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Early 30s Science PhD applying to medical school - do you think my application will get attention with 506 MCAT?

semper_ad_astra

New Member
May 15, 2020
5
0
1
  1. Pre-Medical
Good afternoon,

Happy to finally have joined this website - I've been reading its threads for probably a decade.

I would like to apply to medical schools in the state of NJ this cycle, and I am wondering what I could do to maximize my chances of being considered for admission. Long story short, when in college, I wanted to pursue an MD/PhD, but due to being an international student (and a bunch of personal financial reasons followed by immigration), I wasn't able to do so. I decided to pursue a PhD, because I was (and am) still passionate about science. However, I still have this feeling that my true fulfillment is in medicine. Hence, my present interest in applying.

I finished college in 2013 (one of the Big Ten schools in the Midwest), followed by a science PhD from a Big Ten school also. My undergraduate GPA was 3.5 for both science and non-science coursework. I took several advanced science classes in my PhD program as well, all with a GPA of 4.0 (however, course work is not the main focus of a PhD student, so it was 1-2 classes a semester, while most of the time was spent on research).

While in graduate school, I went through a period where I decided to try my chances at medicine in the US, so 4 years ago I took the MCAT, scored 506 and applied to 5 DO programs. I got accepted into one - a good program - and decided to leave my PhD with masters, however, they withdrew my acceptance just days before the classes were going to start, because they found out that they wouldn't be able to issue me a visa (why they didn't check this before is something I still do not understand). It was heartbreaking. But I moved on - life happens. Happily completed my PhD program. Published. Happily and gainfully employed now. I work in health tech as a scientist, and do enjoy my job. But, it still doesn't feel like quite right, I think because in my heart I still believe I should be a doctor. So, I did some research and learned that some schools at least state that they accept older MCAT scores (mine is from 2016), and I just really want to try again, using my previous score (one and only, I only took the test once).

I am interested in hearing any suggestions/thoughts on my strength as an applicant and application process in general. I would be lying if I didn't say I was curious what my chances are. I am also curious if there is anything I can add to my application. I have volunteered in college, I had shadowed, did research at my school and a summer at Mayo Clinic; I believe I should be able to get good and sincere, supportive letters of rec from my professors. I am looking at MD programs this time. And I am thinking to apply through an Early Decision program to a school whose average accepted applicant scores 512-514 on the test.

Oh, I should note that unlike the last time, I am not an international student anymore and I am waiting for my green card this summer.
I am reluctant to re-taking the MCAT right now, not only because of COVID, but also because work is pretty busy, I often work after the day is 'over', sometimes because I have to and sometimes because I want to do the best job I can. So studying for the MCAT again just isn't in my schedule, at least not this year.

I apologize for this long post, but hoping to get some truthful input! Cheers and stay safe!
 

Tabiyou

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5+ Year Member
Nov 6, 2014
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I would purchase an MSAR subscription to look at what MD schools look at. With those stats, you do have a chance. Keep in mind though, the medical school process is highly competitive.

Did you apply just DO? Depending on what school you apply to, you might be a reapplicant. If that is the case, I would suggest retaking the MCAT to give you a better chance at MD. If you got in with those stats at a DO school, I would imagine you would be golden in the DO route.
 
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gyngyn

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Nov 4, 2011
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Apply after you have the green card in the hand.
You will be screened out if it is pending when you submit (even if you find a school that considers MCAT's of that vintage!).
Do not apply Early Decision unless you get the green light from the admissions office first. You are at a considerable disadvantage at other schools if not chosen.
 
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semper_ad_astra

New Member
May 15, 2020
5
0
1
  1. Pre-Medical
Apply after you have the green card in the hand.
You will be screened out if it is pending when you submit (even if you find a school that considers MCAT's of that vintage!).
Do not apply Early Decision unless you get the green light from the admissions office first. You are at a considerable disadvantage at other schools if not chosen.
That's definitely something I think about. I specifically email the schools to find out if they would consider applicants in my current immigration status, and some say they do, some say they do not. I just really don't want to lose - or, well' let's be less dramatic and say "wait" - another year. The earliest I'd get this document is the end of the summer, and I think it would be too late to apply then. And it's quite possible I wouldn't get the green card until October... So, while this is certainly a general concert, hopefully I won't get screened out if the schools say they consider applicants in my immigration status?
 

semper_ad_astra

New Member
May 15, 2020
5
0
1
  1. Pre-Medical
I would purchase an MSAR subscription to look at what MD schools look at. With those stats, you do have a chance. Keep in mind though, the medical school process is highly competitive.

Did you apply just DO? Depending on what school you apply to, you might be a reapplicant. If that is the case, I would suggest retaking the MCAT to give you a better chance at MD. If you got in with those stats at a DO school, I would imagine you would be golden in the DO route.
Thank you! I will certainly think about it. I am about to become a resident of the state I live in right now, it would be really nice to stay here, in NJ.
I only applied to DO schools back then, only 5 of them, because those were the only nearby schools that were considering international students. None of the MD schools were accepting international students in that area, except for places like UChicago and Northwestern, but I thought that applying there with a 506 MCAT while not finishing the PhD program wouldn't work. Honestly - DO or MD - it doesn't matter much to me. This time, my options are limited by my old MCAT (from June, 2016), and I haven't seen a single DO school that accepted an MCAT that old, I found a few MD programs that do, including one here. Also, I know MD programs are more research-oriented, and if I decided to pursue a research career in medicine at some point, an MD would be a better fit, or so I was told
 

gyngyn

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Nov 4, 2011
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That's definitely something I think about. I specifically email the schools to find out if they would consider applicants in my current immigration status, and some say they do, some say they do not. I just really don't want to lose - or, well' let's be less dramatic and say "wait" - another year. The earliest I'd get this document is the end of the summer, and I think it would be too late to apply then. And it's quite possible I wouldn't get the green card until October... So, while this is certainly a general concert, hopefully I won't get screened out if the schools say they consider applicants in my immigration status?
The difference between a permanent resident and "pending green card" is enormous.
Any school who has had dealings with immigration knows that the card that was promised in 3 months may still be pending in a year (sadly).
 
