*** 2019-2020 MD/PhD cycle - Questions, Comments, and other things ***

Lucca

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AMCAS opens up this coming week for the new cycle. Ask your MD/PhD specific application questions here!
 
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Dec 26, 2017
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Actually I'm confused by what @Lucca and @Fencer said. So what exactly happens early May? I've heard that I can begin filling in information, and then submit it on June 1. Is that correct? What is the advantage of having a month to pre-write?
 
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Lucca

Lucca

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Actually I'm confused by what @Lucca and @Fencer said. So what exactly happens early May? I've heard that I can begin filling in information, and then submit it on June 1. Is that correct? What is the advantage of having a month to pre-write?
Yes that’s right, in May the app will be available for you to edit but no one will be able to submit until June 1st (or May 31st, it can be slightly different year to year). There’s quite a bit that goes in the app and having the full month allows you to give each section the attention and care it deserves.
 
Oct 5, 2018
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Yes that’s right, in May the app will be available for you to edit but no one will be able to submit until June 1st (or May 31st, it can be slightly different year to year). There’s quite a bit that goes in the app and having the full month allows you to give each section the attention and care it deserves.

Can't emphasize this enough, it took much much longer than I thought it would to prepare everything.
 

Beyonce2.0

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Actually I'm confused by what @Lucca and @Fencer said. So what exactly happens early May? I've heard that I can begin filling in information, and then submit it on June 1. Is that correct? What is the advantage of having a month to pre-write?
AMCAS opens for submission on May 30 this cycle!
 
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Fencer

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Programs will not receive 2020 applications until June 28, 2019. Many programs don't even start their reviews until August. Some of us begin interviewing applicants early and have our initial admissions reviews in July.

Those of you who want an opportunity to talk to Program Directors might consider traveling to Bethesda, MD for the annual NIH GP Fair that is scheduled for July 17, 2019. Most MSTP and MD/PhD program directors will be there as our national meeting will be happening July 18-20 in DC. Information on the NIH GP Fair is here. It is a free event open to everybody.
 
Jul 2, 2018
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Excited yet terrified to see this thread!
I've tried to scour the internet for a solid answer to my question, yet haven't found a clear answer.
I'm planning on applying to mixed MD/PhD and MD programs (20 MD/PhD, 5 MD only). The MD-only schools will likely be schools with less established/smaller MD/PhD programs. If I do end up matriculating in an MD program, I definitely would take a gap year for research at least, if not try to internally transfer into the MD/PhD program.
My question is: Will this hurt my application, in terms of receiving interviews, when schools see I have applied to both MD/PhD, as well as MD programs, from the perspective of both MD/PhD and MD only adcoms. This is under the assumption that I can clearly and coherently express my interest in medicine in my PS, as well as in the dual degree program/research in the remaining essays.

Thanks so much!
 
Apr 5, 2018
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Excited yet terrified to see this thread!
I've tried to scour the internet for a solid answer to my question, yet haven't found a clear answer.
I'm planning on applying to mixed MD/PhD and MD programs (20 MD/PhD, 5 MD only). The MD-only schools will likely be schools with less established/smaller MD/PhD programs. If I do end up matriculating in an MD program, I definitely would take a gap year for research at least, if not try to internally transfer into the MD/PhD program.
My question is: Will this hurt my application, in terms of receiving interviews, when schools see I have applied to both MD/PhD, as well as MD programs, from the perspective of both MD/PhD and MD only adcoms. This is under the assumption that I can clearly and coherently express my interest in medicine in my PS, as well as in the dual degree program/research in the remaining essays.

Thanks so much!
I applied in a similar manner a few years ago and, unless something has changed since then, schools can't see that you have applied to both MD programs and MD/PhD programs.
 
Jul 2, 2018
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Got it, thank you!
Say for a school that evaluates MD and MD/PhD applications separately, and admission to MD/PhD is not dependent on admission to MD, would it hurt my chances as an applicant who indicated to be considered for both programs?
 
Oct 5, 2018
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Got it, thank you!
Say for a school that evaluates MD and MD/PhD applications separately, and admission to MD/PhD is not dependent on admission to MD, would it hurt my chances as an applicant who indicated to be considered for both programs?

Probably not, just have an answer for questions like if you had to pick MD or PhD what would you do or if you don’t get in what would you do etc.

I’ve heard some may think it is a lack of commitment to MD/PhD but don’t know how true/prevalent that sentiment is.
 
