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23R with a PhD and good GPA...Can I get in anywhere?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by KD1655, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. KD1655

    10+ Year Member

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    Here's the good stuff:
    -By the time of my application to med school, I will have (hopefully) earned my PhD in Materials Science and Engineering/Biomaterials with a research emphasis in neurophysiology, biophysical characterization of brain tissue, and brain injury. I have not decided yet if I want to do a postdoc or go right to med school from the PhD.
    -I currently have one first author manuscript published in a peer-reviewed journal and currently have another in the pipeline and close to completion (which may also result in a patent); my advisor requires that I have at least tree first author published papers to graduate with the PhD so I am confident that I will have at least three first author papers and a couple as a supporting author. I also have a couple of poster presentations at national conferences.
    - My cumulative undergraduate GPA is 3.64 with a HUGE upward trend; my undergraduate science GPA is around 3.45. I have previously finished all the coursework for the PhD and my GPA sits around a 3.85.
    - I am a member of several honors societies, including Tau Beta Pi.
    - I have 8+ years of clinical experience working as an EMT (and firefighter) and I worked EMS full time while doing my undergrad.

    AND....here's the bad stuff:

    - My first MCAT score was a 23R :( I don't want to make excuses for my poor test performance but I definitely should have cancelled the score.
    - And this is why I should have cancelled it...without going into detail, I have a super super rare (one of like less than ten males in the world to have been diagnosed) chronic pain condition that affects my kidney. Basically, when it flares up, the pain is comparable to having a constant "kidney stone-like" pain for weeks at a time. I have had several long (2+ week) hospitalizations at New York Presbyterian (where my nephrologist is a professor) and seeing the daily hustle and bustle of a large university hospital intrigued me and encouraged my desire to go to medical school. Anyways, on my MCAT test day, my pain was under control with the daily long-term pain management regiment that my physicians had me on (mainly methadone) and I was relatively clear headed (if that is possible with methadone). So I sit down at the computer and the first section is writing; I do the two writing samples and go out to the bathroom. Well using the bathroom somehow caused an exasterbation of my renal pain to the point that I was doubled over. In an effort to continue the exam, I took the regiment of "breakthrough pain" medication that my doctors had prescribed. This medication caused my mental clarity to quickly fade; nonetheless, I continued with the exam for the next two hours. When I was done, I should have cancelled the score but I didn't because I wasn't quite firing on all cyclinders.
    - I now have been able to ween myself off of all the medication (believe me, not easy with methadone) and my doctor has put me on a different (mostly non-narcotic) pain management regiment and I now have my mental clarity fully back and am considering retaking the MCAT.

    My question is....

    Would I be able to get into a state medical school (I'm from NJ so say UMDNJ) with my poor MCAT score in an otherwise decent application?

    If I retook the MCAT and was able to increase my score say 10 points, would I be able to get into some of the more competitive schools (Columbia, Georgetown, NYU, etc.)?
     
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  3. startswithb

    startswithb Future Urologist
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  4. Onres

    Onres SDN Bronze Donor
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    No one can tell you the except the schools themselves. Yes your chances would increase, does that mean a guaranteed acceptance? Hell no.
     
  5. trypanosomiasis

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    Thread needs to be in WAMC...

    And yeah, retaking would be a good idea, especially for MD schools. The majority of the test is done before writing... so assuming you tanked out on BS and did well on the other two sections, you should shoot for a balanced score - that goes a long way, from what I understand.
     
  6. KD1655

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    What about DO schools? I am really interested in having a clinical backround to apply my translational research. I know DO's really don't dabble in research much though...

    I know I probably posted this in the wrong place but sorry.
     
  7. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Retake. Also ask yourself with all humility if your medical condition makes it feasible for you to serve others as a physician. If your pain and/or pain management medications makes it impossible to function well at a high physical and intellectual level every day, then maybe a career in medicine (or more specifically, the >6 years of training required) is not a good fit with your situation.
     
  8. Truzzi

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    I agree. If your kidney flared up during your MCAT, what is to say it won't during a high-stress surgery?
     
    #7 Truzzi, Jul 25, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  9. b-real

    b-real What, me worry?
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    Two things:

    1) Retake the MCAT. You have an excellent reason as to why you tanked the first exam and you'll be able to explain it on your application.

    2) There are specialties other than surgery where patient contact is limited. If the OP believes that his condition precludes him from the more intense specialties, there are others to choose from. Radiology, pathology and psychiatry come to mind. The thing about the medications and mental acuity is valid, though.
     
  10. Soulstice

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    Psychiatry = limited patient contact? :eek:
     
  11. chronicidal

    chronicidal Scrub
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    Maybe he means that psychiatry is not 'intense', as in you can sit back and ask 'how does that make you feel...' every once in a while.
     
  12. b-real

    b-real What, me worry?
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    My mistake, that is correct. And soulstice, don't be so captious next time.
     
    #11 b-real, Jul 25, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  13. StudyShy

    StudyShy XOXO
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    Wow! You're an oldie, too! :hello:
     
  14. Mithril

    Mithril Johnny Canuck
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    Retake unless you want to be living on a Caribbean island for the next 4+ years.
     
  15. b-real

    b-real What, me worry?
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    Yeah, my career interest started back in high school.
     
  16. TheMightySmiter

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    This is an excellent point. OP, the rest of your app looks amazing, but you will have almost no chance at an MD school with that score. Do you really think you can manage your condition enough to be a doctor? I think this is something you should talk with your nephrologist about before deciding. It sounds like you have an excellent career ahead of you in research, one that would better tolerate your chronic pain.
     
  17. Medicine4Bruhs

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    Looking at table 24 in MSAR, your chances are stacked against you. I would actually argue that in your case, it is good that you got such a low score because it can be more easily discounted by adcoms as a freak aberration. There is no way a PhD student should get a 23 MCAT score. Ever.
     
  18. willen101383

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    FYI I personally know a guy who applied to my school (PCOM) who had a 27 and had a PhD who got rejected. Retake that MCAT.
     
  19. KD1655

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    Interestly enough, this condition is something that apparently goes away in the majority of those afflicted after 3-5 years...I'm right at the 3.5 year mark and have been pain free and off all pain medication for a couple of months now. I'm actually medically cleared to go back to work as a firefighter/EMT. If my nephrologist has confidence that I can wear turnout gear with twenty five pound SCBA on my back in a hundred degree heat, I doubt he will have anything adverse to say about me going to medical school.
     
  20. willen101383

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    I am jealous you guys have a few years on me even! :(
     
  21. willen101383

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    What do you have if you dont mind me asking? j/w
     
  22. corpsman33

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    Well, with your degree and background I actually think you might be able to get into a D.O. school.

    I recently called most of the D.O. schools for current class stats and there was one D.O. (I can't remember which at the moment) school that had an average MCAT of 23 for the matriculating class and another with an average MCAT of 24. So there is always a chance and with your stats (doctorate and all) if you apply broadly I would bet you'd get into to one D.O. school.....at least.
     
  23. vin5cent0

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    I actually _know_ someone who got into an MD school (North Dakota) with a 24 on the MCAT (her second time taking it, none-the-less). I don't know her cGPA, but knowing that she got a C in both organic 1 and 2 leads me to believe it wasn't 'stellar' by any means.

    So, yes, I think you could get into a school. It's just not very likely.
     

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