*** 2021-2022 MD/PhD cycle - Questions, Comments, and other things ***

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Fencer

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    1. Attending Physician
      Success.... grant submitted!
      It seems that we for the 2021 cycle most (if not all) MD/PhD programs will be doing VIRTUAL interviews. On the other hand, most programs want a real face-to-face in person 2nd visit. I will be doing Zoom one-to-one meetings for 2021-22 applicants. If you want to sign up, please PM me.
       
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      Maebea

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        I remember when summer used to be summer. AMCAS came to us in a weekly file download beginning in August. Secondary applications were mailed out to applicants, who mailed them back in. Interviews started in November and ended in February. Even though the deadline for decisions was May 15, 90% of our class was filled by April 1. Summer was 3 glorious months when we did not really need to think much about admissions; time enough to prepare our T32 application, or even take a non-work-related vacation. Still, things are better now in many ways. SDN, for instance.
         
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        chemicallycozy

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        Mar 16, 2021
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          If anyone would be down to answer this question - so I applied to MSTP and MD/PhD programs last cycle. I got interviews but eventually was WL'ed from the programs. For this cycle I'm switching gears and applying a majority MD and a few MD/PhD given last cycle's results and my stats being below average for the dual degree. How would adcoms see this change as I'm now a reapplicant? Would it be a red flag, especially to the schools that I did get II's at?
          Also if this is in the wrong thread please let me know - decided to post here for obvious reasons.
           

          Maebea

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            If anyone would be down to answer this question - so I applied to MSTP and MD/PhD programs last cycle. I got interviews but eventually was WL'ed from the programs. For this cycle I'm switching gears and applying a majority MD and a few MD/PhD given last cycle's results and my stats being below average for the dual degree. How would adcoms see this change as I'm now a reapplicant? Would it be a red flag, especially to the schools that I did get II's at?
            Also if this is in the wrong thread please let me know - decided to post here for obvious reasons.
            The AMCAS information does not flag you as having applied previously. (It will, however, tell us whether you have previously enrolled in a medical school.) At the institutional level, they would be able to tell from their internal records (if they bother to look) that you had applied there previously. What they do with this information is anyone's guess. I do not believe that an MD admission committee view as a negative the fact that you had previously applied MD-PhD to that same institution. Individuals change their career objectives all the time. (Every year, 10-15% of individuals who are accepted to MD-PhD programs decline the offer; nearly all will enroll in MD-only programs.)

            IMO, if you previously interviewed at a school but were not accepted, the chance of being interviewed, much less accepted, a second time around is slight. By the time we offer an interview to someone, we are fairly convinced that they are competitive for a spot in our program. Our statistics tell us that 98% of the applicants we interview will get into an MD-PhD program. I would avoid re-applying MD-PhD to the programs that interviewed you last cycle, and would focus on schools that did not interview you last time. This year, we interviewed 4 re-applicants who we had rejected without interview in previous cycles. All had substantially improved their applications through additional research exposure in the intervening time, and 2 were offered admission here.
             
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            chemicallycozy

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            Mar 16, 2021
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              The AMCAS information does not flag you as having applied previously. (It will, however, tell us whether you have previously enrolled in a medical school.) At the institutional level, they would be able to tell from their internal records (if they bother to look) that you had applied there previously. What they do with this information is anyone's guess. I do not believe that an MD admission committee view as a negative the fact that you had previously applied MD-PhD to that same institution. Individuals change their career objectives all the time. (Every year, 10-15% of individuals who are accepted to MD-PhD programs decline the offer; nearly all will enroll in MD-only programs.)

              IMO, if you previously interviewed at a school but were not accepted, the chance of being interviewed, much less accepted, a second time around is slight. By the time we offer an interview to someone, we are fairly convinced that they are competitive for a spot in our program. Our statistics tell us that 98% of the applicants we interview will get into an MD-PhD program. I would avoid re-applying MD-PhD to the programs that interviewed you last cycle, and would focus on schools that did not interview you last time. This year, we interviewed 4 re-applicants who we had rejected without interview in previous cycles. All had substantially improved their applications through additional research exposure in the intervening time, and 2 were offered admission here.
              good to know, thank you so much!