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Dec 26, 2017
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A question for @MSTPadvocate and @Fencer, when do most mstp programs finish the first review of applicants? Would having a complete, verified, and submitted primary application by mid-July be early or average timing?
 

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Mid-July is early. It takes 4-5 weeks of verification at that time. We are also having our national meeting then. Our faculty has their summer vacations, etc. If you submit on June 1, you might appear in our screen when the cycle opens for us, which is June 28. By mid-August, we cross the 50% of applications, and mid-September is late. For MCATs, check for the score release date. An early August, releasing mid-September is the latest, but it is preferred to have the score by mid-July. LORs are critical to the evaluation of students. They must be in hopefully with the same timeline.

As you apply, you first complete your primary, then make sure that transcripts are sent (might delay your AMCAS verification), and then make sure that your LORs are uploaded. Then, the secondaries will be the next challenge...
 
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Jul 2, 2018
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I'm basically done with my W/A and PS, but still have some work to do on my MD/PhD + Research essays. I was wondering if it would be possible, in a similar manner to those taking the MCAT in the summer, to submit my application on May 30 to a throwaway MD-only program, then finish working on my other essays, and submit to my real school list while i'm getting verified? Thanks!
 

Fencer

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They are able to re-open your application to add the MD/PhD essay. You won't be able to change other essays or experiences. Delay submitting, but no later than end of June to be within the bulk of MD/PhD applicants. You can also add additional schools later in the cycle. The one thing that delays your verification is the receipt of your academic transcripts. AMCAS takes about 4-6 weeks for verification from time of submission. As long as transcripts are received within 2-3 weeks after submission, you would be fine. LORs should be uploaded before or by September. We (programs) would begin seeing applications until June 28, and most programs would not even distribute them to reviewers until the end of July.
 
Feb 16, 2019
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LORs should be uploaded before or by September.
LORs are my biggest concern for making sure to submit in a timely manner...

A couple of LOR related questions that I could really use help with:
1) If I submit in early/mid june but LORs don't come in until mid July, how will that effect my timing?
2) I have a call scheduled with my ugrad pre-med advising office for Thursday. I graduated in 2016, so I'm a bit removed from my time there. How would it look to adcoms if I didn't have a committee letter? (just in case the office tells me that their committee letter turnaround time is 2 months)

Thanks for the help on this and so much else on this forum!
 
Feb 11, 2019
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LORs are my biggest concern for making sure to submit in a timely manner...

A couple of LOR related questions that I could really use help with:
1) If I submit in early/mid june but LORs don't come in until mid July, how will that effect my timing?
2) I have a call scheduled with my ugrad pre-med advising office for Thursday. I graduated in 2016, so I'm a bit removed from my time there. How would it look to adcoms if I didn't have a committee letter? (just in case the office tells me that their committee letter turnaround time is 2 months)

Thanks for the help on this and so much else on this forum!
For #1, schools won't consider you complete until they receive everything, including your secondary + LORs. So I would aim for having LORs received by AMCAS and sent to schools around/slightly before when you send back their secondaries. I wouldn't be too worried if you can't have them when you submit your primary since it'll still take several weeks for your primary to be verified by AMCAS and even then, the earliest it'll be sent to schools is end of June.
 
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Maebea

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1) There is no problem if he LORs are not uploaded until mid-July or even mid-August. It can become a problem if they are not uploaded by September.
2) If you just graduated or were graduating next year, it might look strange if you did not have a committee letter, but it would not be a deal breaker. Since you are a few years out from undergrad, it is not unusual to not have a committee letter. With few and fewer schools providing committee letters, their importance is waning. I actually like committee letters because they facilitate the ability to compare applicants from a single school across several years of applicants. You can do this with faculty letters as well, but the n is very small.
 
Apr 15, 2019
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Do admissions committees begin evaluating applicants before pre-medical advising committee letters are submitted? I know I really don't have control over when my letter is submitted, but it'll be "in by end of August," which I think is rather late. Will this put me at a disadvantage? Should I still try to submit everything else (primary, secondaries, etc.) as early as possible nevertheless?
 

