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I think we need a one-stop-Carms-shop for rads gunners. Here are some tips from successful applicants.


If you have more questions, ask away.


Hello all, I just thought to review some tips and share my personal experience going through the match this yr! These are the qs I was asked from couple of people through PM:


1. Elective plan: I did all my 10 wks pre-CaRMs in radiology and all in Ontario schools. However, I had tons of electives through out med school in different areas other than radiology to explore things and show that I was making an informed decision. Again, do what u like to do ..As long as u have a few radiology elective in key school you should be fine.


2. LOR : personally I had one from an Internist and two radiologists.. One of my radiology letter was from home school and I got the 2nd one from the schools I did my elective. This was a bit tricky to not over do things and still get a good letter! Use ur social skills! If not, one from a surgical rotation should be fine. I used a FM letter for the schools I did not do electives! When u are getting a letter, please do not be shy! Kindly asked them if they are feeling comfortable for a Gold letter.. As soon as u see eye rolling.. U know ur answer..


3. Basic science grade! It is important if u have a H/P system.. If not they might look at the comments regarding ur nomination for the highest mark in ur class , if the system exist! For competitive residency every thing matters!


4. Clinical rotation: I would say this is the most important factor in the initial screening! PDs want to see u care for ur patients, u take responsibilities, u respect other health care providers! In Ottawa we have a system that they nominate students at the end of each block and some will receive awards at the end of 3rd yr.. This would be an asset to have if you have the same type of system as ur school! So , if u do not have a very strong grades from the first two yrs, do not give up.. Work harder during clerkship! Go extra step to help ur team! I know one person in my class who matched into radiology program with no mark higher than 80..


5. Research! It depends on the school u r looking for. For example, I know an applicant who got to Mac without ANY research in radiology, though she has some summer research project in other medical field! Some programs are more picky that others in regards to the extend of research. My advice is to start doing some research project during the summer of first and second yr and narrow it to toward ur program of interest during third yr. One good LOR from your research supervisor will be very helpful. And yes, it is possible to do research during clerkship.!!!! Maybe you have cut down some of the other things u enjoy for a few months. I guess it I will pay off at the end!


6. EC's: important to show you can live your life and manage stress while studying. Also, you have more interesting stuff to talk about during your interview



I guess that is it for now ! if you have any more specific qs, feel free to send a PM! I will be away for the moth of June though !


Agree with above.


In any competitive residency, all parts of your applications are carefully scrutinized, with emphasis on grades, clinical performance and reference letter that documents your work ethic and clinical ability. Strong research and/or MD-PHD is a an asset, but will not make up for poor grades or clinical performance.


If a school is pass / fail, then PDs want to see academic awards and scholarships showing candidates are in the top brackets of their class.


Programs in radiology typically receive 100-150 or more applications, and can only select 20-30 for most programs, up to around 40 for large school like UBC or U of T, for interview.


In reality, if you are an average or below average applicant on paper, you'll probably need someone in the program to root for you to get an interview and have some chance of matching.


If you are a top applicant, then performing well on interview is the only other hurdle. You want be at least ranked in the top 1/3-1/2 of interviewed applicants at multiple programs to have good chance of matching. I've seen a few strong candidates on paper, with 6-8 interviews, ended up not matching because they were ranked below average in their interviews.


As with applying to medical school or any other residency, the end goal is to find someone who will thrive in the residency - i.e. the type of person who in the future you would want to be involved in your family member's care, or who you would like to have as a partner or associate. Smart, hardworking, easy to get along with are all good qualities to have.


All the different components of your application (CV, medical school performance record, electives, personal statement, references, interview) are surrogate indicators from which inferences about your suitability will be made. The degree of emphasis placed on each component, and the perception of your qualities in each area, will depend on the individual assessor.


People do tend to rely on the opinions of others who they know and trust, especially if they have greater familiarity with a candidate - hence the connections factor. It's like asking your friends and family if they know a good <insert blank here>. Even if the referee is not personally known, a strong reference letter or evaluation still carries some weight - kind of like reading product and service reviews online.


To address your questions, it's the whole package that's being looked at, and that certainly includes what you did before medical school. If you think about it, people's medical school experiences vary in only a few predictable areas - electives selection, strength of clerkship comments and reference letters, +/- some research / ECs / awards, but otherwise everyone covers similar material and ends up with a MD. I find people with unique premedical studies or previous careers receive a bit more attention and interest in conversation.. not to imply that people with traditional biosci premed degrees are at any disadvantage.


