Dec 2, 2010
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I have heard that there are many more people applying to neurology this year. I've heard that most people rank between 5-10 programs and have a very good shot at matching. Due to the increase in applications this year, should this change how many programs we rank?

Also, on average how many applicants does a program interview? I've heard that they try to interview about 10 applicants per spot offered. Has anyone heard anything different?
 
Sep 5, 2010
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Yes, that's what I hear too.

I have heard that there are many more people applying to neurology this year. I've heard that most people rank between 5-10 programs and have a very good shot at matching. Due to the increase in applications this year, should this change how many programs we rank?

Also, on average how many applicants does a program interview? I've heard that they try to interview about 10 applicants per spot offered. Has anyone heard anything different?
 

ReDox

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Are there really that many more applying this year that it could change how many programs to rank? I find it hard to believe.

I, too, have been told that 10 applicants per spot is a fair estimation.

Does anyone know if most people applying get their top choice? Or at least 2nd and 3rd choice?
 

clement

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Are there really that many more applying this year that it could change how many programs to rank? I find it hard to believe.

I, too, have been told that 10 applicants per spot is a fair estimation.

Does anyone know if most people applying get their top choice? Or at least 2nd and 3rd choice?
I'd imagine there are a lot of variables? Are you a US MD vs indep vs brand name med school vs are you applying to top tier programs vs middle tier vs are you applying to places with like 3 positions vs 10? I dunno know, NRMP stats from 09 seemed to indicate 7-10 is a good number to rank for most? but i.e. on the interview trail, I've met US citizen island grads with decent stats, that applied and ranked 11 places last year and matched into a prelim position rather than neuro and are reapplying this year. I'm a little skeered but overall neuro should not be hard to get still.
 

FictionalGirl

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I think the best piece of advice is, no matter what, only rank places that you would absolutely want to go. I believe it is better not to match at all then match somewhere you would absolutely not want to work. Four years of your life if a long time, and since you are contractually obligated to go work at the place where you match (the consequences for pulling out being banned from the match for a certain time, reputation, etc) it's best to only put places where you'd be happy. That means, if you think that the schedule/work hours at a name-brand institution would kill you.... don't rank it, no matter how awesome you think a program is, you can't enjoy it if you're comatose 5 months in. If you want to have a research career and thought the local clinically oriented program was lovely, but would put you on the absolutely wrong career path... don't rank it unless you're willing to give up research. Now, you have to decide for yourself what you do/don't want, knowing that there are many variables you can't know you want until you're actually in the middle of residency living with those program specifics every day.

The fear of failure/not matching can be overwhelming, but just getting into a program isn't success - remember that! - and keeps you from trying to match again after a prelim year into a program that you'd actually want. I don't think this will happen to most people.... I've heard most people get one of their top three choices in Neurology (maybe different if those top three are all big brand-name)

Most importantly, be honest with yourself when ranking. Use a spreadsheet, write a program, chart it, consult tarot cards. I'm going to trust my gut. And decide now that whatever program in your envelope on match day, no matter where it was on your list, is the perfect place for you.
 

Terpskins99

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I've heard that they try to interview about 10 applicants per spot offered. Has anyone heard anything different?
This is about right for most specialties.

I think the best piece of advice is, no matter what, only rank places that you would absolutely want to go. I believe it is better not to match at all then match somewhere you would absolutely not want to work.
:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
 

soulofmpatel

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I think the best piece of advice is, no matter what, only rank places that you would absolutely want to go.
Frankly, I think that this advice is ridiculous.

What exactly is a medical student planning to pursue a career in neurology going to do if s/he doesn't match? Most likely, one would end up applying again during the prelim year and have to go through much additional unnecessary stress and struggle. And for what? So that you can learn that you're now less competitive than you were as a 4th year medical student and that you aren't going to magically match into your dream program?

When I was a 4th year medical student, I knew for certain that I wanted to be a neurologist and I would have gone to a new program in wyoming if I had to. I ranked all 13 programs where I interviewed...even ones that I didn't like because I was willing to make the saccrifices necessary to become a neurologist.

Even at a small community program, you can make your own research opportunities if you're truly motivated. Even at a big name elitist program, you can suck it up and play the game for 4 years and become a quality outpatient clinical neurologist.

These are the circumstances where i can understand that someone would reasonably not rank a program:

1) The program is plainly malignant/abusive/nightmarish
2) The program is located too far from a significant other, and you are willing to make saccrifices in your career to be with that person
3) you've decided that the program is so bad that you would prefer to change specialties or pusue a year of reseach or do other things to improve your application rather than matriculate there.

Failing to match is an absolutely devastating event in one's medical career. I saw it happen to many of my classmates, and they ended up scrambling into an undesireable prelim, settling for a different specialty, or pursuing research for the hope of matching in the future. A lot of people end up calling programs which they didn't rank during the scramble period because they are so desperate. They come to the realization that going to a less desired program is better than having nothing. Nothing clears the mind like the site of the gallows [Mark Twain].

Listen guys...

