Advice for 2011 Applicants

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Advice for 2011 Applicants

Can you please add your advice for next year's match. # of elective, letters, research experience, publications, presentations.....etcFMG are also welcome to add their advice for other FMG interested in Urology.

Edited by: nicky on 05/11/2015 - 19:50 Reason: Updated by FeedsNodeProcessor
Here's my take...numbers

Here's my take...numbers aren't everything.

I did two away rotations and absolutely know that it was to my benefit. I am by no means a guarantee based on numbers.
Step 1 226
Step 2 231
No research or publications, presentations, etc
48 applications sent out, 14 interview invites, 12 attended and 10 ranked.
Matched at my #1 choice

What I did have was a great work ethic and an amicable personality. At least in my opinion, the majority of programs want people who get along...not overwhelmingly impressive numbers.

I personally don't think that it's too difficult to do 2 away rotations along with your uro rotation at your home institution. Yes, it's 3 long, tiring months, but now that I've matched, it was all worth it. Basically, just ask yourself if youre willing to work hard for a spot.

Also letters are huge. I got a letter from my 1st away (a well known urologist) but not from my 2nd away, only because it was a little late in the interview process.

Anyway, that's my advice. Anything is do-able with a little bit of hard work.

Did you take a month off

Did you take a month off after 3rd year to study and take Step 2? This is my I do that and then do 3 uro rotations all way up through the end of October?

Or should I start just cram for Step 2, take it in late June, and start my uro rotations in July and get 3 in by the end of September so I can get letters from all 3 places?

I'm really torn on this. A lot of people I've talked to that have done 3 uro rotations say they wish they would've only done 2.

Anonymous (not verified)
I am not the previous poster,

I am not the previous poster, but here is my advice. I took two weeks at the end of 3rd year to study for step 2. (Step 1 239, step 2 257)
I did 3 uro rotations- 2 aways with the last one finishing end of October. I still got a letter from my October rotation. Hard to say how much it added to my application. It definitely didn't help me get any interviews (since it wasn't available at the time interviews were being offered), but interviewers did comment on the letter.
I don't regret doing 3 uro rotations. Yes doing two aways is very stressful and tiring, costs a lot of money, etc.., but I met a lot of great people (other residents and faculty) and I think it opened up a lot of opportunities for me. I matched so I don't regret anything. I could see how if I didn't match then I might regret having done two aways. At the same time, if I had only done one away and hadn't matched I would have felt like I didn't do everything possible to get a match. My advice is that if you can physically, mentally, and financially do two aways then you should. If you can't, it certainly isn't the end of the world. I know a lot of people who matched and only did one away.

Best of luck!

I think that doing 3 is unnecassary

My stats:
step 1 - 230
step 2 - 239
class rank - 3rd quarter
research - no publications
current med school/home urology program - top 15

I thought that my step 1 was borderline (I'm not so sure about that now), so I took July off for step 2 (which I improved upon, you gotta do better if you take it early). I then did urology rotation at my home school and an away. I do agree that an away is crucial, cuz I was asked if I did one at all of my interviews, and I actually matched at my away school. During this away, the chairman actually sat down with me and told me that I was a good fit for the program. He promised me an interview and also told me that I probably wouldn't have gotten an interview unless I did an that away (not because of my application, but because of regional bias-it really exists, coming from the horse's mouth). So yeah, an away is crucial, but I don't think doing 2 is necessary.

Anonymous (not verified)
So you did your 1 away in

So you did your 1 away in Sept and got a letter in without any problems? I'm wondering cause I'm kinda in the same boat. Also, what'd you mean when you said you weren't so sure your step 1 was borderline? Thanks.

Yeah my away was in September

I did my away outside of my region to show all the schools that I applied to that I was willing to relocate, which I will be doing. The chair at this program was very quick in writing my letter, and he wrote me a very good one, from what interviewers told me. They also told me that my test scores were fine. Of course, a 260 is better than a 230, but we forget is that 230 is not too shabby. Caveat: I applied to a lot of programs (ie more than 50) in every "tier" and got interview offers in each tier. I also got letters from my chairman, two of the faculty that I did research with, and my medicine attending, who is the vice chair of my school's medicine program.

Anonymous (not verified)
Can I ask about your letter

Can I ask about your letter from your medicine attending? Does anyone have thoughts on this? So if you know it's gonna be a strong letter from a fairly established attending does that trump a fourth letter from someone in the field? I'm interested that you went this route please expand if you don't mind.

Anonymous (not verified)
I actually only used this letter

at my home institution because this medicine attending told me during my 3rd year medicine rotation that he was good friends with the urology chairman at my school. If I recall correctly, I did not assign this letter to schools outside of my home state. Otherwise, I would recommend getting a letter from urology, or at least surgery faculty, unless the writer really knows you well.

Thanks for the advice!! My

Thanks for the advice!! My Step 1 is very close to yours (234) and I have been worried about that, but perhaps for no good reason. Guess we all put too much pressure on ourselves.

What you said about regional bias, I've heard from a lot of people. That is crazy to me, but I guess it's the nature of the beast. Since I'm from Texas, I kinda want to do my away outside of here to get exposure and perhaps increase my chances of matching outside of my "region". Think I may just stick with 1 home rotation and 1 away....and then just pray.

If you do only 2 uro aways total, who else can you get a letter of rec from besides the chairs? The attendings there? Is it "ok" to get a good letter from a general surgeon (pretty well-known in Texas)? Just trying to figure all this out well in advance.

Also, for us 230'ish Step 1'ers, any advice on # of programs to which we should apply?

Anonymous (not verified)

1) early early early - do aways early, get letters early, start research early, apply for sub-Is early... nows not the time to procrastinate.

2) Aways - I agree with the previous post, but for very different reasons. I did 2 aways at places I thought I might love to go, and ended up not interviewing at either one - I didn't like one of them enough to waste time interviewing, and one didn't like me enough to invite me back (this program was known for this). So, waste of two months? Absolutely not - I figured out where NOT to go, which is just as important as figuring out where I did want to go. Plus I got 2 chair letters which really helped me.

3) Letters - I found that having a couple mediocre chairman letters as well as one outstanding letter from someone not as well known was a great combo. They saw the big name, and didn't really care what it said. If they did care about what my letter-writers said, they could turn to the great letter from someone they never heard of. It's too much to expect great letters from great chairmen at every place you go. Just be smart, be polite, and have reasonable expectations from the writers.

4) Research - again, early is better, because you can let things simmer. Anyone who has done research knows that unless you're doing every bit of work on the project from the very beginning, you depend on the schedules of the attending/PI, who often don't really care about your schedule. So, best to get things rolling BEFORE you do your sub-Is, ie during your last few 3rd year rotations. Just go in to the chair at your school, let them know you're around, and ask if they can help you get involved in some research. Before you know it, you're rocking and rolling. Just dont expect it all to happen for you, and realize that any decent project takes more time than you'd ever expect.