              I will say just for any re-apps reading this, AMCAS makes you check off if you've applied to a school before every time you add a school on your primary, just fyi
               
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              Fencer

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              1. Attending Physician
                Here are my recommendation:
                Now - Submit AMCAS application to at least 1 school (and no more than 10), request all transcripts, and request all LORs
                2 weeks after your application has verified, add another 10 schools...
                4 weeks after your application has verified, add another 10 schools (if needed)...

                This way, you effectively stagger your secondary applications with no significant impact on your likelihood of success.

                Verification takes 4-6 weeks. It can't happen if your transcripts are not available. LORs must be available for your application review.
                Once verified, adding another school appears in the Inbox of the school within 24 hours.

                If you are waiting for a MCAT score, you can apply to a single school. Then depending upon the score, you can construct a list upwards or downwards in ranking as you assess. Waiting to submit is typically not a good option as the late verification process might impact your chances with a decent 512 score.

                PM me if needed.
                 
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                neurosci2021

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                May 8, 2021
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                  If merging activities (e.g. more than 3 into one slot), what info needs to be listed in the activity description? Right now, hours/contact info for each individual activity are taking up most of the space in the activities description, but I would rather use it to reflect etc. Thanks!
                   
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                  EileenX

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                    If merging activities (e.g. more than 3 into one slot), what info needs to be listed in the activity description? Right now, hours/contact info for each individual activity are taking up most of the space in the activities description, but I would rather use it to reflect etc. Thanks!
                    I didn't list hours or contact info when I merged 3+ activities into one slot. I combined all the hours for all the activities and put them in the hours count and just chose one person to be the contact person for all three activities (typically the supervisor that knew me the best out of all the activities). I used the space to say what I did/learned/accomplished per activity.
                     
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                    neurosci2021

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                    May 8, 2021
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                      How are papers without PMID's viewed? One of my papers was more engineering-focused (so not on PubMed), but is indexed on another well-regarded (niche) database that AdComs might not be familiar with. Is there a concise way to address this so that AdComs don't automatically assume it was a low-quality publication? Thanks!
                       

                      Fencer

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                        Non-PMID manuscripts are seen lower quality than PMID manuscripts (sorry, I can't change that and rather acknowledge it - AdComms are filled with biomedical scientists). Having said that, they are not going to hurt you as MD/PhD AdComs have seen plenty of Engineers, Chemists, and other quality applicants with non-biological research. They show that you have some ability to lead a project....
                         
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                        Peritus_Medicus

                        MD/PhD Applicant
                      • Jun 11, 2021
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                        1. Pre-Medical
                          My MD/PhD application has been verified, and I would like to start pre-writing my secondaries. However, I am having difficulty finding MD/PhD secondary questions (instead of MD-only secondary questions) for most schools. Do most schools not have a different MD/PhD application? Or am I looking in the wrong places?
                          Thank you!
                           
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                          2021-2022-NonTrad

                          2021-2022 MSTP Applicant
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                            My MD/PhD application has been verified, and I would like to start pre-writing my secondaries. However, I am having difficulty finding MD/PhD secondary questions (instead of MD-only secondary questions) for most schools. Do most schools not have a different MD/PhD application? Or am I looking in the wrong places?
                            Thank you!
                            i found this from last year:

                             
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                            toofastdan

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                              I'm starting the process of pre-writing secondaries, but I'm unsure about which schools to direct my initial efforts. Applications get released to medical schools on June 25th. Do secondaries all flood in around the same time ~1 week after June 25th or do they arrive in a more staggered fashion? I know California schools screen before secondaries and I was wondering if this results in secondaries arriving over the course of 1 month instead of 1 week.
                               
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                              Fencer

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                                With few exceptions, the process of selecting applicants to receive secondary applications is typically the job of a computer. Some schools send them to all applicants, some only to those with MCAT > 510 or x threshold, some pre-review applications before sending them, and a few programs (like mine) do not have a real secondary. We do ask interviewees with several basic questions.

