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Diagnostic Radiology Matching

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by laidback, Feb 4, 2002.

  1. laidback

    laidback Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jan 3, 2002
    I know Rads has become as popular a thread topic as it has specialty. As a MS3 trying to decide on rads I have found the talk on the dismal match rates somewhat discouraging. I just wanted to get sense of what it is like out there interviewing this year? While I am at an institution where they breed specialists like crazy and will certainly try to convince me that I can match into a competitive specialty like rads, I also want to be realistic as well...

    Also, what is the current and projected job market like? Some have said that it may be difficult to find a job in California, is that true?
     
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  3. Voxel

    Voxel Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    658
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    Nov 5, 2001
    If you're from Hopkins and are slightly above average on the boards >=230, have done rads research, get letters from big name hopkins radiology attendings, who know you well, and good grades, you will probably match. I can't tell you where, but you chances of matching are high. Hopkins has a well known radiology department.
     
  4. pags

    pags Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Aug 28, 2000
    It's getting to the point where you must have rads research to have a realistic shot. I'm learning that the hard way.
     
  5. Jim Picotte

    Jim Picotte Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    I don't have any rads research and I'm pretty sure I'll match. I don't think it's completely necessary. We'll see after the match how we do, I'll be sure to post my stats and how I did with interviews and where I matched when it's all over.
     
  6. tweedy

    tweedy Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Nov 23, 2001
    missouri
    jim

    very interested on how you do in the match, as i have no research in rads either. at my school it's pretty much non-existent. actually, i haven't done any research in medical school. what do people think of the 1-2 month research electives schools offer? are they even substantial enough to consider? any programs specifically people have had good experiences in?
     
  7. Voxel

    Voxel Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    658
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    Nov 5, 2001
    Radiology research cannot hurt. It is a plus and can be interesting to attendings at powerhouse radiology research programs. These are also usually the big names places with lots of NIH grant money. They may not be the best clinical radiology programs, but they do have a name and connections that will open up lots of doors. The best clinical radiology programs are hard to define. Is it the program with the highest oral board pass rate? Is it one that makes you a member of private practice that makes referring physicians and your partners happy? Is it someone who, through mostly self-study and hard work, is such a hawk with a large differential and knowledge that to be good you should be as definitive as possible? Or a combination of all these.
     
  8. Whisker Barrel Cortex

    Whisker Barrel Cortex 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    1,785
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    Aug 10, 2001
    Midwest
    Yes, radiology has become very difficult to match into. No, I do not think it is to the level of ENT, Integrated Plastic Surgery, Derm. The reason for my opinion is that there are many more spots for radiology than for these positions. What this means is that it is much more possible to match at a decent program.

    I think you need to differentiate how competitive it is to match at a top 20 program vs a middle or lower tier program. If you are willing to live in Detriot, Indianapolis, or other locations which are not in demand, I don't think matching is as difficult. The key, if you really want to be radiologist, is to apply to a good mix of programs. Its just like applying to med school. Have your reach programs (I had about 10), your middle tier programs (I had 20), and lower tier (I had 10). With this mix, I got 25 interview offers, about 5 from the top programs, 10 from the middle tier, and all of the lower tier. I know of people that are dead set on being in a certain city. They have had much less success (6-8 interviews).

    Just so you know my stats, slightly above average clinical grades, 75% on the boards, some radiology research (between first and second year) but no publications, two medicine and one radiology letter (all from people I worked with extensively), go to a middle of the road midwestern school.
     
  9. pags

    pags Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Aug 28, 2000
    I think I'm gonna hurl.
     
  10. Jim Picotte

    Jim Picotte Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sorry pags, I also think it depends on where you apply as well. Hopefully this won't make you hurl either. I think I was a bit stupid when I applied as I submitted my ERAS on October 23rd as I had a LOR that wasn't in. Later it dawned on me that I should of applied to all these programs much sooner. For those going into a competitive field, I can't stress enough how important it is to get your application in early.

    Ok, I applied to 25 programs but one was after the deadline and I didn't realize it so I consider that I applied to 24. All in the midwest (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota). I did apply to U of Wash in St. Louis just for kicks (I didn't get an interview there). From these 24, I received 17 interviews. I went to 13 of these and decided not to go to 4 of the programs in Chicago. Of these 13, I have 5 pure University programs and the other either pure community or a mix. To be honest, 4 out of my top 5 choices are the community or mix programs and only one University. I didn't really break down the programs into tiers, but I'm assuming most are middle tier and a few are top and a few are bottom.

