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Should I Even Try For Radiology?

Discussion in 'Radiology' started by Unty, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. Unty

    Unty New Member

    Feb 4, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Hello everyone-

    I am a fourth year medical student, who will be taking one year off and am applying for the 2008 match. I have been having a serious dilemma in regards to my career. I am passionate about radiology, but considering the competitive nature of the field, I may have no choice but to look to apply to another field. As I look on this board and auntminnie, I see that most applicants have at least a 230 on the Steps, which makes me feel like I have no chance in matching into any radiology program.

    So, a little about me. I am a USIMG, with low board scores (step 1 and Step 2). I got a masters before medical school where I did basic science research in cellular neurobiology all throughout my second year. I published my thesis and have one abstract from presenting my research at a national conference.

    My clinical grades have been all A's so far with 2 B's. I did a radiology rotation at a community hospital (with no radiology residency program), received an A, but was told I stand no chance from the radiology attending when I asked him for a letter of rec. Hence, he did not write me a letter of rec. I currently have no letters in radiology.

    The other fields I am considering are pathology and internal medicine. I have a few months of electives left, so I am asking for advice in regards to whether I should even do some away electives and try for radiology. I am willing to do some research before the application process starts in September of this year. At best, I might be able to get something published. But, my feeling is that, I don't want to waste so much effort, time and energy in trying to "go for" (taking electives, doing research) radiology, when, in the end, I won't be able to get in. I am not sure if it would help if I did research with a "big name" in radiology and hopefully, he/she might be able to make some calls for me when applying. I would be willing to bust my arse when doing research in hopes of publishing, but the fact that I might not even stand a chance (even if a bigwig made some calls for me) given my low board scores, makes me think twice about even trying.

    I would be willing to apply to any program in the country and would be willing to go anywhere in the country to train for radiology.

    Feeling kinda lost in what to do. If anyone has any constructive advice/criticism, it would be greatly appreciated. I, myself, am thinking I have no chance at all for radiology and thus am thinking about pathology. If I did pathology, I know for a fact that I wouldn't be as passionate about it as if I did radiology. I am a believer in the fact that if you want to be really good at something, you have to love it. If I did end up doing pathology, it would be something I would be doing partly because "I had no other choice."

    Thanks in advance for any help.
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  3. Naked Ned

    Naked Ned New Member

    Mar 13, 2004
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    Apply in both. Pathology is a really cool field. IM has some great subspecialties.
  4. Taurus

    Taurus Paul Revere of Medicine

    Jul 27, 2004
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    Attending Physician
    Ouch! That was cold of him.
  5. fragilex

    fragilex Hermit in the Dark

    Aug 28, 2006
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    To be honest, it appears you've already doomed yourself to failure without even trying yet. Here are the facts: Yes, radiology is competitive, yes being a US IMG and having low board scores will hurt you. However, you've already stated you can do X, Y or Z to try to improve your application but are unsure if it will be "worth it".

    Sit down and ask yourself, what am I willing to sacrifice for "what I want". You mentioned you'll go anywhere, that's good, flexibility is always good. But honestly, that should go without saying. What about time? Would you reapply for the match again? 3 times? 5 times? 10 times? What you not be happy with anything else... ever? There are a million other questions like that to ask yourself. These are questions only you can ask yourself, and you must be sincere and honest.

    If you want someone to tell you, "you can do it! go for it!", I'm sorry I can't tell you that because I don't know. There are no guarantees in this life, or any other. If you really want radiology, give it everything you've got. Sacrifice it all. Put yourself out there and see what happens. However, if you've already given up without even trying, you probably don't want it enough.

    I've heard of people not matching in radiology, doing a prelim year and applying again. Some get in that next year, some don't. Some keep trying, some give up. Some get lucky and the place they did their prelim year liked them enough to offer them radiology the following year. And some go into pathology, internal medicine, or [insert other specialty here] instead.

    It depends on you.

  6. Obedeli

    Obedeli Senior Member

    Oct 27, 2004
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    I am not being harsh or mean here. After seeing the posts from people who didn't match, I can tell you that the above information is enough to make the situation near hopeless if not completely. The cut off for board scores would mean that they don't even see your app! No amount of research can change this. Low board scores are risks for a program that you will have low score or fail either one of the three radiology boards (physics, written, oral). Failure in any of these but especially the oral boards, later reduces the programs recruitment potential. I saw this happen to a program in the southeast several years ago. They went unfilled after several seniors failed the oral boards. Seriously, devote your time and money somewhere else.
  7. Bevo

    Bevo Radiology, R1

    Jan 27, 2002
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    Resident [Any Field]
    All research will do you for if you don't have the min board scores to get past teh filters is possibly given you an 'in' at 1 program, maybe 2.

    Its hard to overcome poor board scores, even harder as a IMG. Cause programs break us down in to American Med School students and Everyone else. We're in the everyone else category. Some programs don't even look at our file, even if downloaded, until they've evaluated all the american students.

    Not saying to not apply, but it could be very expensive. I say try, but apply for a 2nd residency as well that you'd be happy going into

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