                                Bottomline, most secondary requests come in within 2 weeks of verification, which is the reason that I recommended to stagger adding schools every 2 weeks or so (10 at initial application, 10 about 2 weeks after verification, and 10 more or so after 4 weeks after verification).
                                 
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                                creode

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                                  The AMCAS information does not flag you as having applied previously. (It will, however, tell us whether you have previously enrolled in a medical school.) At the institutional level, they would be able to tell from their internal records (if they bother to look) that you had applied there previously. What they do with this information is anyone's guess. I do not believe that an MD admission committee view as a negative the fact that you had previously applied MD-PhD to that same institution. Individuals change their career objectives all the time. (Every year, 10-15% of individuals who are accepted to MD-PhD programs decline the offer; nearly all will enroll in MD-only programs.)

                                  IMO, if you previously interviewed at a school but were not accepted, the chance of being interviewed, much less accepted, a second time around is slight. By the time we offer an interview to someone, we are fairly convinced that they are competitive for a spot in our program. Our statistics tell us that 98% of the applicants we interview will get into an MD-PhD program. I would avoid re-applying MD-PhD to the programs that interviewed you last cycle, and would focus on schools that did not interview you last time. This year, we interviewed 4 re-applicants who we had rejected without interview in previous cycles. All had substantially improved their applications through additional research exposure in the intervening time, and 2 were offered admission here.
                                  Wait, could you clarify. If I applied last cycle MD/PhD but I am reapplying MD-Only I am NOT a reapplicant? I submitted the primary and I had selected "reapplicant" for each school.
                                   

                                  creode

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                                    With few exceptions, the process of selecting applicants to receive secondary applications is typically the job of a computer. Some schools send them to all applicants, some only to those with MCAT > 510 or x threshold, some pre-review applications before sending them, and a few programs (like mine) do not have a real secondary. We do ask interviewees with several basic questions.

                                    Bottomline, most secondary requests come in within 2 weeks of verification, which is the reason that I recommended to stagger adding schools every 2 weeks or so (10 at initial application, 10 about 2 weeks after verification, and 10 more or so after 4 weeks after verification).
                                    Do schools somehow look down on applicants that take longer to finish their secondaries after receiving them?
                                     

                                    Fencer

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                                      Do schools somehow look down on applicants that take longer to finish their secondaries after receiving them?
                                      Generally speaking, a reply within a week or two is fine, but taking longer suggest (to PDs) that the applicant has lesser interest in that particular program.
                                       
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                                      Fencer

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                                      1. Attending Physician
                                        One MSTP Admission Cycle:

                                        My MSTP doesn't have a traditional secondary (no extra fees or essays). We begin our formal AMCAS application review until mid-July. We typically send invitations for interview once a month between late July and mid-January. We ask to confirm an interview date and request brief answers to few questions to tailor the virtual interview. We typically give applicants two choices for interview dates. We interview virtually every month between Aug. and Feb with two interview dates in December and January. We accept significant updates throughout the entire cycle, and request an update for all interviewees for our mid-February admission meeting. We give acceptances somewhat in rolling fashion to groups of accepted applicants at least 3 times (late Oct., late December, and mid-February; then, once our accepted class shrinks to our target class size, we start replacing after applicant withdrawals. We send the larger batch of rejections in January, once we fill all of the interview slots. We keep a small group in waitlist to interview. After our mid-Feb meeting, we send our rejections after interview as well as those few waitlisted who didn't make into interviewing. We plan an in-person 2nd visit in April. We request commit to enroll 21 days prior to our MD/PhD orientation and the beginning of our first laboratory rotation.
                                         

                                        2021-2022-NonTrad

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                                          We usually send out half our interview offers in mid-to-late August.
                                          Do you know if most/many programs are like this? My cursory review shows many schools who do not have MD/PhD interviews until between November and February. For instance I see one MSTP that only interviews in the month of January. I am anticipating a cycle that is longer than the MD only cycle, but how delayed will it really be?
                                           

                                          Fencer

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                                          1. Attending Physician
                                            There are places in FL, in particular, who schedule their interviews after Hurricane season (i.e.: until January). However, most programs have November/December as their peak season. There is a Google Calendar with interview dates... just rewind to 2020 dates to see.

