carve em up

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Hey guys, I'm an MS3 and have decided to enter ENT and I'm debating whether or not to take a year off to pursue research in the field, or straight up apply to ENT this fall. I have previous research in urology with pubs, Step I of 225, and high pass in surgery. I know doing the year of research will help my app, but I'm not sure exactly by how much. Any thoughts or any similar experiences are appreciated. Thanks.
 

neutropeniaboy

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carve em up said:
Hey guys, I'm an MS3 and have decided to enter ENT and I'm debating whether or not to take a year off to pursue research in the field, or straight up apply to ENT this fall. I have previous research in urology with pubs, Step I of 225, and high pass in surgery. I know doing the year of research will help my app, but I'm not sure exactly by how much. Any thoughts or any similar experiences are appreciated. Thanks.
I wouldn't say your score is "pretty low," but I will say that it is below the average score of someone accepted into an ENT program. It is about 10 points higher than someone not matching into ENT, however.

Take the year off and do research, but only if you are really sure you want to do ENT.
 

Soon2BENT

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doc05 said:
your step 1 is pretty low. also, why urology research if you want ent? talk with your dept. chair or PD.
people do change their minds
 

Spiff

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I matched in ENT this year and the research (and eventual publication) I started between first and second year was in Orthopedic related basic science. Keep in mind that you may also be able to do an ENT research elective as an MS4, which you can put on your application (and the faculty you are working may also write you a rec letter).

Lastly, don't short-change yourself about your prospects for matching until you have talked to someone who knows the ropes as far as the ENT match process. If your school has an ENT program, go talk to some of your local faculty about your CV ... and then even maybe about getting in on some current research projects. Most of them are sympathetic to the decision process we have to go through and the time crunch involved. Just make sure you get the ball rolling as early as you can, and get a plan together... whether that plan is to go all-out for the match this next year and do the research if match doesn't work out, or to do the research year now.
 

salsadoc44

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i matched as well this year and i agree w/ Spiff. in terms of a research year if you decide to do it, either do it:
1) take a year off between MS3 and MS4
2) if you don't match, do research for a year and reapply or
3) a MS4 research elective for at least one month (which is what i did)

from what i have heard, PDs and faculty may very well "red-flag" you if you graduate and do not apply for the match in order to do one year of research and apply for residency during the research year. even though you may be doing research in the field you're applying in, they may question your dedication, your desire to "find yourself", etc. b/c they may wonder why you didn't apply like everyone else during your 4th year of med school. there are obviously more individual factors considering that decision (in your case, a lower board score compared to the avg matching applicant), but that is my impression of taking a year off to do research w/out first attempting to match. i have heard this comment specifically from the general surgery and ob/gyn departments at my school, and i imagine that's the general views of most PDs.
 

stapes

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What kind of research did you do for a month in your MS4 year? That is what I am looking to do.
 

Spiff

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stapes said:
What kind of research did you do for a month in your MS4 year? That is what I am looking to do.
Keep in mind that almost nothing can be finished in a month, and what you can do will probably not be anything groundbreaking. What a dedicated month allows you to do is get something going to the point that you can keep working on the project while you are doing other things. You may also get in on an ongoing project and pick up where someone else left off. The key is to talk to a faculty member... most have things on the back burner or ideas about what they would like to do. I actually did two projects. One was a literature review/synthesis as a prep for a much larger project and another was a retrospective look at surgical outcomes. Publication is still pending on both.

Granted, this is fairly low-key stuff, but what it allowed me to do was a) work closely with a couple of faculty members who wrote recommend letters, b) learn more about clinical otolaryngology c) demonstrate basic research skills (i.e. proper study design, writing a protocol, going through the IRB process). Where this really helps is during the interview process. Obviously, if you have done major research during your time as a medical student you will have an advantage, but most students aren't in that position. Research-oriented interviewers mainly want to find out what you are going to be able to do for them and the program when you get turned loose during your research rotation, and how much hand-holding you will be needing. Even if you don't have major ENT publications, at least you show that you have the chops to do solid work.

So, the keys are to talk to your faculty, use their guidance to pick a project, and don't bite off more than you can chew. You will stay much more sane, and your accomplishment yield will be higher.
 

TheThroat

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I completely agree with Spiff. Just starting a research project and then talking about it during your interviews is as important as publishing. I did a two month basic science research elective early in my MS4 year, got a letter from the staff I worked with, and made a mini-presentation about the prject (just printed out 5 powerpoint slides on a color printer). I then got asked about the project at least once per interview and could whip out the presentation and talk about the project for 5 minutes. In the end, the project fell through and never got published. That was the only research that I had on my application. My advice: talk to your faculty about getting onto a project.

I would hold on doing a year of research until you don't match the first time around.

Just remember that if the average score for someone getting into Oto is 235 (I don't know the real #), then for every applicant getting in with a 245, someone is out there who will get in with a 225.