goldsonic99

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Hi, I just graduated with a GPA of 3.96 and an mcat of 35Q (13PS, 10VR, 12BS). I also have two years of research experiences including an authorship on one publication (though not first author). I did a senior thesis project to get honors for my major. I was wondering if I have a chance getting into any MSTP programs this admission cycle. Other than the research I don't have much in the way of ECs. Also, would volunteering, etc in a hospital starting now improve my chances in this application cycle? Thanks for any help.
 

lundysd

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Nope.

Just kidding. :) Your GPA is above average, your MCAT is above average, your research is at least average (if not above average), and your publication is above average. Of course you have a good chance of getting in this cycle.

I'm not sure how much volunteering/etc is going to help at this point, but it couldn't possibly hurt, and it may very well come up in your interviews.
 
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goldsonic99

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Thanks for the response and support lundy, I really appreciate it. I hope that you're right about my chances. Anyone else have any information regarding whether MSTP programs are willing to take students with my kind of background or any suggestions for how I can strengthen my application for this cycle?
 
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goldsonic99 said:
Thanks for the response and support lundy, I really appreciate it. I hope that you're right about my chances. Anyone else have any information regarding whether MSTP programs are willing to take students with my kind of background or any suggestions for how I can strengthen my application for this cycle?
Figure out _roughly_ what you want to do and where you want to live for the next 8 years. Put together a solid application and apply. There's no secret handshake. Just ask around about different places and figure out where you want to interview.
 

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goldsonic99 said:
Hi, I just graduated with a GPA of 3.96 and an mcat of 35Q (13PS, 10VR, 12BS). I also have two years of research experiences including an authorship on one publication (though not first author). I did a senior thesis project to get honors for my major. I was wondering if I have a chance getting into any MSTP programs this admission cycle. Other than the research I don't have much in the way of ECs. Also, would volunteering, etc in a hospital starting now improve my chances in this application cycle? Thanks for any help.
I don't think you'll have any problem getting in.
 

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goldsonic99 said:
Anyone else have any information regarding whether MSTP programs are willing to take students with my kind of background
What exactly are you worried about in your background? Your little blurb was pretty solid. You might want to volunteer if you haven't done any volunteering, but the more research the better for MD/PhD.
 
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goldsonic99

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My main concern is my lack of volunteering and clinical experience. I guess I will get involved with some of that since it may help me this cycle but should I fail to get in, then it will definitely help next time I apply. I pretty much wanted to know if it's possible/likely to get in without those elements.
 

ClarinetGeek

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goldsonic99 said:
My main concern is my lack of volunteering and clinical experience. I guess I will get involved with some of that since it may help me this cycle but should I fail to get in, then it will definitely help next time I apply. I pretty much wanted to know if it's possible/likely to get in without those elements.
I think that it is likely/possible that you will get for the reason stated by other below. Not having ANY clinical experience may be a point of contention for some. I definately could see some MD and MD/PhD saying why not just do the PhD and are you sure want to go through med school? Ultimately with your above average creditential I don't think it will hurt you too much. One of my friends got a conditional acceptance to WashU contigent on him shadowing a doctor and writing about his experience. He was given a week to do this. So I don't think it could hurt gaining some clinical exposure between now and when you interview. Even if it is something small like shadowing a doctor or two...or you could volunteer some time in a hospital, clinic etc. Then in a interview, you say oh yeah I have done that and I liked it and I learn this...and I found this interesting.

Personally I think it is REALLY improtant to have some clinical exposure before going to med school, but that's just me.
 

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I know several people in my class at this big name program who had no clinical experience (shadowing, volunteering, etc) whatsoever before starting the program. The requirement for clinical exposure varies from place to place. Personally I don't think it's a big deal, but that's just me... You should probably put in your expected 50-100 hours of hospital volunteering, just so you can get the standard pre-med cookie cutter stuff out of the way.
 

jameslynton

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goldsonic99 said:
My main concern is my lack of volunteering and clinical experience. I guess I will get involved with some of that since it may help me this cycle but should I fail to get in, then it will definitely help next time I apply. I pretty much wanted to know if it's possible/likely to get in without those elements.
I would say - yea do the volunteer stuff if you feel like it - you will get bang if you have more pubs and research. Also if you TA - it helps also.
 

