Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Advice on pursuing surgery
#1
Hi, i tried my best to post this in the right section but my questions are a bit all over the place. I'm sorry if this is in the wrong section. (I also apologise if i offend anyone or come off as way in over my head or ignorant on the difficulty in the US match - it is not my intention Sad)

I'm interested in the US because of family that is located there and its significance to medicine.

TLDR: What requirements would I need to fill to pursue surgery in the US and what would be the best pathway

Im currently an Australian 'premed' with an assured path to an MD at UWA. I rejected offers at higher ranked institutions (UQ with its ochsner program, UNSW, Uni of Sydney) because it was local (although I'm sure these ranks don't matter in the US?). I currently have a perfect GPA but am unsure in my ability to get a competitive mark in the MCAT (because it has been years since I've sat any aptitude tests). I'm sure if i apply for a graduate pathway I will however be able to receive another offer at Australian medical schools (via GAMSAT). 

The majority of my undergraduate background is in Neuroscience (and I'm not sure if this is a red flag for surgeries other than neurosurgery). I have family friends who are interventional neuroradiologists and neurosurgeons in other states, most of whom have done their fellowships in the US (How much of an advantage is this for potential LORs?)

I think there is a realistic chance that my immediate family (dad and mom) will be moving to the US (in the next ~10 years) and if this happens I wanted to pry about my options in pursuing a medical career in the US.

From my online research and limited knowledge either:
1. I can try and apply to a US medical school (however I doubt I will do well on the MCAT and am unsure about the ability to prove financial stability) and the costs would be high incase my immediate family stays in AUS
2. I complete postgraduate training in Australia and relocate to the US for a fellowship (would i be competitive in matching into a US residency after this)
3. I can complete medical school in Australia and try to 'match' into a surgery residency immediately after graduating

Also for the 3rd option, what scores should i be aiming for in USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK (considering I will have alot more time for dedicated study than US medical students), and what rough scores would indicate that i should give up on pursuing a surgery/neurosurgery residency. Furthermore, my school allows clinical electives in our final year - would this be recommended and how competitive would it be to find a relevant elective in the US (and would this adversely impact on my MSPE) (I know of past students doing clinical work in Torronto - would this be of any use).

Also are non-medical work experiences an advantage, or would it be better to invest the time in trying to score higher in the USMLE?

The current picture i have put together is to sit the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK during/after my first year of medical school, and use the scores to determine whether it is viable to continue pursuing a surgery/neurosurgery residency. I would love to get involved in research after completing my MD but I am unsure on how this would work in the US or if it is viable for me to do research in any capacity in the US without residency?

Also is it viable to match into another residency after completing an initial residency (years after?). If this is the case would it be worth pursuing a less competitive residency and using that to build US connections and good standing before trying to match into surgery?

Again, I'm sorry because it feels like im way in over my head, especially when seeing some of the monster achievements of competitive applicants but I wanted to pry about these questions far in advance.

Thank you for your time Smile
Smile
Reply
#2
My suggestion would be to slow down and take this one step at a time.

First, you need to decide where to go to medical school. I'm guessing Australian schools are 100x cheaper and you probably don't have an option for US financial aid, that right there will likely make your decision for you. Also if your family moves they have to be in the US for a certain period in order to prove residency, which would make it pretty much impossible for you to attend as an "in state" student. Meaning unless you have the ability to pay $40-60k/year out of pocket it's not happening. Also medical school rankings in the US barely matter, they matter less in Australia. No one looking at your app will ever know the difference

Your first option then is applying to residency as an IMG. You've thrown in "surgery" and "neurosurgery" in the same sentences, and just to be clear these are very different. General surgery is not very competitive, and it would be fairly simple for you to match in the US as a foreign applicant. Neurosurgery is very competitive, and not very IMG-friendly. The numbers are usually around 50 IMGs applying per year, and 1 or 2 matching. But if you know you for sure want to do neurosurgery in the states, prior to even starting medical school, you have an upper hand in that you can prepare early. Anecdotally, i know 2 IMGs that have matched personally, one was a ver impressive applicant from the start, the other was less impressive but spent 2 years on his own dime in the states doing research.

With step 1 I would suggest NOT taking it after your first year. You have 1 chance at that test, re-taking it is a red flag and would completely tank your chances of matching. Take it after your second year, study your ass off, there's a ton on the internet about the best ways to study. Typically the mark is >240, but as an IMG you should be shooting for >250, keep in mind this isn't a hard cutoff, just a good goal.

There are great neurosurgeons in Australia which interact all the time with US neurosurgeons so your connections there are good. You'll need a solid LoR from them. The most important thing you can do to prep for the match though is research. Usually the #1 way IMGs match is by taking years off and having 20+ publications. As far as fellowships go, they're great for making connections and doing research. It will be expensive because there's usually not funding and you'll be paying rent, travel, etc. But if you can financially do it then it's a great idea. You can usually do at least a 1 month rotation easily, though usually IMGs cant get everything set up to scrub in so youll be more on an observership than a sub-internship. Either way these months are good for making relationships but not enough time for research.

For right now my suggestion is to remain focused on doing well in your medical school studies and getting started on research in Australia. Worry abut step 1 during your second year, and worry about taking years off/fellowships during 3rd and 4th year.
Reply
#3
(12-01-2019, 03:12 PM)Guest Wrote: My suggestion would be to slow down and take this one step at a time.

