Sep 18, 2014
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Basic Info:
- Reapplicant (applied MD last cycle for matriculation into MD only, no interviews, realized I didn't apply to a wide enough range of schools, realized how much I wanted to incorporate research into medicine)
- Female, Asian, no personal outstanding stories of hardship
- Started at community college for 2 years
- B.S. from Ivy in Bioengineering, Masters from same Ivy in Biomedical Engineering

Stats:
Undergraduate cGPA: 3.59 (three C's total in all of undergrad, some B's, ~75% A's)
Undergraduate BPCM GPA: 3.79
Graduate cGPA:
3.77
MCAT: first time 29 (PS: 10, VR: 9, BS: 10), second time 31 (PS: 11, VR: 11, BS: 9) (I know the drop in BS looks bad and it's not much of an improvement. I've been told that it looks better because it's above 30 though. Also I used the first MCAT for the first time I applied so that definitely hurt me)

Schools applying to for 2016 (all are MD/PhD because through my Master's thesis I really was able to develop my passion for research): All secondaries complete ~first week of Aug - first week of Sept (may be late?)
GW, Cincinnati, Rutgers/Princeton, Emory/GATech, Georgetown, JHU, MCW, Wisconsin,, Penn State, Case, Drexel, Temple, Jefferson/Kimmel, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, UNC, UPenn, Pitt, UVA, VCU, Washington Seattle, Wake, Cornell, Mayo

EC's:
Research:
- 1 year in immunology/bioprocess engineering for undergrad
- 2+ years in clinical/patient contact research at prestigious children's hospital (publication in drafting stage, co-author on poster presentation)
- 1 year in completing Master's thesis independently designed research project
- recently began volunteering as researcher with a collaborative research group at a medical school

Volunteer:
-
community/public service for 2 years at university
- student ambassador for campus life
- others

Teaching:
- Tutor for math, English, and engineering

Shadowing:
200+ hours shadowing anesthesiologist, cardio thoracic surgeon, orthopedic spine surgeon, gastroenterologist, urologist, ENT - both in operating room and clinic

LOR's: (I waived my right to see the letters, but all professors were very willing, and I developed a good relationship with all of them)
- Committee Letter: two letters from my Master's advisor (one was an update for after my project completed), a letter from my research mentor for my 2+ years research experience, a letter from one of my engineering professors (took two classes with him)
- Lab Professor (took 4 classes with her labs over 2 years)
- Undergrad Research mentor
- Anthropology professor
- Employer from office job during university


Application Essays: I hope they are good...I wrote them over a span of several months and pre-wrote about 90% of my secondaries

Do I have any chance whatsoever? I know this is kind of late especially since most of my apps are already complete, but I'm a bit neurotic and paranoid and I wanted to know how much I should panic right now. Also, I didn't get any interviews last time, and I don't want that to happen again.
 
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Goro

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With that MCAT score, zero.

You can do plenty of research with an MD.
 

gonnif

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Are you just putting in your application now? If so, stop! It is too late for the highly competitive MD/PhD. You need to be on top of the cycle. If you put in now and then get no interview or acceptance, you would be a 2x reapplicant, I strongly suggest you pull back, take and breath and make a solid application for next time
 
OP
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Sep 18, 2014
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Thanks for the replies! @gonnif I submitted my primary end of June, and by complete applications I meant that schools notified me that my application was under processing and consideration. Is this okay?
 
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@Goro, I understand that I can get a lot of research with an MD, but I'm very interested in Biomedical Engineering, and I believe that the research skills and the inside knowledge of the research industry that I can get from performing an MD/PhD would really help me contribute to my field of research. Plus, I think that training in both sides of medicine (research and practice) could help me with a career in both sides. I am inexperienced though, so I am taking your comments into consideration.

Also, I looked at the stats for a lot of schools and while the MCATs and GPAs were high, they were also a very large range (from 29-40, or from 3.0-4.0). Does that count my application out?
 
