tonesofheresy

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May 10, 2011
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Hello,
I am currently facing a hurdle for which some advice would be greatly appreciated. Some background information:

GPA: 3.24 (3.5 with grade replacement)
Major: Biochemistry
Minors: Applied mathematics, physics
MCAT: 39
Physician shadowing: 100+ hours
Volunteer work: 100+ hours
Extracurriculars: Too numerous to list

Okay, so my problem is regarding research. I know it's a must for most schools and I've worked for the same professor for about 3 years, off and on. My issue is that I was bounced back and forth between several projects and never got any worthwhile results (publication-worthy). I am currently working on a project that my professor has now deemed a "dead-end" with regard to grant funding and he just wants it completed. For a very long time he was extremely supportive of me but he always seemed to put me on projects that other people didn't want to be a part of. I took it in stride, though, and tried my best to get results. Two of the projects ended up being founded on falsified or inconclusive data, either by other students or the company's providing the grant money (very strange, I know) and my final project is clearly not a primary focus, so my professor isn't interested in advising me. I have essentially no direction and consequently have no desire to go into lab and work...I don't even really know what we're trying to accomplish anymore! To make a long story a little shorter, I no longer feel like I have the support of my research professor and am not confident I'll get a good letter of recommendation from him. I have many professors, doctors, etc. willing to write great LOR's, but I understand that the one from the research professor can "make it or break it." If anyone has some advice for me, I'd greatly appreciate it. Finding someone else to research under would require at least another year prior to application, and my MCAT score is already a year old. If I end up not getting in next year and have to retake the test, I'm not sure I will score as high, which would certainly look bad, so if anyone out there can give some suggestions, I'd be forever grateful.

Thanks!
 

theseeker4

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Apr 20, 2011
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Hello,
I am currently facing a hurdle for which some advice would be greatly appreciated. Some background information:

GPA: 3.24 (3.5 with grade replacement)
Major: Biochemistry
Minors: Applied mathematics, physics
MCAT: 39
Physician shadowing: 100+ hours
Volunteer work: 100+ hours
Extracurriculars: Too numerous to list

Okay, so my problem is regarding research. I know it's a must for most schools and I've worked for the same professor for about 3 years, off and on. My issue is that I was bounced back and forth between several projects and never got any worthwhile results (publication-worthy). I am currently working on a project that my professor has now deemed a "dead-end" with regard to grant funding and he just wants it completed. For a very long time he was extremely supportive of me but he always seemed to put me on projects that other people didn't want to be a part of. I took it in stride, though, and tried my best to get results. Two of the projects ended up being founded on falsified or inconclusive data, either by other students or the company's providing the grant money (very strange, I know) and my final project is clearly not a primary focus, so my professor isn't interested in advising me. I have essentially no direction and consequently have no desire to go into lab and work...I don't even really know what we're trying to accomplish anymore! To make a long story a little shorter, I no longer feel like I have the support of my research professor and am not confident I'll get a good letter of recommendation from him. I have many professors, doctors, etc. willing to write great LOR's, but I understand that the one from the research professor can "make it or break it." If anyone has some advice for me, I'd greatly appreciate it. Finding someone else to research under would require at least another year prior to application, and my MCAT score is already a year old. If I end up not getting in next year and have to retake the test, I'm not sure I will score as high, which would certainly look bad, so if anyone out there can give some suggestions, I'd be forever grateful.

Thanks!
Why the obsession with your research experience? Research is hardly a "must" for all but the top schools or MD/PhD programs. Most applicants don't have publications, so that is definitely NOT a requirement. Neither is a LOR from your PI. Having research you can discuss intelligently with the interviewer will check the research "box" for you even without any publications or a LOR. Don't delay your application because you think you need a "better" research experience.

As far as suggestions, considering your GPA be realistic about where you can go. Apply to several DO schools, and in-state schools plus out-of-state MD schools with more forgiving stats and take the best acceptance you get. Holding out and hoping for a top-tier admission would be a waste of time and money, especially if you have to re-take the MCAT. Remember that the goal is to become a doctor, and you can do that effectively no matter what US school you go to. :luck:
 

MedBound1

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Jun 13, 2011
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As far as suggestions, considering your GPA be realistic about where you can go. Apply to several DO schools, and in-state schools plus out-of-state MD schools with more forgiving stats and take the best acceptance you get. Holding out and hoping for a top-tier admission would be a waste of time and money, especially if you have to re-take the MCAT. Remember that the goal is to become a doctor, and you can do that effectively no matter what US school you go to. :luck:

I understand his GPA is low, but a 39 MCAT.... Apply broadly to schools of all tiers but you don't need to do DO to get an acceptance unless you just really would like to. I'm really not knocking on DO at all, I think there are a lot of great DO schools and if the OP would like to do that I think that's awesome, I'm just saying he would be like 10-15 points above most DO schools average MCATs.

