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International student in dermatology?

GuyLaroche

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    As an international student planning to study in a US med school, which med school should I attend to improve my chances of matching in a derm program? Say if I attend Vanderbilt as opposed to Harvard, are my chances slimmer? What is the likelihood of an F-1 visa holder matching in a derm program despite having studied in the US?
     

    ny skindoc

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      GuyLaroche said:
      As an international student planning to study in a US med school, which med school should I attend to improve my chances of matching in a derm program? Say if I attend Vanderbilt as opposed to Harvard, are my chances slimmer? What is the likelihood of an F-1 visa holder matching in a derm program despite having studied in the US?
      If you can go to Harvard then by all means do so.They have had many applicants in recent years to Derm and many successful ones so you cant go wrong there.If you do well at Harvard you will likely get into Derm even with visa issues.You can get into derm from any US med school if you have the right scores,grades etc.
       

      PathOne

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        No, mostly you can't go wrong with HMS - provided that Steps, LoR's etc. etc. are also competitive. Vanderbilt certainly also has a good reputation. Happen to know several happy people who did derm rotations there.

        However, the real question in your case, I think, is one of medical school admission. I assume that you have a non-US undergrad. degree, and that DOES make it harder to enter med school. In fact, it's probably close to impossible, unless you have SOME US college experience.

        The facts (since you mentioned Harvard):

        "Foreign students who have studied for at least one year at an accredited institution in the United States or Canada, and have completed the requirements, are eligible to apply at HMS. International applicants should make every effort to take the majority of required courses at an accredited college or university in the United States or Canada. Foreign students who do not have a baccalaureate or advanced degree from an institution in the U.S. or Canada are rarely accepted for admission."

        You can also take a look at AAMC statistics (http://www.aamc.org/data/facts/2004/2004slrmat.htm) but they don't really give you any hard numbers.

        As regards visa issues, those are also getting ever more complex. Yes, you can study on an F-1, but you can't work on one. For that you need an J-1 (most common) or employer sponsored H-1B. And if you're a J-1 resident, you WILL be required to go home for min. two years after you finish your residency.

        Finally, if you DO get into med school, remember a water-cooled credit card. There's NO federal loans, and often severely limited financial aid for non-citizens. Even postdoc, NIH grants are reserved for citizens or green card holders.

        Don't want to say it can't be done. But all in all it's actually probably easier to take the IMG route, i.e. take a non-US degree and go to the US. That, however, all but rules out a future in dermatology.
        Other option is to take a graduate US degree, and THEN apply to US medical school - which is probably most viable option.
         
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        PathOne

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          Oh. Congrats! Well, Harvard obviously does have the higher name recognition. Next question, apart from HMS acceptance letter, is if there's a package attached. If not, then you'd have to decide if it's worth the cost.
          USNews currently has Vanderbilt at #15, and the school plan is 10/10, i.e. #10 by 2010. Can't see you'd be severely disadvantaged by choosing Nashville over Cambridge. Just remember to do away rotations and make contacts at verious derm programs, which will be a big advantage when going for the match.
           

          GuyLaroche

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            PathOne said:
            Oh. Congrats! Well, Harvard obviously does have the higher name recognition. Next question, apart from HMS acceptance letter, is if there's a package attached. If not, then you'd have to decide if it's worth the cost.
            USNews currently has Vanderbilt at #15, and the school plan is 10/10, i.e. #10 by 2010. Can't see you'd be severely disadvantaged by choosing Nashville over Cambridge. Just remember to do away rotations and make contacts at verious derm programs, which will be a big advantage when going for the match.


            Thanks for your well thought-out responses. I re-read my post and decided I sounded haughty and so I deleted it. By away rotations, I am assuming you mean rotations at other institutions?
             

            PathOne

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              I thought your post was fine. Yes, as posted previously, I've heard nice things about the VUMC derm. dept., esp. if you're rotating through as a med. student, but if you have a fairly solid idea that you'd want a shot at derm, I would:
              A) Take elective rotations in derm. departments at other institutions. That way, you get to introduce yourself to PDs at places besides your own institution, and get the ability to present LoR's from other institutions, which I always find is a nice touch.
              B) Try to get into derm research. Shouldn't be that difficult, because most places there's a ton of clinical investigations going on, which are mostly fairly straightforward, even though you're not through med school. Remember, that most Derm PD's weigh research experience fairly high.

              SO: A good US-MD degree, good grades/Steps, AOA if you can make it, research - preferably published and in derm or cancer, and LoR's, from heavy hitters if you can, and you should be good to go!
              Best of luck. I know it's a long road ahead.
               
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