Blatant discrimination in admissions -- Can I do anything?

eteshoe

.......
2+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2016
2,261
2,570
Tethys, Saturn
Status
MD/PhD Student
Ok I'm a bit confused here:
1. How many yrs total passed btw the start of UG and the eventual completion?
2. Stats? MCAT, Research?
3. What's your age?
 

DocMcMommy

5+ Year Member
Feb 25, 2014
139
181
I'm really confused as well.

It doesn't sound like ageism or anything or anything even remotely close to racism... At least as far as I understood your post.

It just seems like they might not have thought you were a fit for their program. :/
 
OP
neuroguy91

neuroguy91

2+ Year Member
Jan 9, 2015
334
171
Western Washington State
Status
Medical Student
Deleting original message because I'm tired of receiving notifications for this thread and can't seem to delete it.
 
Last edited:

wholeheartedly

Staff member
Administrator
10+ Year Member
Aug 8, 2009
5,476
3,514
Beyond the Wall
Doesn't really sound like discrimination, just a seemingly short sighted reason to reject someone if that's really their reason.

5.5 years of actual school time doesn't seem excessive for what ultimately wound up being 2 bachelors degrees with a very good GPA.

maybe they just skimmec your app and didn't see the details of what you were doing with your time. check your app. to make sure it's clear you weren't a student the entire 6.5 years. I don't think it would be unreasonable to clarify details with him. I might be off but I don't feel like you have anything to prove. Once you got things figured out you finished not one but two bachelrs degrees in 4 years and were successful in other endeavors. If he doesnt budge, then just cut your losses and focus your concerns on your other schools.
 
Last edited:
OP
neuroguy91

neuroguy91

2+ Year Member
Jan 9, 2015
334
171
Western Washington State
Status
Medical Student
Deleting original message because I'm tired of receiving notifications for this thread and can't seem to delete it.
 
Last edited:
OP
neuroguy91

neuroguy91

2+ Year Member
Jan 9, 2015
334
171
Western Washington State
Status
Medical Student
Deleting original message because I'm tired of receiving notifications for this thread and can't seem to delete it.
 
Last edited:

DocMcMommy

5+ Year Member
Feb 25, 2014
139
181
Aren't MD/PhD programs even more difficult to get into than a regular MD spot?

I really don't know much about the process, so forgive me if I'm way off base, but I think at some point it just comes down to they had to make cuts and they went in a different direction.

Were there any other ones you were looking at? Do you think an additional year of research would help? I hope you learn what you need to from your meeting and that it really helps.

But, from an outside perspective, this doesn't really seem like discrimination to me.
 

DrMidlife

has an opinion
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
7,506
2,604
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Did you only apply to the one program?
 
  • Like
Reactions: projectplat
OP
neuroguy91

neuroguy91

2+ Year Member
Jan 9, 2015
334
171
Western Washington State
Status
Medical Student
Deleting original message because I'm tired of receiving notifications for this thread and can't seem to delete it.
 
Last edited:

eteshoe

.......
2+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2016
2,261
2,570
Tethys, Saturn
Status
MD/PhD Student
1. 5.5 years of undergrad, interrupted by 1 year volunteering abroad. So 6.5 years passed total.
2. MCAT: 519 (98th percentile)
GPA: 3.91
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.
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.

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.
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.

Just for the next time (if you choose to apply), usually you need to apply to 15-20 MD/PhD programs because the weirdly competitive nature of these programs, sometimes the numbers may not be enough to get you in.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gyngyn

wholeheartedly

Staff member
Administrator
10+ Year Member
Aug 8, 2009
5,476
3,514
Beyond the Wall
It's not too late to add more schools. I dont think its going to look good, or wise, to be applying for what sounds like a 3rd time.
 

DocMcMommy

5+ Year Member
Feb 25, 2014
139
181
You seem really fixated on this one program and like you have a lot of expectations from it, but they're under no obligation to fill whatever expectations you've created/imagined.