\What does your GPA trend look like? If it's upward trending then you still have a shot at some top schools in my opinion.

As far as your research question goes, I don't think its a terrible thing. I also had an experience with some research reaching a dead-end, it wasn't my fault, the hypothesis my professor set out to prove just didn't wind up being statistically significant. As far as a letter from your professor.. how does he view you? In the midst of the research not panning out to being 'publishable' was he impressed by your work ethic etc? You didn't have to produce groundbreaking research to be someone he would happily recommend to anyone.
 
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tonesofheresy

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May 10, 2011
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I understand his GPA is low, but a 39 MCAT.... Apply broadly to schools of all tiers but you don't need to do DO to get an acceptance unless you just really would like to. I'm really not knocking on DO at all, I think there are a lot of great DO schools and if the OP would like to do that I think that's awesome, I'm just saying he would be like 10-15 points higher than most DO schools average MCATs.

\What does your GPA trend look like? If it's upward trending then you still have a shot at some top schools in my opinion.

As far as your research question goes, I don't think its a terrible thing. I also had an experience with some research reaching a dead-end, it wasn't my fault, the hypothesis my professor set out to prove just didn't wind up being statistically significant. As far as a letter from your professor.. how does he view you? In the midst of the research not panning out to being 'publishable' was he impressed by your work ethic etc? You didn't have to produce groundbreaking research to be someone he would happily recommend to anyone.

Well, my professor still thinks very highly of me and wants the best for me, but I don't think he'd agree that I have a good work ethic. I have a dozen other teachers who would disagree with him, but to be fair, I didn't spend a lot of time in lab toward the end of my undergraduate career and I could see why he would perceive it as poor work ethic. He also knows what the rest of the department thinks and everything's positive, but when I realized half-way through my second project that it was going to be a waste of time, my interest diminished exponentially and it wasn't hard to see. On the other hand, research was required for graduation, and I received an A for both credits of research, assigned by the same professor, so he clearly felt I at least deserved that.
Now, with regard to my GPA trend, I made the stupid mistake of declaring my minors fairly late in the game and ended up with semesters consisting of classes like quantum mechanics, astrophysics, modern physics, differential equations, etc. which were not the easiest. That being said, my semester GPAs for the last few semesters were, in order:

3.86
3.68
3.74
3.4
3.1
3.81

The 3.1 and 3.4's obviously don't look good, but the 3.1 semester was 17 credits with the added stress of writing and defending my thesis. With this knowledge, do you think I could have a chance at a "good" school? Like anyone else, I'd like to go to a top-name school, but as "theseeker4" pointed out, any school would really be okay. I just don't want to set my sights too high since applying is somewhat expensive but I also won't get accepted if I don't try. I have the added handicap that I'm from Idaho and have no in-state schools; UW and U of U both reserve seats for Idaho students, but they're limited and the programs are extremely competitive, so I don't know if I'll even be applying to them.
 

Frazier

Palliative Emergentologist
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Nov 12, 2009
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Hello,
I am currently facing a hurdle for which some advice would be greatly appreciated. Some background information:

GPA: 3.24 (3.5 with grade replacement)
Major: Biochemistry
Minors: Applied mathematics, physics
MCAT: 39
Physician shadowing: 100+ hours
Volunteer work: 100+ hours
Extracurriculars: Too numerous to list

Okay, so my problem is regarding research. I know it's a must for most schools and I've worked for the same professor for about 3 years, off and on. My issue is that I was bounced back and forth between several projects and never got any worthwhile results (publication-worthy). I am currently working on a project that my professor has now deemed a "dead-end" with regard to grant funding and he just wants it completed. For a very long time he was extremely supportive of me but he always seemed to put me on projects that other people didn't want to be a part of. I took it in stride, though, and tried my best to get results. Two of the projects ended up being founded on falsified or inconclusive data, either by other students or the company's providing the grant money (very strange, I know) and my final project is clearly not a primary focus, so my professor isn't interested in advising me. I have essentially no direction and consequently have no desire to go into lab and work...I don't even really know what we're trying to accomplish anymore! To make a long story a little shorter, I no longer feel like I have the support of my research professor and am not confident I'll get a good letter of recommendation from him. I have many professors, doctors, etc. willing to write great LOR's, but I understand that the one from the research professor can "make it or break it." If anyone has some advice for me, I'd greatly appreciate it. Finding someone else to research under would require at least another year prior to application, and my MCAT score is already a year old. If I end up not getting in next year and have to retake the test, I'm not sure I will score as high, which would certainly look bad, so if anyone out there can give some suggestions, I'd be forever grateful.

Thanks!

wrong. unless md/phd.
 
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