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Do you guys contact the MD/PhD program directors of the schools your interested in applying?


Full Member
Jun 14, 2017
  1. Pre-Medical
    Do you guys contact the MD/PhD program directors of the schools your interested in applying? If so when is the best time? And is it through email,phone or in person? What do your conversations usually involve?

    -There are so few spots available for MD/PhDs, so I feel that the people that contact the directors have an advantage, but I don't know exactly how to go about it. Do you guys think it makes a difference?


    Full Member
    2+ Year Member
    Dec 24, 2016
    The (not)-Greater NYC Area
    1. MD/PhD Student
      If you have a question, I know some program directors/or program admins (in fact, all the ones I've met said to email if I have questions) who are very open to answering them. But if you have nothing to say except trying to get an "edge," then it's not a good idea. If you have participated in certain programs or met them before then you can start with that, and then ask the question.
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      MSTP Director
      10+ Year Member
    • Oct 11, 2007
      TEXAS (Eden)
      1. Attending Physician
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        Full Member
        5+ Year Member
        Jun 14, 2014
        1. MD/PhD Student
          I will second what Dr. Fencer said! If you're looking solely to network, a great way to stand out is to go to a conference and introduce yourself to directors. Otherwise, like other posters stated, I would not advise contacting directors while applying just to get your name out there. I personally believe there is a lot more risk in that than reward, and your application will likely already speak for itself in ways that are more professional and captivating. :)

          Another great conference that I'd add to Dr. Fencer's list is the Southeastern Medical Scientist Symposium (SEMSS). It's a conference for those considering physician scientist careers, and it generally has separate events throughout the weekend (and then joint poster sessions) for both current MD or MD/PhD students and then undergraduate students who are thinking about MD/PhD programs. It is run by the MSTPs at Emory, UAB, and Vanderbilt. I attended for the first time two years ago when I was applying to all three institutions, so it was a great way for me to meet current students, program directors/administrators, etc. I also had the chance to present my work to the director of one of the schools to which I applied, which was cool! It is at Emory this year in November: Home (website).

          Finally, I will also note that Dr. Fencer often posts on here when he will be attending a conference and is willing to meet up with SDN students over dinner, etc. If you are looking to meet a director, Dr. Fencer is very kind and gives wonderful advice, so I suggest taking him up on any offers!
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