I'm not sure reapplying to a program that has turned you down twice is going to show dedication or make them want to accept you due to your persistence. And why would you really want to be a part of a program that you are accusing of discrimination, anyway? Maybe they are being short-sighted, so wouldn't you want to put all of your effort into a school that is going to give your application more time?

I'm sorry. I think you gave this school two opportunities to tell you what you they thought of you and now it might be best to cast a much wider net and see what else is out there. And even then, I'd try to be a little cautious and not expect to get an invite anywhere... What is it? Like Hope for the best but prepare/expect the worst?
 
OP
neuroguy91

neuroguy91

2+ Year Member
Jan 9, 2015
334
171
Western Washington State
Status
Medical Student
Deleting original message because I'm tired of receiving notifications for this thread and can't seem to delete it.
 
Last edited:
OP
neuroguy91

neuroguy91

2+ Year Member
Jan 9, 2015
334
171
Western Washington State
Status
Medical Student
Deleting original message because I'm tired of receiving notifications for this thread and can't seem to delete it.
 
Last edited:

eteshoe

.......
2+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2016
2,261
2,570
Tethys, Saturn
Status
MD/PhD Student
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.
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).
 
OP
neuroguy91

neuroguy91

2+ Year Member
Jan 9, 2015
334
171
Western Washington State
Status
Medical Student
Deleting original message because I'm tired of receiving notifications for this thread and can't seem to delete it.
 
Last edited:

eteshoe

.......
2+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2016
2,261
2,570
Tethys, Saturn
Status
MD/PhD Student
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.
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.
 
OP
neuroguy91

neuroguy91

2+ Year Member
Jan 9, 2015
334
171
Western Washington State
Status
Medical Student
Deleting original message because I'm tired of receiving notifications for this thread and can't seem to delete it.
 
Last edited:

eteshoe

.......
2+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2016
2,261
2,570
Tethys, Saturn
Status
MD/PhD Student
So that the medical education is fresher on my mind for residency, or...?
The logic being that once you're that far down the training path, you can conduct research that ties more closely to your clinical interests.
 
T

trev5150

I think you don't understand how tightly regulated MSTP is. The criteria for maintaining the program vis-a-vís government funding (this is a government investment - your taxpayer dollars at work) is so stringent that they really only can take the top 1% of the top 1%, zero defect mentality. You ain't it. I'm not either. That's life. It's tough love, but there it is. Take it as a lesson and keep up the good work and move on. Devise Plan B and frickin' execute. Go forth and do great things.
 
  • Like
Reactions: eteshoe and Goro

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,651
78,916
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
What part of the bold don't you understand?

Just get over, it OK? This won't be the first rejection you're going to get. There is no right to matriculate into an MD/PhD program.

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?
 
  • Like
Reactions: theseeker4

QofQuimica

Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
Staff member
Administrator
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Oct 12, 2004
18,915
4,165
Florida/Fellowship
Status
Fellow [Any Field], Attending Physician
OP, odds are seriously good that you're coming across to that PD like a stalker, not like someone who's just really "dedicated" or "determined." He's already told you multiple times that he doesn't view you as a good fit for his program, for whatever the reason, and as a PD, that's his right. You need to back off, take no for an answer, and ask a difference girl to prom.

My thoughts:
Can you do a straight PhD with your current PI if being trained by him means so much to you? Would you consider that as an option?

What is your volunteering background like? You will not be competitive for five year research MD programs like Case's if you don't also have that piece of your app together.

If you're set on MD/PhD, for sure apply to a good mix of programs, and apply broadly. This time, don't have your heart set on one "dream" program. Keep the larger picture of becoming a physician scientist in view and don't focus so much on the details of which program you enter to get you where you want to go. Any MSTP will prepare you well for a future physician scientist career. And you want to end up at a program that wants you as much as you want them, not one that's "not that into you."
 

Darth Doc

5+ Year Member
Jun 22, 2013
543
442
Status
Resident [Any Field]
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).
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.
 

Darth Doc

5+ Year Member
Jun 22, 2013
543
442
Status
Resident [Any Field]
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.
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.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Goro