golgi

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Hey guys,
I'm new to this forum and thought that maybe some of you can give me some guidance. I can't imagine doing anything besides ophtho but the problem is it's pretty competitive now. I have only a 223/90 on step 1 but my basic science grades absolutely stink. So far I have honored all my 3rd year clinicals and have done a lot to show my interest in ophtho. Also, I am from a small school. Should I just give up and do something more realistic?

Thanks for your help and input!!!!
 

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Originally posted by golgi
Hey guys,
I'm new to this forum and thought that maybe some of you can give me some guidance. I can't imagine doing anything besides ophtho but the problem is it's pretty competitive now. I have only a 223/90 on step 1 but my basic science grades absolutely stink. So far I have honored all my 3rd year clinicals and have done a lot to show my interest in ophtho. Also, I am from a small school. Should I just give up and do something more realistic?

Thanks for your help and input!!!!

Welcome to the forum.

I wouldn't worry about your basic science grades too much unless there were numerous D's and F's.

The clinical grades carry much more weight.

Here are things that can help you be more competitive:
1) Strong letters from ophthalmologists at your program.
2) Consider doing an away elective, which may result in a strong letter.
3) Complete 1-2 one-month electives in ophthalmology and do well.
4) Meet with the ophthalmology rotation coordinator at your school.
5) Give it a shot and apply to enough programs to receive 10+ interviews.
6) Once you get an interview, then it's a new ball game.

Good luck!
 

GeddyLee

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How can anyone honor ALL of their 3rd year rotations? I know stellar...super stellar students (not me by any means) who don't even honor half.

I think this just goes to show that some hospitals are more reserved about giving honors, and others give it out to like a third of the class. What keeps this system in check?

Furthermore, everyone here knows that it's much easier to get honors doing rotations at affiliated community hospitals, rather than at the medical center. Of course, it doesn't show on your transcript that you did all of your rotations at small community programs....but who do you think got better teaching?

And another thing....some schools don't even use shelf exams, which totally robs any shred of objectivity that could have been used in determining grades. And again, most residency programs don't know that either.

So in the decision process that selection comittees go through, how do they know who got honors because it was easy to get, who got honors just because they kissed enough booty, and the people that didn't get tons of honors but really are more than qualified?

Golgi, I'm not singling you out here. More power to you. I think you'll get a fantastic OPH residency....I mean, honoring everything in you clinicals will certainly raise eyebrows in a very good way.

I guess in the end it doesn't matter how you got all honors, or how you didn't. You'll be an ophthalmologist and I'll probably be in some crappy IM program.
 
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golgi

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Hey--

I am sorry you feel this way . However, although my school is smaller they absoutely do not give everyone honors. In fact, I was the only one or two in my groups of around 5 -7 to honor and I worked my butt off to learn as much as I could. I do not kiss anyone's butt and I actually consider that a weakness of mine because if I did, I would probably have to work half as much as I do now.

Besides I went to a competitive undergrad where everyone and their mom is a gunner and they don't give that many As and maybe that's what stopped me from getting into a top, prestigious medical school. You win some and you lose some but you just try and work your hardest to make up for your losses.

Geddy Lee, nothing against you man, but maybe you need to stop crying over spilt milk, wean yourself off this board, and start strategizing about next year's match. The above sentence is meant to be constructive. Good luck.
 

golgi

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One more thing...

I received an absolutely fantastic education from my "poor, little school" by professors who were dedicated to teaching and not to research, politics, etc...
 

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I guess my post was a little harsh. It was more of a general observation than a direct response to your post Golgi. By the way Golgi...I personally learned this year that a stellar board score won't get you jack...but a stellar transcript will make you....you'll do great in the match next year.

I would love to see some kind of standard grading policy enacted so that transcripts would be comparable between all schools...after all, it decides our future to some degree.