jameslynton

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goldsonic99 said:
Hi, I just graduated with a GPA of 3.96 and an mcat of 35Q (13PS, 10VR, 12BS). I also have two years of research experiences including an authorship on one publication (though not first author). I did a senior thesis project to get honors for my major. I was wondering if I have a chance getting into any MSTP programs this admission cycle. Other than the research I don't have much in the way of ECs. Also, would volunteering, etc in a hospital starting now improve my chances in this application cycle? Thanks for any help.
I am always amazed that people come to a public forum and expect other to figure out "your chances". I am not a psychic. I don't think any of the other here are either. Your best chance is to apply - you have the right stuff going for you resume CV wise so I would not wait. Get your applications in. The main issue with dual tracks is they are so insecure about missing this or that small detail. If you have the grades and MCAT - that is 95% of the battle. Don't talk to the premed advisors other than to get them to write up the stuff you need from them. Get your other ref's and LOR's directly by talking with your co-authors and get them sent to the medical schools you are interested in. Also don't be afraid to call the medical schools you are intersted in and let them know about you.
 

jameslynton

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Dual trackers - researcher don't follow the normal medical school student cattle calls. Please!!!!

My mentor sat me down after I missed the deadlines and told me to get a pair of manpants and do the stuff to get my applications in. Not to sweet the stuff I was missing and the names of people to call to chat with and have lunch. He also told me to bypass the regular school premed committee because I had disturbed the harmony of the Biology department head too many times. So I had my LOR's sent directly. You know it worked. I applied at three schools and was accepted at two. So good luck and best wishes.
 
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goldsonic99

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jameslynton said:
I am always amazed that people come to a public forum and expect other to figure out "your chances". I am not a psychic. I don't think any of the other here are either. Your best chance is to apply - you have the right stuff going for you resume CV wise so I would not wait. Get your applications in. The main issue with dual tracks is they are so insecure about missing this or that small detail. If you have the grades and MCAT - that is 95% of the battle. Don't talk to the premed advisors other than to get them to write up the stuff you need from them. Get your other ref's and LOR's directly by talking with your co-authors and get them sent to the medical schools you are interested in. Also don't be afraid to call the medical schools you are intersted in and let them know about you.
James, it's not so much that I expect you guys to be psychic or to figure out my chances. It's more that I don't know many people who are MD/PHD students and I figured some who are or have more experience on these forums know of people in a similar situation and how they fared. Obviously it really comes down to what each individual adcomm thinks. Thanks for the advice and congrats with your success.
 

anka24

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goldsonic99 said:
Hi, I just graduated with a GPA of 3.96 and an mcat of 35Q (13PS, 10VR, 12BS). I also have two years of research experiences including an authorship on one publication (though not first author). I did a senior thesis project to get honors for my major. I was wondering if I have a chance getting into any MSTP programs this admission cycle. Other than the research I don't have much in the way of ECs. Also, would volunteering, etc in a hospital starting now improve my chances in this application cycle? Thanks for any help.
You and I are in almost the same boat! I had a 3.91 GPA and 35S MCAT (12PS, 10VR, 13BS). I had three summers of research experience and I just started working at the NIH for their post-bacc program (to last for one year). I unfortunately don't have any publications. Also, since I didn't decide to go to med school until two years ago, my ECs have been lacking. I started volunteering at a hospital two months ago. I have had other ECs coaching elementary schoolers and being an RA at school. I hope those things can show the adcoms that I can deal with people well. Hopefully, you can have some similar way of proving that you are capable of a leadership role. I don't think clinical experience is as important as showing that you have the motivation to do something non-academic. Or at least something grounded in real-life.
 

jameslynton

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anka24 said:
...I had three summers of research experience and I just started working at the NIH for their post-bacc program (to last for one year). I unfortunately don't have any publications. ... Or at least something grounded in real-life.
NIH is great experience to have - have a friend there in infectious - That is a real resume - CV builder. Being an RA = ok it will help - Better to have hands on teaching also as a TA if you can get it. I was a TA in orgainc lab senior year. Also did some teaching during masters. That helps also.
 

jameslynton

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goldsonic99 said:
James, it's not so much that I expect you guys to be psychic or to figure out my chances. It's more that I don't know many people who are MD/PHD students and I figured some who are or have more experience on these forums know of people in a similar situation and how they fared. Obviously it really comes down to what each individual adcomm thinks. Thanks for the advice and congrats with your success.
Sorry I may have come off as a bit crass with that. I feel your chances are good just remember this is not the normal path most people take. Best wishes.
 

