Thank you to Dr. Shirin Towfigh, Surgery Clerkship Director, for
compiling the information found here!
|"A word to the wise: Only
those who cannot envision doing anything else with their lives
should choose surgery. If you can find happiness in any other
career, then do not choose surgery."
|To dispell some myths:
1. It is never too late to choose surgery as a career.
Many do not choose until the end of their third year.
2. Whether you do surgery first or last during your third
year has historically had no effect on your grade or outcome.
3. If you are savvy in your rank list, you will likely
match in a program. Most don't match because they did
not rank enough programs (or the right programs). Be honest
about your prospects and have a mentor.
4. The majority of general surgery programs are very good.
You will graduate being a good surgeon and you will get
a good fellowship or a job.
Now, the facts (from
NRMP book, found lying around in the KSOM Student Affairs
- 1,042 of 1,044 general surgery spots were filled.
The remaining 2 spots filled the day after the MATCH.
- Of U.S. grads, 885 matched out of 1,230 applicants
(72%), the rest were foreign grads. Note that the national
average for all specialties is a 93% match rate.
- The average student ranked 12.4 programs. This is
More statistics (from
- 253 = number of G-surgery programs
- 5 years + = number of years in training. (This will
change soon to 4 years +)
- 60% = percentage of graduates to move on to fellowships
(an extra 1-3 years)
|The nitty gritty:
|What you need in your application:
application (including your CV) - available
in August of your 4th year, this website allows
you to submit a common application to multiple programs.
It is easy to use, but be sure and complete it early
as programs will start giving away precious interview
slots based on this.
Statement - actually pretty important.
Most schools include the quality of this in their
ranking. Make sure you talk about things that set
you apart from others, rather than regurgitating
|3) Medical School Transcripts
(sent out by school) - Honors in Surgery most important,
but also remainder of year III grades.
status - sought after in most institutions,
but by no means an absolute requirement
- automatically sent out by KSOM on Nov. 1. Not
too helpful, because they all sound the same, however
the more honors you have recieved, the better the
wording (best wording with honors in 2-3 clerkships
during 3rd year, with high pass in the remainder).
Recommendation - must
meet with Dr. Tom Demeester after he gets to know
you from foregut surgery selective.
Two more Letters of
Recommendation - must be surgeons
who know you well. No Emergency docs or OB-Gyns.
Preferably, they should be nationally recognized
Professors of surgery, but it's better to get a
great letter from an Assistant Professor than a
so-so letter from a Professor.
Part I is mandatory. Part II is not. Do not stress
about taking Part II early
we rarely see it
in the applications and when we do, it rarely improves
the application beyond Part I. Scores below 200
will hurt your application, 200-220 is okay for
middle tier programs; over 220 is a must for top
tier programs. Remember, USMLE minimum passing score
is around 180, mean is around 215, and maximum score
is around 250.
I, II - Do well in your studies. Honors
is preferred, but not as crucial as your clinical
years (this all counts toward AOA).
of Year I/II - Do a summer research
project. Funding available at KSOM. Consider using
research for the MedSTARS competition. Browse
our list of currently
available research opportunities. You
can also contact Dr.Maura Sullivan, Vice Chair
of Education, Dept of Surgery at (323) 442-2368
or firstname.lastname@example.org. Most important is to actually
present your research and publish it. The research
subject is not so important.
- Take USMLE
Part I at the end of the year
for score info). Begin studying during integrated
cases. Most people take about a month of serious
- Get Honors in as
many clinical rotations as possible, including
Surgery I and II.
- Let attendings and residents know you are interested
- Get involved in some clinical research projects.
- Find a mentor
- Sign up for Thoracic/Foregut
4th year selective as soon as possible.
This is mandatory to get a Chairman's letter.
- Sign up for 4th year away
rotation (SubI) at a program in which
you want to match. Most begin accepting applications
around May. Something to think about
programs automatically offer you an interview
as a courtesy for having spent the time in their
- Sign up for ERAS after August 15. Work on your
- Ask for letters of recommendation from 2 surgical
attendings and the Chairman.
- Do Thoracic/Foregut (and any other rotation
for which you plan to get a letter of recommendation)
any time before the letter of rec deadline of
- Do 4th year away rotation (in a program in which
you want to match) as close to interview dates
as possible, usually September, October, and November.
- December and January are for interviews. Choose
easier 4th year electives here (pathology, dermatology,
radiology, neuroradiology, evolutionary medicine).
- Spend the rest of the year enjoying your time.
Do electives you would not otherwise do in your
life, such as radiology, CCU, clinical pathology,
forensics, acupuncture, whatever.
- Turn in match list in Feb. Rank about 15 places.
Match date is in March. Good luck!!!
- If you don't match, you will be notified the
day before so you can "scramble" for
database of Residency Programs
- view what our students had to say about residency
programs across the country.
- listing of some statistics from every residency
program in the country (# of positions, etc.)
Red Book - this website contains
invaluable info about selecting and getting
a surgery residency.
- the association of women surgeons
- contains hard-to-find information on programs
as posted by students, interviewees, and residents.
If you have questions about any of these resources, please
contact one of the SSIG
|Thank you, come again!