For instance....if you receive a 4.5/5.0 average evaluation for a rotation, and score at the 85th percentile on the shelf....is this just a High Pass everywhere? Apparently it was at my school. Similarly, an average eval of 4.0/5.0 and 77th percentile got me just a pass on another rotation. That's fine by me.

Seeing that OPH programs hold in high regards medicine and surgery grades, what do you think of this hypothetical: two students at different schools score 4.0 out of 5.0 and 75th percentile shelf...one gets honors and the other gets pass. Then two equal performances become dramatically unequal when the selection committee reads the transcript. I don't know of any specific situation where this happened, but it certainly could happen.

I think my school aims to award honors to 10% of the class. Again, not to single Golgi out here, but as an example, 2 out of 5 or 7 received honors in your group...that's much higher than 10% of the class.

Golgi...you probably are an excellent student...and I'm probably not even talking about you, or your school here, but certainly grade inflation is an interesting topic...I know it happend big time at my undergrad. It just seems like there could be a better, more equal system.

You could argue in the current system, various attributes give certain students an advantage in the grading system. Having an outgoing personality, being very attractive or seductive, or like Golgi mentioned, being a bum-kisser. Hey...I just want a fair system when it comes to these big decisions. I think that's what we all want.
 

golgi

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Yo Geddy-Lee

Sorry I took your post too seriously. I'm not usually like that. Guess I'm just stressed out about away electives and all that crap...

I have no question that you will do great in the match next year!!
 

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Let's face it--there will never be a totally unifying and objective grading system. There never can be given the fact that schools all have different standards (whether they be higher or lower). For the most part, honors allows an accurate comparison with fellow students from ones own school. I think that most program directors know that and use this fact to compare us to past individuals from our school or similar programs in their minds.

The important thing to know is that no matter if you honored 2/5 or 5/5, this difference will not keep you out of a given residency. There are so many factors taken into consideration by a residency that we as students are fully capable of making an application with only 2/5 honors equal with that of one with 5/5 by beefing up some other part of the application. One just has to realize that their school doesn't give as many honors as they would like and be proactive from early on.

I feel bad that Geddy Lee didn't match especially given his other credentials, but I definitely don't think it was because of a lack of 3rd year clerkship honors.

I just want new readers to the forum to know that the chips aren't really stacked against them if they don't honor everything. It definitely helps, but it isn't the end of the world.
 

vanelo

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I absolutely loved your post because it seemed exactly like my case. So far I've honored my third year clerkships too and am too from a "small school". I got a 230/93 which is slightly higher than yours. Right now I am very worried about fourth year rotations, and I guess you are too. Hope to hear from you.

Wish you good luck!!!
 

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I think it's better to be more cautious than overly optimistic when giving advice to Ophtho hopefuls. I don't think any of us would disagree that it is incredibly competitive to match in Ophthalmology these days. Obviously someone with a 230 or below board score can match, but I would suggest a backup plan considering what I've seen with Geddylee and other very qualified applicants. From what I've seen personally, and through people I've met through the match process this year, to be reasonably confident in the match, you need at least a 235+ board score, mostly honors, and great LOR. Some schools value the interview more than others. From what I've seen, a lot of schools pretty much have their mind made up by the interview. At these schools, the interview can't help you much but it can definitely hurt you. So I guess what I'm trying to say is don't think if you have mediocre stats but a "GREAT personality" that you are going to charm you're way into an Ophthalmology spot. I think that would be unrealistic and may lead you down the path of not matching, with no real backup plan in place if this happens. If you are mediocre, by all means give it your best shot and maybe you'll land a spot. Don't go into the process naive, have a backup plan and realize that this is a very competitive process. Good luck to everyone applying or reapplying next year!
 

exmike

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So LORs are that important? It seems to me that they are pretty subjective, so how can residency directors judge among them? Is the key just to get a bigwig to write you the letter, rather than to have a glowing letter from a random clincal professor?
 

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I have to agree with ophtho1122 about having a backup plan if your scores are lower than expected. IM is a great backup because many of the smart docs are running off to sub-specialties, leaving a real demand for less smart, more misunderstood people like me in medicine (there's a great NYT article on this phenomenon from January). I wish I knew about having a backup last year, but I was told that I'd have no problem matching so I didn't consider it an issue. Sometimes I think I wasted my hard-earned money going on all these interviews, cause (as mentioned before) I bet they had their minds made up already and just interviewed the rest of us as backups, as well. And the match process is supposed to favor the applicants...?

Also, I don't think the med school rep or research helps at all (this coming from a non MD/PhD guy from a top 10 med school and with 1 yr ophtho research, 4 yrs overall research experience dating from college). The boards and grades are clearly where it's at, cause those were the weaker parts of my app. Anyway, I'm looking forward to busting my ass off in IM residency and then trying to do ophtho afterwards. I have a formidable set of stereotypes working against me, though: (1. Low step 1 and 2 boards 2. The stigma of being a re, re applicant 3. Having Medicare against me cause they won't fund much of the Ophtho residency salary after I do IM 4. You want to do something else? Why did you go into IM in the first place...). But hey, at least I can point out interesting ocular findings to my fellow IM residents, and I can diagnose stuff before consulting the ophtho resident!
...that is if I match in IM. I'm sick of lip service, so I don't know who to believe anymore, even if they tell me they are interested.

(rice is still working on accepting his fate...please give him some more time :( )
 

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There's no question that a back-up plan is important. However, don't let anybody scare you away from ophtho either. The average matching step 1 score this year was only 228; not all that high compared to ENT's 237. So don't get psyched out and think ophtho is unattainable! There are plenty of people who aren't AOA, don't have super high boards scores, don't have connections, and still match every year into the tier 2 and 3 programs.


Originally posted by ophtho1122
I think it's better to be more cautious than overly optimistic when giving advice to Ophtho hopefuls. I don't think any of us would disagree that it is incredibly competitive to match in Ophthalmology these days. Obviously someone with a 230 or below board score can match, but I would suggest a backup plan considering what I've seen with Geddylee and other very qualified applicants. From what I've seen personally, and through people I've met through the match process this year, to be reasonably confident in the match, you need at least a 235+ board score, mostly honors, and great LOR. Some schools value the interview more than others. From what I've seen, a lot of schools pretty much have their mind made up by the interview. At these schools, the interview can't help you much but it can definitely hurt you. So I guess what I'm trying to say is don't think if you have mediocre stats but a "GREAT personality" that you are going to charm you're way into an Ophthalmology spot. I think that would be unrealistic and may lead you down the path of not matching, with no real backup plan in place if this happens. If you are mediocre, by all means give it your best shot and maybe you'll land a spot. Don't go into the process naive, have a backup plan and realize that this is a very competitive process. Good luck to everyone applying or reapplying next year!
 

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two questions....

when you guys say small school, what exactly do you mean? i.e. mayo has like 25 students/class but it's a traditionally pretty solid program. on the other hand, finch/nymc may have 100+ students but they're less well regarded. by "small" do you mean not top-50 ranking on usnews?

secondly, if i'm interested in optho, how should i schedule rotations? i.e. do i do one optho at home school and one outside of home school, or can you do otpho rotation only once?
 

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Originally posted by Yogi Bear
two questions....

when you guys say small school, what exactly do you mean? i.e. mayo has like 25 students/class but it's a traditionally pretty solid program. on the other hand, finch/nymc may have 100+ students but they're less well regarded. by "small" do you mean not top-50 ranking on usnews?

secondly, if i'm interested in optho, how should i schedule rotations? i.e. do i do one optho at home school and one outside of home school, or can you do otpho rotation only once?

Small program to me is a school that is less prestigious and one that may not have a strong ophthalmology department.

You can schedule an ophtho rotation at your home school and at an away school.
 
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