    My stats: USMLE Step I 230, Step II 259 (This wasn't available until January so had no bearing in being offered an interview). 2 very good letters from radiologists, both very respected in their fields, other letters from Medicine and OB-Gyn. Clinically I did very well honoring most of my 3rd year clerkships. I think I wrote a very good personal letter as well, but not sure how much that matters. I have zero research in medical school but a couple years of research in undergrad with some publications. Did not get AOA (was nominated).

    Going to a Midwestern school known for primary care mostly. MSU-CHM.

    Received letters from 7 of these programs and calls from 2 of them. Not sure if they did this to everyone but still feels good.

    Also did rotations at 2 of my top choices and worked pretty hard (for radiology anyway). Did call with residents and tried to be as impressive as you can as a med student in radiology. The residents all seemed to really like me and gave me excellent evaluations and even the PD at these two programs stated that everyone loved me, seemed like I'd be a great fit, I'll be ranked highly (again, these are just words, may mean nothing).

    That's my story so far, I'll update it if/when I match. Backup plan is a transitional year and some soul searching after that.
     
  11. pags

    pags Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Aug 28, 2000
    Ok, now since I have an empty stomach, I wanted to post an observation I've made. From what I've heard, it seems that most programs interviewed more candidates this year than in previous years for the same number of positions. I've also realized that most programs rank a minority of their interview pool. This suggests to me that PD's interview candidates that they never had any intention to rank in the first place. I can't believe that a PD would seriously consider all 90 of his/her interview pool to be in his/her rank list of 20.

    Ok, this maybe a stretch. But, I'm sure some of you rads hopefuls have thought about this. Also, I mention this because I've learned by calling PD's (they said for me to call them) that I am not on 3 of my top 5 program's rank lists. Now you see why I am periodically nauseous.
     
  12. tweedy

    tweedy Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Nov 23, 2001
    missouri
    another question which i posed awhile ago on another post...does anyone think high board scores on step 1 (250+) will get you into a residency position without significant research or aoa or other factors? any personal anecdotes would be much appreciated. this would be for an allopathic student going for any level (university, community, etc.) with more of a focus on location (chicago, nyc, west coast) than anything else.
     
  13. Jim Picotte

    Jim Picotte Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    I don't think any one single factor will get you into a program for sure, but a high score certainly will help a lot.

    Pags, what school do you go to out of curiosity? And where were these programs that won't even rank you?

    For me, the majority of places interviewed 10 people for every 1 open spot. The PD's know that every applicant applied to 36 programs on average so they're trying to even out the playing field a bit too but I know that a lot of programs interviewed the same number of people as last year, some even fewer so that it should have been a bit harder to get interviews this year.

    One of my top programs is ranking 35 out of 36 candidates that they interviewed for 3 slots. And the one they aren't ranking is a PGY1 this year and was interviewed by mistake the PD said.

    I know that I've been to two programs that have asked me specifically if I was an MD student (we have a DO school here at my University too) and then proceeded to tell me that they won't rank DO students. One said they don't interview DO's because they have their own match and should go to their own programs.

    There are D.O. PD's out there though and I wish everyone the best of luck. I hope you get in somewhere pags.
     
  14. Sparhawk

    Sparhawk Member 10+ Year Member

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    Feb 3, 1999
    Schererville IN, USA
    Hey man, its me. This info is great.
     
  15. pags

    pags Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Aug 28, 2000
    I attend NYCOM. Regardless of their credentials, I know there are allopathic residencies that will not interview DO students. Come to find out a tad late, I happened to do a rads elective at one of these places. Bad idea. The problem with the mentality that "DO's have their own residencies" is that there are only 11 AOA radiology programs, mainly in the midwest, that accept only 2 or 3 residents a year. You do the math. Pretty dismal. Besides the limited spots, I am also skeptical on the quality of these programs and the potential job search difficulties that might materialize.

    As for where I applied... this is another issue that I should have thought about with better foresight. I applied ONLY to northeast programs, majority being in NY, CT, MA, and a couple in PA. A full mix of top to low tier. Every single lowish level program in NYC failed to interview me, with 2 interviews at mid range university/community hybrid programs. I was completely shut out of Boston and Philadelphia.
    It's possible that if I applied in the midwest where osteopathy abounds, I might be boasting about 20 interviews. Who really knows.