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ZedsDed

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Also, I looked at the stats for a lot of schools and while the MCATs and GPAs were high, they were also a very large range (from 29-40, or from 3.0-4.0). Does that count my application out?
Those ranges are not for MD/PhD, which are much tighter.
 
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Thank you for your response @ZedsDed. However, quoted from Cornell Tri-I, "Over the last five years the accepted MD-PhD students had an average GPA of 3.74 and an average MCAT of 35.60. The range of GPA for the accepted students has been 3.31-4.00 and the range of MCAT is 28-40. We look for applicants who take more than just the required science courses. We want students who consistently challenge themselves. There are no GPA or MCAT requirements."

I am probably naive for listening to these stats from Cornell, and I know that I sound like I'm trying to defend my app...I still would like your opinion though.
 

ZedsDed

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Thank you for your response @ZedsDed. However, quoted from Cornell Tri-I, "Over the last five years the accepted MD-PhD students had an average GPA of 3.74 and an average MCAT of 35.60. The range of GPA for the accepted students has been 3.31-4.00 and the range of MCAT is 28-40. We look for applicants who take more than just the required science courses. We want students who consistently challenge themselves. There are no GPA or MCAT requirements."

I am probably naive for listening to these stats from Cornell, and I know that I sound like I'm trying to defend my app...I still would like your opinion though.
I am shocked to hear that even a single applicant was accepted to Cornell's MD/PhD students with a 28. Regardless, I would say that your MCAT is probably near the far-left tail of that bell curve of accepted applicants. Not a great group to be in, as it will most likely consist of extraordinary individuals EC-wise. Also, I would say its probably likely that those matriculants have either a low MCAT score or a low GPA, not both.
 

raiderette

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There are DO/PhD programs at many of the public DOs, such as Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio.
 
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This handout from the AAMC might be helpful in gauging your chances: https://www.aamc.org/students/download/121086/data/mdphd_isitrightforme.pdf.
If you look at slides 16 and 17, you can see that 27% of the ~400 applicants with an MCAT in the 30 to 32 range and 21% of applicants ~170 applicants with GPAs in the 3.5 to 3.6 range ultimately matriculated to an MD/PhD program, compared to 31% of total applicants to MD/PhD programs. So while it's not by any means impossible, it sounds like it might be an uphill battle.
 
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@ZedsDed I have a strong interest in getting a PhD, but I am also just as interested in the interpersonal interactions that the MD offers. I want to work with people, and to apply the research I do to treating patients. Also, I am interested in academic medicine, and for my interests and passions, I think that an MD/PhD is the best route.
 
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ZedsDed

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I'm confused. Did I read your ECs right? Do you not have a publication?
 
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@lhooq Thanks for the information! I know I have a lot of work to do, but that's why I'm really focusing on my essays. I would like to say I'm a pretty decent writer and I really enjoy oral communication, so if I'm lucky enough to get an interview I hope I can ace it.
 
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Also, I would consider whether MD/PhD or MD is best for your career goals. MD/PhD programs are really meant for people who intend to be physician scientists who run their own labs and have a ~80% research / 20% clinical split. If you want to primarily be a clinician who also does research but doesn't necessarily run his/her own lab, an MD would be sufficient - MD/PhD programs are 8 to 9 years long and doing a PhD, especially in engineering, is a huge, huge, commitment. There are also some great 5 year MD programs such as the PSTP program at Pitt and the CCLCM program at Case Western that heavily incorporate research into medical school, and have ample opportunities to do research in Biomedical engineering.
 
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@ZedsDed I don't have an official publication yet. I've completed writing the publication, and my PI is almost complete with editing it. We hope to get it officially published by the end of this year.
 

ZedsDed

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@ZedsDed I don't have an official publication yet. I've completed writing the publication, and my PI is almost complete with editing it. We hope to get it officially published by the end of this year.
As long as it's before you apply! Best of luck.
 