Maebea

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Do admissions committees begin evaluating applicants before pre-medical advising committee letters are submitted? I know I really don't have control over when my letter is submitted, but it'll be "in by end of August," which I think is rather late. Will this put me at a disadvantage? Should I still try to submit everything else (primary, secondaries, etc.) as early as possible nevertheless?
I cannot speak for all programs, but we do not review applications until they are complete. I would encourage you to submit the primary and secondary applications as early as possible, even if the letters are not submitted until the end of August. This will allow you to deal with any unexpected issues (e.g., technical difficulties in the admissions portal) in a timely manner.

For the 2019 application cycle, our MD-PhD applications were fairly evenly divided between early, normal, and late periods, with 31% being completed and ready for review in July, 35% in August, and 34% after August. Even though our application deadline is at the end of October, anything after August is late because we have filled most of our interview slots by the time we complete the application review process. Our first interview invites went out on August 10. In terms of interviewed applicants, 49% came from those who completed their application in July, 32% in August, and 19% after August 31. Again, this is just one program's data, but it is likely that other programs would have similar stories to tell.
 

Fencer

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We begin the review applications despite incomplete LORs, but hold decisions to interview until they are received. Sometimes, an application is placed back into the HOLD pile, and re-examined Our deadline for our primary AMCAS application is Nov. 1 which is standard for Texas [which reminds me to tell you that State of Residency doesn't matter in MD/PhD admissions]. We extend invitations to interview about 20% of our slots every month or so starting at the beginning of Aug.
 
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Fencer

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I am adding here are the past 10 years of aggregate MD/PhD admissions data to the current application cycle (2020) message thread:

MD/PhD application cycle2019*201820172016201520142013201220112010
Total Applicants1767183218241903185618531891182617791743
At least one MD/PhD Acceptance762791778785749776763764773741
Withdraw After AC (WA)668898111103120127112117111
Rescinded Acceptance (RA)0222113034
Deferral to later class (DF)14293223222925222025
Accepted682---------
Matriculated (MA)0672646649623626608630633601
Success to 1 Acceptance43%43%43%41%40%42%40%42%43%43%
Success to Matriculation0%37%35%34%34%34%32%35%36%34%
* as of 05/31/19
 
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Seihai

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Thanks for the information, Fencer. I am curious about whether the number of overall MD-PhD seats has been increasing due to more funding to individual schools or due to new programs coming into existence (I do know at least one school that recently received MSTP funding ;)).
 

Fencer

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The overall number of MD/PhD seats has increased as several programs in the nation improved themselves to be competitive for MSTP funding awards. It also was helpful that the NIH PSW report in 2014 recognized the need for more funding into the T32 MSTP training after a national needs assessment and the national outcome review at the 50-year anniversary of the grant funding mechanism. These reports also highlighted opportunities for improvement which are trying to address as a professional group of physician-scientist educators/trainers.
 

Seihai

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The overall number of MD/PhD seats has increased as several programs in the nation improved themselves to be competitive for MSTP funding awards. It also was helpful that the NIH PSW report in 2014 recognized the need for more funding into the T32 MSTP training after a national needs assessment and the national outcome review at the 50-year anniversary of the grant funding mechanism. These reports also highlighted opportunities for improvement which are trying to address as a professional group of physician-scientist educators/trainers.
Thanks for the insight! I'm glad to hear these efforts are leading to the overall improvement of many programs in the country.

Another question: do you anticipate the traffic rules being as much of an issue this time around as they seemed to be last cycle, or have schools in general figured out how to account for them? Some adcoms I've talked to have been completely split on the issue on whether it's just another part of the process now or something that's still up in the air.
 
Dec 26, 2017
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Would it be fair to assume that 1 person will read all of my application, including the work/activities section and all 3 essays, or would it be divived among several people?
 

Fencer

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It is typically 2 or 3 reviewers doing each a complete application including LORs, and often one pre-screener who might be the 3rd reviewer. Once selected for interview, it depends... some people might only have essays, a combination with or without scores, or the complete application.
 
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Feb 16, 2019
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I am in the process of finalizing my recommendations. 4 of my most recent research supervisors have either submitted or communicated that they are near submitting. There is one more substantial research experience on my application, from sophomore year of undergrad. I reached out the the professor with an email thanking them for their mentorship, updating them on my research, and requesting a letter of rec. I haven't received an answer yet. Would it be inappropriate to reach out to the Professor by text message? I have their number saved from when I was in their class senior year and we coordinated a field trip (to a field lab). At this, point that was almost 3 years ago.
 