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jameslynton said:
NIH is great experience to have - have a friend there in infectious - That is a real resume - CV builder. Being an RA = ok it will help - Better to have hands on teaching also as a TA if you can get it. I was a TA in orgainc lab senior year. Also did some teaching during masters. That helps also.
Forget the TA! I've been reading MD-PhD applications since many of you were reading Goosebumps or the Babysitters Club, and I can tell you that we never even consider whether applicants have had teaching experience. Heck, most biomedical research faculty spend less than 10 hours a year in the classroom; many see teaching as something you are forced to do if you are tenured but have no grant support. The TA and/or RA experience may impress MD admissions committees, but MD-PhD committees would rather you spend your time in lab doing something that will develop your abilities as a researcher.

Also, I would dispute the statement that "having the grades and MCAT is 95% of the battle" Good grades and MCATs only get you to the table for consideration; you need to have the goods as a researcher to have any serious chance of being accepted. We've shot down many 3.97 40T applicants over the years because they did not sufficiently demonstrate the qualities we feel are essential for a successful researcher. Think about the GPA and MCAT in terms of thresholds: if your GPA is below 3.3 or the MCAT is below 30, you have a very slim chance of getting into a MSTP. GPAs between 3.3 and 3.5 and MCATs between 30 and 33 are considered on the less competitive side. Applicants that cross the threshold of 3.6 and 35 are considered to be equivalent with one another. (It is like the Tour de France, where the riders at the back of the pelton are awarded the same time as riders at the front of the peleton, despite crossing the finish line 10 to 15 seconds later.) By way of illustration, here are the average GPAs and MCATs for applicants to our program over the past 5 years:

Applicants 3.7/35Q
Interviewees 3.8/36R
Accepts 3.8/36Q

In spite of the closeness of these numbers, it is very clear to us that better than half of the applicants are not competitive for our program. Another 25% are somewhat competitive, but are not offered interviews. That leaves about 20% that are interviewed. Better than 95% of those interviewed here are offered admission to one or more MD-PhD programs across the country.

In the end, admissions decisions come down to our assessment of an applicant's ability to become an independent biomedical investigator, based on the individual's research experience and our interactions with him/her. Peripheral considerations like teaching experience have no impact. The impact of GPA and MCAT are very significant if they fall below 3.3/30, less significant if 3.3-3.5 / 30-33, and insignificant for those 3.6+ and 34+.
 

jameslynton

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Maebea said:
Forget the TA! I've been reading MD-PhD applications since many of you were reading Goosebumps or the Babysitters Club, and I can tell you that we never even consider whether applicants have had teaching ... The impact of GPA and MCAT are very significant if they fall below 3.3/30, less significant if 3.3-3.5 / 30-33, and insignificant for those 3.6+ and 34+.
LOL - I agree with you on most of this - however, my children read Goosebumps or the Babysitters Club not me. I personally like my people to be able to talk - being a TA is plus for my projects when I look at resumes & CV's. It shows the person could at least talk with others. I had one jerk that when I asked him his status all he said was "peachy". The day I booted his sorry ... out the door we went out and had a party that night.
I have had too many nerds that had the verbal ability of a horney toads on my projects way back when. Now I look to see and check out if they can talk. I value those who can verbally hold it together and have conversation with us. Yea - I know it is just me and my opinion. I also know I have been out of the school loop since 96' However, when some one comes in my door - I want a stud muffin who can talk, teach others and has proved it. That is something everyone needs to consider as an important skill.
 

Maebea

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No argument on the importance of being able to communicate effectively; this is a critical skill for researchers. However, I do not think that being a teaching assistant necessarily demonstrates the aptitude for this, especially when many TA jobs involve grading papers or setting up labs, and require little in the way of verbal communication. One might gain more practical communication skills by joining their campus chapter of Toastmasters than they would from doing a TA. I am not saying that doing a TA (or joining Toastmasters) is a bad thing, it is just that it is not a criteria we use when evaluating applicants. Undergrads should use whatever they are most comfortable with to develop their communication skills. MD-PhD admissions committees assume that candidates for admission have good communication skills until they prove otherwise in the admissions interviews.
 

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