What matters more?

Discussion in 'Ophthalmology: Eye Physicians & Surgeons' started by 218303, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. 218303

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    Let me know which candidate you think would have a better chance at an Ophthalmology Residency, assuming their applications were similar (besides the obvious differences I point out). The Medical School they attend uses an Honors, Pass, Fail System.

    Student A has 3 Ophthalmology Publications (all papers in respected journals), but has not gotten honors in any of his classes.

    Student B has 1 Publication of a poster (2nd author) that was presented at ARVO (huge eye meeting), and he has gotten honors in about 2/3 of his classes.

    Assuming their other stats (clinical evals, board scores, etc...) were similar, who would have the advantage here? Thanks for the help.
     
  2. MAYOphtho

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    depends on so much (hate to say it), like who their letter writers end up being (since the published person will likely have some of their co-authors write a letter) and that can pull a ton of weight, etc....

    even the whole process remains a crap shoot...Student A might get interviews at 6 top 10 programs, while Student B might get interviews at 5 top 10 programs...but a lot of different ones...you just never know

    sorry, i know this doesnt answer your question...but then again, it's all hypothetical
     
  3. Wolverine98

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    I agree. There are far too many other variables to say who would truly have the advantage. On top of the things mentioned, you also have to look at interview ability.
     
  4. eyesupply

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    Nobody mentioned looks.

    Looks matters. Even as a specialty, medical students going into ophthalmology usually look better than those going into a certain large specialty that is easy to get into.
     
  5. wr100m

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    I would guess student A might fair better. The relationships that would be made with the research would be really important, and the contacts and the research would be discussed in the interviews. My rotation grades never came up in an interview. I'm sure they are looked at, but if you do well on the boards and get a great letter in peds or medicine or some non-ophtho field, then not having many honors would probably not be a big deal in the end.
     
  6. minterr

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    clinical grades matter a lot. residency is a clinical training experience. I've seen "summary sheets" on top of my application at various interviews (at good places - eg michigan) where it notes my board scores, AOA status, and what grades I got in medicine/surgery and how many honors I got total (eg 9 H out of 12 rotations). it did not show a section for research/pubs!
     
  7. OphthoApp

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    Grades and board scores are more important than research. The note above is true, the little summary sheet on each applicant has their AOA status, board scores, and grades, not research.
     
  8. alleyesonme

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    I third the above statement. Clinical grades, board scores, and AOA status are on most of the interviewers evaluation forms. Research is important to show that you have an interest in the field and could be productive and juggle a project or two during residency, but I do not think it makes or breaks an application. As above posts point out, the research may allow you to work extensively with some "big wig" attendings, who may then write you an excellent, well-founded letter, and remember you when program directors call about you. Overall, I do not think that publishing a paper is a requisite to getting interviews at top programs.

    With all that being said, each applicant is an individual and has different strengths and weaknesses. Multiple publications can make up for some deficiencies in other areas of your application, but in the end, a well-rounded individual is highly coveted.
     
  9. minterr

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    research matters when you have a good clinical background - when two applicants with similar board scores, grades, both in AOA are compared, the one with strong research will win out. for sure most places want to train academics and future chairs - while only wilmer and ucla outright state they want to train leaders in ophtho, every program wants to train those who will be movers and shakers.

    however, great research will not make up for poor clinical performance because without good clinical skills you'll never be a good ophthalmologist, much less a famous one or a chair!
     
  10. echinoderm

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    for what it's worth... no one during any of my ophthalmology interviews asked about grades or clerkship performance. board scores, research, and pretty local girls came up a few times.
     
  11. MAYOphtho

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    well the only thing of the above that was ever talked about during my interviews was my research...I would imagine it was the other things that got me the interviews in the first place, so once u get the interview with the grades/scores etc then they just want to see if you would be a good fit for their program
     
  12. deyer

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    I hate to rock the boat, but I feel that the most important thing over all is board scores, because it is any easy place to start and a standard way to compare people, but kind of a ridiculous yard stick for various reasons. I think the next most important thing is letters (if you have good ones). I think the names on the letters are a big deal sometimes. They can help a ton, if only to get conversations started. If you dont have recognizable names I hope it is a non-factor rather than a negative.