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@lhooq Running my own lab - or at least collaborating with running a lab - is definitely something that I am considering, although I would like a bit more emphasis on the practitioner side of medicine
 

ZedsDed

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Thank you @ZedsDed! In case it wasn't clear, I am already complete with 95% percent of my applications...
Just remember that you can do just as much research as an MD. I don't want to discourage you, but you need to realize that MD/PhD is unlikely with a low GPA, a low MCAT, and zero publications. Top schools (which are research-heavy) would be an extreme stretch for MD-only with that profile.
 
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@ZedsDed Thanks! Prestige or top schools aren't the most important factors for me...I hope I can make the most from any school I could get accepted into if I'm lucky enough to get into one.
 

GrapesofRath

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The average MD/PhD applicant who doesn't get a SINGLE interview has a 3.7/32. You are along the lines of the average applicant who doesn't even get an interview. The average MD/PhD matriculant has a 3.8/35. As Ihoq said with your stats only 25% or so of MD/PhD applicants with your GPA matriculated. Only about 20-25% with your MCAT as well matriculated. A ton of these compensated for one weakness with a near perfect GPA or a top MCAT or had a serious hook. You don't have any of these things.

You are a competitive MD candidate for lower tier schools with a solid list. But the fact you already have gone through an unsuccessful cycle should serve as a wake up call. If no MD school was interested last cycle, why do you think MD/PhD programs are going to come running to you and save the day? You gotta engage in realistic thinking.

You are a re-applicant. You have 2 MCAT attempts and needed to take it twice just to hit the MD matriculant average. These would be issues even for MD candidates. For MD/PhD? You're talking about a long shot and like gonnif said if you strike out again this cycle you will have to be a 3rd time applicant next cycle and there are definitely schools that won't consider 3rd type applicants and even the ones who do that is a clear red flag. All these applicants you talk about who get into MD/PhD schools with your kind of MCAT have some significant hook. URM status. Truly significant and extensive research experience(ie multiple first author publication type in high IF journals type stuff). That's not you. If you want to take a stab at a few lower tier MD/PhD programs when you do apply, that's not a bad decision but the focus for you has to be an extensive lower tier MD school list. You're just donating money to the Cornell's of the world if you send an application there.

Step back and show perspective. Re-applicants who did not get one interview last cycle for MD schools should not be talking about MD/PhD admission. Your goal should be addressing how to make a better MD application than last cycle. If you do that, you are in a position to be rather competitive for lower tier MD schools. Like Goro said, you can do tons of research with an MD.
 
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Goro

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You're clutching at straws. MD/PhD candidates are among the best of the best, like the Army Deltas or Navy SEALs.

Let it go.



Thank you for your response @ZedsDed. However, quoted from Cornell Tri-I, "Over the last five years the accepted MD-PhD students had an average GPA of 3.74 and an average MCAT of 35.60. The range of GPA for the accepted students has been 3.31-4.00 and the range of MCAT is 28-40. We look for applicants who take more than just the required science courses. We want students who consistently challenge themselves. There are no GPA or MCAT requirements."

I am probably naive for listening to these stats from Cornell, and I know that I sound like I'm trying to defend my app...I still would like your opinion though.
 
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@ZedsDed I have a strong interest in getting a PhD, but I am also just as interested in the interpersonal interactions that the MD offers. I want to work with people, and to apply the research I do to treating patients. Also, I am interested in academic medicine, and for my interests and passions, I think that an MD/PhD is the best route.
just out of experience and what I have noted thus far, I really don't see how doctors manage the role of a PI and doctor and execute both with 100% focus. It's a constant battle with time and commitment. Are you sure you know what you are getting yourself into? If you are working with a medical team, is the PI MD/PhD and do you see just MDs do fine with the level of mentoring provided?
 

jd989898

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I feel like the competitiveness of MD/Phd is being overblown in this thread. I have a 3.6-3.7 and a 34-36 MCAT with no special hooks or urm status and I've gotten 4 md/Phd interviews. I'm surprised myself, to be honest
 

ZedsDed

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I feel like the competitiveness of MD/Phd is being overblown in this thread. I have a 3.6-3.7 and a 34-36 MCAT with no special hooks or urm status and I've gotten 4 md/Phd interviews. I'm surprised myself, to be honest
Stats don't lie.
 

