appletree

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I have a PhD in Biology, and I'm applying this year to medical school (decided I really want to work with people). Are there SDNers out there with a PhD who are applying/got in who'd like to share their thoughts on interviews, applications, etc?
 

braluk

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Ive generally heard good things about PhD applicants. Its a very respected doctorate, and contingent on good grades, you'd definitely have a leg up on every other traditional aplicant. PhD applicants have a type of thinking mentality (at least thats what ive pikced up from reading and whatnot) that demonstrates analytical skill and prowess that med school adcoms would gladly have on their roster. Good luck!
 

Scottish Chap

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appletree said:
I have a PhD in Biology, and I'm applying this year to medical school (decided I really want to work with people). Are there SDNers out there with a PhD who are applying/got in who'd like to share their thoughts on interviews, applications, etc?
Undergrduate grades and MCAT are still more important. You'll find that the research-oriented private schools will show more interest and state school less so. Your application must look like a logical extension of your training rather than 'one who is jumping ship'. A change of heart may be closer to reality, but you cannot say that. Please see other threads like this one:
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=282045
 
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relentless11

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I agree with Scottish Chap that undergraduate grades and MCAT are still VERY important. However with the move towards "integrating medicine into biological sciences", the PhD in some form of biosci will be looked upon in a very good manner. It may not make up for low undergrad GPA, but it won't be viewed in a bad way. Most certainly, it will be viewed better than it was in years past.

To add into Scottish Chap's comment that private research oriented schools have more interested (usually) PhD's and advanced degrees....

...the 2005 entering class profile for Stanford (http://med.stanford.edu/md/admissions/class_profiles.html) showed 15/86 students holding advance degrees. Out of this I guess, 7 had or were pending PhDs, while 8 had or were pending a masters of science. Stanford certainly takes them in, but to the extent which the degree will help you is up to you and how you sell yourself to the admissions committee. I would als want to add that the med schools that fall under the University of California like PhDs too. Especially UCSF, and UCLA. But if you're not from California, then might not be worthwhile to apply here.

Anyway even with a 4.0 graduate GPA, and a 35+ MCAT, one should expect no less of a hard fight to get into med school. All things being equal though, it shouldn't be harder to get into a med school with a PhD unless the school doesn't like non-trads or something, but that occurs less often. Good luck!
 
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appletree

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Thanks for all your comments. I've also read other postings at 'nontrad', and they're all very helpful!

I'm a little worried about interviews - I'm not very good with selling myself. I'm married to an MD, and he comments on the PhD type of personality, and the MD type. Our impression of PhD's is that we're 'too' honest (don't hide facts or dress up mistakes well, and we qualify comments and opinions a lot), and I find myself very hesitant sometimes. He's teaching me to become more like an MD, but it's very hard!!! In fact, my personality shows in my essays, and he has had to edit them quite a bit!!!

Don't mean to insult anyone here, maybe it's just me!
:)
 

opusthecat

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You're not alone. I'm applying this year, have a PhD in cellular and molecular biology and have spent the last two years doing a post-doc in a microbiology lab. My biggest struggle is figuring out how to phrase things so that it doesn't seem like I'm "jumping ship" even though the truth is I just can't stand working at the bench anymore.
 

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appletree said:
Thanks for all your comments. I've also read other postings at 'nontrad', and they're all very hopeful!

I'm a little worried about interviews - I'm not very good with selling myself. I'm married to an MD, and he comments on the PhD type of personality, and the MD type. Our impression of PhD's are that we're 'too' honest (don't hide facts or dress up mistakes well, and we qualify comments and opinions a lot), and I find myself very hesitant sometimes. He's teaching me to become more like an MD, but it's very hard!!! In fact, my personality shows in my essays, and he has had to edit them quite a bit!!!

Don't mean to insult anyone here, maybe it's just me!
:)
It kind of sucks, but you do have to sell yourself a little bit during interviews.

However, I'm sure they'll eat up your sincere and candid attitude like apple-pie (and the apples coming from apple trees). :D

But seriously, the PhD is really an advantage. With that said, I agree with the above posters that undergrad GPA and MCAT are going to be the main factors....but the PhD will give you a leg up and certainly something interesting to write in your PS and to discuss in your interviews.

Don't change who you are just to obtain an MD!

Best of luck.
-Dr. P.

Edit to add: QofQuimica is a great person to ask about this subject.
Hailing QofQuimica *lifts up beaker
 

squareDR

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appletree said:
Thanks for all your comments. I've also read other postings at 'nontrad', and they're all very hopeful!

