General Surgery Residency
There are your guidelines for Guidelines for General Surgery Residency.
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.
A few statements I stand by (let’s get rid of 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. Though most students who know they are interested in surgery do it as their last rotation in Year III, whether you do surgery first or last 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 Office):
– 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 too low.
More statistics (from FREIDA, NRMP):
– 253 = number of G-surgery programs
– 5 years + = number of years in training. (May change soon to 4 years +)
– 60% = percentage of graduates to move on to fellowships (an extra 1-3 years)
What you need in your application:
Curriculum Vitae – please make it look professional
Personal 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 your CV.
Medical School Transcripts – Honors in Surgery and Year III, IV most important. AOA is sought after in most institutions.
Dean’s Letter – automatically sent out by KSOM on Nov. 1. Not too helpful, because they all sound the same.
Chairman’s Letter of Recommendation – for General Surgery, you must meet with Dr. Demeester after he gets to know you from selective. Interviews are given as a first-come, first-served, so make an appointment as soon as you know you are planning to apply for General Surgery
2 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.
USMLE Scores – 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.