Neurosurgery Interviews

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by Ferris, Oct 22, 2001.

  1. Ferris

    Ferris Member
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    Is anyone else out there interviewing for NS programs? Are you still receiving interviews? I have only heard from 10 of the 22 programs to which I applied and was wandering if anyone else is was waiting to hear.

    Thanks
     
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  3. lipoyl

    lipoyl Member
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    Samuel-

    I am not applying this year, but will be next year most likely. I was just wondering if you had an idea of what the typical applicant pool is like for neurosurgery. The sfmatch numbers seem pretty benign (avg. board score~226), but others have told me that most people who successfully match have 240+ and are AOA.

    Do you have any thoughts on what numbers are required for solid middle of the road programs? (places like Mt. Sinai, USC, Einstein, Maryland...)

    Any help would be appreciated!
     
  4. brownman

    brownman Member
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    I applied in neurosurg two years ago (turned down my match offer which forever makes me a pariah...in the end a good thing..trust me). Basically the system works like this. AOA helps..a lot, but it's not the end all be all. Great board scores help...but again, not the end all be all. Most important: 1) research: DO SOME DAMN RESEARCH..probably no other field does it help more than neurosurgery; 2) get two letters from well known neurosurgeons in your department (i got mine from the two chairmans; one was the program chair, one was the hospital chair); 3) SHOW HOW HARDCORE YOU ARE IN THE INTERVIEW. Once you get to your interviews, you on paper is over. It's now you in person. Show them you are a workaholic animal, willing to sacrifice life and family to do it..AND THEY WILL RESPECT YOU FOR IT. Neurosurgery is a great field...but if you show any flakiness...YOUR SCORES CAN BE ASTRONOMICAL...and you won't match. It's also very collusive..so people talk, and if you're in good with the program director at your school..they'll go out of their way to match you. My year...five students applied for the neurosurg match..and every single one matched. Only two were AOA...only one had 240 or higher board scores, and they all ended up at good if not great programs. The interviews are insane..(I had a program director at Baylor ask me if my wife was dying but I was on call...would I leave to be with my wife in her last moments or would I stay and finish my call). But if you know what you are getting into, then there is no more intellectually challenging field than this one. I submitted 30 programs...got 25 interviews...interviewed at 12 places...and matched. Tell them why you truly want to be a neurosurgeon and you will match somewhere. ALL THEY TRULY WANT...IS DEDICATION. Because that is what you'll need. Good luck, hope this helps!
     
  5. brownman

    brownman Member
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    oh sorry...forgot to mention. Number of interviews you get also depends on how early you get everything in. If you've heard ten by now....you might get two or three more. The rest will neg...which is fine. You only need 10-12 to match. You'll be fine....
     
  6. lipoyl

    lipoyl Member
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    Brownman-

    Thanks a lot for your reply...your comments were extremely helpful, and you're really the first person who has been somewhat frank regarding the process.

    Basically my situation is like this...233 board scores, but average pre-clinical and clinical grades frm a extremely competitive and well known east coast medical school. I also have done two summers worth of n-surg basic science research with an attending @ school, and have presented 4 posters at national meetings (2 at AANS, and 2 at CNS). We have two clinical pubs pending as well.

    As with you, I also have family constraints however. My wife is frm the west coast, and we would like to either settle down in the mid-atlantic (MD, DC, Va, NY, PA...) or Cali. If I am not able to match at one of these programs, I would prefer to simply go to the general surgery route...judging by my numbers, what range of programs do you think I'd have a shot (ie would I have a shot at programs like G-town, Jefferson, Sinai...?). I've been getting a ton of conflicting advice re n-surg, and would just like to know where I stand in the applicant pool.

    Thanks again, and belated congrats on successfully matching!

    Lip
     
  7. brownman

    brownman Member
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    Hey lipoyl,

    Well first off, thanks for the compliment. I still don't understand the temperment of my fellow physicians sometimes in terms of hiding or sugar coating the truth. There are other ways to make the money a physician makes, but in the end, none is as humanly satisfying as medicine. The fundamental choice in your life that you will have to make is...do you want medicine to compliment your life, or do you want medicine TO BE YOUR LIFE? There is nothing wrong with either...medicine needs both types. I have other interests, and I believe my family will be of paramount importance to me someday (not having a family currently, but planning to have one evenetually). My reasons for wanting to be a neurosurgeon were wrong (an off-line discussion for another time). Your's appear to be far more right. Well, on that note...let me answer your questions.

