This specialty is becoming more popular among medical students. During medical school, research experience in neurology (either clinical or basic science) is very helpful, though not required. Your extracurricular activities are less influential factors, but you should try to score well on the USMLE Step I. In the clinical years, honors grades in neurology clerkships and subinternships are essential for matching at your top choice program. To prove your interest and commitment to neurology, get as much clinical experience as possible.

Away rotations are helpful in checking out any highly desired programs. When evaluating applicants, however, the three letters of recommendation carry the greatest weight among program directors. Two should be written by neurologists. The more renowned or senior the faculty member, the better. Addition ally, the letter writers may have personal contacts at hospitals where they completed their residency or fellowship, which could increase your chances of matching. But make sure that you have worked with them enough to elicit a good letter; a lukewarm one may actually hurt your application. Although the personal statement is less important, a poorly written essay—especially if filled with bad humor or philosophical diatribes—would undermine an otherwise stellar opinion of your candidacy.

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