GrapesofRath

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I feel like the competitiveness of MD/Phd is being overblown in this thread. I have a 3.6-3.7 and a 34-36 MCAT with no special hooks or urm status and I've gotten 4 md/Phd interviews. I'm surprised myself, to be honest
With strong research experience it wouldn't shock me if you had success in the MD/PhD cycle. Can't say the same for the OP unfortunately. And yes, the stats don't lie. Even your stats are considered below average for the average MD/PhD matriculant(which is 3.8/35).
 

Lawper

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Also, I would consider whether MD/PhD or MD is best for your career goals. MD/PhD programs are really meant for people who intend to be physician scientists who run their own labs and have a ~80% research / 20% clinical split. If you want to primarily be a clinician who also does research but doesn't necessarily run his/her own lab, an MD would be sufficient - MD/PhD programs are 8 to 9 years long and doing a PhD, especially in engineering, is a huge, huge, commitment. There are also some great 5 year MD programs such as the PSTP program at Pitt and the CCLCM program at Case Western that heavily incorporate research into medical school, and have ample opportunities to do research in Biomedical engineering.
The average MD/PhD applicant who doesn't get a SINGLE interview has a 3.7/32. You are along the lines of the average applicant who doesn't even get an interview. The average MD/PhD matriculant has a 3.8/35. As Ihoq said with your stats only 25% or so of MD/PhD applicants with your GPA matriculated. Only about 20-25% with your MCAT as well matriculated. A ton of these compensated for one weakness with a near perfect GPA or a top MCAT or had a serious hook. You don't have any of these things.

You are a competitive MD candidate for lower tier schools with a solid list. But the fact you already have gone through an unsuccessful cycle should serve as a wake up call. If no MD school was interested last cycle, why do you think MD/PhD programs are going to come running to you and save the day? You gotta engage in realistic thinking.

You are a re-applicant. You have 2 MCAT attempts and needed to take it twice just to hit the MD matriculant average. These would be issues even for MD candidates. For MD/PhD? You're talking about a long shot and like gonnif said if you strike out again this cycle you will have to be a 3rd time applicant next cycle and there are definitely schools that won't consider 3rd type applicants and even the ones who do that is a clear red flag. All these applicants you talk about who get into MD/PhD schools with your kind of MCAT have some significant hook. URM status. Truly significant and extensive research experience(ie multiple first author publication type in high IF journals type stuff). That's not you. If you want to take a stab at a few lower tier MD/PhD programs when you do apply, that's not a bad decision but the focus for you has to be an extensive lower tier MD school list. You're just donating money to the Cornell's of the world if you send an application there.

Step back and show perspective. Re-applicants who did not get one interview last cycle for MD schools should not be talking about MD/PhD admission. Your goal should be addressing how to make a better MD application than last cycle. If you do that, you are in a position to be rather competitive for lower tier MD schools. Like Goro said, you can do tons of research with an MD.
These excellent posts should be highlighted in the Physician Scientists Forums as well.

OP, I apologize for being nosy, but I dug up an old WAMC thread of yours back in Sep 2014 to see what went wrong.

School List:
Johns Hopkins
Cornell
Vanderbilt
Tufts
GW
Georgetown
UMaryland
UMichigan
Baylor
Wake Forest
Albert Einstein
Icahn at Mt. Sinai
UPenn
Pittsburgh
Boston
Goro suggests:

GW
Georgetown
Wake Forest
TCMC
Quinnipiac
all other new MD schools except Va Tech and Hofstra
WVU
Rosy Franklin
Penn state
MCW
SLU
Creighton
Loma Linda (but read their list of don'ts)
Drexel
Albany
NYMC
VCU
Rush
Drexel
Temple
Jefferson
U Rochester
Any DO program.
Honestly, I think if you followed Goro's advice and not had applied top heavy with a 29 MCAT, you wouldn't have been facing the situation now. But hey, hindsight is 20/20, I get it, yet it plays an important role in your reapp. Why? Because you're applying to MD/PhD after being shut out from MD first time around.

