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2010 MSTP Chances?

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by NigerianBull87, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. NigerianBull87

    2+ Year Member

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    Happy Holidays guys,

    Quick Bio:
    3.6/3.6 (Science/cGPA) - Honors College/Graduate May 09'
    Many ECs (Clinical/Volunteer/Tutor, etc..)
    Great LORs
    Research for 2 years in the same lab (Mentor = MD/PhD so I shadow him as well)
    Research for 1 semester in different lab with other research interests
    1 Poster Presentation (another pending); Attended another conference on scholarship no presentation however
    No Publications

    I will be taking the Kaplan MCAT Course from Jan - Apr and take the exam in May and do the best I possibly can with a variety of resources. My plan is to forgo a science minor this semester and go for the online public health minor so I can dedicate all my time this semester to research and the MCAT so I am taking a light course load. Should I sacrifice some time to get that science minor and help my sGPA a bit or use that time towards tackling the MCAT? Also if you were to prep with TPR what resources would you take advantage of with limited time (CBTs, ICC, Science Workbook, etc..)?

    Any recommendations or words of wisdom in getting accepted into a MSTP for entrance in the 2010 cycle that could better add to my application. I really have a passion for research and I would love to apply it clinically.

    Take care guys and good luck.
     
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  3. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
    Administrator Physician PhD Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    That's a good plan. Why minor at all? If you don't need to minor at your school, consider not taking a minor at all. What is your major though? There's some discussion about how much science prep one needs to enter an MD/PhD program, and different people feel differently about it. It could potentially hurt you if your major was something entirely unrelated to science.

    I'd say it's not worth the small amount it may bring your sGPA up. Kill the MCAT. Get As in everything you DO take to bring your cumulative GPA up. A light courseload is a good suggestion, as nobody counts/cares how many courses you took per semester as long as you graduate in a reasonable amount of time. I can't recall what I did with TPR (it's been awhile...) but I pretty much did everything they gave me.

    Keep doing research, get a very high score on the MCAT (36+), and you'll be good to go. If you're dark skinned (Nigerian?), that will also help you as a URM, assuming you are a citizen or permanent resident.
     
  4. NigerianBull87

    2+ Year Member

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    Neuronix, thanks a great deal for your inspiring and advisory words.

    My major is "Biomedical Sciences." I have taken Genetics, Micro, Biochem+lab, Cell Bio, A&P 1,2 etc.. so my science background is not weak by any means from my standpoint.

    I figured I'd minor in something because I have completed my degree requirements and need 12 hours to be a full time student and be in the Honors College. 21 years old so I say hey why not? I also want to get my MPH in Health Promotion and Behavior while obtaining the dual degreee simultaneously over the 7-8 year time frame if thats even possible.

    However, you make a great deal of sense and I will take your advice into MUCH consideration for my upcoming semester.
     
  5. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    No problem. I tell the truth as I see it (which isn't always right of course!). It's always easy and well-taken when I give good news ;) The truth is you're in pretty good shape with a good MCAT score and continued research.

    True. Though more electives without a minor is not necessarily a bad thing. Especially if that leaves you more time to do research. That part is up to you. Just keep your GPA high and enjoy what you take when it comes to classes.

    That's a tricky subject from a few standpoints. First, I don't know anyone who's done it. Second, do you really need a MPH to do MPH-style work? People debate this issue all the time. Third, how will that fit into your PhD work, assuming you're planning on continuing in some kind of bench research? Last, will your program support you in this?

    You'll need to try to find answers to the first three before proposing this when you interview or later I think. Just some things to think about since you brought it up.
     
  6. NigerianBull87

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    Yeah I plan to go into internal medicine and specialize in medical oncoogy. I have been doing cancer research in immunotherapy/chemotherapy and would want to spread the word about early detection and things like that as well. So I thought that an MPH would give me good direction and the right philosophy to carry out these goals.
     
  7. mercaptovizadeh

    mercaptovizadeh ἀλώπηξ
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    My advice:

    Drop the minor stuff. I was a physics/biochemistry double major and wanted to a minor in chemistry (the focus here being physical and inorganic, since I already had biochemistry). I was one course away from doing it. In the end, my majors were pretty irrelevant. Having a hard science major may help for MD/PhD but only slightly, and anything beyond that doesn't matter.

    Also, ignore any online degrees, MPH, or minor in public health. MSTPs probably don't care. I get the sense they didn't care much for my chemistry masters, so they certainly won't care for the MPH.

    Try to boost the GPA. This is key. But don't go about doing a bunch of unusual fluff courses - they will see through that. Maintain the same sort of course profile you've had up till now (maybe more science heavy) and try to boost the GPA that way.

    Rock the MCAT. I used Princeton Review Books. I also found the "official" MCAT tests (I forget what they're called, 3R, 4R,... something like that?) very useful. The practice TPR tests (A-D) are not very useful but the question sections following a particular topic are useful.

    If you are applying for acceptance in 2010, hopefully you'll have one or two publications from the two-year lab. Lab experience (expressed in time done, how you discuss it, and recommendations) is key, but with three years of research I would hope to see a publication.
     

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