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Is Rad Onc that hard?

Discussion in 'Radiation Oncology' started by oscar, Aug 28, 2002.

  1. oscar

    oscar Junior Member

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    Seeing as how rad onc has only in the last few years become so competitive, it's hard to compare it to other more traditionally competitive fields like derm, ENT, ortho, etc... For sure having the least number of spots makes things tough, but would you say that it's up there with the others? Whenever someone from the field says how tough it's gotten, it makes me wonder whether they are comparing it to a few years ago when they couldn't even get IMG's to fill all the spots or if they have an honest grasp on how difficult other fields are in order to make that sort of a judgment. Again, looking at the unmatch rates the last couple of years, it does look tough, but are the kind of applicants that we are seeing the kind that you would see going for derm or ENT? I have no idea to be honest.

    Also, any word on how things are looking this year? Easier or harder than last?
     
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  3. ATM Machine

    ATM Machine Junior Member

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    My guess is that it's pretty hard. The people I know who applied last year were disappointed by the number of interviews that they received. Additionally, if you look at the numbers, there were 80 some odd spots last year with about 300 or so applicants. That's not a great match rate. I've also heard of people running into Mud Phuds and MD's who were already attendings on the interview trail. Maybe that's the pessimist in me, but it's not gonna be an easy match.
     
  4. AnnK73

    AnnK73 Member

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    Hi -
    I had to change my login because I just couldn't get the other one to work, despite trying to email my problem, etc.
    Anyway, I would like to know this too. People in rad onc are saying to me that it s the hardest but you tell someone applying for ENT or Derm that and they look at you like you are nuts.

    So, are there hard numbers available that show that less applicants match in radonc than others specialities? What about average board scores?

    I think that they key has to be just getting enough interviews. Statistically, i think that we should match doing about 10?

    Ann
     
  5. Academic Radiation Oncologist

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    Rad onc has become more and more competitive these 3-4 years. When people have come to know more about the field, applications have gone up. I remember in my program, 5 of the 7 attendings are double or triple boarded. Two of the six residents in my program are board-certified internists. There are a lot of people who do a rad onc residency after being specialists of other fields.

    In the UK, one will need to get an MRCP or an FRCS before one can even apply for a rad onc residency. So rad onc residencies have been extremely competitive in the UK and Europe for a long time but the people appreciate the specialty later in the USA. Rad onc is one of the most scientific and intellectual fields. The training is very intensive and requires a lot of reading. You have to know about all the major trials even conducted and based your treatment recommendation on the evidence from the literature. The examination is one of the most difficult to pass. You can check out the passing rates from the ABR website. But the lifestyle is excellent. One can still be a very active clinician and researcher and have a life.
     
  6. ATM Machine

    ATM Machine Junior Member

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    Not that I know too many people who went into radiation oncology, but I don't know too many people who got 10 interviews. If you look on the FREIDA site for the programs that actually filled out the survey, programs interviewed about 10 applicants to fill one or two spots. So I think the key will be getting the interviews so that you can make a program's rank list.
     
  7. Spyder

    Spyder Junior Member

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    I went through the rad onc match last year. It was stiff
    competition. The guys I interviewed with were all top of
    the class, surreal board scores, PhD's in Nuc physics or
    engineering, had pubs in rad onc, fathers that had trained
    the interviewers, etc. But in the end, I did notice that there
    were a lot of the same faces on the interview trail. If you
    are getting interviews, chances are that you are going to
    see the same people, and the people you see are going to
    get spots, because they are the select few getting interviews.
    Good news. You are in that group. Personally, I only applied
    to 8 programs, got interviews at 4, and matched.
    Good luck!
     
  8. radonc

    radonc Senior Member

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    spyder your situation is one of the lucky ones.

    i applied to 30 schools, got 15, went to 12 (UF, penn, jeff to name a few), got a couple of letters/calls, didnt match.

    im reapplying again this year, hoping to match.

    the competition is tough, mostly US MD's, a couple of super-applicants here and there.

    everyone just lay back and relax. interviews will come in late nov/dec. people in this field take their time, wait for the deans letter, etc. if you dont hear my late nov, then start to get worried.
     
