looseygoosey

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...for choosing HST MD over several very good MSTPs?

Before I visited Harvard and met the current HST students, I thought i would be crazy to choose any MD program over any respectable MSTP because of the short run financial considerations and protected time to learn how to ask scientific questions.

However, my gut is telling me that i should do HST. To my (incredible) surprise, HST seemed to be the best fit for my interests.

I would appreciate any comments from those who have this decision this year or had to make the decision in years past. What were the deciding factors?

Thanks in advance
 

MacGyver

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Yes, you are selling out. You should feel very evil and worthless.

seriously though, HST is a special program. If it were any program BESIDES HST I would call you crazy. But HST goes out of their way to emphasize research, so if it fits your mold or whatever, then go for it.

I still dont think HST is equivalent to a full MD/PhD, but its pretty close and if you like the kind of stuff they got going on, then its a valid tradeoff.
 
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oasis786

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It's definitely a tough decision, and one that I may have to make and have thought about making (waitlisted for HST MD).

For me personally, I know that if I was accepted into HST I would be applying to grad school in the middle and for second cycle MSTP funding after the PhD. Lately, even if I had gotten an acceptance to HST, I was leaning away from that option because of the hassle of applying to grad school, and worrying about finances, etc. Not that they're a huge hassle, but relatively speaking compared to the security of a combined degree program...but anyways, I don't get the feeling you're considering MD/PhD at HST so my ramblings probably don't apply.
In my opinion, HST doesn't equal an MD/PhD as far as training goes, but it may still give you that same "feel" and "status" in the end. Go where it feels right...you've gotten into some damn good programs and I don't think you could go wrong with any decision you make.

I don't think you'd be a sell-out for choosing HST.

Congratulations! :hardy:
 

coldchemist

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I agree. If it were just your average, everyday MD program then I would have to call you a sellout. But, HST is distinct from New Pathways specifically to give you the option of a science emphasis without having to make an enormous commitment to grad school. Go with your gut...either way, I don't think you'll regret it in the end.

BTW, dannko, HST stands for Health Sciences and Technology. It's a special MD program at Harvard that emphasizes the scientific and technical aspects of medicine (go figure). I believe the HST class size is small compared to the normal class. In addition, the entrance requirements are more stringent and admission is even more competitive (hard to believe, but it's true).
 

Newquagmire

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Agreed. I know people who have done this before, and the way I see it, HMS graduates tend to do some sort of research anyway.

Sure, there's the occasional quack who ends up doing television promotions for the next big cure to teenage acne, but for the most part HMS graduates are "leaders in their field," whatever field that may be. I.e., HMS isn't a place that produces a lot of primary care physicians.
 

ct5768

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Is the general consensus that if you are in the HST program, receiving MSTP or equivalent funding after 2 years med school is close to guaranteed if desired?
 

oasis786

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It depends on how much funding is available that year, but from what I've heard, it's 90% sure. I was told by someone at HST (I forget who) the process would work like this:

1) Do your 1st 2 years of med school
2) Apply to grad school during your 2nd year
3) Finish your PhD
4) As you're finishing up grad school, apply for second cycle MSTP funding

So it seems that you'd have to complete your PhD without knowing whether or not your last two years of med school will be funded.


Originally posted by ct5768
Is the general consensus that if you are in the HST program, receiving MSTP or equivalent funding after 2 years med school is close to guaranteed if desired?
 

looseygoosey

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At this point, I am not leaning toward going through second cycle funding.

The 5 yr HST MD program with a year of research is my likely path. If i find that getting a PhD after my 2nd year is the best option, then of course i'll apply for second cycle.

I would be unlikely to end up in a purely basic science department anyway, so a PhD may not be necessary if i can find a research heavy residency/fellowship.

Thanks for everyone's comments.
 

Pandora's Box

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I'm in the exact same boat as you looseygoosey, and I think I will be choosing HST, even through it will mean giving up an MD/PhD acceptance in California. I'm not sure if I will apply second round, b/c I can't decided if I want to be an academic researcher or a specialist. At this point, I don't even know if they are mutally exculsive.
I will have to say that not having to worry about the money would have been great, as filling out these financial aid forms are driving me nuts. I don't have a PhD in Accounting. +pissed+

see you :laugh:
 

jjmack

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I think if you feel that the training you will get at HST is the "best" fit for you and your goals then I think you answered your own question.
 

fuzzylogic

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NO, you are not selling out. i will have a better chance to get off the waitlist where you are accepted once you decide to go to hst :D

Anyway, i think hst will put you in a great position. you can decide what you want to do at a later stage.

good luck.
 

Primate

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If you do what you want to, how is that selling out?

There have been any number of threads about what people should do, what's right, etc. DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU. Just don't mis-represent yourself (if you don't, then what is there to feel guilty about?).

Am I missing something, here?
 

hockebob

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open question:

is the appeal of HST due to the program itself or the fact that it's Harvard (and MIT, i guess...)?

maybe the two can't be separated?

hopefully this doesn't come off the wrong way because i certainly have a lot respect for HST and its philosophy of medical education. in fact, i kind of wish MD/PhD programs would adopt more "HST-esque" curricula.

i guess what this question is getting at is... what about the cleveland clinic lerner college of medicine? it is, in some ways, analogous to HST (although i would argue less scientifically rigorous), so would people choose that over an MD/PhD program? is HST popular because its a nice balance between MD-only and MD/PhD, both in terms of time and education (and in some cases money)? is it attractive for people who are unsure of what they want to do in the future?

some of these points have been addressed, i feel, in the previous posts but it seems to me that, at least in part, HST is a popular way for applicants with different talents and strengths to be accepted to HMS. i'm not saying this is bad, in fact i think it's a fantastic way to increase the diversity of ideas and experience on the HMS campus... i just wonder if MD/PhD programs might need to rethink the way they sell themselves in order to compete with HST.

any thoughts are welcome,
aaron
 

pathdr2b

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Originally posted by hockebob
open question:

is the appeal of HST due to the program itself or the fact that it's Harvard (and MIT, i guess...)?

I personally find the schedule for HST students absolutely dredfull. It would be NP for me without a doubt with summers and maybe a year off between year 2 and 3 for research.
 

prasads

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The general consensus seems right. The MD, PhD, more than being an end in itself, should simply be a tool to help you accomplish your professional and personal goals. The logic that a more prestigious/ better equipped medical school can better help you to accomplish what it is you want to - is only as good as the departments/researchers that you want to work with. In the end, I think that if you can jive with students during the revisit (comradery with students and faculty will play a huge part in ur academic happiness), and you enjoy the location than go for it. There's nothing worse than making a commitment, or engaging in something because it's a deal (like some good MSTPs), if its not something you would do , given more liberty. I guess I've said nothing more than this: do what fits, what's right for you.
 
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