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Do you have to be a minor god to get into an MSTP program?

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Alli Cat

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Hi everyone. I'm trying to decide which path to take... I'd love to do MD/PhD and be a physician scientist, but I've heard that MSTP programs are much more selective than normal med school admissions (which I'm worried enough about).

I did research at UC Berkeley for 2 years, graduated last year, and I've been researching at a biomedical institute ever since. I have a 3.45 GPA, MCB major, and I just took the MCAT, probably got a 32-34.

Do I have a hope? Is consistent interest in research enough to get me in? Are there any other people out there who have gotten into an MD/PhD program with less than perfect digits?? It would help me greatly if you could post your GPA and MCAT. If everyone comes back with 13-14-15 and 3.97, I'll know this isn't the bulletin board for me :confused:

Thanks in advance, all

--Alli
 

brandonite

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Hmm. Your GPA is a bit lower than average, but there are people on this board that have gotten into a top 10 MSTP with a GPA in that range, so it's more of a bit of a challenge than a serious problem. :D The MCAT scores you have are fine. I think that there are quite a number of people with scores in that range.

The main thing, as far as I understand it, is having a body of research and being able to talk about that articulately. Everybody talks about stats all the time, but I'm not convinced they're all that important. I had really great stats, but got rejected everywhere...

I would say with your school background (Berkeley has a good rep, right?), your research background, and your decent MCATs and slightly low GPA, you would be competitive almost everywhere.

MSTP admissions are more selective, but I think that a certain group of people might have a better chance as an MSTP applicant than just as a regular MD applicant...
 

Alli Cat

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This is comforting news... I talked to an old-guard MD researcher who gave a talk at the institute where I work, and he said that MSTP students have to have really high GPAs and a lot of papers to get in. He was one of those pompous ol' guys who thinks he's God's gift to medicine, and he really scared me away.
 

MAPKinkster

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•••quote:•••Originally posted by brandonite:

The main thing, as far as I understand it, is having a body of research and being able to talk about that articulately...I would say with your school background (Berkeley has a good rep, right?), your research background, and your decent MCATs and slightly low GPA, you would be competitive almost everywhere.
•••••Hey Alli,

I totally agree with what Brandonite posted above. Yeah, Berkeley has a kick-ass rep and I think it's pretty well-known that classes & grades are very difficult here. Key aspects of your application should be your letters of rec. and your interview, both of which should demonstrate how well you understand your research. Don't worry too much about getting published because that involves more factors than you can control.

MapK
 

Angeliqua

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Hey Alli Cat,
I am so glad you posted this question, I am in nearly the exact same situation as you in terms of stats and research experience. I graduated last year and am currently doing research at HMS. The best thing in the world would be gettting accepted to an MSTP program next year! I would love to attend a top program but will absolutely join a smaller one as well. Good luck applying!
:)
 

Angeliqua

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Hey Alli Cat,
I am so glad you posted this question, I am in nearly the exact same situation as you in terms of stats and research experience. I graduated last year and am currently doing research at HMS. The best thing in the world would be gettting accepted to an MSTP program next year! I would love to attend a top program but will absolutely join a smaller one as well. Good luck applying!
:)
 

Alli Cat

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MapK-- great to hear support from a fellow Bear. Have you applied/ been accepted anywhere?

Angeliqua-- thanks, good luck to you, too :) I knew there had to be other people out there like me...
 

MAPKinkster

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Hey ALLI-

I'm going to start at UCSF this July. Which institute do you work for?

MapK
 

Alli Cat

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Hi MapK,
I work at the Buck Institute for age Research in Novato (Marin County). I like it a lot. I'm doing biomedical research (Huntington's Disease), and it has a university vibe-- guest speaker seminars, individual labs led by PIs from different universities. The only difference is that we're privately funded, and there is no affiliated university.

Are you a senior right now, or did you take time off before applying? I just graduated in December. If you're class of 2002, I bet we had some of the same classes...
 

ckent

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I actually knew of a girl who had a 3.5 GPA and 30 MCAT who got into Wash U MSTP (a numbers obsessed school). Apparently, if the PhD program really likes you, they will sometimes call the MD program to ask them to accept you even if you don't meet their cutoff. On a side note, an adcom from Wash U who was speaking at my school a while back told this story about this applicant who kept crying during her MD interview after she started to tell them about a friend whose parent had died over 5 yrs ago. The PhD program begged the MD program to let this girl in because they areally liked her, but the MD program said that she was too "unstable", so in the end the MD program does have final say.
 

exigente chica

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I'm also worried about haing less than perfect numbers for the MSTP programs I am interested in. Everyone on this board seems to have great everything, adn get into their top schools. Is anyone else an average appliant. I have excellent other stuff, I just need to work on the numbers. Taking the MCAT next April.
 

Vader

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Originally posted by exigente chica
I'm also worried about haing less than perfect numbers for the MSTP programs I am interested in. Everyone on this board seems to have great everything, adn get into their top schools. Is anyone else an average appliant. I have excellent other stuff, I just need to work on the numbers. Taking the MCAT next April.

The key to a successful application lies in how you present yourself. Yes, you need to have good numbers to increase your chances of getting in, but this is true for M.D. admissions as well. But as I have always emphasized, admissions people look at the whole package and do not typically base decisions on just the numbers. Research experience and the ability to communicate is obviously very important, but so are clinical experience, extracurricular activities, and especially letters of recommendation.

On the more personal side, everyone has their doubts when going through challenging experiences that cause one to self-evaluate. You'll find this phenomenon doesn't stop once in medical school; in fact, as you climb the professional ladder, it only worsens because the stakes keep getting higher. The key is to keep things in perspective, to be confident in yourself and your abilities, and to learn to enjoy meeting and interacting with some of the most amazing people you'll ever run into in this world. :D
 
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