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Carpetbagging: Where should I move to?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by engPhD09, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. engPhD09

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    Well, as my handle suggests, I'm finishing a PhD in engineering in early summer 2009 and applying to medical school for 2010. However, with my low 3.2 uGPA/3.5 BCPM (undergrad at MIT, PhD at another top engineering school). I've realized that outside of a few hope schools, most of my (20-30) applications are headed to the usual suspects (Rosalind, Tulane, NY Med College), etc.

    One of my issues is that because of moving around and working between undergrad and grad (basic science research in a hospital), I have no state that will consider me their resident for medical school application purposes. So I'm thinking of getting one! It appears that some states look at your residency based on where you will be one-year before you matriculate, so I'm wondering if perhaps I should considering moving to one of these in June or July 09 (I have to move somewhere for a job between 09-10). Also, I may very well not get in that first year, so then I could apply to all the private schools first year, and then after a year in a state, I could definitely have state residency.

    So, where should I move? I'd like a state like Ohio, which appears to have a lot of state medical schools or maybe New York for the SUNYs? Basically, I'd like to optimize the selectivity of the schools with the number of possibilities in a state. Also, I like schools near Southwestern PA/OH/WV, because I really do love this area, so I wouldn't have to feel like a liar telling somebody in WV,PA, or OH that I love their area and want to contribute to their community.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion
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    Texas. Without question, the most bang for your med school buck. Tons of public schools and insanely low tuition. You can get out of med school for under $100k total COA there.

    I should have moved there in 2005 and I can't believe I hesitated. And I'm a VERY blue state kinda gal.
     
  4. student1799

    student1799 "Señora” to you, hombre
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    I agree that Texas is a great state for med school, but there's a problem with this scenario: even if the OP moves TODAY, TX won't consider him a resident for educational purposes if he applies in the summer of '09. And if you matriculate there as OOS, you're OOS for the whole four years, even if you never set foot outside the state.

    After this topic came up a couple of months ago, I looked up the official residency rules on the TMSDAS website, and found that TX won't count you as a resident for educational purposes unless you move there a year before you APPLY (as opposed to matriculate). Not only that, you can't take any classes during that time. The only ways to speed up this process are: 1. marry a TX resident, or 2. buy real estate in TX, both of which result in immediate residency, but could be problematic for the OP.

    FL is another option, but again, I think their residency rules are pretty strict (but I don't know the details--it would be wise to get them from an official source). In OH, where I've applied to one school (I'm an NY resident), you have to work for a year or prove that none of your financial support is coming from outside OH.

    NY is very liberal with the residency rules: if you come as an OOS student in year 1, you're a resident in year 2. But it doesn't get you much admissions-wise, because NY shows only modest (as opposed to enormous) preference toward state residents in SUNY admissions. Not only that, most of the med schools in NY (8 out of 12) are private, and they really could care less where you're from. Basically, the state sucks from a med school admissions standpoint. You'd be much better off moving to NJ, where residency rules are pretty liberal and there are 2 state schools which slavishly favor NJ residents.

    So if the OP is willing to postpone applying for a year in order to get residency in an attractive state, I'd advise TX or FL. Otherwise, I think NJ would be your best option.
     
  5. Deepa100

    Deepa100 Junior Member
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    Yes, TX. That is where I would move too.
     
  6. dragonfly99

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    It seems unfair that the OP isn't considered a resident in ANY state. It's kind of like that old short story, "A man without a country".

    OP, be careful about moving for purposed of med school application. That's putting a lot of eggs in one basket.
    I think New York is known for being a state where it is very hard to get into the med school.

    I don't know a whole lot about northeastern medical schools, but I think I'd 2nd the vote for New Jersey, and/or I'd consider Pennsylvania or Ohio. Case Western is private but I believe they still favor Ohio residents somewhat, and there are several other medical schools. Check residency requirements for these states.

    OP, I'm not sure things are as bleak academically as you seem to think. A 3.2 at MIT is different than a 3.2 at some other schools...especially at certain medical schools. The mantra that they don't care where you did undergrad isn't wholly true. Also, having a PhD would negate some of the concerns they had about the 3.2, I would assume. It would if I were on the adcom. Also the 3.65 science GPA doesn't suck. I think the GPA you have, along with a good MCAT score, would pass muster. You should be able to kick butt on the science parts of the MCAT if you study. Don't underestimate the test though. You can also memorize the way the test writers like the essay part to be written, IMHO, and it guarantees you a decent score on the essay part.