                                            Acceptances begin rolling in after October 15, and slowly thru January/February with a large group releasing in February/early-March. As you know from traffic rules, by March 14 programs must have at least as many acceptances as they expect to enroll. See the timing of acceptances, interviews, and rejections in prior 2020-21 threads.
                                             
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                                            Fencer

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                                            1. Attending Physician
                                              Tomorrow, at 7 am (EST), the AMCAS system begins transmitting applications to MD/PhD programs and medical schools in general. As I indicated previously, most programs don't start even looking at the applications until mid-July. However, computers could very easily make preliminary judgments and might start sending requests for secondary applications.
                                               
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                                              baz2020

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                                                With transmission tomorrow I just wanted to say good luck to everyone applying this cycle!! We've all worked hard to get to this point, sending positive vibes and hoping everyone gets the outcome they would like!
                                                 
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                                                Maebea

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                                                  @Fencer : Thanks for the detailed response. Would you say being complete late July to early August is a detriment, or is it still a good time to be fully complete?
                                                  A late-July to early-August completion date for secondary applications is not at all late. I encourage applicants to get all their secondaries no later than Labor Day. The earlier we have an application, the earlier we can make an interview decision. Policies vary from program to program, but we start sending out interview invites (and rejections) by the end of August. (Our interviews start in October.)
                                                   
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                                                  MDPhDHopeful3985

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                                                    This question is geared toward current MD/PhD (MSTP and non-MSTP) ADCOMS and student ADCOMS. Some schools ask on their secondaries if you are applying to their MD, MD/PhD, or both programs. Will applying to a school's MD and MD/PhD program hurt your chances of being admitted to the MD/PhD program? I'm 100% committed to a research-heavy career and want an MD/PhD above all else - but I also need to move forward with my life and career if I am to become a physician-scientist (I'm a reapplicant).
                                                     
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                                                    Fencer

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                                                      Every school has its own culture and policies. While it doesn't bother me that some applicants apply to both programs, in my case the evaluation process is entirely independent; that is being considered for MD/PhD (AMCAS) will NOT delay MD (TMDSAS) review. However, in many schools that is the case. Their question in the secondary could be information about logistics on how to process the application. Now, for a MSTP PD, an MD/PhD only applicant shows slightly greater commitment to the physician-scientist path as compared to an applicant hedging between MD/PhD and MD applications. Nevertheless, that slight bias could be easily overcome by demonstrated genuine enthusiasm for a research heavy-career. More important for a re-applicant is to select a broad representative group of MD/PhD programs to apply that have different levels of competitiveness (dream/match/safer). PM me if needed...
                                                       
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                                                      MDPhDHopeful3985

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                                                        Every school has its own culture and policies. While it doesn't bother me that some applicants apply to both programs, in my case the evaluation process is entirely independent; that is being considered for MD/PhD (AMCAS) will NOT delay MD (TMDSAS) review. However, in many schools that is the case. Their question in the secondary could be information about logistics on how to process the application. Now, for a MSTP PD, an MD/PhD only applicant shows slightly greater commitment to the physician-scientist path as compared to an applicant hedging between MD/PhD and MD applications. Nevertheless, that slight bias could be easily overcome by demonstrated genuine enthusiasm for a research heavy-career. More important for a re-applicant is to select a broad representative group of MD/PhD programs to apply that have different levels of competitiveness (dream/match/safer). PM me if needed...
                                                        Got it. Thank you!
                                                         

                                                        baz2020

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                                                        Aug 18, 2020
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                                                          Are the numbers in AAMC Table B8 the total number of primary applications or the total number of completed applications (including secondaries). im assuming its the former but just wanted to confirm!
                                                           

