ADME1313

2+ Year Member
Aug 19, 2016
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Hey guys,

I'm a rising MS2. I received several awards for finishing as the top student in a few of my first year classes. Studying that hard took up the majority of my time and I didn't have a lot of time for extracurriculars/volunteering. I want to do a competitive surgical subspecialty, and my locations of preference are all in very desirable locations, so I want to do everything I can to have the best application possible.

My question is, what would make me more competitive - 1) to continue hardcore gunning, maybe get some more awards, and sacrifice ECs to an extent. OR 2) focus more on ECs, cut down on studying? My school is straight P/F. I'm assuming we are internally ranked for AOA purposes, so I would study as hard as I saw fit to maintain the possibility of AOA , but would stop gunning for #1.

Thanks for any advice.

Also - I know it's said that preclinical grades don't matter that much. Will these awards help at all for residency apps? or are they largely irrelevant?
 

mcloaf

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Jan 21, 2012
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I wish med schools would stop bull****ting about their grading schemes. If you're giving kids awards for performance in preclinical classes that's not P/F. Based on that you're almost certainly internally ranked.

To your question it is probably worth getting some research going--what did you do over the summer between M1/M2? Probably worth finding a resident/fellow/attending in your field of interest to chat with in person and see what their thoughts are about AOA/preclinical grades/awards vs research.
 

Fenixak

5+ Year Member
Apr 30, 2014
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Research is the ultimate EC and required for a lot of surg specialties (i.e. Ortho). I've been able to publish a lot between 2-3year for ortho, and even though I chose not to pursue ortho, it is a major strength to my application. Don't study as much, learn what you need to learn and put your energy into networking, friendships, research, and ECs that are important to you.
 

Psai

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How can you be number 1 in straight pf? I would look into what they actually put on your deans letter because it sounds like your school is bsing you. There's a research paper floating around that has a table of which schools are actually pf on their dean's letters.

That said, the more you know the better you will be. But research is pretty much mandatory to get into a top program in many fields and you definitely need a case presentation or something at the very least if you're aiming for the most competitive fields. I would look for residents at your school in your chosen field that need help on projects to get you started. Being aoa is great but you probably don't get an extra boost for being number one in ms1 year
 
Jun 22, 2015
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MS1 only matters if your school uses it in the calculation for junior AOA. I know my school uses both MS1 and MS2 grades. I can't comment on your school but I'd assume MS2 is part of it so try to find that balance of research and studying. I gunned my first two years without doing research and it's not a good feeling thinking about making up lost ground in MS3 when you are exhausted and just trying to keep your head above water.


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ADME1313

2+ Year Member
Aug 19, 2016
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Medical Student
Thanks for all the advice guys. In terms of the awards - I confirmed that they were given for receiving the highest percentage grade in a few classes and that this information will be relayed to residencies.

I put in a ton of time doing research over the summer and I think the work will result in 2-3 pubs.

It sounds like the general consensus is to stop gunning for these awards and dedicate time elsewhere. A little off topic from the initial question, but how important is AOA for top residencies? At my school, I don't think they give much weight to academic standing (outside of qualifying) and research for AOA purposes, so I would need to really push this year to get involved in some ECs.

Again, thanks for any advice