Maebea

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I am in the process of finalizing my recommendations. 4 of my most recent research supervisors have either submitted or communicated that they are near submitting. There is one more substantial research experience on my application, from sophomore year of undergrad. I reached out the the professor with an email thanking them for their mentorship, updating them on my research, and requesting a letter of rec. I haven't received an answer yet. Would it be inappropriate to reach out to the Professor by text message? I have their number saved from when I was in their class senior year and we coordinated a field trip (to a field lab). At this, point that was almost 3 years ago.
I would call them rather than send a text. The medium is the message, and a text is transactional; it says "I need this from you, but I don't want to reestablish a relationship with you." A call is an invitation to a dialogue; it says "I want to tell you about my career aspirations, and would value your feedback." The call requires an investment of your time and makes you vulnerable. If the professor is the least bit empathetic, they should respond to this in a positive way.
 
May 7, 2019
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Anyone know how adcoms view preprint (on bioRxiv and similar sites) articles? Does a preprint help an application or is it considered the same as having a "manuscript in progress" (which I hear is pretty much worthless)?
 
Feb 16, 2019
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Anyone know how adcoms view preprint (on bioRxiv and similar sites) articles? Does a preprint help an application or is it considered the same as having a "manuscript in progress" (which I hear is pretty much worthless)?
pre-print is much different than "manuscript in progress"! I'd say that preprint is more similar to "manuscript under review". Manuscript in progress can be just a seedling, preprint has got to be mature, somewhat polished, and is in the process of being shared with the community at large. It seems that the field is still figuring out how to weigh pre-prints vs. conventional peer-review. I heard a story of a reviewer actually insisting that an author cite a bioRxiv article.
 
Feb 16, 2019
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I really need to wrap up this Primary! Finalizing Activities and wanted some input from the community:

1) Does it make me seem to spread thin to use all 15 Activities? I'm 2.5 years postbacc so more time to accumulate...
I have 5 for labs, 2 for "Hobbies" [athletics and music], 3 for awards/posters/papers, 1 job, 1 for volunteering, and 3 for extracurriculars
I do consider each of these substantial and impactful in their own way, but am concerned that providing fewer would make me come across as more focused and tunnel-visioned (in a good way?)

2) Is it okay if I only use 2 "most meaningful" (My current lab job and a student group I founded), rather than the 3 that we are allowed?
 

Fencer

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I suggest to adding at least one clinical shadowing as an activity (could consolidate hobbies) and also select it as most meaningful (this is to justify the MD part of the MD/PhD application).
 
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Beyonce2.0

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Does anyone know when the MD-PhD Google interview calendar will be published this year? @Fencer
 
Jan 8, 2019
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Are applications only reviewed after all letters of recommendation are submitted? My school’s Prehealth committee won’t submit their letters until late August, but I’m already submitting secondaries... Is this pointless?
 

Seihai

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Are applications only reviewed after all letters of recommendation are submitted? My school’s Prehealth committee won’t submit their letters until late August, but I’m already submitting secondaries... Is this pointless?
Some schools will review prior to LoR submission, but won't offer interviews until all LoRs are in. Others won't even look at your application until you are totally complete.
 
Jun 28, 2019
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If I sent in my secondaries early July, does anyone know when I should expect to start getting decisions on interview invites?
 
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Lucca

Lucca

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If I sent in my secondaries early July, does anyone know when I should expect to start getting decisions on interview invites?
There is no set timeline. You might hear nothing for the whole cycle. You may start getting IIs in August. You may get an II in August and then 5 more in November. The majority of iIs will be sent between September and December
 
Jul 2, 2018
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Generally, are MD/PhD programs different from MD programs at the same school in their rolling admissions policies?
 
Mar 21, 2019
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Is there a handy list somewhere that compiles the rolling admissions policies of each school - I'm think this would be helpful to prioritize the order of secondaries to complete.
Here are policies for the schools on my list at least (updated with corrections):

271672

Please correct me if I'm wrong!
 
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Mar 21, 2019
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How do people feel about uploading CVs, publications, abstracts, or a senior research thesis in secondary applications?
 

Beyonce2.0

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How do people feel about uploading CVs, publications, abstracts, or a senior research thesis in secondary applications?
I haven't uploaded anything that hasn't been specifically requested. There isn't anything in my CV or abstracts that hasn't already been covered in my application and multiple essays. Also, I don't really want to make them read through my 75-page thesis and I feel like if they really wanted to read a publication, they would google it. But I'm not the expert, so I'd love to hear what adcoms and former applicants think!
 
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