Considering Changes to Reapply for Next Year - Feedback Please

Apr 5, 2010
185
1
Status
MD/PhD Student
I graduated from a small liberal arts school in 2009. I had a 3.53 GPA but AMCAS lists my GPA as a 3.37 due to retaking a few classes (one of which I had an F). My own personal story is long and unnecessary, but suffice it to say my Junior year I was severely depressed and did quite poorly. I retook many of my classes my senior year (after I had managed my issues) and finished quite strong.

My AMCAS GPA's
[F-3.75 (34 Credits); So-3.40 (31 Credits); J-2.26 (23 Credits); Se-3.70 (37 Credits)]

I graduated and got a job at a top research hospital as a research technician in a cancer research lab where I've really grown. I have a publication (I'll be a fourth author...) forthcoming actually. I have been able to shadow my PI in the clinic with patients on a couple of occasions and I have some EC's from college and high school.

I was unable to study as much as I wanted but I was able to get a 33S on the MCAT (11V-11PS-11BS). I was happy with this but obviously it's not stellar enough to outshine my GPA problems.

I applied to MD/PhD programs as this was my first love and I also knew that adcoms will consider you for an MD if you are rejected by the school's MD/PhD committee.

My problem is I applied late. I volunteer a week with my parents every summer together with a international cancer conference in Sweden... All that combined with my perfectionism and I didn't submit until 08/30/10. I was certified by the end of the month, and I completed my secondaries throughout October. I realize this is WAAAAY late and doesn't help me at all. I really was unaware of the necessity of early submission.

I have one interview at RWJMS coming up, and I have recieved MD/PhD rejections from a few schools. Except Wayne State, no school has rejected me yet, but I'm starting to think I've been silently rejected.

Long story short, I want to start thinking about improvements for next year.
1. I've considered retaking the MCAT and trying to increase my score. I scored as high as a 38 in the online practice tests (but no higher than 12 for the verbal).
2. I've also considered taking the GRE to bolster my score.
3. I have all my essays that I can re-tool (or should I start from scratch?) and submit as soon as the application opens.
4. I already applied last year to two local hospitals to volunteer, but my limited hours (I'm putting my wife through graduate school currently) I think have precluded me from getting a volunteer spot.

Any suggestions?

I really don't want to have to do a post-bac to shore up my GPA, but I realize my GPA is obviously not helping. Add to that my poor performance Junior year, and I'm sure I raise red flags.
 

Richardh

10+ Year Member
Jul 3, 2008
345
1
Status
If I were you, I would
-consider retaking the mcat
-not take the GRE (to me I don't think having a GRE score will help. a master's or a post-bac degree seems far better compared to achieving a high on GRE)
-volunteer more in your community
-continue with your reserach (great job with your publications btw :thumbup:)
-apply early!!! and don't limit yourself to MD/phD programs. yes; I know that your passion is to pursue both degrees however it is best to apply exclusively MD route also.

good luck and I hope your interview at RWJMS is a successful one!!!
 
OP
O
Apr 5, 2010
185
1
Status
MD/PhD Student
Thanks Richard!

I'll try to get more volunteer hours in and maybe try to be more productive at work (hope for good results!). You don't think the GRE would matter?

I had applied to MD/PhD as many schools (except MSTP schools like Penn or UNC) consider you for the MD even after a MD/PhD rejection. You think I should apply to some school's MD programs only? I don't mind having an MD only as you can still do research, it just needs to be more self-directed (or so I hear).

I'll definitely try to increase my MCAT score...:thumbup:

Thanks!! :)
 

Richardh

10+ Year Member
Jul 3, 2008
345
1
Status
To me a GRE seems less impressive (but that's really my opinion. I respect others' views regarding the GRE!) In any event, I think getting a masters or post-bac degree is better.

But overall I think for your chances to improve, I believe (1) applying early, (2) applying broadly (not just MD/phD schools), and (3) retaking the MCAT are best.

Good luck and again with your interview at RWJMS :)
 

dragonfly99

10+ Year Member
May 15, 2008
5,092
50
Status
Attending Physician
It sounds to me like you probably need some more volunteer and shadowing hours. A lot of schools really look at this. They won't take being busy as an excuse.

Apply earlier next year.

Don't give up on this year yet - push hard to get into the school you got the interview for, if you like it at all @the interview and if you can move there.

Consider MCAT retake, but if you do it make sure the score goes up a little.

Yes, I would apply to non MD/PhD programs as well, and apply broadly. It really won't be hard to get into bench research if you just get an MD...there are MANY opportunities to do that, and a lot of med schools will let people into the MD/PhD program after they are in the MD program. Even if you don't ever get in to one, you can do a master's or you can do a post-doc after doing residency, or you can take a gap year/break in the middle of med school and do a research year (with or without a master's degree). NIH even has special programs for med students who want to do research. So don't obsess about it thinking you have to get an Md/PhD to become a researcher, because you totally don't.
 

dragonfly99

10+ Year Member
May 15, 2008
5,092
50
Status
Attending Physician
And I don't think the GRE will help much, if at all. Did someone say it would with Md/PhD? I hadn't heard that...
 
OP
O
Apr 5, 2010
185
1
Status
MD/PhD Student
I thought it might help. A few schools require a separate application to the graduate school where the GRE is required, and there's an option on the primary to add your score.

I guess I'll just focus my efforts on retaking the MCAT.

I know there are a LOT of options for doing research as an MD. Not having a PhD definitely does not preclude you from research, and as you said, there is a lot of funding for MD's.

If I am accepted into a medical program this year, but not the MD/PhD program I will definitely attend and either reapply as an M1 or pursue research on the side.

Should I have to, I'll try to supplant my list next year with MD only applications to some schools as an additional option.

Thanks guys!

---------------------------------

The interview went QUITE well, but there are only 6 slots with 32 interviewed. I just received a no from UNC, but I've yet to hear from a good many schools still!

What is the best way to push hard for a spot? I like the school and I don't think I'd be settling if I went there.
 

dragonfly99

10+ Year Member
May 15, 2008
5,092
50
Status
Attending Physician
I think it would be smart to throw out some MD-only applications, in your sitation (with the lower cumulative GPA).
 

Isoprop

Fascinating, tell me more
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 15, 2007
4,197
34
Status
Medical Student
I will disagree about retaking the MCAT. I personally would not risk retaking a 33. It's a solid score and you might not do any better... or perhaps do even worse. GL.
 
OP
O
Apr 5, 2010
185
1
Status
MD/PhD Student
Well, I had registered to retake the MCAT.

HOWEVER... I just found out I got accepted to one of the MD/PhD programs I had applied to!! I'm going to be a physician scientist!

Class of 2019? :rolleyes: