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Doing research/Getting into Residency

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by Tre Cool, May 28, 2008.

  1. Tre Cool

    Tre Cool Senior Member
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    I'm an MS-2 currently and am thinking about future career options. As I'm studying for Step 1 right now, I realize that I'm not getting the highest of scores. I took 2 tests so far and am around the 210s - 220s. Prior to med school I did basic research and have 1 publication and 1 coming up. In med school I've been involved in clinical and basic research but it doesn't seem that significant because I can't devote a lot of time to it (not as much as I would like) with school keeping me busy.

    My question is would it still be possible to get into a residency, say Internal Med at an academic center, with about that score? I know those are competitive. I am considering taking a year off and doing research to perhaps boost my chances of getting in. How about something more competitive like Nsurg or Anesthesia? Would I still be able to get in with that score if I did research? That really is the main thing that might bring down my app. Well I'm not AOA either but I've almost always scored above the mean in all the organ modules. I have good ECs but I know that doesn't count for much. And I still haven't done 3rd year clinicals yet.

    Any advice would be great.
     
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  3. gbwillner

    gbwillner Pastafarian
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    Best advice:

    Chill the frak out.

    IM is probably the least competitive residency. As for neurosurgery.... that's pretty far off from IM, and so is anesthesiology. First figure out what you want to do. Research is the most important criteria for a research-based career. If you are not interested in research, don't do it just to boost your chances- this is a waste of time. First do your third year and decide what you like, then think about research in that field if you are so inclined. It's probably better to do a 1-month elective doing clinical research in that field than to take a whole year off doing unrelated basic science. If you were doing a PhD it would be a different story... but you are not.

    Most residency programs want to see commitment to the field and excitement and interest. They want to know what you're like to work with. A good LOR is much better than research, although pubs in the field can help.

    /and you don't even have a step 1 score yet- sheesh.
     
  4. Tre Cool

    Tre Cool Senior Member
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    Thanks, I guess. I know I wouldn't take a year off until after 3rd year at the earliest. Only once I figure out what I want to do. And no, I don't want to do research only to get into a competitive specialty or a competitive geographic location. I highly enjoyed the 2 years full-time research I did and I'm seriously thinking about incorporating basic research in my career. And I know IM isn't hard to get into...but specific programs in highly sought after geographic locations MAKES it competitive.
     
  5. gbwillner

    gbwillner Pastafarian
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    Depending what specific programs you are talking about, there will be no specific way of ensuring that you'll get a spot there. Assuming that you score a 212 on step one and do about average on your clerkships, have great interest and solid research, you WILL match a top medicine program... somewhere. If you want to only consider MGH... well, nothing you can do give you any guarantees, not a 260 step I or a Nobel Prize. A good friend of mine (MSTP) went into medicine 3 years ago. He ranked UCSF first. He was a top candidate- stellar grades, step 1 scores, MSTP at a top 10 program, lots of awards and pubs. He was already looking at real estate in the Bay area... and didn't match there. I'm sure 99% of UCSF's incoming class that year couldn't lick this guy's boots.

    Point is- don't worry too much, you'll match well in medicine. Just don't fail any Cores, get an honors in medicine/sub-I, and get great LORs. Step I scores are actually less important for us research-oriented folks. I didn't mean to sound harsh in tone earlier, but really you have nothing to worry about at this point.
     
  6. Tre Cool

    Tre Cool Senior Member
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    Thanks for your reply. I'm definitely not looking at MGH (well out of my league). I guess I was just getting a little concerned about my chances of doing what I want in life. Sorry to hear about your friend. Unfortunately there are no guarantees in life (except death and taxes).
     
  7. gbwillner

    gbwillner Pastafarian
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    Don't worry about my friend- he still matched very well at another top medicine program, and will now get the fellowship of his choice.

    The further you go into it, the more you'll see there is no such thing as a "top" school- they are all good in their own way. "rankings" are highly subjective AT BEST. Anyway, if your journey will be anything like mine, you'll have 5-6 great programs and you'll find it nearly impossible to figure out which one you like best.

    You'll get to do whatever you like, unless you want to do Derm, Ortho, or Rad onc. Then you have to be lucky AND good.
     
  8. Danbo1957

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    So much depends on fellowship specialty choice when determining where to do residency. If you want to work at NIH, consider the Maryland/D.C. area; you want to work in Infecious Diseases with the Indian Service, New Mexico; NASA Aerospace medicine, UTMB; Nsurg, Hopkins.

    You'll have the grades to get into a decent residency, but it will serve you well to research, then list, programs that will vault you into a possible shot at a specific fellowship.
     

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