Mar 31, 2021
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  1. Medical Student
I've read a bunch on SDN before but never posted and just made an account to see if people think I need a research year.

Mid to lower tier MD
Step 1: high 250's
Clinical grades: 3 H (one of which is medicine), 3 HP (one of which is surgery)
Research (major weak point): one ARVO abstract, like 5th author on another student's abstract, 5th author on medicine case report pending acceptance. Currently working on several ophtho projects but unsure what will be submitted by application time.
Invited to apply to AOA but unsure if I'll be accepted (preclinical grades were very good, but my clinical grades aren't very good).

I'm meeting with our home PD to see what they think of my app and was specifically going to ask whether they think I need a research year or not, but just wanted to see what others thought. Research is obviously the weak point of my application so I think a research year could add value to my application.


5+ Year Member
Dec 30, 2014
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  1. Pre-Medical
  2. Medical Student
I would also be interested in the value of ophthalmology field-specific research if anybody has any insight. I have non-field publications, but not ophthalmology. Wondering if it's worth taking a research year.


7+ Year Member
May 28, 2014
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  1. Resident [Any Field]
Definitely meet with your PD/advisors. Your Step 1 is great and your clinical grades are solid. The next thing you need to do is have a couple ophtho related research projects - you do have some time prior to submission to get this done. If you do, a research year is most likely not needed.
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2+ Year Member
Jun 6, 2019
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  1. Medical Student
with you scores and grades you should go for it
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7+ Year Member
Jan 3, 2013
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  1. Resident [Any Field]
I think you’ll match somewhere for sure! I just hate the idea of taking a research year if you don’t need to (losing a whole year worth of attending salary!)

If you want to match at top, top ophthalmology programs - the Bascoms, the Wills, Iowa, Hopkins, Harvard - then maybe entertain a research year.

If you hustle from now until apps are submitted, you could probably have a few lit reviews or case reports or something easy submitted. I remember I had 6-7 pubs submitted and a few accepted the March/April of before I applied that year.
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