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I fell in love with rad-onc, studied hard for step 1 and alas, my score "sucks" compared to the other individuals I'll be up against come 4th year. (I am just starting third year).

206 is the damage that I did to myself. I am just wondering if I should even try. I was going to take a year to do research, but I'm not sure if I should even bother now. . .

Thanks for your advice.
 

Gfunk6

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For most competitive fields, when one has below average Step I scores, the advice most commonly given is: Apply widely and see what happens.

However, based on this thread, I'm not sure that applying broadly is a viable approach. Three other possibilities exist that may help offset your Step I score:

1. If you have a PhD
2. If you go to a top 10 school

or . . .

3. If you have a home RadOnc residency program that is less competitive, you can spend as much time w/ them as you can. Try to do research, work your tail off, show them how dedicated you are to the field. If you look in the "Match Stats" thread, I think you will find that individuals w/ less than average Step I scores were able to match using this strategy.

Applying broadly, programs will screen you based on your numbers before they invite you over to dazzle them w/ your personality. So, against conventional wisdom, it may be a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket.
 
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Gfunk6 said:
For most competitive fields, when one has below average Step I scores, the advice most commonly given is: Apply widely and see what happens.

However, based on this thread, I'm not sure that applying broadly is a viable approach. Three other possibilities exist that may help offset your Step I score:

1. If you have a PhD
2. If you go to a top 10 school

or . . .

3. If you have a home RadOnc residency program that is less competitive, you can spend as much time w/ them as you can. Try to do research, work your tail off, show them how dedicated you are to the field. If you look in the "Match Stats" thread, I think you will find that individuals w/ less than average Step I scores were able to match using this strategy.

Applying broadly, programs will screen you based on your numbers before they invite you over to dazzle them w/ your personality. So, against conventional wisdom, it may be a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket.
Thank you!

I do know hands down that the Mayo's, Hopkins, etc are all out. I just wish there was a way for me to know which programs screen with a min. board score and which ones don't because I certaintly wouldn't apply to those. . . anyone know where I can find info like this?

Thanks again.
 
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Gfunk6

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To find which programs screen based on Step I scores and which don't is the Holy Grail of Residency Admissions. Program directors guard this information like the Knights Templar.

In other words, you would have more luck finding the identities of the Illuminati or Majestic 12 than find out which programs screen and what numbers they use.

A better option would be to peruse the RadOnc rankings thread and go for the programs that are rarely/never mentioned.
 

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The answer lies in research, my son. Get some pubs. It may take a year, but it is possibly worth it. If you can schedule a bunch of research late third year and early fourth year (knowing you probably won't match), you may be able to garner a few interviews, get to know some people who will write you amazing letters, and when you reapply, you'll have a better chance, once your submissions turn into publications.

I know it seems insurmountable, and frankly, it likely is, but I think this is the only way to have a chance.

Beaumont and UChicago were both very helpful in lining up meaningful research (after I rotated through) and in providing letters, but they did not even interview me. However, it was so worth it. Mayo Scottsdale does not have a residency, but have many ongoing clinical research projects that just sit until someone comes through and does the work.

Good luck,
Simul
 

stephew

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while its very true that very competitive usmle scores are important, a 206 does NOT (once again DOES NOT) necessarily count you out. In the last 3 years Ive seen people with lower that 200 taken. they have other strengths. you should see what else you have to offer before counting yourself out.
 
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SimulD said:
The answer lies in research, my son. Get some pubs. It may take a year, but it is possibly worth it. If you can schedule a bunch of research late third year and early fourth year (knowing you probably won't match), you may be able to garner a few interviews, get to know some people who will write you amazing letters, and when you reapply, you'll have a better chance, once your submissions turn into publications.

I know it seems insurmountable, and frankly, it likely is, but I think this is the only way to have a chance.

Beaumont and UChicago were both very helpful in lining up meaningful research (after I rotated through) and in providing letters, but they did not even interview me. However, it was so worth it. Mayo Scottsdale does not have a residency, but have many ongoing clinical research projects that just sit until someone comes through and does the work.

Good luck,
Simul
I did a summer program and met a few of the radiation oncologists at Scottsdale Mayo. One said she would be willing to have me come out there and participate in research with her for about 6 months. . . I might press and see if I could get that up to a year, but it sounds like taking hte time off with be worth it, even if it is only for half a year.

Thanks again to all for the encouragement.
 

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Gfunk6 said:
To find which programs screen based on Step I scores and which don't is the Holy Grail of Residency Admissions. Program directors guard this information like the Knights Templar.

In other words, you would have more luck finding the identities of the Illuminati or Majestic 12 than find out which programs screen and what numbers they use.

A better option would be to peruse the RadOnc rankings thread and go for the programs that are rarely/never mentioned.
Shouldn't be working your tail off in internship rather than playing Deus Ex? :D
 

stephew

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folks be very careful here. while it would be foolish to pretend to oneself that usmle scores dont matter, you are a bigger fool to be your own self-limitiing factor by not trying to get what you can anyway. as ive said, ive seen people with completely average scores get into rad onc the last couple of years. they've had other things going for then and if its what you realy want, you can build your cv too. but do NOT let someone discuss "minimum" scores or where you "can't" apply to because of them.
 

Gfunk6

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stephew said:
. . . but do NOT let someone discuss "minimum" scores or where you "can't" apply to because of them.
According to WashU's excellent residency website (RadOnc section located here ), for individuals who rank ONLY RadOnc the 3-year match rate is ~77% for US Seniors. Compared to other specialities this may not seem high, but roughly 8 out of 10 odds is pretty darn good.

For RadOnc there is a tremendous amount of self-selection going on. People want to apply but they are scared away by the "numbers" of the big profile applicants. I've seen this many, many times among the medical students with whom I've spoken. You have to walk a fine line between being realistic and trying to reach your goals.
 

libaobao8

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ideas said:
I did a summer program and met a few of the radiation oncologists at Scottsdale Mayo. One said she would be willing to have me come out there and participate in research with her for about 6 months. . . I might press and see if I could get that up to a year, but it sounds like taking hte time off with be worth it, even if it is only for half a year.

Thanks again to all for the encouragement.
When you decide who you want to do research with, it's critical that you select someone who is well-known and has good publication record. This way you are more likely to have publication and a letter that carries some weight. Most radiation oncologist would take you, because you are free, highly motivated and smart. It's really your choice who you want to work with.

As for the research project, make sure it's one that is likely to give you an abstract or a paper within a year. You don't want to work on a dead-end project and not having enough data to write about at the end of your research year. I've seen that happened. Best way to make sure you are on the right track? talk to other people involved in the project or ask your mentor directly.

on a separate note, 4 students from my school a year before me matched in rad onc. Their step 1 scores, as I was told, range from "just passing" to high 260s. None has PhD or extensive research experience. With that said, a high board score + research will definitely broaden your options and make you sleep better from July to March.
 
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