First, you need to decide where to go to medical school. I'm guessing Australian schools are 100x cheaper and you probably don't have an option for US financial aid, that right there will likely make your decision for you. Also if your family moves they have to be in the US for a certain period in order to prove residency, which would make it pretty much impossible for you to attend as an "in state" student. Meaning unless you have the ability to pay $40-60k/year out of pocket it's not happening. Also medical school rankings in the US barely matter, they matter less in Australia. No one looking at your app will ever know the difference

Your first option then is applying to residency as an IMG. You've thrown in "surgery" and "neurosurgery" in the same sentences, and just to be clear these are very different. General surgery is not very competitive, and it would be fairly simple for you to match in the US as a foreign applicant. Neurosurgery is very competitive, and not very IMG-friendly. The numbers are usually around 50 IMGs applying per year, and 1 or 2 matching. But if you know you for sure want to do neurosurgery in the states, prior to even starting medical school, you have an upper hand in that you can prepare early. Anecdotally, i know 2 IMGs that have matched personally, one was a ver impressive applicant from the start, the other was less impressive but spent 2 years on his own dime in the states doing research.

With step 1 I would suggest NOT taking it after your first year. You have 1 chance at that test, re-taking it is a red flag and would completely tank your chances of matching. Take it after your second year, study your ass off, there's a ton on the internet about the best ways to study. Typically the mark is >240, but as an IMG you should be shooting for >250, keep in mind this isn't a hard cutoff, just a good goal.

There are great neurosurgeons in Australia which interact all the time with US neurosurgeons so your connections there are good. You'll need a solid LoR from them. The most important thing you can do to prep for the match though is research. Usually the #1 way IMGs match is by taking years off and having 20+ publications. As far as fellowships go, they're great for making connections and doing research. It will be expensive because there's usually not funding and you'll be paying rent, travel, etc. But if you can financially do it then it's a great idea. You can usually do at least a 1 month rotation easily, though usually IMGs cant get everything set up to scrub in so youll be more on an observership than a sub-internship. Either way these months are good for making relationships but not enough time for research.

For right now my suggestion is to remain focused on doing well in your medical school studies and getting started on research in Australia. Worry abut step 1 during your second year, and worry about taking years off/fellowships during 3rd and 4th year.

I'm not sure where you got the numbers above that I highlighted in red, but here is the charting outcomes for IMG 2018 match applicants and it says that the chances are a bit higher than 1-2/50 applicants.
Reply
#4
(12-02-2019, 01:14 PM)Guest Wrote:
(12-01-2019, 03:12 PM)Guest Wrote: My suggestion would be to slow down and take this one step at a time.

First, you need to decide where to go to medical school. I'm guessing Australian schools are 100x cheaper and you probably don't have an option for US financial aid, that right there will likely make your decision for you. Also if your family moves they have to be in the US for a certain period in order to prove residency, which would make it pretty much impossible for you to attend as an "in state" student. Meaning unless you have the ability to pay $40-60k/year out of pocket it's not happening. Also medical school rankings in the US barely matter, they matter less in Australia. No one looking at your app will ever know the difference

Your first option then is applying to residency as an IMG. You've thrown in "surgery" and "neurosurgery" in the same sentences, and just to be clear these are very different. General surgery is not very competitive, and it would be fairly simple for you to match in the US as a foreign applicant. Neurosurgery is very competitive, and not very IMG-friendly. The numbers are usually around 50 IMGs applying per year, and 1 or 2 matching. But if you know you for sure want to do neurosurgery in the states, prior to even starting medical school, you have an upper hand in that you can prepare early. Anecdotally, i know 2 IMGs that have matched personally, one was a ver impressive applicant from the start, the other was less impressive but spent 2 years on his own dime in the states doing research.

With step 1 I would suggest NOT taking it after your first year. You have 1 chance at that test, re-taking it is a red flag and would completely tank your chances of matching. Take it after your second year, study your ass off, there's a ton on the internet about the best ways to study. Typically the mark is >240, but as an IMG you should be shooting for >250, keep in mind this isn't a hard cutoff, just a good goal.

There are great neurosurgeons in Australia which interact all the time with US neurosurgeons so your connections there are good. You'll need a solid LoR from them. The most important thing you can do to prep for the match though is research. Usually the #1 way IMGs match is by taking years off and having 20+ publications. As far as fellowships go, they're great for making connections and doing research. It will be expensive because there's usually not funding and you'll be paying rent, travel, etc. But if you can financially do it then it's a great idea. You can usually do at least a 1 month rotation easily, though usually IMGs cant get everything set up to scrub in so youll be more on an observership than a sub-internship. Either way these months are good for making relationships but not enough time for research.

For right now my suggestion is to remain focused on doing well in your medical school studies and getting started on research in Australia. Worry abut step 1 during your second year, and worry about taking years off/fellowships during 3rd and 4th year.

I'm not sure where you got the numbers above that I highlighted in red, but here is the charting outcomes for IMG 2018 match applicants and it says that the chances are a bit higher than 1-2/50 applicants.

Sure, 10 out of 43. I was spit balling. Point stands that it's difficult.
Reply
#5
Hi thank you for your prompt reply (and sorry for my late replySad )

ok yes then I think I would be aiming to match into categorical general surgery?

would it help if i transfer to UQ (who have a history of matching into US programs with their ochsner program and a 94% match rate) or do you recommend continuing with my direct pathway.

Thank you again for you help Smile

I'm not sure about the double reply but after online research they also claim that their curriculum helps with sitting the USMLE, with past students scoring 276

Did your curriculum end up helping with USMLE or does it generally have little impact on your scores?

^nevermind i think the specific ochsner program is only open to US nationals but i am confused because the person who scored 276 is an australian national?
Reply


[-]
Quick Reply
Message
Type your reply to this message here.

Image Verification
Please enter the text contained within the image into the text box below it. This process is used to prevent automated spam bots.
Image Verification
(case insensitive)

Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 3 Guest(s)