDs to get an allopathic spot in neuro
     
  6. UCLA-Neuron

    UCLA-Neuron Junior Member
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    Since the spots are allopathic, by definition the preference is given to MDs. It is in general more difficult for DOs to obtain an allopathic neurology position than MDs. However, I have seen DOs getting allopathic spots.
     
  7. classic13

    classic13 Member
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    As a DO who matched neurology at an Ivy League university program I have to disagree with the blanket statement that "Since the spots are allopathic, by definition the preference is given to MDs". Heck, some allopathic program directors are DOs.

    Of the programs I've interviewed at I did not experience any discrimination at all. Some even made the effort to say that DOs are on equal ground with the MD applicants and that for whatever reasons, DOs make excellent neurologists. Other program directors have made comments like "I see you are a DO, XXX and YYY in our program are DOs and they are excellent!"

    That said I think DO neurology applicants are at a disadvantage in that DO schools don't usually have extensive research programs or big name researchers you can work with while at MD programs you have a lot more resources available; thus more opportunity to publish, etc. The fact that most DO schools de-emphasize research does not help either. Competing in a field that attracts significant numbers of MD/PhDs without some research background could put you in disadvantage.

    That said, there are programs/people that still discriminate against DOs but I believe they are in minority. For most part if you are good, you should not worry about competing head to head with other candidates, MDs or DOs. If you have the excellent grades, good board scores, research experience, and strong interests in Neurology, preferences will not simply be "given" or "handed" to MDs. Preference will be given to candidates who are most qualified and who will "fit" the program the best.
     
  8. FowlersGap

    FowlersGap The Original Knight Rider
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    thanks for the insight guys; does anyone else have any other thoughts
     
  9. cliff

    cliff Senior Member
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    There are several COMP alumni who are DOs at MD neuro programs in California. IN the calss of 2004 I know of one person who matched at Davis and there are 2 people from COMP attending USC. There are also several people in years ahead that are DOs going through MD Neuro programs. Beware if this is what you want to do about the different board requirements. Give some thought to whether you want to complete an ACGME PG1 vs an AOA PG1.

    As a DO you will want to take at least USMLE Step I as well as COMLEX I.

    cliff
    COMP 2004
     
  10. brainiologist?

    brainiologist? Junior Member
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    i hope you don't mind me asking...

    i'm curious to learn a little more about your experience applying for residency. to which ivy league schools did you apply? at which did you interview?

    you also mentioned publications. do you feel that publications, poster presentations, and other research related activities are important to ivy league programs? and if so, is there any way to know how much weight they may carry?

    i'm anxious to read your reply.

    thanks,
    b
     
  11. Goober

    Goober Senior Member
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    Neurology is not competitive. If you are from a US med school, you will have no problem matching unless you are absolute bottom of the class. The top programs of course are competitive in every specialty. I have never heard of a US allopath having a difficult time getting a neurology position. Just make sure you apply some middle tier programs not only top tier programs.
     
  12. classic13

    classic13 Member
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    I applied to Brown, Yale, Penn, Dartmouth, Harvard, and columbia. Of the Ivys I know Cornell, Penn, Dartmouth, and Harvard have accepted DOs at either residency or fellowship level. I am not sure if Yale or Brown did though. Yale matched DO's in their IM residency before so I would imagine that at least they've had some exposure to DOs.

    I think having research experience and publications are helpful and important when applying to neuro programs in general but more so for academic centers and places that focus on training academic neurologists (Partners and Mayo are few that jumps to mind).

    Programs have their strengths and weakness regarding subspecialties within neurology. If you are applying to a program with strong epilepsy program a quality research project in that area may make you more attractive. It can also work the other way around. Say if a program is in the process of building a strong movement disorders center and is bring in new people in they may want to match someone who is interested in working on the new projects. So the answer to how much research weighs for a particular program is: it depends. But the important thing is to have some research experience so that the programs know that you are a curious person and want to advance the field. Further more, with residency matching, it's a combination of things. I don't believe they assign (insert a number) for research, (#) points for AOA, etc.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!
    and ano points for
     
  13. kws888

    kws888 Junior Member
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    if you pass USMLE, you should not have problem to get a neurology spot. don't need to go to the top programs. they don.t make that much difference. I worked with so many neurologists from different schools. I have not found the ones from the top schools were any better, unless you want to teach in Harvard? if you just want to be a good doc to take care pts, get the training and you will do fine.

    KWS
     
  14. kapMD/PhD

    kapMD/PhD T-1 yr
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    hi - i'm only a 2nd year, but have my heart set on neurology. I'm a hard worker, but I'm not top of my class by any means. After the step - i will begin my graduate work in physiology, before returning to finish med school. I am wondering if any of you have heard if graduating from a combined program increases competativeness for neuro positions? Thanks.
     
  15. Bonobo

    Bonobo Senior Member
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    MD/PhD certainly improves your competitiveness for neurology residency positions. Look around at lists of residents at various programs, and you will see that the more prominent programs have a greater proportion of MD/PhD's.

    Neurology has gotten slightly more competitive (93% match rate for US grads), but is still fairly easy to match in *somewhere*. If you are at all interested in academics, then what program you go to does matter significantly. It also matters if you are interested in interventional training which is highly competitive. Otherwise, your training program will primarily affect what city you can land a decent job in, and not much else. (Though being a Harvard-trained neurologist will likely get you more referrals and consults than being one trained from an unknown program).

    The same is pretty much true for any field in medicine by the way.

    B
     
  16. Methyldopa

    Methyldopa Pharmacopoeia
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    Being an MD/PhD certainly increases your chances in all top programs in all fields. by the way, you don't have to be top of your class to go into neurology, just have to be passionate about the field.
     
  17. kapMD/PhD

    kapMD/PhD T-1 yr
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    Thanks for the encouragement. I'm going to AAN in April in San Diego. Hope to see some of you there!
     
  18. notjvarma

    notjvarma Chief Wahoo
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    I hope I can make it there. I'll need to start house hunting around that time!
     
  19. shanageena

    shanageena Member
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    Hi there, that's great advice. Thanks! But what if you go to a D.O. school with pass/fail grading? How do the residency programs rate you then?
    Thanks!
     
  20. classic13

    classic13 Member
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    The great equalizer --> board scores. Letters of recommendation can also push you over the top. I would say clerkship grades, especially in neurollogy rotation & internal medicine, are more important the the basic sciences.
     

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