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is it too late?

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anseladams

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i'm a fourth year med student currently applying in another field. unfortunately, i just discovered that i might really want to do radiology.

what should someone in my shoes do? rank lists are due in a few weeks... if i drop out of the match this year, what should i do during the next year?? research :)()? i don't really want to scramble into a prelim year.

would someone like me have a chance (ie, would i seem too indecisive to even have a chance to match in rads somewhere down the line?)

if it makes any difference, my stats are: Step 1 231, Step 2 252, AOA member, top 20% of my class at a pretty well regarded school, variety of research in other fields, really good letters (though not in rads--don't know anybody well enough to ask at this point)
 

paintballdoc

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I believe you should talk to a trusted faculty member at your school or someone else you trust. My take on it would be if you really want to do Radiology, I would probably not enter into the match. If you take a prelim year someplace, you may be classified into that specialty, even if you wind up not doing it, which could hurt future funding (unless you do a prelim surgery year). In terms of being indecisive, people change their minds all the time and your scores seem pretty solid (however I am not in Radiology). The main question is why you decided your current field is not for you but Radiology is.
 

werewethere

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It's never too late to switch during your training. People have even finished other residencies and then done radiology. It is too late to expect to have a reasonable set of choices this year. You could do a preliminary or transitional year. The problem with that is that you would still have a one year gap between the end of your clinical year and your radiology residency and you would have clinical responsibilities during interview season. You could try to pick up one of the few R1 openings for 2009 post match, but they are competitive and you can't be sure they would be at programs that fit your needs. If you were to do a year of research, especially in a radiology topic, you might have more academic program choices, but some community programs might not feel you're a good fit if you have a research inclination. You could try to scramble, but the spots that are left are usually few and with large numbers of very qualified applicants seeking them.

Regardless, given that your interest has manifested itself so late, you will likely find yourself having to spend an extra year doing something. However, if you are sure about radiology, that's not a bad trade off, especially if you give yourself the opportunity to interview at a sufficient number of programs that fit your needs. Happiness is worth the extra time, if you can afford to wait. Good luck on your choice.
 
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