    In my experience, most of the PD's on the interview trail were interviewing at a 1:20 to 1:30 ratio. This might be a regional event due to the incredible application numbers in the northeast. One program in New Haven had ~400 applications for 3 spots and it's not that program that begins with the letter Y. I'm not sure if the rest of the country has had numbers like this. Despite these outrageous numbers, one upstate program only interviewed 16 for 3 spots. However, the city where this program calls home received something like 7 feet of snow in 4 days around Christmas. That sure puts a dent in my golf time.

    Anyhoo, enjoy some of my thoughts, for that's all I have right now.
     
  16. droliver

    droliver Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    May 1, 2001
    pags,

    best of luck. I hope you have some backup plan if it doesn't work out.
     
  17. Jim Picotte

    Jim Picotte Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Well I also wish you the best of luck. I think radiology really needs people that are into the field, excited and motivated not people who want to go into it because of the lifestyle, cush hours and high pay.

    I don't know how I would have fared if I applied out East. The Midwest does seem to be a tad easier to get into and they have great programs here but a lot of people don't like the weather. We'll know in about 6 weeks though where we're going.

    I myself have no backup plan so if I don't match into Rads, I'll be doing a transitional year I guess.
     
  18. Voxel

    Voxel Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    658
    2
    Nov 5, 2001
    From the radiology interview trail: Some places depending on how prestigeous they think they are interview between 8:1-30:1 applicants/position. I think the lower tier programs tend to interview more since they will likely go down on their rank list because the area they are located has many better programs. The hot stuff programs know who they are and can afford to be more picky. I've gotten several letters and calls from PD. I have received some very explicit feedback stating that I will be on their rank list and have a good shot at matching at their programs. I take all of this with a grain of salt. I know of an AOA, top student last year who crushed everything and got burned by a specific program where he wanted to match. He was trading "letters of interest/intent" with the PD and did not match there. I have interviewed at 20+ radiology programs, ~30% university, ~40% hybrid, and ~30% pure community programs. I am still worried about a) not matching and b) matching in the ghetto. I think the anxiety level among my fellow radiology interviewees is very high.

    I interviewed at a program where I have done research and an elective that I kicked butt in and took call, etc. I would love to match there (my #1), but it's a great program and most people know that. It will be tough to match in the top 5 on my rank list. I have a feeling candidates and programs will be going down on their rank list this year. This is because the # of applicants far exceeds the available positions and candidates have applied and interviewed at a lot more programs than last year.

    My advice to third years next year is to apply EARLY to a wide range (perceived quality wise) and number of programs in your geographical area. Lock up as many interview slots as as soon as possible.

    Good luck to everyone in the radiology match!
     
  19. Scrofula

    Scrofula Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Apr 20, 2001
    Boston, MA
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by pags:
    <strong>Ok, now since I have an empty stomach, I wanted to post an observation I've made. From what I've heard, it seems that most programs interviewed more candidates this year than in previous years for the same number of positions. I've also realized that most programs rank a minority of their interview pool. This suggests to me that PD's interview candidates that they never had any intention to rank in the first place. I can't believe that a PD would seriously consider all 90 of his/her interview pool to be in his/her rank list of 20.

    Ok, this maybe a stretch. But, I'm sure some of you rads hopefuls have thought about this. Also, I mention this because I've learned by calling PD's (they said for me to call them) that I am not on 3 of my top 5 program's rank lists. Now you see why I am periodically nauseous.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">For many of these programs it is just such b.s. to interview 10 people per slot. My top choice, which matched their 10 slots at number 17 last year, told me that if they went to that number again I wouldn't match with them (this is after I traveled several hundred miles just to do a second look!!). I will be ranked, but if I read between the lines, they'll have to go around 50% down their list before I have a chance of matching. OK, I know it's competitive this year but why invite me for an interview if I'm not going to be a competitive candidate??? If all these PDs want is AOA, 270's on StepI that's fine, but they shouldn't waste my time and money. Sorry for the rant...I'm just bitter :D
     
  20. laidback

    laidback Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jan 3, 2002
    Thanks to everyone who has posted, this has been very informative. Best of wishes to all the applicants this year, and thanks for all of the advices. By the way, is anyone looking at any programs out on the west coast?
     

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