Yea I was going to suggest that your research seems on the low side. There's always exceptions to the expected numbers if the student brings something 'interesting' to the program. In your case I can't see any major red flags (assuming your clinical ECs met the minimum threshold) - your stats seem solid.1. 5.5 years of undergrad, interrupted by 1 year volunteering abroad. So 6.5 years passed total.
2. MCAT: 519 (98th percentile)
Research: 1 year in undergrad at the university I'm applying to (not where I was a student, as it was a small school with little research) and I'm a few months into a full-time research scientist position at the school I am applying to, which will continue until matriculation
Publications: Two first-author publications under review, multiple other manuscripts in progress.
3. 24 years old (almost 25)
I realize that one could always have more research, but I know students in the program with less research and lower MCAT. Last year, this same professor suggested I get more research under my belt (which I totally understand; I had less than a year's research). I did this, and now there's no mention of research, but suddenly my time in undergrad is a big deterrent. I'm trying to set up a meeting, and see if simply showing some determination might help.
Hmm.... One really shouldn't apply to just one program w/ the intention of re-applying. Being a re-applicant already put you at a disadvantage. At least by the time you reapply (if you choose to do so), you'll have a great amount of research and publications. Not sure why the director gave you that reason but there may have been some intangibles that they were looking for that they felt candidates who'd be good fits for their program would possess but I'm just brainstorming. You can certainly sit down and talk with the director but I'm not sure what more he'd be willing to say.I did, this year, solely because I wanted to show my dedication to this program, and I wanted to have another shot at it next year if I didn't get in this year. It's rather competitive, and I didn't expect to necessarily get in this year, but I did kind of expect an interview, after my correspondence with the MSTP director last year and his advice then. I was pretty sure that if I applied broadly enough I would get in somewhere this year, as I almost got into a decent program last year, one of three I applied to, with less than a year of research and no first-author publications even in the works, really. I can certainly keep researching for a year, but this seems like a really shortsighted reason to reject someone before even interviewing them, and I want to fight for my slot if there's even a chance. As long as I don't overstep my bounds, I figure some dedication and tenacity can't hurt, either.
I'd also advice you mix in some MD programs as well since at the end of the day you want to be a physician scientist. If push comes to shove, the MD/PhD is not the only path to reach that career designation (just one of the more convenient ones).My clinical are also well above the min. The intangibles makes more sense to me, but at that point, I don't know why he'd even really bother responding. And yeah, if I apply again next year, it will be quite broad. Last year I only applied to three mstps, to scope out the possibility. Since I got high on a wait list at one of those, I decided to reapply for mstps after a year's research instead of accepting an MD offer. And since I'm pretty sure that broad applications to mstps with 2+ years of research and multiple publications will be successful next year, I was willing to take the risk, applying to just the one this year. Oh well, I guess. Risks are risks, after all.
If you got into the Case-CCLCM program and you still want a PhD or that level of protected research time (or postdoc), I'd suggest waiting till you're further down the medical journey (e.g. residency or fellowship) to pursue one.I'm thinking of applying for the Case 5-year MD and trying for an MD/Ms. Assuming I still want the full PhD at that point, at least I'd be a strong applicant and hopefully have better options. And still no med school tuition debt, with the Case program being free.
So I applied to an MSTP and got rejected pre-interview. My stats are great and I have a couple papers about to be published, so I contacted the MSTP director to ask why I was rejected at this stage. His reply was that
"In your case, one concern was the length of time required for you to obtain your baccalaureate degree, given an emphasis on timely completion of dual MD/PhD degrees targeted within 8 years, followed by still further postgraduate training. Our experience shows that attrition is higher for those who take longer. That may not be the case for you, but it's what we have to go on."
Now I did 1.5 years at one university, didn't know what I wanted to do, and left to pursue other ambitions (volunteering). I then went back to a different school to get a degree, and ended up getting two BS degrees in 4 years, taking so long mostly because it took me a while to figure out I wanted to do medicine pretty late, and I had to shove all the prereqs in. Regardless, this seems to go against wanting diversity in the students' backgrounds, and while I can understand where he's coming from, it seems like pretty blatant discrimination against any sort of non-traditional background in applicants. (I mean, imagine if he'd said "Our experience shows that attrition is higher for African-Americans. That may not be the case for you, but it's what we have to go on." It may sound like a leap, but it's just as unrelated to me that other nontrads have higher attrition as it would be if others of my race had higher attrition--i.e., I'm not those other applicants, and my time in undergrad doesn't inherently impact my ability to succeed.)
I'm planning to set up a meeting with him to explain the background and the very real reasons why it took me a bit longer in undergrad. But failing this, am I just out of luck? It seems like discrimination, but I doubt it's enough to make any legal case over. Thoughts?
Also a couple of people admitted as MD students to my school switched to MD/PhD once they were in. That's probably an option at a number of schools.I'd also advice you mix in some MD programs as well since at the end of the day you want to be a physician scientist. If push comes to shove, the MD/PhD is not the only path to reach that career designation (just one of the more convenient ones).
I'm really wondering why you're not applying to a bunch of programs this year. You didn't mention any family constraints forcing you to stay in your current city (the usual reason I see someone limiting their application choices on SDN). There's plenty of time to add more programs to your AMCAS application. You're smart enough to have thought of this. Why are you limiting yourself? Few are amazing enough to have a guaranteed spot at the place of their choice.Yeah, I'm seriously considering other options for this year, and just calling this program a scratch. I really wanted this program for my research mentor and his lab's research, which literally no one else is doing, as it's very expensive and very specific. But perhaps it just isn't meant to be.