A master's degree, especially in a related field, will not hurt you and may serve to enhance perceptions of your maturity/persistence/academic ability/interest in research. However, it is certainly not required, and I would pursue the degree only if it was something you were going to do anyway.. it cannot compensate for say, weak letters or a weak interview. I will note that radiation oncology seems more research-oriented than the majority of radiology departments and I speculate that a research background may be more helpful in applying to rad onc.


I wouldn't say that research is necessary to match, and if you know that you don't enjoy it then don't do it, but it doesn't sound like you are very familiar with research. There are certainly many benefits - in addition to learning about research and radiology, you get to spend a lot of time in the department, seeing what goes on and meeting people. You'll get to know your supervisor better than if you just shadowed them on a 2-week elective, translating into a stronger letter of reference. You'll also gain extra points at most places come CaRMS time for having research/abstracts/publications, especially in your area of interest.


I didn't have any radiology related research prior to applying because I discovered it really late in med school (I'm currently a radiology resident). I didn't have any publications (in ANYTHING) either. So research/publications/presentations aren't absolutely mandatory but are helpful to your application regardless of how much or how little you have. I don't think anyone can give you a hard/fast rule as to how much you should do. What does matter is (in my opinion) is whether the program likes you or not and wants to work with you.


I had reference letters from radiologists I worked with during electives but I also had a lot of non-radiology reference letters. I chose referees that I worked with directly for several weeks and who, I felt, could comment on me beyond the usual non-specific comments. For each school, I sent 1 rads reference and 2 non-rads references. As you already know, there isn't much you do on a radiology elective so unless you worked with a rads 1 on 1 for research or other non-elective stuff, I find it difficult to believe that they would be able to write you a strong letter based on a 2 week elective.


Anyway, just my 2 cents.


I think I'm qualified to comment now that I've gotten some interviews. I applied only to the english programs. I see that you're [sadly] a habs fan and asked about quebec, are you a francophone? The rads climate in quebec may be different. US rads is different still, with the requirement of high USMLE scores. Also, you can run into some pretty weak programs down there, whereas all Canadian programs are strong and have little trouble sending graduates down to US fellowships. Apparently all Canadian programs are the same to these fellowships except for maybe Toronto, McGill and UBC.


anglophone rads has been moderately competitive. you have to put in the effort.


In my opinion it's all about getting interviews. For that elective performance is the most important, followed closely by LORs, then grades, then research.


many schools prefer to interview on-site elective students. I know for a fact that, unfortunately, Calgary and Western no longer interview all of their on-site elective applicants. they're both excellent programs too!! but i digress. I would book as many rads electives as you can, as much as five 2-week electives, or maybe even six!. As for your 'performance' on these electives, be polite to everyone, don't be annoying, and know your anatomy. when the resident or staff suggest that you should leave, for god's sake leave; they have their work to catch up on. don't interrupt the residents during rounds unless you're asked directly. know basic anatomy like bones of the foot, chambers of the heart, the great vessels, lobes of the brain, etc. it'd be a red flag if those questions stumped you. in addition, i've gotten pimped on my non-rads rotations solely because i disclosed my interest in rads. i came across a lot of situations like 'oh so you're going for rads, tell me what this structure is.'


your LORs can be from any specialty, but you should have at least 1 rads and 1 core medicine or surgery. ideally, each of your referees should have worked with you for longer than 2 weeks and hold you in very high esteem compared to other students they've worked with. i.e. 'Habstothecup has worked with me for 6 weeks in gen surg and is among the top 10% of students I have taken on in the past. I was particularly impressed by his strong knowledgebase and tireless work ethic. He functioned at the level of a PGY-1 and would make an excellent radiology resident.' Since every specialty can be a potential letter, you ought to do well in every rotation. Clerkship comments, I suspect, can matter too.


I suppose if your school is P/F the grades won't make much difference. But as I said you should be studying to shine during clerkship. If your school administers shelf exams, you should release those scores if you did well. In the pre-interview process, programs look at everything to discern if you're in the top X of the applicant pool, where X is how many they can are interviewing.


Research helps. Your project supervisor can be a great referee. The projects themselves will look good on your application. It can be fun. You can go to conferences, etc etc. However, research experience is last on my list now because I know a few guys who had next to no research yet still got interviews. So, it won't make or break your chances.


there are lots of posts on this if you dig through the forum but hopefully i offered some new info. good luck!

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