d1988b

7+ Year Member
Jul 22, 2009
4
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I've been doing a good amount of reading on this blog as well as other websites (including those of MD/PhD programs) and I remain concerned of how the application process will affect me since I am training as a bioengineer at UPenn. Currently I sit on 3.4/3.1 (cGPA/sGPA) and after this year as a junior I would expect to raise each to 3.5/3.2. I have not done any MCAT work yet so I can't provide any of that information, but I have 2 years and 2 summers working at Northwestern University and going on 2 years at Penn. All of my research has been independent projects instead of working under postdocs and grad students. I have one conference proceeding and the project I'm working on now at Penn I will be first author if my work is published in time. So that's a little background info on me.

My concern is how engineers like myself will compete with other applicants with much more stellar appearing stats than myself. I had a very rough first semester freshman year but I have yanked the semester GPAs up each time and currently doing very well in organic chemistry this summer (A- for orgo 1 and hopefully better for orgo 2). I fear that I will be overlooked and in terms of competitiveness that is constantly referenced in several other threads I would be victim to this as well. The reason I would even bother posting this when it could at first appear to be another desperate individual seeking advice is that I don't see many people applying as engineers. Don't get me wrong, I know they exist, but not to a great amount.

Any input on this matter for gpa, mcat, research, or anything in general is most appreciated.
 

dmblue

10+ Year Member
Sep 19, 2008
560
21
Status
MD/PhD Student
First of all there are tons of threads about engineers. Use the search button.

Your research experience sound really solid and sufficient to get into a top MD/PhD program.

MCAT...well you need to see how you do

Grades, unfortunately your sGPA is on the low side, which may make things difficult for you.

MD/PhD biomedical engineering spots are often more competitive and not every school offers them. Furthermore, you should note that Med schools often don't look at what your major was, and you will be competing primarily with people who majored in engineering for the MD/PhD engineering spots.

Relevant threads
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=646378
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=485356&highlight=engineering
 
OP
D

d1988b

7+ Year Member
Jul 22, 2009
4
0
Status
Pre-Medical
First of all there are tons of threads about engineers. Use the search button.

Your research experience sound really solid and sufficient to get into a top MD/PhD program.

MCAT...well you need to see how you do

Grades, unfortunately your sGPA is on the low side, which may make things difficult for you.

MD/PhD biomedical engineering spots are often more competitive and not every school offers them. Furthermore, you should note that Med schools often don't look at what your major was, and you will be competing primarily with people who majored in engineering for the MD/PhD engineering spots.

Relevant threads
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=646378
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=485356&highlight=engineering

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


I appreciate the input. I agree that the research front is really solid. I truly fear what the GPA will do for my chances applying to any programs. Because I have only one or possibly two other BCPM type courses and the rest being engineering, I don't have a choice for rearranging my schedule to try to boost this part of my application. Although many websites online state there are wide ranges of those accepted, being a normal person I am skeptical of how those ranges come up. What programs with the information you have now would you see me having better odds at getting responses?
 

StereoSanctity

10+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2007
59
0
Status
MD/PhD Student
Does your school have a specific pre-med advisor for Engineering students? Mine did, and when I was applying, he was the best resource for questions like this. Ask around, at a school the size of UPenn, you probably aren't the only Engineering student applying (to med school at least).

Probably the most important thing my advisor helped me with was figuring out which of my engineering classes could be classified as "science/BCPM" on AMCAS. Its to your advantage to put everything that was at least half bio/chem/physics/math listed as such (if you did well in that class), instead of as an engineering class, even if it was offered through an engineering department (example: listing Quantitative Physiology as Biology instead of Engineering - it has Physiology in the title, therefore AMCAS says its ok. same could be true of lots of EE classes listed at physics, ChemE classes listed as chem, etc). If you don't have someone to provide you with this advice/a historical basis for what other students at your school have done, I'd say list things as whatever will help you the most - if AMCAS doesn't agree, they'll change it (and your not punished or anything for listing it "incorrectly").

I majored in Biomedical Engineering and applied to MD-PhD programs two years ago, and I found that for the most part, in interviews, people were very forgiving of my grades (I had 3.6/3.3 when applying). But I'm sure I was screened out of further review from some schools because of those grades. I would caution you to apply broadly, as the big name schools seemed to be more numbers focused, and smaller schools tended to either not care about my grades or even say that they were great for someone coming from an engineering background. I applied to 35ish schools, interviewed at 7, and was accepted to 5 (and waitlisted at the other 2).

So basically, be realistic, kill the MCAT (bc that never hurts), and you'll be fine.
 

bd4727

10+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2008
361
26
USA
Status
Attending Physician
--------------------


I appreciate the input. I agree that the research front is really solid. I truly fear what the GPA will do for my chances applying to any programs. Because I have only one or possibly two other BCPM type courses and the rest being engineering, I don't have a choice for rearranging my schedule to try to boost this part of my application. Although many websites online state there are wide ranges of those accepted, being a normal person I am skeptical of how those ranges come up. What programs with the information you have now would you see me having better odds at getting responses?

If you have been doing research at Northwestern for a while, go talk to the higher ups in the BioE department (Grad Program Director, Dept Chair) about your interest in doing MD/PhD there, that you want to do PhD in BioE, and that you are worried about your grades. These people generally (at least at my school) are major members of the MSTP's operating comittee, and have a major influence on admission decisions. Since you have already established yourself there, that would likely give you a nice in. Otherwise, just focus on the things you can control now. IMO, trying to tweak your AMCAS to gain .2 GPA points is silly. Do the best you can on the MCAT and continue doing great research. Those two things being excellent + good interview can certainly compensate for lower GPA. Apply broadly. Don't tell your interviewers your grades were lower than avg applicants bc BioE is "harder" than other majors (its not true and you sound like a whiner). Good luck.
 

cnatstop

New Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 22, 2006
26
0
Status
MD/PhD Student
I've been doing a good amount of reading on this blog as well as other websites (including those of MD/PhD programs) and I remain concerned of how the application process will affect me since I am training as a bioengineer at UPenn. Currently I sit on 3.4/3.1 (cGPA/sGPA) and after this year as a junior I would expect to raise each to 3.5/3.2. I have not done any MCAT work yet so I can't provide any of that information, but I have 2 years and 2 summers working at Northwestern University and going on 2 years at Penn. All of my research has been independent projects instead of working under postdocs and grad students. I have one conference proceeding and the project I'm working on now at Penn I will be first author if my work is published in time. So that's a little background info on me.

My concern is how engineers like myself will compete with other applicants with much more stellar appearing stats than myself. I had a very rough first semester freshman year but I have yanked the semester GPAs up each time and currently doing very well in organic chemistry this summer (A- for orgo 1 and hopefully better for orgo 2). I fear that I will be overlooked and in terms of competitiveness that is constantly referenced in several other threads I would be victim to this as well. The reason I would even bother posting this when it could at first appear to be another desperate individual seeking advice is that I don't see many people applying as engineers. Don't get me wrong, I know they exist, but not to a great amount.

Any input on this matter for gpa, mcat, research, or anything in general is most appreciated.
I was a engineering major and now MSTP. With your score and experience you have a solid chance getting into an MSTP program. Just try your best and see what happens. PM me if you have any more specific questions.
 
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