                                                          Fencer

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                                                            It is the total number of primary verified applications for the 2020 completed cycle. The updated tables with the 2021 numbers will be available in mid December 2021. Please note that overall, we had a 15% increase in the number of applications as compared to 2020. We just reviewed the overall total number of acceptances and they were quite similar between both years, however, the 2021 class will be greater as there were more applicants with at least one MD/PhD acceptance.
                                                             
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                                                            2021-2022-NonTrad

                                                            2021-2022 MSTP Applicant
                                                            Jan 14, 2021
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                                                              It is the total number of primary verified applications for the 2020 completed cycle. The updated tables with the 2021 numbers will be available in mid December 2021. Please note that overall, we had a 15% increase in the number of applications as compared to 2020. We just reviewed the overall total number of acceptances and they were quite similar between both years, however, the 2021 class will be greater as there were more applicants with at least one MD/PhD acceptance.
                                                              With that 15% increase in total applicants, was the relative competitiveness of the increased applicant pool (ie. MCAT score, research quality and quantity etc.) consistent?
                                                               

                                                              Fencer

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                                                                The impact of COVID in the limitation of quantity and quality of clinical and research experiences was greater in the 2021 cycle as compared to the 2020 cycle. Scores have been trending slightly up over the years, as there are better preparation courses and other resources, but it is truly very small. I do not know if it was a temporary blip above the slightly increasing trend of <4% over past 10 years, or was a substantial increase due to the Zoom/digital transformation in advising or some other reasons. We will find out in a few months...
                                                                 
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                                                                2021-2022-NonTrad

                                                                2021-2022 MSTP Applicant
                                                                Jan 14, 2021
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                                                                  The impact of COVID in the limitation of quantity and quality of clinical and research experiences was greater in the 2021 cycle as compared to the 2020 cycle. Scores have been trending slightly up over the years, as there are better preparation courses and other resources, but it is truly very small. I do not know if it was a temporary blip above the slightly increasing trend of <4% over past 10 years, or was a substantial increase due to the Zoom/digital transformation in advising or some other reasons. We will find out in a few months...
                                                                  Thank you for the honest answer, and good luck in the coming weeks and months of reviewing applications.
                                                                   

                                                                  skeeter11

                                                                  MD/PhD Applicant
                                                                  Jun 22, 2021
                                                                  52
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                                                                  1. Pre-Medical
                                                                    A lot of secondaries have sections that basically repeat the significant research essay, asking me to input info and description for each experience. Are you guys largely copying and pasting these or just writing a new shorter or longer description?
                                                                     

                                                                    2021-2022-NonTrad

                                                                    2021-2022 MSTP Applicant
                                                                    Jan 14, 2021
                                                                    513
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                                                                      A lot of secondaries have sections that basically repeat the significant research essay, asking me to input info and description for each experience. Are you guys largely copying and pasting these or just writing a new shorter or longer description?
                                                                      I copy paste and then add more specific details in background, hypothesis, findings, and, most importantly, my role. If you were only ever in one lab with a few projects (which is better IMHO if it has commitment), then you would probably be OK copy/paste as that information is all in the SRE. But if you were in multiple labs/multiple projects, those 10,000 characters might’ve felt very limiting.
                                                                       
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                                                                      Peritus_Medicus

                                                                      MD/PhD Applicant
                                                                    • Jun 11, 2021
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                                                                      1. Pre-Medical
                                                                        Quick question - I have submitted most of my secondaries over the past 3 weeks, but realized that my college's committee letter will not be sent to AMCAS until next Monday. Will this delay in my LOR packet negatively affect consideration of my application?
                                                                         

                                                                        2021-2022-NonTrad

                                                                        2021-2022 MSTP Applicant
                                                                        Jan 14, 2021
                                                                        513
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                                                                          Quick question - I have submitted most of my secondaries over the past 3 weeks, but realized that my college's committee letter will not be sent to AMCAS until next Monday. Will this delay in my LOR packet negatively affect consideration of my application?
                                                                          Absolutely not, I would imagine. Not a single MD/PhD program has offered any interviews yet. Since schools will get your letters automatically and you are already complete in everything else, you will not be delayed at all.
                                                                           
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