    I think after that comes research but essentially that is a box that is either checked or unchecked. The exception to that is if you have meaningful research. By this I mean, first author in legit journal, mutliple pubs in a single focus, worked with big names, PhD, that kind of stuff. In that situation I think you get 2 checks in that box and maybe they even try to evaluate it. I think the point is just that you are committed and you can prove it. I think that grades AOA and class rank are all kind of on that check box level because how could you compare a kid from WashU or Hopkins or Harvard with 0-2 honors vs a kid from St. Francis FL Tech Medical College with all honors and Pres of his class of 22. I am not saying the pedigreed applicant is smarter or better, I am just saying there is no way to tell because grades don't have a uniform value. From personal experience, I have many Hs from the pre-clinical years but almost none during clinicals. No one has ever asked me about that and in fact I have received only glowing praise for my academic record. And this happened even at the "good places." So with all of these things (grades, research, AOA, rank, school) I think no single factor is very important, but the more checked boxes you have, the more consistently good you look.

    Once you get those boxes sorted out, its the board scores and the names on your letters, obviously the content of the letters is important, but you multiply the content of the letter by the size of the wig writing it. Ive also had people comment on my personal statement, which I realize is often the first thing an advisor will tell applicants is irrelevant. But I think that it has gotten me some interviews. I have put a lot of thought into this, and I believe its true. I am open to other opinions though.
     
  13. MAVSMANIAC

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    I have 2 publications in the American Journal of Hypertension as a co-author. I also have an abstract in the works. For Ophtho, is it enough to have quality research in a respectable journal of another field or should the research be in Ophtho? Any advice will be appreciated!
     
  14. minterr

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    what kind of interview would it be if you were asked "why did you get a high pass in peds/surgery/medicine/whatever rotation?" why would they ask and how would you answer?

    the reason those things don't come up as interview questions is because there is nothing to discuss about them. research is much more interesting.

    I'm pretty sure most programs already have a rank list in mind but not paper before inviting interviewees. then people move up or down on the list based on interviews. #60 won't become number #1, but #5 might drop to #15 and #20 up to #8.

    by the same token, personal statements are more interesting to talk about than other stuff. this is probably why questions come up about this, but I doubt anyone gets an interview based on the eloquence or even topic of their personal statement. it certainly wouldn't make up for sub-par grades, boards, etc.

    research is a way to show commitment to the field and to academia, and doing significant amounts of research and getting published in good journals will help immensely and might get you *some* interviews. good boards/grades will get you most of you interviews.
     
  15. Pinkertinkle

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    How do you suppose programs compare grades from schools with vastly different grading systems as well as criteria?
     
  16. alleyesonme

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    Good work on the pubs, but I would try to get involved in some ophtho research also. The research you have done thus far shows them that you are motivated, can follow a project to completion, and would be able to balance clinical work and research during residency. That being said, the majority of my interviews asked about my ophtho research. If you have none, I am not sure it would be that interesting of a conversation about hypertension, but thats just me. Shoot for doing a quality ophtho project, I think it will go farther than the other 2 pubs.
     
  17. jj326

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    I have to respectively disagree with the above post. All of my pubs were in breast cancer from before I came to med school. I didn't feel like I had any problems having interesting conversations on the interview trail. I interviewed at big name programs and people seemed interested in how I was involved, not just the content. I am sure it would be nice to have some ophtho pubs but I wouldn't stress out too much if you don't. I am pretty sure in the end, most programs you want to be at want to make sure that you're a real person and a good fit for their program.
     
  18. pxon

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    I think what matters is the way your name came onto the publication. If you just got your name on by let's say shaving the rat (and don't lie, this happens many times) it's probably better if that is an ophto paper. if you really did research, ophto is nice, but other specialties, maybe related specialties such as neuroscience, might bring you alot higher impact factors.
    Having said that, if you are able to talk about your research, if you have a really deep insight into it, it will be acknowledged by those programs that like these types of applicants - no matter what field of research.

    Will you be able to do valuable (ophto) research in the future? Do you know the techniques, are you creative, are you able to work scientifically? If yes, programs will be interested.
     

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