    OP, make sure you have adequate clinical/hospital volunteer work. A LOR from an MD would be helpful if you can get one.

    OP, it might sound strange but if your MCAT score turns out good (30 or more) I would favor applying to some of the more competitive private schools. The reason is that I think some of these will actually be more receptive to you due to your having attended MIT and also having the PhD. Some state schools would not necessarily consider the school, just the overall GPA, and they really don't care about research as much. Some private schools are looking for the applicant with the research background and the high powered Ivy League or MIT-type education. Just my opinion but it's what I've seen.
     
  7. engPhD09

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    Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and contributions.

    Dragonfly - Thanks for your thoughts. I've often seen a discussion where you swoop in and give a bunch of great advice and wished for some of it myself.

    I read QofQuimica's long guide to non-trad acceptance, and I think I've tried to approach things with as much humility as possible keeping her advice in mind. Seven+ years ago I first started to study for the MCAT and it was kicking my butt. After a very interdisciplinary PhD (where I've frequently had to break out the textbooks for all the science classes), I'm finding the actual science concepts in my MCAT review books very easy (although extensive for a focused research specialist like me), but I know from those past experiences and friends that there are plenty of MIT students/alumni who were a little too big for their britches who thought they knew science and ended up with 28 when they should have been able to get a 37. I definitely understand that knowing the science and getting the hang of MCAT questions are not the same thing. I'm just trying to do my best and focus on jumping through the hoops as cleanly as possible without trying to outsmart the system. I've spent a lot of time (1,000s of hours) serving others in various roles (leadership in student activities, one-on-one mentoring undergrads in research projects that were not obligations) and I felt like this would translate well to medicine. I've also worked/collaborated with MDs throughout the past 5 years and had many MD friends, but probably one of the biggest things I have learned in considering medicine now at 28-29 versus at 20-21 is that it's good to take advice from people who know something (duh). Back in 2001, the career advisor told me, "you need to get face-to-face clinical experience with patients," I arrogantly thought, "well, I can just volunteer doing some admin stuff and that will be enough - what does she know?" (Yeah, it's embarassing to even look at who I was. It's like the scene in Shawshank Redemption where Morgan Freeman is at the parole board and says, "I just want to talk some sense to that kid," referring to himself when he was younger!) This time around, I'm shadowing a physician (again)) but one of the things QofQuimica wrote about - being a PhD student pulling yourself out of bed in the morning to go volunteer, really resonated. It's funny; until I started doing the clinical face-to-face volunteering (even after working in a hospital for two years, etc.), I didn't know for sure that I wanted to go down this path, so I've embraced the realization that these hoops exist for a reason. At this point, I've settled with the belief that I'll be blessed to get into any MD program, and if I get lucky and it's a top 25 that happens to love my MIT +PhD research background, great, and if it's another school that loves somethings else about me and is willing to let me in, that's equally great! However, I'm try to conservatively operate under the warning by many on here that a PhD or your school or major does not make up for your undergraduate grades.

    That being said, thanks so much for the advice about some of the more research-focused/ranked programs. I'm thinking 25-30 apps is the way to go, and perhaps I need to shift to 5-10 upper research schools depending on how the MCAT goes, 10 lower criteria schools, and then some publics as out-of-state and also in-state (i've been checking with the Ohio schools, and it appears that the residency will work out with some of them). I certainly won't put all my eggs in one basket though, there will definitely be at least 20 apps and more if I can get the money. Anyway, I'll worry about the precise distribution more around May :) when I should have a PhD, my final GPAs (taking a couple u-grad courses this last semester) a MCAT score, and 150+ point-of-care clinical and volunteer hours logged to use as a better idea of how the old "apply broadly" advice applies to me.

    Thanks again!
     
  8. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    I wouldn't move for the purposes of medical school unless you really plan to become a resident of that state for at least one year. In other words, you would be willing take at least one year off, get a job there, and pay state taxes. If not, you may as well stay where you are and apply as strategically as possible.

