jadedenvy

7+ Year Member
Apr 16, 2011
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Hi there,

I'm a current fourth year AMG student applying for pathology residencies this year. I've done quite well in terms of Step 1/2 and class rank/academics, but I notice that many of the "comparison" sites for pathology applicants say that the average amount of publications hover around 5. Currently I only have one research project which I did a presentation on (and got a school award for) - I had more research experience in undergrad but don't really remember the details enough to be able to talk about it in interviews (it was about six years ago) and so was not planning on putting that in my application.

In your opinion, how important is having a lot of research experience for residency applications? My list comprises of a lot of top-tier schools at this point, but I'm somewhat worried that only having one research project will hold me back.

Thanks!
 

pathslides

2+ Year Member
Aug 7, 2016
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Attending Physician
Hi there,

I'm a current fourth year AMG student applying for pathology residencies this year. I've done quite well in terms of Step 1/2 and class rank/academics, but I notice that many of the "comparison" sites for pathology applicants say that the average amount of publications hover around 5. Currently I only have one research project which I did a presentation on (and got a school award for) - I had more research experience in undergrad but don't really remember the details enough to be able to talk about it in interviews (it was about six years ago) and so was not planning on putting that in my application.

In your opinion, how important is having a lot of research experience for residency applications? My list comprises of a lot of top-tier schools at this point, but I'm somewhat worried that only having one research project will hold me back.

Thanks!
I suspect you will be fine. You seem confident in your stats and you are an AMG. Showing interest in the field is most important (doing rotations and getting letters). That's what programs like the most. I think with one meaningful project you will be okay. Just talk about that project really well. Definitely put your undergrad research on the application. If they ask about it just bs your way through it. When I applied I had confidence in my stats, was an AMG, and had 1 primary author publication and 1 secodary author abstract and all that was from undergrad. I didn't have anything from Med school. I had no trouble getting interviews from top tier places.
 
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dr.weiner

10+ Year Member
Jun 16, 2005
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American MD grads with good grades/scores don't need publications. You'll have your pick of top programs as long as you make at least a neutral impression during interviews. Those numbers of publications per applicant seem off, but are probably skewed by IMG MD.PHDs that rack them up during 5+ years of PHD/postdoctoral work (and not to mention AMG MD.PhDs).
 
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gbwillner

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Jan 30, 2006
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American MD grads with good grades/scores don't need publications. You'll have your pick of top programs as long as you make at least a neutral impression during interviews. Those numbers of publications per applicant seem off, but are probably skewed by IMG MD.PHDs that rack them up during 5+ years of PHD/postdoctoral work (and not to mention AMG MD.PhDs).
While it is general knowledge that Path is not that competitive at this point in time, to suggest that anyone can have their "pick of top programs" is absurd. I get it as an overstatement. The "top" institutions tend to be heavy on recruiting academic types that have conducted a lot of research. Some programs reserve some slots for non-research applicants (to "move the meat"), some don't care at all, and others will only take the research-oriented folks. You will find out their preferences during the interviews or by looking at their past and current residents.
At my training program, half the class of 12 had an MD/PhD. There were no slackers. Even many of the non-MD/PhDs had significant research experience. I don't care how good your Step scores are, when competing for the top programs, the competition will be stiff. At my program, votes for the rank list were a combination of your attractiveness as a candidate, but also how much people (staff and residents) liked you and wanted you to be their colleague.
Of course you will do well in the Match, and are likely to match well if you are a desirable candidate. But don't assume you will have a golden pass to any specific program. Make sure you rank all the programs you would consider going to, just in case.

Good luck!
 
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dr.weiner

10+ Year Member
Jun 16, 2005
119
45
Status
Attending Physician
While it is general knowledge that Path is not that competitive at this point in time, to suggest that anyone can have their "pick of top programs" is absurd. I get it as an overstatement. The "top" institutions tend to be heavy on recruiting academic types that have conducted a lot of research. Some programs reserve some slots for non-research applicants (to "move the meat"), some don't care at all, and others will only take the research-oriented folks. You will find out their preferences during the interviews or by looking at their past and current residents.
At my training program, half the class of 12 had an MD/PhD. There were no slackers. Even many of the non-MD/PhDs had significant research experience. I don't care how good your Step scores are, when competing for the top programs, the competition will be stiff. At my program, votes for the rank list were a combination of your attractiveness as a candidate, but also how much people (staff and residents) liked you and wanted you to be their colleague.
Of course you will do well in the Match, and are likely to match well if you are a desirable candidate. But don't assume you will have a golden pass to any specific program. Make sure you rank all the programs you would consider going to, just in case.

Good luck!
The OP said he is around top of his class with high board scores. He's not "anyone". I've seen people like him (top grades/scores, without research pedigree) at every top program imaginable. Just my 2 cents.
 

chooks

5+ Year Member
Oct 3, 2014
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If you are an Md/Phd without publications, that is bad. If you are a straight MD with no or few pubs, then that is much less of a problem. If your board scores are high (>250) you will get an interview pretty much most places without much problem unless your letters (including your personal statement) are poorly written or do not support you well. As an earlier poster recommended, showing enthusiasm and being able to speak well to what research you have performed will work better than a random paper in The Journal of Useless Publications.
 
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tiredguy

Not a New Member
10+ Year Member
May 15, 2005
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Hi there,

I'm a current fourth year AMG student applying for pathology residencies this year. I've done quite well in terms of Step 1/2 and class rank/academics, but I notice that many of the "comparison" sites for pathology applicants say that the average amount of publications hover around 5. Currently I only have one research project which I did a presentation on (and got a school award for) - I had more research experience in undergrad but don't really remember the details enough to be able to talk about it in interviews (it was about six years ago) and so was not planning on putting that in my application.

In your opinion, how important is having a lot of research experience for residency applications? My list comprises of a lot of top-tier schools at this point, but I'm somewhat worried that only having one research project will hold me back.

Thanks!
At this point, you should play to your strengths and be prepared to defend your weaknesses rather than worrying about something you can no longer change. I wouldn't list research on your application that you wouldn't be able to explain when someone asks about it during an interview. Focus on the research you did that won an award (people like to see awards), as that indicates you at least have potential to be successful in the research arena.
 
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jadedenvy

7+ Year Member
Apr 16, 2011
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Thank you for all the advice everyone! I am a straight MD, who would like to focus on education and teaching (and have experiences to back that up, as little as that may matter). Just as some background, I am within the top 15% of my class and my step 1/2 scores were 245+, but I am going to a lesser known school. I do feel fairly confident about my personal statement and letters, and at this point don't have any reason to believe otherwise judging by what others have said. I do have a few lower-tier schools that I think I would be happy at as backup, but will consider adding a few more, as my list is quite top-heavy.

I really appreciate all the replies and help - I am the only person in my school interested in pathology, and while I have a good relationship with the pathologists at my school it's a little difficult to find advice outside of them.
 
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