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Trying to figure out my back up plans if I don't match. Obviously doing an intern year is super helpful in reapplying, but let's say after doing one (or more) you still don't match and you end up going back to general dentistry. I would imagine the intern year could be helpful even then since you'd get great experience in surgery/implants, but how much would the intern year set you back in terms of General Dentistry hand skills? Has anyone done an OMS intern year, then gone out to general practice? I'd love to hear your thoughts, as well as those who did intern years then matched. I'm hoping I match straight out, but I want to be prepared if I need to do an intern year.
 
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Anonymomfs

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I can't speak to how much a year will set you back in terms of general dentistry but I feel like my two cents on post-match plans is somewhat valuable.

The intern year gives you a leg-up on an equal applicant who has not done an intern year, and also makes your categorical intern year smoother. If you're an absolute superstar intern, you will get a leg-up at matching at the home institution.
But from what I've seen, the best, most reliable way to boost your chances at getting into a program is to increase your CBSE score.

Retaking the CBSE just before the application cycle is going to hinder your new score if you're starting a non-categorical year. There simply isn't the time to study. I've seen it happen to a non-categorical with whom I shared intern duties, and then again to the non-categorical in the following year. Meanwhile, the same institution's contemporaneous research fellows matched into programs during the same cycles.

Now, my observed n = 2 may not hold up universally, but those research fellows had more flexible schedules that they could use to study for the CBSE and achieve higher scores. They also had publications they could hold up. These factors made them much more attractive than the average applicant.

If I'm a chief resident, I would rather have the intern who knows the ropes, but the decision makers are the attendings, and they love the high scores and publications.

While most programs will give you great experience with extractions, there are very few non-categorical positions that will give you adequate implant experience that will translate into practice. At most programs, big dog (chief and senior resident) eats first, and interns (non-categoricals included) get the scraps. If this is important to you, you need to choose the non-categorical program very carefully and hope that your senior residents are on board with your plan.

So it boils down to this: If you're confident in your current score, do a non-categorical year. If you really want to have the best possible chance at matching the second time around, do a year of research fellowship or take off significant time to study for the CBSE.
 
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Rathe1990

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Anonymomfs,

What are your thoughts on:

1. An applicant with low class rank working as a GP for a year to improve CBSE score, followed by a year of non-cat? Is the year working as a GP seen negatively by Program Directors even it was used as a way to spend more time studying for the CBSE?

2. What is the current minimum standard for CBSE scores at OMFS programs?

3. What intern programs do you recommend?

Thank you!
 
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Anonymomfs

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1. Let's think about timeline and priorities. Most people want to get into a categorical program as soon as possible, so I'm going to let you in on what I think the best strategy would be for a current fourth year with a low class rank and low CBSE score to do such a thing. You can extrapolate this to anyone with any score and any class rank really.
YMMV and everyone has different strengths and weaknesses that may change their strategy. I'm just dishing out advice using an imaginary set of rules that I observed through my own application cycle and observing the ranking process at my own program.

Here are the rules:
A. CBSE score is the most important part of your application. If you can get a score of 80+, you will grab any evaluator's attention, and you will almost be guaranteed to match somewhere if you are not otherwise a total dip****. 70+ will get you interviews very reliably, and you will most likely match. If you are in the 60's or lower you will need something else (research, personal connections) to define you and these people will be less certain they will match at their desired destinations if even at all.
B. The only extracurriculars that matter are research (On any subject, if it is meaningful) and impressive positions such as class president or some kind of volunteering director (but you must have done something meaningful with this position. During interviews you will be asked what you did with that position and if it's just "winning an election," nobody really cares. I'm sure people will read this who had other stuff on their resumes and will dispute this, but I'm making generalities for simplification. I would even go as far as to say that only research gets you an interview, and the other positions only help you during the interview itself.
C. The intern year gives you a leg-up on an equal applicant who has not done an intern year (again, generalities), and also makes your categorical intern year smoother. If you're an absolute superstar intern, you will get a leg-up at matching at the home institution. Those are the only advantages. You can also blow it at the home institution if you're crappy. Taking the CBSE during a non-categorical intern year will most likely severely hurt your score.
D. Any experience that has nothing to do with OMFS, like, let's say a year of GP or a GPR, does not hurt you as long as you can explain why you did it. If you needed to pay off some loans or you were unsure of what you wanted to do that's very understandable, as long as you are certain that you want to do OMFS when you apply and you make that clear in the interview room. In fact, someone who has done a year of GP has held down a job (most applicants' first full-time job is their residency), knows the importance of speed, patient experience, and coding, and has a full year of real-world patient interaction under his or her belt. If anyone questions your decisions in an interview, you bring up those things and boom, you just turned a supposed weakness into a strength.
E. Applying for a categorical position does not preclude you from later applying for a non-categorical position if you do not match. In fact, this is the sequence taken by most non-categoricals.
F. If you have not done any externships during dental school, you can actually do them after you graduate. All you need is 4-5 weeks of externships to match the average applicant. You won't be paid and would have to take time off of work, but theoretically you are still saving money and time over a non-categorical year.

