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M3 interested in ENT... unrealistic expectations?

Discussion in 'Otolaryngology' started by Juis, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. Juis

    2+ Year Member

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    Hello folks,

    I am a current M3 and have been very interested in ENT for a while. Things haven't been going well for me academic-wise, and I seek your advice on whether I still have a shot at pursuing an ENT residency anywhere in the US, or if I should quit and decide on another specialty.

    To make things short, during my pre-clinical years I only managed to honor 1 course but ended up failing another course. I had to retake the final for that class and passed it, but now that failed class is on my record.

    To make things worse, I took Step 1 a little over a month ago, and found out that I failed by a couple points. Obviously, I will have to retake Step 1 in a couple months and re-evaluate my studying and the events going on in my life in general.

    On the other hand, I have invested so much time and effort into ENT that I feel like it is all going to waste if I switch paths. My med school's ENT program is generally regarded as one of the more coveted programs and they screen applicants at a 240 Step 1 score. There are a lot of big wigs here and I'm on good terms with all of them. I have also published 2 first author basic science papers and I am co-author on 3 other papers all with my home ENT program.

    With my pre-clinical grades and Step 1 score, I have really low confidence in my ENT interest and am thinking about switching, but I just have no idea what to do now. Realistically, do I still have a shot at any ENT program in the country?

    If I should switch paths, are there any specialties that you guys recommend looking into? I would like to do something procedural, but many of them are very competitive. Any advice appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
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  3. ZagDoc

    ZagDoc Ears, Noses, and Throats
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    Always worth a shot, though I would say your home program is far and away your best shot of matching.

    I would strongly recommend applying to a backup specialty though. I usually think "backup specialty" is kind of BS , but I think in your case it would be a good idea to keep from wasting a year if you didn't match. You have a lot of things working against you for ENT. But if you're well known and liked in your home department and they believe you would make a good resident, you got a shot.
     
  4. plauto

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    I am sorry, but in your shoes I would not apply to ENT. No matter how much you get along with the staff even at your home program, at the end it comes down to step I score and grades first and foremost. Numbers get you the interview, your personality will get you the spot. With your grades so far, your home program is going to be doubtful about your performance on board exams. They might like you on a personal level, but they want their residents to do well all around. You can get in other specialties (once you pass step I and II) that will allow you some degree of hands-on procedures and your research activities in ENT will always be a good component of your CV. Good luck.
     
  5. OtoHNS

    OtoHNS ENT Attending
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    I agree with this. The only way you have a 0% chance of matching is if you don't apply. You can't change what has already happened, but you can concentrate on showing a big improvement on Step 1 and doing well on your clinical rotations.

    Have a backup plan, though...
     
  6. Juis

    2+ Year Member

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    Thanks for the advice. My #1 choice is ENT at my home program, but I just have low confidence even if the rest of my performance on boards and in school go well because my home program tends to be regarded on par with some other great programs like MEEI and UCSF. I know that tons of perfect applicants will be applying to my home program in the future, and I just don't see them taking me over those perfect applicants, even though I put in a lot of time with the department to get several papers out and we're all on first name basis with each other.

    It might be premature to think about this, but I have to schedule away rotations in a few months, and if I decide to apply to ENT + another specialty, I'm thinking of doing 1 sub-i at my home ENT program, and then 2 other aways in another specialty at middle-of-the-road programs. I'm thinking about either Anes or IM at the moment, and I guess the nice thing is my research papers were on pharmacology and physiology, so I can spin it to fit either specialty.

    In any case, I will be focusing on Step 1 for the next 2 months and then hopefully I can give you guys an update with an awesome Step 1 score.
     
  7. Pir8DeacDoc

    Pir8DeacDoc Cerumen Extractor
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    ask someone you really know and trust at your home program. We've run into this with students and usually one or the other staff folks will break it to them honestly if it's not going to happen, which hurts at the time but seems to make things better in the long term.
     
  8. DrBodacious

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    Do you get a score for the step 1 retake or is it just pass/fail? As it stands, your chances are exceedingly small.
     
  9. neutropeniaboy

    neutropeniaboy Blasted ENT Attending
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    I hate to say this, but you probably will not even get any interviews. If you do, it is because the big wigs at your institution called in a personal favor.

    I would not spend any time applying, because I think the time you invest will be very low yield.

    Sorry...

     
  10. ontological

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    followup: OP applied surgery and SOAPed into medicine
     
    Gorne likes this.

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