    Ok..let me repeat, the two most important things to recognize in the neurosurg match is ONE: Research, and TWO: LETTERS! Now, basically, you will have no problem matching wherever you want to go...if it's an extremely competitive school that you are at then you probably don't have an AOA system, so no one is really going to care about your status. I was AOA and 238, but what helped me more than anything else was I made a rapport with the attendings. In fact, in my interviews I would (outside of getting obtuse questions about family members, dedication and death) have to chat up how amazing the attendings were who had written letters. "Aah, I remember when X and I were at Hopkins together. He was a master of the cerebral aneurysm even back then. Just an absolute vision for neurosurgical anatomy. He could clip Giant, Berrys...it didn't matter". Your job was just to nod your head in agreement, maybe toss in a quick anecdote yourself. So, in conclusion, get the real advice from me. FIRST, DECIDE IS THIS REALLY WHAT YOU WANT TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE. If it is, tell your wife YOU WILL NOT SEE HER FOR THE NEXT SEVEN YEARS. This is an amazing women who will put up with this, but if she does and you can handle it, then go for it. Once you've commited, make sure you pick one program THAT IN YOUR MIND IS OUT OF YOUR REACH (try west coast...U of W, UCLA, and UCSF/STANFORD are all very competitive...Stanford all things considered is pretty benign), and do an away rotation in July or august, preferably July (sign up for that away rotation as soon as they will let you DURING YOUR THIRD YEAR...because the spots go fast). GET YOUR LETTERS NOW, two from general, two from neurosurg (I'll explain why two from general a bit later). Send out for applications in April, May and June of your final year. Get everything ready before you do your away in July. IN YOUR AWAY ROTATION (only do one, if you do two you won't get your apps out in time...and that stuff is a lot of work)KISS EVERY ATTENDINGS ASS YOU CAN...AND BE DISCRETE. Meaning, don't make it overt, but be a gunner. Go after good cases, with the world reknowned people. Get face time. This is very important. PRESENT YOUR RESEARCH AT ONE OF THE GRAND ROUNDS. YOU NEED TO DO THAT...it will provide you a great letter from the chairman at the worst, and at the best you will lock up a spot there (they will basically not even care about your scores, which are more than good enough to match by the way). I had a friend who gave a talk at his away rotation at the university of Florida, and literally PULLED OUT 45 SLIDES. Guess where he matched without being AOA or even cracking 220 (that's right). Now, get all your app stuff done by mid august at the latest. Send it out, and YOU WILL GET A TON OF INTERVIEWS. By the way, submit a few for general surg. as well. YOU WILL MATCH ANYWHERE FOR GENERAL SURG., your scores are good enough and it's just not as competitive anymore. That is not even a concern. ANY ONE OF THE PROGRAMS YOU LISTED WILL SALIVATE FOR YOU. So count that, and just submit to who you'd want to go to.

    NOW...NEUROSURG...do the same. Send it to those programs you want to go to (30 programs). Ask you chairman for some advice (in the OR or whenever), and apply. I AM GUESSING YOU GO TO HOPKINS; it is up to you whether you want to get a letter from Dr. Carson. Ben is a great guy, from my hometown, wonderful person, but as well know as he is there are many neurosurgeons who do not like him (call it professional jealousy, call it what you will). It is your option; I forgot the name of the chairman there, but he's pretty world famous as well. Anyway, choose two (and maybe three with the chairman of the away program), and with your research and your board scores, YOU ARE A LOCK. My reco...go to University of Michigan. Great program, seven years, and genuinely good staff there. Any other questions, you can just reply. Take care good luck, and sincerely ask yourself is this what you want to do with your life. BECAUSE THE QUESTION IS NOT WILL YOU MATCH...the question is where, and do you want to?

    Take care!

    Brownman
     
  8. droliver

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Brownman, exactly which specialty did you decide on after you withdrew from the match?
     
  9. brownman

    brownman Member
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    RIO,

    I started my own software company out here in Silicon valley with two stanford scientists. It has been a blast, but my shares vest in december, and so after that I just collect a salary basically. I was going to do anesthesia, with a pain fellowship following (with the goal of doing interventional pain). Every field has it's negatives; my thought was just do the field that suits your personality but has the least negatives involved.
     
  10. lipoyl

    lipoyl Member
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    Brownman-
    Thanks again for your tips. I'll almost certainly have more questions over the next year as I make my final decisions, and it's good to know that someone as informed as you is around.

    Oddly enough, my wife is a grad student at stanford, so that will likely be high on my list of places to do a sub-i...I'm not holding my breath re matching there, since I've heard they tend to favor their own, and my board scores are far from the 250+ that I've heard the top programs look for.

    I have yet to do my neurosurgery rotation, so I don't really know many clinical faculty, except for my research preceptor. I am certain that he will give me a good rec (I've known him since before my first year). Hopefully I'll get to know more attendings during my rotation, although, I'd also like to consolidate my relationship with my boss to solidify my chances of gettin an awesome rec. Any suggestions for doing well in the neurosurgery rotation? Unfortunately I will be doing n-surg before I have had surgery, so I am scared about looking clueless (but then again, I'm a third year, so maybe that's inevitable ;)

    Thanks again!
     

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