You posited your question as if you are obligated to take an entire year until you apply. I'm going to assume you've already done enough externships to make things simple. This year, the CBSE is in mid-August. If your dental school class graduates in late May or early June, you then have 2.5 months between graduation and the CBSE. This is a pretty solid amount of time, although I usually recommend 4 months of hardcore CBSE studying. You can also start while you're still in dental school to get those full 4 months. You can start right now and have 9 months! (remember, getting an 80 will almost guarantee that you match). In summary, you have plenty of time to get a good score if you manage your time well. When you graduate and start your GP job, just make studying a priority and take it very seriously. If you don't match this cycle, then you can apply for an intern year, take some time off from your GP job before you start it, and try to boost your score again.

2. See Rule A above. Each year something like 8 people will get 90+, 20 people 80+. 70+ is becoming a lot more common. I'm sure there are more accurate statistics out there but it feels like at least 50% of applicants get 69 and below.

3. It would be irresponsible for me to answer this. I simply don't know enough about it, and every program changes so much year-to-year depending on the seniors. The best one in my opinion is at my home institution, but I don't want to compromise my identity, so I apologize for that.
 
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@Anonymomfs How do you recommend going about getting an internship while also registered in the match? Can you start talking to programs before match in case? Or is it better to wait until match day to reach out? I'd love to intern at one of the programs I'm interviewing at if I don't match, but I feel like if I ask before match I'm admitting defeat.
 

Anonymomfs

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@Anonymomfs How do you recommend going about getting an internship while also registered in the match? Can you start talking to programs before match in case? Or is it better to wait until match day to reach out? I'd love to intern at one of the programs I'm interviewing at if I don't match, but I feel like if I ask before match I'm admitting defeat.

My home institution only accepts applications after the match. I am not aware of the admissions or decision-making processes of other non-categorical internships. I am aware of many instances when programs offer non-categorical positions to applicants who they interviewed for categorical spots and then fell through the match. So I would have to think it would help to express interest through applying, and that many programs would wait until after the match to offer their spots.

When it comes to choosing a program, I guess I can offer advice again through the lens of one who would want to match into a categorical spot as soon as possible. When I spoke of the advantages of doing non-categorical year, it was only through this lens. I'm certain on a practical level there is more to be gained from a non-categorical internship, like additional experience or just a year of seeing if OMFS is for you. If you really think you're going to be a good intern, go to the program where you think you'd want to end up. Even if you don't match there, it will make you more attractive to similar programs. On the other hand I guess you could obtain a more diverse experience to match at a program with different scope, but I think this would be too many degrees within the strategy rabbit hole.
 
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nealofgrafton

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you rang?
Former omfs intern, current GP and practice owner (in a month).
internship pros -> shows you can hack it
cons -> it's a full year of doing a small portion of dentistry.

real talk -> if you can't get a great cbse score and your dental school grades/ standings were not impressive do a GPR. it is much "safer". In order of importance to program directors: CBSE >dental school grades/ standings > undergrad grades>alignment of cosmos > Internship > favorite color
during my intern year I applied to 10 programs (not my home program, a bit to much cancer surgery for my likes) and got 1 interview about a week before the interview so that program wasn't that interested
if you are really dedicated you may have to do 2-3 intern years to match. if oral surgery is the only thing you can imagine doing, go for it
 
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PointEstimate

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"you can hack it" = you can survive the responsibilities of being a first year OMFS resident (call, clinic, etc)

great CBSE score = as high as you can make it
 
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Anonymomfs

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And what is a great CBSE score?


Again, see rule A above. And now below.

CBSE score is the most important part of your application. If you can get a score of 80+, you will grab any evaluator's attention, and you will almost be guaranteed to match somewhere if you are not otherwise a total dip****. 70+ will get you interviews very reliably, and you will most likely match. If you are in the 60's or lower you will need something else (research, personal connections) to define you and these people will be less certain they will match at their desired destinations if even at all.
 
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