    As an OOS applicant trying to apply to OOS state schools, it significantly helps if you have ties to the other state where you wish to apply. For example, I was able to successfully apply to UAB (a state school that takes very few OOS students) because I am a former AL state resident and U of AL alum, and I am a resident of a neighboring state (FL). All of my immediate family lives in FL and GA. In other words, it was believable that I might really end up practicing in AL, as opposed to just going there for med school and then splitting. In contrast, I did not apply to U Wash, a state school that takes very few OOS students and is located in a state I have never even visited, never mind having ties there. So, I would start by looking at the schools in the state where you went to HS, especially if your parents and/or other family members still live there. Likewise, if you have worked at any point and been a state resident of any other state, it would be worth looking at those schools.

    Second, getting a medical school to be interested in you is akin to entering a romantic relationship. It is *essential* that you pay attention to each school's mission and focus your efforts on schools whose missions mesh with yours. Applying to a school because you just want to get in anywhere you can will simply not cut it, any more than telling a potential date that you are only going out with him/her because you don't want to be alone. Shell out the money for an MSAR; it's money well spent. Along with the school description, pay attention to the number of OOS applicants each school accepts. Read every potential school's website and pay attention to what they say they are looking for in potential matriculants. Be honest with yourself as to whether you really do or do not possess these qualities, and then adjust your list accordingly. For example, as a Floridian who was planning on a research career, I did not apply to FSU, which is a school that caters to FL residents who want to enter primary care. Not that it would be impossible to go to FSU and do research during or after medical school, but that is not their mission. Again, you need to be able to make a convincing case that you and the school are on the same page when it comes to making a match for the next four years.

    Finally, I recommend focusing your efforts on schools in the South and Midwest, and maybe add a couple of coastal schools as dream schools if you really like them. To put it bluntly, many people from the coasts do not want to live in cities like Richmond, Iowa City, or Detroit. However, there are excellent schools in each of these cities that are friendly to OOS applicants and that receive far fewer applications than even "low-ranked" schools on the coasts. Again, look at the MSAR. Take note of how many applications each school receives, and consider *all* schools in highly desirable locations like CA, Boston, Philly, Chicago, and NYC to be dream schools, even if USNWR doesn't rank them highly.

    Hope these strategies work as well for you as they did for me, and best of luck to you w/ your PhD and MCAT. :)
     
  9. engPhD09

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    Thanks for more great advice from an SDN heavyweight!:) Just to clarify, I have to move somewhere anyway for at least a year to work (PhD finishing in '09, med school starting in '10 or '11 depending on when I get in), so I will likely be a resident for tuition purposes (and possibly application purposes) somewhere and was just thinking it would be good to consider optimizing this choice given any admissions bump it might provide. I think the resolution I'm coming to is that picking one of the states near where I'm getting my PhD (the Ohio-SW PA-WV area) will allow me to preserve the integrity of applying in-state to one and out of state to the others, given that I really do want to return to this area if possible (and then I will implement Q's excellent advice about region/MSAR optimization likely pointing to Midwest and South for all OOS applications). Unfortunately, the state I went to undergrad in and the one where I lived for the the 18 years before that both refuse applications altogether from OOS (with limited exceptions that I don't qualify for) regardless of what links to the community you might have (such as parents being 35 year residents).
     
    #8 engPhD09, Dec 25, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2008
  10. hector219

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    DON'T move to texas! (it increases the competition for me) Just make sure the know the residency standards for sure, because texas schools must accept 90% in state, so if something went wrong, you'd be in trouble. Get as much documentation as possible. Change driver's license, bank accounts, and get one of those "native texan" bumper stickers.
     
  11. NTF

    NTF PGY-6
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    Case Western no longer gives any preference to Ohio residents as they no longer take state money, but otherwise Ohio ranks up there as one of the best states to have residency in for applying to medical school.

    Ohio has 8 medical schools. 6 of them are public (5 MD & 1 DO).

    Private
    1) Case Western Reserve
    2) Cleveland Clinic Lerner College (5 year program, tuition-free)

    Public
    1) Ohio State University
    2) University of Cincinnati
    3) Wright State
    4) University of Toledo (formerly Medical College of Ohio)
    5) Northeastern Ohio Universities - be aware though that NEOUCOM is mostly a BS/MD school. Only ~20% (about 20-35 spots) of their M1 class is available for direct MD applicants, so despite their below average matriculant numbers it's actually difficult for direct MD matriculation.
    6) Ohio University (DO) - one of the very best DO schools IMHO
     

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