Chances for MD/PhD? (Subtitle: What do I need on the MCAT to even have a shot)

Sep 14, 2014
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Pre-Medical
People at my school (including the prehealth advisor) have been telling me I need at least a 36, or desirably a 38 to be solid, but people on the online forums say they have "seen" people getting in with low 30's. I'm afraid they are giving me false hope all the while I hope it's true. I am taking my first MCAT in January 2015 and my practice scores have been around 32-33, and not sure if I can improve this by more than 2-3 points.

Here's my info
Asian male. Engineering major.
GPA: 4.0. 2 W's in courses that are neither prereqs or my major. I wasn't thinking about med school back then... Effffff
Graduating in Spring 2016 but I'm working full-time every other semester at a research lab, so I got only 3 semesters left.

Clinical experiences:
130 hours of shadowing. No rec letter. Should've asked for one right after I shadowed... dammit.
200+ hours of volunteering. Shooting for 400 by the time I graduate. I think I can get a rec letter.

Non-clinical:
TA'd for 3 semesters.
One chair position and one secretary position in my second year. Quit both afterwards because I wanted to research more.
Can't really think of any non-clinical volunteering I did... Might have done it for a few hours in my freshman year but I wouldn't include that in my app... unless I have space for it.

Research experience:
(I know hours don't really matter when it comes to research but since it's an easy way to quantify I will put it here)

1. Main one: Computational modeling lab in BME. Started in January 2013. First-author journal article to be submitted next month. Hopefully another article before I graduate. This is the lab I work full time every other semester (will be 2 full-time semesters). At the time I graduate I will have worked here for more than 2000 hours. Strong rec letter expected.
2. Two full-time summer research internships, one in chemE and the other in biomedical informatics. No pub but I could get rec letters from both (360 hours each).
3. Immunoengineering lab in BME - Started last summer. Planning to continue until I graduate (will be about 700-800 hours). Rec letter expected.
4. 250 hours of clinical informatics research (2 semesters, no rec from here)
5. Various CS research (100 hours). Not sure if I will even mention these because it's not even relevant.

Leadership position:
1. Training/managing 20+ other undergrads in the main lab mentioned above when I work full-time there. During the part-time semesters I lead a small research team of 2-3 undergrads.
2. Chair position mentioned above... and nothing else really.

Employment
A spring semester internship in a medical device manufacturing company. Honestly it was horrible, but I think I learned a few things worth mentioning on my app.

Rec letters (other than the ones mentioned above)
From Orgo II, MSE and BME prof's. Should be strong enough. I feel like I need a couple more from science professors but never really went to their office hours... And I have only 2 science classes left.

Lastly, A couple external scholarships and stuff... do they even count?


Anyways, any comments would be appreciated!
 
Last edited:

zzxxzz

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Jan 13, 2012
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The lower MCAT scores are from the MD-only data, as the chart indicates. It's inaccurate because MD/PhD programs are more competitive. This may be more accurate: https://www.aamc.org/download/321548/data/2013factstable35.pdf

Average matriculant MCAT score 2009-2013 for MD/PhDs was a 34.5. Considering the fact that the average matriculant MCAT for just MD has increased by 0.5 from 09-13, I'd say you'd be looking at a 34 at a minimum.
 

gyngyn

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Depending on your state of residence and MCAT, you are a fair to good candidate for MD programs. You are at this point a poor to fair candidate for MD/PhD.
 
OP
G
Sep 14, 2014
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Pre-Medical
Depending on your state of residence and MCAT, you are a fair to good candidate for MD programs. You are at this point a poor to fair candidate for MD/PhD.
I live in Alabama... Also, if I excel at the MCAT, what else may I do to improve my chances? Should I volunteer less and research more?
 

gyngyn

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I live in Alabama... Also, if I excel at the MCAT, what else may I do to improve my chances? Should I volunteer less and research more?
MD PhD candidates are held to a higher standard for all expectations at my school, not just research. Maybe it's different in AL...
 
OP
G
Sep 14, 2014
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Status
Pre-Medical
MD PhD candidates are held to a higher standard for all expectations at my school, not just research. Maybe it's different in AL...
-_- Are you insulting my state? For what it's worth I go to a top 20 school (I don't go to school in Alabama) I just wanted to know how I can improve my chances by means other than the MCAT.
 

gyngyn

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-_- Are you insulting my state? For what it's worth I go to a top 20 school (I don't go to school in Alabama) I just wanted to know how I can improve my chances by means other than the MCAT.
All states are worthy of respect. There are regional differences, though.
 
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zzxxzz

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-_- Are you insulting my state? For what it's worth I go to a top 20 school (I don't go to school in Alabama) I just wanted to know how I can improve my chances by means other than the MCAT.
It's a fact that admissions standards are lower - sometimes drastically - in deep-south states like Alabama. It's not an insult, it's reality. Not sure how that applies to MD/PhD.

I live in Alabama... Also, if I excel at the MCAT, what else may I do to improve my chances? Should I volunteer less and research more?
Average MCAT for an interview at UAB MSTP was a 33. http://www.uab.edu/medicine/mstp/admissions/admissions-process