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Oct 14, 2003
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wow. what a post.

i think you stand an excellent chance of matching in a good residency in rad onc. but clinical grades also matter A LOT (as many people have told me before -- preclinical grades don't mean jack). if you get "satisfactory" in all your clinical clerkships, it will hurt your chances quite a bit. so keep up the good work, and don't let your grades slip. I think the particularly important clerkships are (as i was told by my advisor): medicine, rad onc.

your step 1 score is fine, but not stellar. but the rest of your profile is more than enough to make you a strong candidate. for comparison, my step I was 221, and I did not take step II before applications. I matched well.

I think where you go to school also matters in your chances of getting into a top residency, so take this into your considerations. people disagree on how much it matters.

I think rad onc is a must rotation for you. maybe even more than one rotation -- many people do "audition" = away rotations in rad onc, which may be something for you to consider. I think med onc is also a good rotation, and would give you a well-rounded perspective on how cancer is managed. I think your 3 surgical rotations would be 3 hard months that may not be necessary. 1) I'm not sure doing those 3 months would help your application. 2) I'm not sure doing those 3 months help your training THAT MUCH. I wonder what others think about this.

mini-post doc: I'm not an MD-PHD, so input by others may be more useful. My opinion is that your 4 publications and your PhD already speak volumes about your interest and accomplishments in research. No one will doubt that on the admissions committees. If what you want out of the post-doc is more research time, possibly more papers -- great. But if you match elsewhere, you may only have 6 months to finish your project, or have to pass it to someone else. If what you want out of the post-doc is to look better for residency applications, I'm not sure it'll help very much. Again, no one will doubt your research ability or desire. For me, spring semester in 4th year (especially after match) is my last chance for an extended break. Amen for that.

best of luck.


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Jun 7, 2001
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I think you have a good shot. I would ace those clinicals. Having sat on an admissions committe I can assure you not only are clinical grades imporant (and as music says, basic isn't so much) but your LORs and your INTERVIEW is very important. Step 2 is good particularly if you think you'll be strong there. Your other places are fine so long as they fit your needs and your interests. all the best to you.
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Mar 25, 2002
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Gfunk6 said:
Thank you very much for the detailed information! A few follow-up questions if I may . . .

I go to school at UAB. As of now, I have an good relationship with our chair of RadOnc, who was on my PhD thesis committee.

I have six blocks of 4th year electives from 7/05-12/05. In light of your suggestions, what do you think of this sequence:
July 2005 = RadOnc at UAB
August 2005 = Optional (study for Step II)
September 2005 = RadOnc "audition" away
October 2005 = Medical Oncology AI
November 2005 = Surgical Oncology
December 2005 = Off for interviews + gradaute with MD

Re: the mini-post doc, I really enjoy research and want to do it for the experience and possible additional publication(s). This is not really meant to impress the residency directors, b/c the papers (if any) won't be published until well into 2006.

In the hypothetical schedule above, I would have a full month to study for Step II. Considering my Step 1 scores, do you think it is worth the risk?

Thanks again for your excellent advice!

Nice to see you join us here on SDN, G. :D.

FYI, I have information about match lists from 13 different MSTPs (including ours): this year, here are those that matched to Radiation Oncology:

Washington U: matched to MIR/BJ (WashU)
Baylor: matched to MDAnderson
Northwestern: matched to MDAnderson

Best of luck.

Joe N

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Oct 16, 2003
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Hi Gfunk, I wanted to say welcome to the forum also. I'm an MD PhD that just matched this year, and it's awesome when you "meet" people who have the same interests. You're resume sounds a lot like mine, I did my PhD in Pharm Tox too, and my board scores were not that far off from yours either. I didn't take Step 2 until I finished all of my rotations and interviews, and I don't think this had a negative effect on my application. It looks like you have your ducks in a row. I think the LOR from the chairman at UAB will be a real asset and your publications will demonstrate a pattern of dedication and success. If you have specific questions about programs as your search intensifies, feel free to PM me and I'll do my best to answer. I also plan to post some reviews of programs when that ongoing thread drops down the list again.

G'ville Nole

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Jun 3, 2002
Ocala, FL
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Gfunk, I'll agree with the other posters. Do well on your clinicals, and you will be a very strong applicant. FWIW, it seems that UAB does have a very good reputation in Rad Onc as a "dark horse" (i.e. not a lot of name recognition but very solid research/training). Several people I talked to during interview season had a lot of nice things to say about you guys.

In response to a previous poster:

"I think your 3 surgical rotations would be 3 hard months that may not be necessary. 1) I'm not sure doing those 3 months would help your application. 2) I'm not sure doing those 3 months help your training THAT MUCH. I wonder what others think about this."

While I'd say the "audition" rotation trumps one of your surgical months, by all means take a couple of months experiencing cancer surgery. I did Head & Neck and Gyn Onc this year, and it's nice to be able to go into a tumor board with an appreciation of non-Rad Onc perspectives. It has always seemed to me that Radiation Oncologists have a better feel for basics of surgical and medical oncology than vice versa. I think it's a good thing to gain some exposure during your electives (Urology is a good one, too, though it seems to be the one surgical specialty which is consistently at odds with Rad Onc, dependent of course on location).

Best of Luck!



And to think . . . I hesitated
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Apr 16, 2004
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Thank you everyone once again for your advice and recommendations! This forum has proved to be invaluable in planning out my final two years of medical education.

I have decided to go with the following schedule:
July 2005 Rad Onc (UAB)
Aug 2005 Free
Sep 2005 Medical Oncology AI
Oct 2005 Free
Nov 2005 Surgical Oncology
Dec 2005 Free

This way I can satisfy the minimum requirments to graduate from med school. Also, with the multiple free slots it gives me time to do an "audition" RadOnc elective in addition to possibly taking Step 2.

I appreciate your offers of help, I may just take you up on them. :D

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