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Radiology Specialty

St3phni

Midwestern University CVM c/o 2024
Oct 27, 2019
52
85
56
  1. Veterinary Student
Hello! I am currently a second year vet student at Midwestern and, although I'm keeping an open mind, I think I want to pursue a radiology specialty. I know that it might be too early to think about this but I wanted to ask for some advice from those in an internship/residency/boarded. I've asked around to a few new interns (but not one specifically radiology-related) and one radiologist, and I've heard that, for internships in general, grades aren't the most important thing and it's better to be a well-rounded person (i.e. participating in research, being an officer in clubs). I just wanted some advice to see if I am heading on the right path. Trying to pursue good grades during my first year burned me out badly and I decided to try having a better work-life balance this year and not worry as much about my grades. I'm still going to be trying to keep decent GPA (like B's in my classes and A's if I can) and I'm hoping "C's get degrees" in some of my classes won't ruin my chances of getting an internship. I do plan to do more research once internships pop up later on this year (just to get more information) but I wanted to ask ahead of time for the sake of my mental health and well-being. Thank you ^-^!
 
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SocialStigma

OVC c/o 2015
10+ Year Member
Dec 24, 2009
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Hi, I'm a boarded specialist (not radiology) and I definitely don't think too early to start thinking about post-vet school plans! While it's true that GPA/class rank is not as important for a rotating internship because of the sheer number of them available, they matter quite a bit when applying to a residency program (especially in academia). I was part of the candidate selection process at my school when I was a resident, and we took GPA/class rank into consideration when ranking applicants. Each program/specialty will differ in terms of how much emphasis they place on grades, but I know of at least some programs that set a GPA cutoff because otherwise they don't have the time to review hundreds of applications for 1 position each year. My personal opinion is that grades are more important than club involvement.
 
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JaynaAli

Need it STAT or want it STAT? They're different.
7+ Year Member
Apr 22, 2013
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Not a radiologist, but am a boarded specialist. Grades aren’t the end all be all, but they are a very important piece of the puzzle. Yes, being well rounded is great and important, but your competition may also probably be well rounded and have good grades. When a program goes to review applications, most competitive people will have been active in clubs, maybe some a cool research project, have good a letters of rec…so what’s it going to come down to? When there’s 400 applicants for your one spot how does someone decide which 100 they’re gonna read? Some people choose to set grade cutoffs to weed down the pile. I think they’re probably missing out on some good candidates, but you have to make choices somehow.

Much of the day to day of a residency isn’t dependent on grades, but there is a very difficult test at the end. And the info won’t be spoon fed to you like in school, you’re gonna have to figure out how to learn most of it yourself all while working 12+ hours a day. And I’ve heard people say they do feel like there’s a correlation between GPA and boards pass rate. Now, I personally think having dedication to the field and strong letters of rec go a long long way to making someone a competitive applicant, but grades do factor in. Having Bs and Cs won’t completely break your application but it can make it harder to find a spot when your competition has very similar activities on their resume PLUS has a high GPA. Doesn’t mean you’re less worthy just that you may have to have even better experiences to stand out. I matched to internship and got a residency with a 3.2 vet school GPA. I know my app was just tossed from a few places because of that but I’ve been boarded two years tomorrow.

But for someone just starting out, my advice is to do as well as you can from here on out. I’d never advocate for someone to sacrifice mental health for it but a Cs get degrees attitude probably won’t lead you to success for specializing, it’s just too competitive. You may have to decide if it’s worth it or not, but hopefully you can find a balance or make a choice you’re happy with. Hang out with radiologists. Find some cool experiences that not everyone may have. Do summer research if that interests you. All hope isn’t lost but residency is a long game and you have to plan ahead.
 
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allygator13

SGU/UTK c/o 2018!
7+ Year Member
Jan 23, 2014
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Thanks @silverrains ! Agree with what has already been said. Grades aren't the end all be all for landing a residency, but it is an important piece of the puzzle. Some programs do set a GPA cut-off, below which applicants are not considered/interviews are not offered. That definitely doesn't mean you need a 4.0 GPA, but I would say above 3.0 at the minimum, above 3.5 if you want to be "safe" in that regard. But again as others have mentioned, it is possible to get a residency with a GPA on the lower end, you just need to have the rest of your application to back you up, including amazing letters of recommendation (from radiologists) and experience in the field. At the end of the day, you have to do what's best for you and your mental health. If that means your grades suffer a bit but you are healthy, you can always explain that later down the line if needed.
 
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St3phni

Midwestern University CVM c/o 2024
Oct 27, 2019
52
85
56
  1. Veterinary Student
Thank you all for all your suggestions! I have a 3.7 GPA right now and it makes me relieved to know I don’t need to aim for a 4.0 . Would you all agree that GPA is just mainly used as a cutoff and, once your application makes the cutoff, LOR’s and activities will matter at that point?
 
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allygator13

SGU/UTK c/o 2018!
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Jan 23, 2014
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Thank you all for all your suggestions! I have a 3.7 GPA right now and it makes me relieved to know I don’t need to aim for a 4.0 . Would you all agree that GPA is just mainly used as a cutoff and, once your application makes the cutoff, LOR’s and activities will matter at that point?

They still will matter, and may make the difference between you and another applicant, but it's the whole package, including you as a person and how a program feels you will fit in with their particular team. There are a lot of factors that play in.
 
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St3phni

Midwestern University CVM c/o 2024
Oct 27, 2019
52
85
56
  1. Veterinary Student
Thank you. One last question, when researching internships, I’ve heard recommendations about trying to get in touch with previous interns to ask for their experience with the program. Do you have any suggestions about how I would go about doing this? The only way I could think of is to post on SDN but I’m pretty sure there are better/more reliable methods.
 
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JaynaAli

Need it STAT or want it STAT? They're different.
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Apr 22, 2013
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Thank you. One last question, when researching internships, I’ve heard recommendations about trying to get in touch with previous interns to ask for their experience with the program. Do you have any suggestions about how I would go about doing this? The only way I could think of is to post on SDN but I’m pretty sure there are better/more reliable methods.
The practices should be willing to provide you names you can contact. Just email the program director and ask. That is very common. If they don’t, be skeptical as to why. I would try to contact both current and past interns if possible, not just one of the two groups.
 
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Penelope Renee

Full Member
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Jan 15, 2016
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Awesome! Thank you so much everyone for your help ^-^! I feel a lot better now .
I graduated from MWU class of 2018. Two of my classmates are current radiology residents (Wisconsin and TAMU). I'm sure if you asked MWU faculty, they could get you contact info. I'm a current small animal surgery resident and MWU faculty have given my contact info to current students interested in specializing in surgery. One of the big benefits I had by attending MWU were my letters of recommendation. When I attended we did not have interns or residents so we worked directly with faculty and they were able to write me very strong letters of recommendation. I believe this is still relatively true. Good luck!
 
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