I'm a little worried about interviews - I'm not very good with selling myself. I'm married to an MD, and he comments on the PhD type of personality, and the MD type. Our impression of PhD's are that we're 'too' honest (don't hide facts or dress up mistakes well, and we qualify comments and opinions a lot), and I find myself very hesitant sometimes. He's teaching me to become more like an MD, but it's very hard!!! In fact, my personality shows in my essays, and he has had to edit them quite a bit!!!

Don't mean to insult anyone here, maybe it's just me!
:)

I think I was in the same situation as you. My husband is an MD and I have a PhD in Immunology. His perspective was very useful when it came to the essays. As far as the interviews went, I was very fortunate to have had people who were appreciative of my honesty and forthrightness. People actually commented on how refreshing that was. So, please don't censor yourself too much. As long you explain yourself well, anything you say can be seen as being positive and your maturity will be appreciated.
It helped that I still love research but was simply frustrated with public health issues. I never felt the need to bash research but stated that I wanted to take part in the translation of it to patient care. So, think about why you essentially want to start all over. You will be asked this at every interview. Make it positive but honest.
 

QofQuimica

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Dr. Pepper said:
Edit to add: QofQuimica is a great person to ask about this subject.
Hailing QofQuimica *lifts up beaker
I hear my name. :p

OP, we've had a few threads about this in the non-trad forum. You should search in there for them when you get a chance. There are quite a few of us who are PhD to MDs on SDN. :)
 
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appletree

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opusthecat said:
You're not alone. I'm applying this year, have a PhD in cellular and molecular biology and have spent the last two years doing a post-doc in a microbiology lab. My biggest struggle is figuring out how to phrase things so that it doesn't seem like I'm "jumping ship" even though the truth is I just can't stand working at the bench anymore.
I feel your pain! Somehow I can't get any experiment to behave in the past few months. That has really sunken me in the pits :(

A career counselor once said that we should never bash research (or any former career) when we switch. Like what other posters have said, make it sound like a natural switch, eg. I still like research but now I've discovered my love for working with people. Something to that effect.

Again, thank you posters for all your helpful comments. Much appreciated
 

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I'm a humanities Ph.D. (medical ethics) who is going through this process - I'm curious to know if a hard science Ph.D. is valued more than one in a social science or the humanities (especially in light of the "We want diverse applicants/non-pure-science-geeks" attitude I've heard from advisors and clinical faculty).
 

Gut Shot

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appletree said:
I feel your pain! Somehow I can't get any experiment to behave in the past few months. That has really sunken me in the pits :(

A career counselor once said that we should never bash research (or any former career) when we switch. Like what other posters have said, make it sound like a natural switch, eg. I still like research but now I've discovered my love for working with people. Something to that effect.

Again, thank you posters for all your helpful comments. Much appreciated
When I was faced with this dilemma I took the position that there are relatively few individuals in medicine who have an appreciation for the full spectrum of bench-to-bedside. Given the ongoing revolution in medical technology (particulary biotechnology), my case was that it would pay off to have more MDs with such an appreciation.

I knew this wouldn't fly with every school, but it flew with the one I wanted, so after I was admitted I cancelled the rest of my apps and called it a day.
 

Scottish Chap

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Quix said:
I'm a humanities Ph.D. (medical ethics) who is going through this process - I'm curious to know if a hard science Ph.D. is valued more than one in a social science or the humanities (especially in light of the "We want diverse applicants/non-pure-science-geeks" attitude I've heard from advisors and clinical faculty).
I think most adcoms are more familiar with the hard sciences....given that many of the preclinical Ph.D. interviewers still have active research labs. Going through the process myself, I felt that publications mattered more than a Ph.D. and I certainly don't think a humanities Ph.D. takes less effort; in fact, I think they're WAY harder to earn.
 

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I applied as I was finishing my PhD. Mostly, they want to know why-o-why are you changing careers...because that's what it is, really. You should know why, so make sure you come across as clear as possible and confident in your decision...you'll be fine!

Some things I was asked...How are your phd superpowers going to help change medicine for the better? Was it a waste??? Do you flake out when things get hard? They don't want someone who hates what they do...a grass is greener type personality. You really want to do this during your 30s? Why did you decide to get a PhD in the first place?

Definitely don't bag on research, be positive.

Like Q said, check out those other forums!

Good luck!
Sparky
 

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Scottish Chap said:
Undergrduate grades and MCAT are still more important. You'll find that the research-oriented private schools will show more interest and state school less so. Your application must look like a logical extension of your training rather than 'one who is jumping ship'. A change of heart may be closer to reality, but you cannot say that. Please see other threads like this one:
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=282045
are you an adcom member??
 
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