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Just how prestigious is junior AOA? Is it worth all the effort be at the very top of your class? How much more impressive is it than regular AOA? If a student has a good shot at being junior AOA, would his time be better spent gunning for that or maybe becoming more well-rounded by getting involved in some extracurriculars and/or doing research during the year, while staying near the top of the class for regular AOA?
 

doc05

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do what you want. as far as residency, AOA (junior or senior) is good. so is research. extracurric's? also good, some programs value them more than others.

in summary, study hard, but try to have a life too.
 

southerndoc

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From a faculty member I know, junior AOA is very prestigious and gets you major points with the residency programs.

Is it necessary? No way. Most of us (myself included) are not junior AOA.
 
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The White Coat Investor

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Knowing who the junior AOAers were in my class, I think I would steer clear of any whose applications landed at my feet. The senior AOAers were much more impressive as physicians IMHO.
 

Fabio

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Personally, I don't think time should ever be spent "gunning" for anything. ;)

Having said that, the junior AOAers in our school definitely got the top residency programs in very competitive fields. So it is prestigious, but in my opinion, not worth what it takes to get there. These same junior AOAers were the ones who always walk around saying "I don't know anything, I'm so stupid, I hardly had a chance to study for that test" . . . and then turn around and honor everything. Closet gunners, but everyone knew it. I agree with Desperado that the senior AOAers were more likable people, and possibly, more successful future physicians.

It depends on the programs you are interested in. If they care about numbers, then go for junior. If they care about you as a whole person, and care that you took time to make your life whole and well-rounded and take care of yourself and loved ones, then senior is just as good.

Also, along the lines of what Desperado said . . . a faculty residency interviewer (who is in charge of AOA at a prestigious med school) told me that he actually prefers senior AOA to junior AOA. Why? Because junior AOA is largely based on grades/boards during the M1 and M2 years. Which doesn't speak much for clinical performance. Senior AOA on the other hand - you have had a chance to prove yourself in the hospitals and in interactions with faculty, and you still could cut it for AOA.

Just my 2 cents.
 

medduck

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Fabio, I agree with most of what you stated except for the last part. Although not positive on how junior AOA is decided at all schools, at my school it is done at the end of the 3rd year, and core clerkship grades are weighted 2:1 over preclinical grades. Thus clinical performance is included. The junior AOAers select the senior members only 2-3 months later, using preclinical and clinical grades as the major determinant, but also looking at extracurricular activities, leadership, and research. Maybe this is not the norm?

That being said, I agree that there are more important things than AOA to being a great physician. :thumbup:
 

ktat72

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i think our school takes into account grades in preclinicals and step 1 scores -I know who 3 of the 4 junior AOA people are and I know they deserve it - always broke the curve in each class and all did > 240 on step 1.
 

Skrubz

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the three junior AOA people matched at:
MGH for anesthesia
cook county hospital for derm
advocate christ medical center for ER

i'll let y'all make your own conclusions about how good the matches were. during the interview trail, some of my interviewers said that they preferred seeing senior AOA over junior AOA. their reasoning was that senior AOA showed that you worked hard and played well with others in addition to being book-smart. it may have been a sop to my pride for not being junior AOA *shrug* but it does make a certain amount of sense. however, i'm sure that being junior AOA isn't going to hurt you, unless you totally slack off during your clinical years.

my school uses the following criteria for AOA.
junior - top 4% of the class based on 50% pre-clinical grades (m1, m2), 50% step 1
senior - top 12% of the class based on 25% pre-clinical grades (m1, m2), 25% step 1, 50% clinical grades (m3, where your grade is 2/3 clinical eval, 1/3 shelf exam)
 

omores

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The junior AOA folks were announced at my school not long ago, and they (OK, we) are a very interesting mix. There are a few whom I will politely call "grade-oriented", but the others are actually very well-rounded people, most of whom have extensive non-academic involvements. And in fact some of the most conspicuously grade-oriented people in our class were not selected.

Remember, AOA only requires that you be in the top 25% of your class academically; after that point, depending on the school, other factors are involved: leadership activities, service activities, LUCK, knowing someone on the committee, well-written evaluations from your clinical rotations, and so forth.

In other words, there's only so much gunning you can do to get there. It may work for a few people, but being genuinely interested and involved in non-academic activites may be even more helpful -- and you'll definitely have a better time than if you're overly concerned about grades.

Edit: I just re-read Scrubz's post. The criteria for junior AOA status at his school are MUCH more rigid and numbers-oriented than they are at mine. That might indeed require some serious gunning to get.
 

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Skrubz said:
the three junior AOA people matched at:
MGH for anesthesia
cook county hospital for derm
advocate christ medical center for ER
Wow surprised by those matches since I thought junior AOA were the best of the best.

cook county for Derm? I know that derm is competitive but that med student must be pretty bummed since I am sure that this person was aiming higher.

adovocate christ ER? umm never even heard of the hospital. Maybe it was a geographic decision? probably could have graduated with average boards and grades to get that spot.
 

