snoopdizzle

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I'm currently a first year at Cornell who wants to do surgery and is in love with ENT (I'm doing a preceptorship with some ENT guys).

What do I need to do? I'm writing a very publishible case report on a hypopharyngeal solitary fibrous tumor, but I'm worried about how creme de la creme you have to be for this.

In short, my class at Cornell is gonzo and everyone knows the material incredibly well so no one is standing out at the moment. What do I need to do to be competitive?

Also, are you advised out of ENT if you can't cut it? Is that why the number of applicants is so low? What can I do over the next two years to give myself a shot?

Thanks a lot, I really do appreciate it. And what's this about the field dying? You know that's what they said 20-30 years ago when you couldn't give an ENT residency away. Oh well...
 

otopico

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Matching ENT is certainly not hopeless! You are a first year so you have all sorts of time to get your affairs in order. Most medical schools are full of extraordinarily bright people, so I don't expect your class is any different. Don't let these brainiacs freak you out!

The goal is to do your best during those first three years and establish yourself as a competitive candidate. Getting publications will certainly help you in the long run, and if there is one thing I recommend people do to beef up their applications is to get some research/publications under your belt. Fact is, most people who get interviews are going to be AOA, have board scores above 240 and be in the top of their class. Research makes you stand out. Thankfully, I matched this year, but after meeting other candidates, and comparing qualifications, this was the one area I was weak in.

If you truly know in your heart that ENT is what you want to do (you have a looong way to go and things may change), that's great and take advantage of that time. Get to know your ENT faculty, show your interest, get involved in projects. You'll be amazed how the faculty pick up on your enthusiasm and this will translate into great letters of recommendation that are personal, not just cookie cutter letters that many people get. Good luck over the next few years, its a great field and hopefully you remain interested.

As far as being advised out of applying into ENT, I don't think that's necessarily true. I think most importantly, there is pretty limited exposure to ENT so less medical students apply. I think now that quality of life is being considered more and more by students, those that would have possibly considered gen surgery are now looking at sub-specialities such as urology, ent. The number of applications may be small, but its increasing as these specialties gain more attention.

As far as the field dying, I totally diagree. If anything, it's expanding as new areas become incorporated into ENT -- allergy/immunology, sleep medicine, etc... The days of chopping out every larynx cancer may be gone, but there are still plenty of fascinating surgeries to be done!

Anyway, on that note, I shall take my leave...
 
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otopico

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Not everyone is going to be AOA, that would not be possible. However, I was surprised at the credentials of the candidates I met. Also, I have heard of a couple of programs that only interview AOA because that is the way the chairman wants it - maybe its just hearsay, but I wouldn't put it past some of them. So it definitely doesn't hurt to be AOA:)
 

OtoNerd

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The numbers for AOA are not that bad. About 1/2 of my fellow interviewees this year were AOA. This is in part because some schools don't offer it, and also because some schools offer very few nominations.

At any rate, your performance in 3rd year, on Step I, and your LORs are the key to getting interviews. It's anybody's guess as to how people match (I envision a smoke-filled room on a small island in the carribean). It helps to do an away rotation or two at places you may be interested in (and be a superstar while there).

Agree with Otopico, though, that you have a long way to go before you have to make up your mind. If I went with my 1st year choice, I would either be a Gerontologist, Ortho, or radiology. As it is now, Oto is the only choice for me, but it took me a process to select it.

ENT is a great field with outstanding job security, and you can be certain the field will not diminish in its importance.

B)
 

TheThroat

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The way to get in to Oto:

Plan A:
-Do well on boards (>230)
-Do well on grades, especially in third year
-Do some research (just a project or two)

Plan B:
-Forget the boards, forget grades
-Do a ton of reseach (bench work stuff) and maybe take a year off to do it
-Become very close to the chief of the department that you are doing the research with (at your med school or if you do it at another institution)
-Pray that you get into the place that you did your research with

Since Oto is early match, most applicants don't know if they are in AOA when they send their application in, so I think that AOA is no big deal. More important are research and step 1 scores.

The field of Oto is certainly not "dying." Just ask any 5th year resident how easy it is to get a job. Most mid and small town hospitals are begging Otos to come. In the bigger cities, the job market is only slightly more competive.

On a separate note, I interviewed about 30 applicants this year (I am a third year at Iowa), and here are a couple of pointers:
-Don't say that you think that doing free flaps will interfere with your lifestyle
-Don't say that you are uninterested in research even if you are
 

DrBodacious

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How 'bout MD/Ph.D? Assuming average ENT board scores and good LORs, would that automatically distinguish you as an applicant?
 
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