  9. digimon

    digimon Member

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    i know i'm stating the obvious, but you must of been pretty down after going on all those interviews and not matching. i'm very worried myself, and would appreciate it if you could tell us what you felt kept you from matching last year. also, what did you do during the past year to enhance your application? congrats on the early interview offers, and lets all hope for the best this year!! ...as for me...still no word from radonc programs...

    keepin' it real,
    -digimon
     
  10. Spyder

    Spyder Junior Member

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    Damn, radonc. Sorry to hear your story. Sounds like you got
    interviews at some good programs, but it didn't pan out, yet.
    I was just trying to give some encouragement. Didn't realize
    how bad it was out there for some folks. Didn't intend to sound
    flip or anything. Hopefully this year will bring you some good
    news in March. Just out of curiousity, what are you planning to
    do next year? A friend is making a second go at diagnostic rads
    and was planning to do another year of medicine, but he was
    told there was a rule about reimbursement for residency only
    going through five years for an individual and that if he did
    another med year, his last year in rads wouldn't be covered for
    the program. He is concerned that that might hurt his chances
    for landing a spot. Do you know anything about this that I might
    could pass on to him? Good luck in this year's match.
     
  11. radonc

    radonc Senior Member

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    soyder-
    no offense taken by your post. i just wanted to let people know about my situation. im happy for you--but i wish it was me!

    anyways, ive done a bunch of stuff to "help" my application. i got a research job with a chairman funded by NIH in radonc, i got my MD, im doin my internship, and i have done 2 more electives (as a MD) during my internship in radiation oncology and got 1 more letter. there are a couple of little things here and there too

    why i didnt match last year? numbers. plain and simple. i got some letters/calls, got ranked really high at some programs (and left unranked at others) but didnt match.

    think of it this way. lets say for IM there are 40 intern spots at Penn. if you are ranked in the top 80 applicants, you are almost guaranteed to get into penn, if you ranked them highly. this is because there was about an equal number of applicants to the number of spots. in radonc, the applicants were 4x greater than the number of spots. (hope this made sense)
     
  12. oscar

    oscar Junior Member

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    Hey radonc.

    Sorry to hear about your misfortune last year, but would you mind maybe shedding some light on the whole process? You said you got call/letters, I assume before the rank lists were supposed to be turned in? Can you tell us which programs did? Was that common for them to correspond with people? Thanks.
     
  13. radonc

    radonc Senior Member

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    sorry, i wont tell you which programs called/wrote but i can say that it was variable. each program/specialty is different. and i got them from the least expected places.

    im looking forward to this interview season. i have another year under my belt, and i feel a bit more confident (not in a bad way) about everything. plus, if i dont match, F* it, and ill just do medicine and go to B school.
     
  14. hiya

    hiya New Member

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    just a real basic question for all the pros here...

    some programs are part of the NRMP match and others are not.
    so...do programs not participating in the match inform you of whether you've been accepted before you submit your rank list? or do you match at a place and then choose among the programs that accepted you? how does this work logistically?
    thanks and good luck to all!
     
  15. AnnK73

    AnnK73 Member

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    The match for radonc is like all programs throught the NRMP. Somtime in february, med students submit a rank order list with your choices listed from first to last and the program directors submit their ranked list of applicants. This gets entered into a program that sorts through the lists based on the students ranking so that it runs down your list until it finds a open spot for you and keeps going until all the students have been assigned to all available spots. The results are announced in March. So, clearly it is to your benefit to rank as many programs as possible to increase your odds of matching, especially in a small field like rad onc. Im sure that this is better explained elsewhere, like the NRMP webpage.
     
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  17. ace02

    ace02 New Member

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    I am a medical student interested in radiation oncology. A few questions I have:

    1) why/how has the field gotten so competitive recently? From what I have heard, most people could've walked into a position a few years ago. It seems that the senior residents at most places are IMGs and Caribbean graduates. Rad onc has been around for decades-- why suddenly the resurgence in popularity?

    2) what are the top 5 residency programs in rad onc? what do most people look for in a competitive residency?

    3) what do most people do that fail to match?
     

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