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semper_ad_astra

New Member
May 15, 2020
5
0
1
  1. Pre-Medical
The difference between a permanent resident and "pending green card" is enormous.
Any school who has had dealings with immigration knows that the card that was promised in 3 months may still be pending in a year (sadly).
You're certainly right. Well, in my situation it's pretty much guaranteed, but it could take 3, 4, 6 months - who knows. So yeah, that's true
 

semper_ad_astra

New Member
May 15, 2020
5
0
1
  1. Pre-Medical
Apply after you have the green card in the hand.
You will be screened out if it is pending when you submit (even if you find a school that considers MCAT's of that vintage!).
Do not apply Early Decision unless you get the green light from the admissions office first. You are at a considerable disadvantage at other schools if not chosen.
Thank you for your response once again. Re: Early Decision, what do you mean by getting the green light from the admissions office first? Should I approach them with my stats/ a brief description of myself and my intent before applying? I'd imagine admission offices do not want to answer emails like that, but maybe I am wrong. Could you clarify, if you have a chance?
 
Jun 11, 2010
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Somewhere west of St. Louis
  1. Non-Student
Good afternoon,

Happy to finally have joined this website - I've been reading its threads for probably a decade.

I would like to apply to medical schools in the state of NJ this cycle, and I am wondering what I could do to maximize my chances of being considered for admission. Long story short, when in college, I wanted to pursue an MD/PhD, but due to being an international student (and a bunch of personal financial reasons followed by immigration), I wasn't able to do so. I decided to pursue a PhD, because I was (and am) still passionate about science. However, I still have this feeling that my true fulfillment is in medicine. Hence, my present interest in applying.

I finished college in 2013 (one of the Big Ten schools in the Midwest), followed by a science PhD from a Big Ten school also. My undergraduate GPA was 3.5 for both science and non-science coursework. I took several advanced science classes in my PhD program as well, all with a GPA of 4.0 (however, course work is not the main focus of a PhD student, so it was 1-2 classes a semester, while most of the time was spent on research).

While in graduate school, I went through a period where I decided to try my chances at medicine in the US, so 4 years ago I took the MCAT, scored 506 and applied to 5 DO programs. I got accepted into one - a good program - and decided to leave my PhD with masters, however, they withdrew my acceptance just days before the classes were going to start, because they found out that they wouldn't be able to issue me a visa (why they didn't check this before is something I still do not understand). It was heartbreaking. But I moved on - life happens. Happily completed my PhD program. Published. Happily and gainfully employed now. I work in health tech as a scientist, and do enjoy my job. But, it still doesn't feel like quite right, I think because in my heart I still believe I should be a doctor. So, I did some research and learned that some schools at least state that they accept older MCAT scores (mine is from 2016), and I just really want to try again, using my previous score (one and only, I only took the test once).

I am interested in hearing any suggestions/thoughts on my strength as an applicant and application process in general. I would be lying if I didn't say I was curious what my chances are. I am also curious if there is anything I can add to my application. I have volunteered in college, I had shadowed, did research at my school and a summer at Mayo Clinic; I believe I should be able to get good and sincere, supportive letters of rec from my professors. I am looking at MD programs this time. And I am thinking to apply through an Early Decision program to a school whose average accepted applicant scores 512-514 on the test.

Oh, I should note that unlike the last time, I am not an international student anymore and I am waiting for my green card this summer.
I am reluctant to re-taking the MCAT right now, not only because of COVID, but also because work is pretty busy, I often work after the day is 'over', sometimes because I have to and sometimes because I want to do the best job I can. So studying for the MCAT again just isn't in my schedule, at least not this year.

I apologize for this long post, but hoping to get some truthful input! Cheers and stay safe!
While a 506 is well below median for MD, it's still viable for a number of schoola, and fine for all DO
 

lumya

Indoor Cat
2+ Year Member
Aug 7, 2018
704
1,398
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  1. Medical Student
Thank you for your response once again. Re: Early Decision, what do you mean by getting the green light from the admissions office first? Should I approach them with my stats/ a brief description of myself and my intent before applying? I'd imagine admission offices do not want to answer emails like that, but maybe I am wrong. Could you clarify, if you have a chance?

Hi, I talked to an adcom about early decision and all I had to do was email them and ask if it's possible to talk to someone regarding early decision (especially with what's going on w/ covid). Someone reached out back to me pretty quickly and after I sent them my transcript, resume, and a copy of my MCAT results, we set up a phone call to talk about what my chances would be. There were going to be a couple more steps, but I ultimately decided against early decision for some of the reasons listed above, but if you go on the website of the school you're interested in, they will most likely have a page for early decision and information regarding who to contact.
 
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