I matched into my #1 choice, and I'm not all that happy. Residency in general sucks, and although some places are better than others, this is something we all do for the sake of delayed gratification...for the right to have an interesting career in a dynamic field, to have the opportunity to make a positive difference in people's lives, and to make a comfortable living.

To program directors, you are just another warm body with a 250 on step I, so don't let your own arrogance risk your career.
 

FictionalGirl

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Soul,
it looks like we're saying the same thing in different ways. When I say I like the advice "only rank places you would absolutely want to go" that would mean the programs excluding what you said below:

"These are the circumstances where i can understand that someone would reasonably not rank a program:

1) The program is plainly malignant/abusive/nightmarish
2) The program is located too far from a significant other, and you are willing to make saccrifices in your career to be with that person
3) you've decided that the program is so bad that you would prefer to change specialties or pusue a year of reseach or do other things to improve your application rather than matriculate there."

I understand that you would be willing to go to Wyoming (also, i LIKE wyoming! don't go hating on Wyoming.... hehe ) but concede how others would have other things in their life they may feel are worth risking not matching for.

Since I agree with you, we should rephrase my advice-givers words to say : Do not rank places you would absolutely not want to be. Which, in my opinion are places you would absolutely want to be. Because if you rank them, you'd absolutely rather go there than not match. Granted, some of those places may be much more desirable to you than others for many reasons...


Everybody has their own cost/benefit analysis. I don't personally think it's arrogance to leave programs off your list, just understand the risks. I'm sorry you're not all that happy where you are, hope things look up as the years go by.
 

soulofmpatel

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Fair enough fictional girl, but I still say you should rank everything.

unless you're competing with me for a fellowship spot in a few years :)
 

FictionalGirl

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Fair enough fictional girl, but I still say you should rank everything.

unless you're competing with me for a fellowship spot in a few years :)
Uh-Oh Soul.... we better figure this out now to ensure maximum fellowship opportunities later. Shall we divvy the country up by coast or some other method? hehehehehehe :) :laugh: I'll still be a year behind you or so, right? So it should be safe! :luck:
 

soulofmpatel

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Uh-Oh Soul.... we better figure this out now to ensure maximum fellowship opportunities later. Shall we divvy the country up by coast or some other method? hehehehehehe :) :laugh: I'll still be a year behind you or so, right? So it should be safe! :luck:
Maybe I should come on here and deliver caustic criticism about my #1 choice when the time comes. I can make 5 different accounts that all claim XYZ fellowship is malignant with brutal calls, no education, a crappy cafeteria, and a program director that smells like stale cheese.

-
 

socalguy

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I don't know where you heard that there are more applicants to neurology this year, but it does seem that many programs are expanding, and there seem to be more spots available now than in recent history.
 

FictionalGirl

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Maybe I should come on here and deliver caustic criticism about my #1 choice when the time comes. I can make 5 different accounts that all claim XYZ fellowship is malignant with brutal calls, no education, a crappy cafeteria, and a program director that smells like stale cheese.

-
Soul, say whatever you want, but you can't sway me. There's only one spot in neuro-dermatology and it's going to be M$NE! :laugh:
 

typhoonegator

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I don't know where you heard that there are more applicants to neurology this year, but it does seem that many programs are expanding, and there seem to be more spots available now than in recent history.
Haven't you heard? Every year is dramatically harder than the year before it, every year there are more applicants for each spot, every year the step 1 scores are higher, the interviews more intense, the airline tickets pricier. [/sarcasm]

This is a common theme on this forum, and on SDN in general. It is a psychological device, similar to when your grandfather talks about walking up hill both ways to school in the snow without shoes and an onion tied around his belt (which was the style of the time).

Please don't let it dissuade anyone from going into neurology. While our specialty may slowly be trending toward more attractive, these changes occur glacially, allowing the continued comparison of each class to the one before it. The prelim situation is a bit different over the past few years, but with some solid planning and willingness to compromise it can almost always be circumvented.
 

clement

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The prelim situation is a bit different over the past few years, but with some solid planning and willingness to compromise it can almost always be circumvented.
As in, scramble if you're in love with an advanced position? We love categoricals.
 
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Been out interviewing for a while -- just gaining back consciousness :)

Since the programs are still interviewing about 10 candidates per spot, it appears that they still feel that number of places each candidate is interviewing/ranking would be similar to the last year.
 

clement

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"Haven't you heard? Every year is dramatically harder than the year before it, every year there are more applicants for each spot, every year the step 1 scores are higher, the interviews more intense, the airline tickets pricier. [/sarcasm]

This is a common theme on this forum, and on SDN in general."


I agree with Typhoon on this, in general.

However, I find that for one thing, the trend in creating categorical spots will make competition more intense at certain formerly less desirable places AND at least a few PD's I asked confirmed the number of applicants doubling or even tripling for them in the last few years. Plenty also noted that the "caliber" of applicants has gone up compared to prior years.

Historically neuro has been far more appealing to IMG's and that's not the case any longer...That too makes things more competitive I believe. Although all in all it's still very IMG-friendly and if we are to follow the trend of last year's record number of spots available in the Match compared to applicant numbers, it really has gotten harder for us.
 
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