Research is great, and I am happy you enjoy it. I mentioned elsewhere previously, but you can do anything with an MD. Research, teaching, consulting, adcom, med business, engineering etc. An undergrad professor I had was an MD who focused on engineering principles in biological systems. A PhD is unnecessary, since MDs can run and finance their own labs. And many lower tiers focus on research as well.

So try to focus on the lower tiers now, and maybe sprinkle in 1-3 mid/top tiers just to get that guilt out of the way of not applying there. But an MD/PhD route is impractical.
 
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Gandyy

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The average MD/PhD applicant who doesn't get a SINGLE interview has a 3.7/32. You are along the lines of the average applicant who doesn't even get an interview. The average MD/PhD matriculant has a 3.8/35. As Ihoq said with your stats only 25% or so of MD/PhD applicants with your GPA matriculated. Only about 20-25% with your MCAT as well matriculated. A ton of these compensated for one weakness with a near perfect GPA or a top MCAT or had a serious hook. You don't have any of these things.

You are a competitive MD candidate for lower tier schools with a solid list. But the fact you already have gone through an unsuccessful cycle should serve as a wake up call. If no MD school was interested last cycle, why do you think MD/PhD programs are going to come running to you and save the day? You gotta engage in realistic thinking.

You are a re-applicant. You have 2 MCAT attempts and needed to take it twice just to hit the MD matriculant average. These would be issues even for MD candidates. For MD/PhD? You're talking about a long shot and like gonnif said if you strike out again this cycle you will have to be a 3rd time applicant next cycle and there are definitely schools that won't consider 3rd type applicants and even the ones who do that is a clear red flag. All these applicants you talk about who get into MD/PhD schools with your kind of MCAT have some significant hook. URM status. Truly significant and extensive research experience(ie multiple first author publication type in high IF journals type stuff). That's not you. If you want to take a stab at a few lower tier MD/PhD programs when you do apply, that's not a bad decision but the focus for you has to be an extensive lower tier MD school list. You're just donating money to the Cornell's of the world if you send an application there.

Step back and show perspective. Re-applicants who did not get one interview last cycle for MD schools should not be talking about MD/PhD admission. Your goal should be addressing how to make a better MD application than last cycle. If you do that, you are in a position to be rather competitive for lower tier MD schools. Like Goro said, you can do tons of research with an MD.
Always such accurate and thoughtful posts Grapes.
 
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ChrisMack390

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I suspect not having any publications - or frankly even having just 1 publication - is far more of a death sentence for MD/PhD than a 31 MCAT.
 

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I suspect not having any publications - or frankly even having just 1 publication - is far more of a death sentence for MD/PhD than a 31 MCAT.
You don't need a publication for even top MSTPs. Extensive research experience is a must though for obvious reasons.
 

gonnif

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I am shocked to hear that even a single applicant was accepted to Cornell's MD/PhD students with a 28. Regardless, I would say that your MCAT is probably near the far-left tail of that bell curve of accepted applicants. Not a great group to be in, as it will most likely consist of extraordinary individuals EC-wise. Also, I would say its probably likely that those matriculants have either a low MCAT score or a low GPA, not both.
While it is most common for an MD/PhD applicant to be an undergraduate "superstar" with high GPA, great MCAT, and copious research, these programs are a different breed and have different, and sometimes completely separate, admissions committee/process. At many of these programs, a single researcher or a small group who may find a candidate for their lab they want, they have enormous influence in getting them admitted. They put a great value on in-depth research, original research, publishing, etc. So you occasionally get that merely good academic record, average MCAT, but fantastic research background, sometimes by working in a lab a few after college, get into a MD/PhD program. However, these are few and far between and should be considered very uncommon.

BTW, in my experience with MD/PhD applicants, I find the it is not the GPA/MCAT that get people initially rejected, but the research background of the candidate, whether not enough, not original, or not productive.
 
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