Chosey

5+ Year Member
Mar 15, 2015
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Medical Student (Accepted)
Hey guys, I know everyones busy so I ll just get right to it:

I am interested in derm, have been since high school, made it through college, made it to medical school...it's a specialty that I think I am passionate about and have good skills for. I KNOW thats what I want.
But here I am one semester into med school and I m not doing as well as I wanted. I m in a dual degree program with a small class (about 50 ppl) and I am doing okay content wise (getting high 80s and low 90s on my tests) but ranking wise I am in the middle and sometimes bottom half.

I read a lot of posts about AOA being a big factor and all, and for my school you have to be top 10% to be considered for junior AOA... So it seems like I wont be getting it. Am I already done for derm? I know the step score is more important and research is a part of it too. But I am not very experienced or that interested in research. With that said, I still applied to a couple of research summer programs and im trying to get a lab position but I donno if I can count on any of it. I ve gotten SO far, I really don't want to give up on dem. PLEASE ADVISE!! Anything helps!
 

funtertaining15

Average Wizard
5+ Year Member
Aug 6, 2012
509
168
Status
Medical Student
Hey guys, I know everyones busy so I ll just get right to it:

I am interested in derm, have been since high school, made it through college, made it to medical school...it's a specialty that I think I am passionate about and have good skills for. I KNOW thats what I want.
But here I am one semester into med school and I m not doing as well as I wanted. I m in a dual degree program with a small class (about 50 ppl) and I am doing okay content wise (getting high 80s and low 90s on my tests) but ranking wise I am in the middle and sometimes bottom half.

I read a lot of posts about AOA being a big factor and all, and for my school you have to be top 10% to be considered for junior AOA... So it seems like I wont be getting it. Am I already done for derm? I know the step score is more important and research is a part of it too. But I am not very experienced or that interested in research. With that said, I still applied to a couple of research summer programs and im trying to get a lab position but I donno if I can count on any of it. I ve gotten SO far, I really don't want to give up on dem. PLEASE ADVISE!! Anything helps!
Take Step 1 first before you even consider anything. Derm is competitive so you need a competitive step 1 score above anything else. Breathe and just do your best. All the other stuff you need to help your application will come in time. Don't stress.

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Oso

5+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2014
2,578
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Way too early to be giving up. The biggest things will be step 1 score, clinical grades, and yes, research. AOA/class ranking are helpful, but definitely not required to match into derm.
Honestly I would just forget about class rank/comparing your grades to others and just do your best on ... step 1, clinical rotations, and research. Good luck.
 
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sb247

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Jul 5, 2012
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Boards over everything

It’s not that one semester means you can’t be in derm. But that one semester may end up being an accurate representation of how you perform in competition with med students. If your boards are avg as well you don’t really get to be a dermatologist. It sucks but that’s kind of how it works
 
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Chosey

5+ Year Member
Mar 15, 2015
70
18
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Boards over everything

It’s not that one semester means you can’t be in derm. But that one semester may end up being an accurate representation of how you perform in competition with med students. If your boards are avg as well you don’t really get to be a dermatologist. It sucks but that’s kind of how it works
Yea That's kind of what I'm scared of too. I feel like I can do better but it ll probably take a toll on my overall happiness/ wellbeing and I dont know if I can find a balance where i can do well enough to get in and still be okay.

I don't know how well pre-clinical grades predict step score though. Any insight ont that?
 

Kr#36

2+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2016
405
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Medical Student
Keep in mind two other things: You have no "skills" now compared to even someone 6 months into a residency, so saying you have the skills for derm compared to anything else at this point is silly. You haven't done any rotations, and you may find you like other specialties much more. Just do your best and don't stress if you aren't in the top 10% of your class at this point.
 
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NotAProgDirector

Pastafarians Unite!
Moderator
10+ Year Member
Oct 11, 2006
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My only advice to add to this thread is to have a plan in addition to derm. If you go to med school and are only happy with derm/ortho/vasc/plastics etc, it's easy to end up unhappy. I hope you get a derm spot, but try to find other things that might interest you also.
 

theseeker4

PGY 3
7+ Year Member
Apr 20, 2011
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Yea That's kind of what I'm scared of too. I feel like I can do better but it ll probably take a toll on my overall happiness/ wellbeing and I dont know if I can find a balance where i can do well enough to get in and still be okay.

I don't know how well pre-clinical grades predict step score though. Any insight ont that?
They don't. It depends a lot more on your knowledge of the actual high-yield information tested on the boards, which is often NOT represented by med school preclinical exams. For example I was bottom of my class, never failed or had to remediate anything, but always near the bottom in the first two years of med school. I was almost dead on the national mean for both Step 1 and 2. Your grades are not an absolute predictor of your board scores, though you should see why you are scoring average if you want to score high enough for Derm.

Do dermatology research. A summer lab research project won't help you as much as an actual research project that is related to dermatology, especially if you can publish it. Your desired specialty is pretty much the hardest to get into, so liking research or not, if you want a chance you need to pursue it with enthusiasm.

Have a backup. Chances of matching in derm are low because, obviously, most medical students are not going to be top of their class and have top board scores. You might be one of the exceptions, but if you don't look into what other fields might interest you, you will probably end up in something you hate if you don't make it into derm. Do your research beforehand.
 
May 1, 2019
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If your happiness is entirely contingent on being able to do derm (as it seems from the OP), you’re likely gonna be SOL. It’s common sense to have a backup specialty in mind if you have aspirations for something competitive.
 
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