How many derm applicants take a research year? Chances without RY?

corgicuddler

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Oct 6, 2017
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My perception of what it means to be a competitive applicant may be skewed since everyone I've talked to has taken the year, but I know there are no guarantees in derm regardless of stats. How many people applying to derm actually take the year? And what does it mean to be competitive for people who don't take the year? Just wanted to have perspectives from people who didn't take a RY :)
 
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Dr. Doctor MD

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Jun 2, 2018
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I'm an MS3 at a mid tier MD program in the NE who is planning to apply to derm without a research year. Feeling very nervous as RY appears to be the norm here regardless of how good ones' app is. I have been interested since MS1 and have good rapport with my home program. Step 1 in the 260s, will likely have around 5-7 pubs and a similar number of abstracts/posters/presentations in derm by application time. A scatter of first and second authors. Good clinical grades (mostly honors) and a couple strong letters (will need to ask for more before applying). Almost no volunteering or leadership stuff while in med school but I have a couple non academic hobbies I'm passionate about and can talk about for hours.

I feel very grateful and blessed to be in the position I'm in now, but I can't help feeling so nervous about applying without a year since my school pretty much advises every derm applicant to take the year. Also apprehensive about aways being limited to 1 this coming cycle. I took a year between college and medical school (worked in biotech) and am not super keen on doing another gap year (financial burden, family planning, etc). I'd love to match in a big city but willing to go anywhere.

My perception of what it means to be a competitive applicant may be skewed since everyone I've talked to has taken the year, but I know there are no guarantees in derm regardless of stats. So my question is how many people actually take the year? And what does it mean to be competitive for people who don't take the year.

Def don't mean to be a troll or sell myself short, just wanted to have a different perspective outside of the RY people!
I would hazard a guess that somewhere between 30-40% of dermatology applicants overall take a research year, (although the range is pretty broad as some schools/regions have closer to 100% of their students taking research years, and others have almost none). The main goal of a research year is to help bolster an application that is otherwise weaker or lacking in some areas and to make connections. Your application seems good, and even a bit above average for derm as is. While no one can have complete confidence when they apply, you certainly meet most/all of the criteria to be successful in the match without a research year. You may not get as many interviews at big academic places or large cities, but barring catastrophe, you'll likely match somewhere, and probably somewhere decent as well. I don't think a research year is necessary for you, nor do I think it would significantly improve your odds of matching. Unless you have your hopes set on a top tier academic institution, I don't think a research year would provide much benefit in your case.
 
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