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"during the interview trail, some of my interviewers said that they preferred seeing senior AOA over junior AOA. their reasoning was that senior AOA showed that you worked hard and played well with others in addition to being book-smart."​

Give me a break. There is nothing about being junior AOA that says you don't "play well with others". You speak as if personality and smarts are mutually exclusive.
 

Fah-Q

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Junior AOA does matter if you are applying to a competitive early match specialty (neurosurg, ophtho, ENT, urology). The applications often have to be turned in before senior AOA is announced. You can always tell the programs you made AOA after you have turned in your application but this might be after interview selections are made. A very minor point though because obviously the vast majority of people who match into these specialties were not junior AOA. It definitely adds a "wow" factor to your app., much like a sick board score (>250) or great letter from a well-known doc can. But again, I don't believe junior AOA is necessary to match even at the most competitive programs.
 

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omores said:
Remember, AOA only requires that you be in the top 25% of your class academically; after that point, depending on the school, other factors are involved: leadership activities, service activities, LUCK, knowing someone on the committee, well-written evaluations from your clinical rotations, and so forth.
Maybe at your school. At my school Junior AOA were the top 5 in academics after 2 years. 80% grades, 20% board scores. If they included all that they'd get a very different group of medical students.
 

The White Coat Investor

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account90 said:
"
Give me a break. There is nothing about being junior AOA that says you don't "play well with others".​


One man's opinion. It certainly is not shared by all.​
 

omores

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Desperado said:
[Re: top 25% of class are AOA eligible] Maybe at your school. At my school Junior AOA were the top 5 in academics after 2 years. 80% grades, 20% board scores. If they included all that they'd get a very different group of medical students.
Agreed. What I meant is that AOA organization itself only requires an academic standing in the top 25%. If individual schools want to further tighten the regs, they can.
 

doc05

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(nicedream) said:
Do all schools grant AOA status?
some don't, most do.

the nat'l. organization states that the students must be in the top 25% academically, but no more than 1/6th of the class can attain membership. Individual chapters determine who makes the cut.
 

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Is AOA alot of politics? Or do the people who genuinely deserve the recognition get it? I mean I like doing extracurriculars but I feel like many times getting to be president or some officer or a group is so political, like a popularity contest.
 

Skrubz

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Goober said:
Wow surprised by those matches since I thought junior AOA were the best of the best.

cook county for Derm? I know that derm is competitive but that med student must be pretty bummed since I am sure that this person was aiming higher.

adovocate christ ER? umm never even heard of the hospital. Maybe it was a geographic decision? probably could have graduated with average boards and grades to get that spot.
i know nothing about the rankings of derm residencies, so i don't know how cook county ranks. as for christ, it's the only level 1 trauma center on the south side of chicago/south suburbs. it's well-known and well-regarded around chicago, but i guess it's not particularly well-known outside. :D you are right though, as there were other people in my class (not junior AOA) who also matched at christ for ER.

account90 said:
Give me a break. There is nothing about being junior AOA that says you don't "play well with others". You speak as if personality and smarts are mutually exclusive.
not my opinion. you can take it up with the interviewers if you wish.
 

JOEYSOBANK

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I would imagine that each school has different criteria for Junior AOA - for example, my school takes into account the 1st 3 or 4 clerkships of 3rd year (along with Step 1 and pre-clinical grades).

Although I've not heard this from anyone, my true feeling is that my performance in 3rd year put me over the threshold to get junior AOA this year. With that said, I can see why some @ other schools may feel that the senior AOA pool may be more "well-rounded" applicants.

Just 2 points:
1. To those who think junior AOA will hurt them because they are not "personable" or "mad chill" -- when your transcript goes out, don't you think PD's look at clinical grades? It's not like, "Oh, he/she's junior AOA and they don't have a personality - to the bottom of the list they go!"

2. Just speaking from my perspective, the junior AOA's @ my school last year matched into UCLA ENT, MGH Medicine, and Cornell Derm. All of them were personable and will be outstanding clinincians.

I would advise anyone to not pass up the opportunity if it is within reach. Again, this is just my perspective. If I feel like it hurts me on the interview trail next year then I will revise this post and say otherwise.
 

WingZero

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In the end, the distinction between junior / senior AOA is insignificant. On the ERAS application, you only specificy if you are AOA or not, without any distinction between junior vs. senior. As mentioned before, the only way this comes into play is if you're doing an early match and have to submit your application before senior AOA status is announced. As far as the interview trail goes, not a single program cared if you were junior / senior AOA - they just have a box on the interview evals they use to rank applicants labeled AOA and it's either checked or not. Your letters of rec and performance on interviews will matter far more than whether or not you are junior AOA.
 
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