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Ophtho applicant, what to tell medicine???

Discussion in 'Ophthalmology: Eye Physicians & Surgeons' started by dazzled85, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. dazzled85

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    Hi Fellow Med Students/Residents/Attendings,

    I am facing a tough situation with my application this year. I am a 4th year medical student applying this year for ophthalmology. I will be a graduate from an american medical school. My scores are in the 90th percentile for step I and 95th percentile for Step II. No AOA but got honors on my away ophtho rotations. Have great research posters and working on a study right now.
    However as my score is not in the 99th percentile. I will be applying to medicine programs as well but dont know what to tell medicine programs if they ask me about my interest in ophtho. All my away rotations are ophtho, so it will be near impossible for a med PD to not recognize my string of ophtho rotations.

    How do I dodge this question? what do I tell them during interviews?

    I will be applying to top medicine programs who probably expect 100% commitment to medicine!


    Please Help!
     
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  3. eyelander

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    I would say go all in for ophthalmology and apply to prelim medicine programs as back-ups.

    If you choose later interview dates for the medicine programs, you will know by then if ophtho is in your future or not. Also, you can approach the interview in a much more relaxed way, not having to hide your intentions for ophtho.

    This is of course dependent on your intentions of taking on a full medicine residency in the event you do not match. You could even interview for prelim and tell them you are interested in categorical at the interview, if that is the case.

    I would caution on applying to both medicine and ophthalmology and telling them two different tales of your interests. It is a very small world and people talk. If word gets out that you are indecisive or misleading either program, you could easily get blacklisted from both.
     
  4. RestoreSight

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    I'm not sure what you mean by STEP 1 in the 90th percentile. Do you mean the second 2 digit score is 90? That isn't a percentile, just an equivalent number to the 3 digit score with 75 = passing. I'm not sure, but are you applying to medicine as a back-up because of low board scores?

    There are far more medicine programs than ophtho programs. All specialties like to see evidence you are committed to their specialty and I think this is definitely true for ophthalmology as well as medicine. Be honest with program directors. A single false statement can do far more harm than you think. If you don't feel confident with your ophthalmology application consider ways of strengthening your application prior to applying. I don't think there is any way to dodge questions if a program director asks.
     
  5. speyeder

    speyeder Attending
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    There's nothing wrong with applying for IM as a backup. But if you're asked about this during your IM interviews you should be upfront about your interest in ophtho. Attempts to be deceitful will likely be picked up by your interviewer. You could say that your have a genuine interest in both fields and that you would be happy in either. Of course they can probably deduce that ophtho is your 1st choice because it's an early match specialty.
     
  6. EyeGuy15

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    Diff perspective.

    In my opinion medicine and ophtho people RARELY talk, let alone discuss possible applicants....

    No IM program(especially a top tier program) will rank you highly if they know IM is your backup. It is insulting to them and I doubt they will want to take the risk of having an unhappy resident who got their second choice so they probably won't rank you highly or at all. Just tell them you thought you loved ophtho but decided it was not for you...

    A guy at my school double applied and he basically told the ophtho people he loved ophtho and the medicine people that he loved medicine. He never disclosed that he was double applying.

    He ended up not matching in ophtho(he had a low step 1) but matched at his number 1 IM program. Program directors in all specialties BS all the time to applicants, and you have to look out for yourself. JUST MAKE SURE THAT YOU DO NOT APPLY TO THE SAME PRELIM MEDICINE PROGRAMS AND CATEGORICAL MEDICINE PROGRAMS. Not a single medicine program is going to follow up on you after the match and if they do, there is not a thing they can do about it. You won't get blacklisted from anything. IM programs will interview hundreds of applicants, and no program director will waste their time following up on one random applicant.

    Is it probably unethical to lie to programs? Yes. Programs in all fields do the same thing to applicants ALL THE TIME. You are trying to match most importantly. You wouldn't go to a job interview and tell them that they are "your backup". Look out for yourself and just tell every program no matter field/location etc. that you love their program.
     
  7. RestoreSight

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    I disagree with EyeGuy. It is not "probably" unethical to lie to programs, it is COMPLETELY unethical to lie to programs and you do so at your own risk. This is not an eye-for-an-eye debate. We can't lump all "programs" into a single category and assume they are acting as a single unethical group. Ultimately, this is a question about ethics and medicine, whether you want to do the right or the wrong thing. There is nothing wrong with being honest to programs and telling them what your plans are or if your plans have changed. I would not tell them IM is a backup because no program wants to be someone's backup, but I would not make up two entirely different stories on the interview trail either because that compromises your integrity and programs will recognize this.

     
  8. EyeGuy15

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    To each his own. I personally would rather match than not match and telling programs they are your backup is a good way to not get ranked by them. It is up to you what route you want to take, but there no repercussions if a PROGRAM IN AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SPECIALTY finds out you lied to them about your intentions. Zero repercussions.

    You might sleep better if you are "honest" with everyone, but I am guessing you will sleep well after you match. What is the worst possible thing that could happen if an IM program finds out you matched into ophtho? Absolutely nothing will happen. Nothing. You are trying to match. End of story.

    Although I can only give one example. My friend matched his top IM program being in your same exact predicament. I highly doubt he would have matched there or anywhere had he said at his IM interviews "Hi I love your program, but I am going to go after these ophtho programs first and then rank you if I dont match."
     
  9. Slide

    Slide Finally, no more "training"
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    Applying to medicine is much much easier than to ophthalmology. My experience is that medicine applicants typically LOVE ophthalmology interns or former ophthalmology applicants because they tend to be as strong, or stronger, than the average medicine applicant. I myself am seeing this firsthand in the wards. You can co-apply to medicine programs at the same time, but be warned that it means you have to separate your personal statements towards programs and you'll have to ask about your ophthalmology interests if they appear on your application. Some programs may try to win you away from ophthalmology, while others will not rank you high because of your ophthalmology interest; it depends on the strength of the medicine program you apply to as well as the whims of the program director.

    My personal opinion is to go for broke and just focus on Ophtho. The main questions you have to ask yourself are 1) Are you equally happy getting a medicine spot compared to an ophthalmology spot, and 2) do you like ophthalmology enough to do a year of research or pre-residency fellowship if you do not match into ophthalmology? With early match, you'll know early enough if you don't match, and you can always do post-match interviews in January. Doing a year of research or pre-fellowship may not be as bad as you think either. It's becoming more common to see ophthalmology applicants take a year off for this to strengthen their application. Worse comes to worse, if you decide ophthalmology is not for you, you can either scramble for IM spots or just apply the next yea.
     
  10. speyeder

    speyeder Attending
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    This is observationally speaking, mostly true. Where I did my internship, the prelims going into ophtho, rads, derm and anesthesiology were by far better interns than the categoricals. We were even told this by the chief residents and program director.
     

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