Dec 30, 2020
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Hello everyone, I need some application advice and thank you very much for your time. Info about me: I am currently a senior at a low tier state university with a 522 MCAT and a 3.8 GPA (upward trend). I have worked in a research lab and have a presentation and a pub on the way (not sure it will be done by the next cycle, but def by the one after that). I also have 300 hours of clinical volunteering in clinic and 300 hours of nonclinical volunteering with the homeless. I have shadowed through various specialties and am currently working as a covid tester at my uni. Have other things such as frat leadership/Taing

I am also currently an applicant for the NIH IRTA research program, with my original intent being to stay a year there while I apply this upcoming cycle. However, the more I have been thinking about it, I feel as if my application would be a lot stronger if I just waited a year (another PI letter, decently high chance of pubs/posters, can do more volunteering and other things, maybe will help at the research-heavy t-30s) instead of applying this next cycle. This would also allow me to stay two years at the NIH, which would help grab more research for residency apps and allow me to do more neat research. I would be comfortable waiting another cycle, but my only real gripe is that it would really only give me 1 application cycle to get in (matriculate 2023) before my MCAT expired for about half the schools I want to apply to. I know my stats are good, but I have seen many people this cycle going broke for interviews with 3.9x and 52x, including someone from my lab here in undergrad, which makes me quite hesitant on banking everything on one cycle.

So my question is, do you all think that the extra year at the NIH won't really do much for my application (a lot of people say research is overrated for med schools) and that I should apply this upcoming cycle (I will still be able to put the program on App, of course)? Or do you think the idea of waiting a year has some merit even with the potential risk? Thanks all for the advice, and have a great new year.
 
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I think you’re ready. I had very similar stats as yours but probably more publications than you and got into my top choice school. I don’t think those extra publications will significantly improve your chances of admission. Publication is definitely good, but not as important as your academic stats, clinical experience and interview skills. Just apply broadly next cycle, and you’ll be fine.
 
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You haven't explained why you can't have your cake and eat it too. You certainly sound like a strong candidate now, as @gonnif noted, but, if it turns out you are not, why can't you apply now AND plan on applying the following cycle, with the second year at NIH under your belt, if necessary? Either way, you will be graduating this spring and taking at least one gap year. Is there a reason, other than not wanting to be a reapplicant, not to take a shot now? Wouldn't that address what seems to be your big concern about only having one cycle in which to use your MCAT?
 
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Goro

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Hello everyone, I need some application advice and thank you very much for your time. Info about me: I am currently a senior at a low tier state university with a 522 MCAT and a 3.8 GPA (upward trend). I have worked in a research lab and have a presentation and a pub on the way (not sure it will be done by the next cycle, but def by the one after that). I also have 300 hours of clinical volunteering in clinic and 300 hours of nonclinical volunteering with the homeless. I have shadowed through various specialties and am currently working as a covid tester at my uni. Have other things such as frat leadership/Taing

I am also currently an applicant for the NIH IRTA research program, with my original intent being to stay a year there while I apply this upcoming cycle. However, the more I have been thinking about it, I feel as if my application would be a lot stronger if I just waited a year (another PI letter, decently high chance of pubs/posters, can do more volunteering and other things, maybe will help at the research-heavy t-30s) instead of applying this next cycle. This would also allow me to stay two years at the NIH, which would help grab more research for residency apps and allow me to do more neat research. I would be comfortable waiting another cycle, but my only real gripe is that it would really only give me 1 application cycle to get in (matriculate 2023) before my MCAT expired for about half the schools I want to apply to. I know my stats are good, but I have seen many people this cycle going broke for interviews with 3.9x and 52x, including someone from my lab here in undergrad, which makes me quite hesitant on banking everything on one cycle.

So my question is, do you all think that the extra year at the NIH won't really do much for my application (a lot of people say research is overrated for med schools) and that I should apply this upcoming cycle (I will still be able to put the program on App, of course)? Or do you think the idea of waiting a year has some merit even with the potential risk? Thanks all for the advice, and have a great new year.
The loss of a year of attending salary can't possibly be worth whatever you'd get at the NIH.

So apply in June!!!
 
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LindaAccepted

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Hello everyone, I need some application advice and thank you very much for your time. Info about me: I am currently a senior at a low tier state university with a 522 MCAT and a 3.8 GPA (upward trend). I have worked in a research lab and have a presentation and a pub on the way (not sure it will be done by the next cycle, but def by the one after that). I also have 300 hours of clinical volunteering in clinic and 300 hours of nonclinical volunteering with the homeless. I have shadowed through various specialties and am currently working as a covid tester at my uni. Have other things such as frat leadership/Taing

I am also currently an applicant for the NIH IRTA research program, with my original intent being to stay a year there while I apply this upcoming cycle. However, the more I have been thinking about it, I feel as if my application would be a lot stronger if I just waited a year (another PI letter, decently high chance of pubs/posters, can do more volunteering and other things, maybe will help at the research-heavy t-30s) instead of applying this next cycle. This would also allow me to stay two years at the NIH, which would help grab more research for residency apps and allow me to do more neat research. I would be comfortable waiting another cycle, but my only real gripe is that it would really only give me 1 application cycle to get in (matriculate 2023) before my MCAT expired for about half the schools I want to apply to. I know my stats are good, but I have seen many people this cycle going broke for interviews with 3.9x and 52x, including someone from my lab here in undergrad, which makes me quite hesitant on banking everything on one cycle.

So my question is, do you all think that the extra year at the NIH won't really do much for my application (a lot of people say research is overrated for med schools) and that I should apply this upcoming cycle (I will still be able to put the program on App, of course)? Or do you think the idea of waiting a year has some merit even with the potential risk? Thanks all for the advice, and have a great new year.
You sound very ready and admissible now. I don't see the additional experience or research materially improving your admissions chances.

The main reason to wait would be personal -- you simply want to do another year of research at NIH and want that experience and those publications for personal fulfillment and an additional year out of school.

However, I wouldn't do it for admissions reasons. And as Goro points out, the additional year at NIH will extend your low earnings period and reduce the higher earnings period of your professional life.

Best,
Linda
 

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