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How many schools to apply to?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by chemphd, Apr 16, 2007.

  1. chemphd

    chemphd 2+ Year Member

    Hi there,

    I'm trying to figure out how many schools to apply to- my advisor (in the interest of my getting more lab work done before she has to graduate me) wants me to apply to no more than 5 schools. This seems like too few to give me a reasonable chance this year- any opinions (other than 30, b/c I have neither the time nor the money right now).


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  3. Scottish Chap

    Scottish Chap Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 3, 2003
    After reading MSAR, I would apply to schools where your GPA and MCAT are within the range of their mean. Apply to all your state schools, several diverse private schools, and perhaps one or two 'reach schools'. Most people with average GPA and MCAT scores apply to around 15 schools.

    When I applied, my state school didn't even interview me while my reach school was the first to admit me, so anything can happen. Unless you have a 4.0 and >36 MCAT, five schools is not enough. The cost of applying is tiny compared to the cost of attending medical school. Keep that in mind. Good luck!
  4. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    Agree with the above. 12-15 is probably the average. If you have any potential blemishes in your credentials 20-25 is probably a better idea. Only for the stellar applicants, and those with relocation impediments, does it make sense to apply to fewer than 10 schools.
  5. chemphd

    chemphd 2+ Year Member

    Well- I'd like not to go too far (two-body problem), but I'm in CA, so there are a good number of state schools to apply to. I"m finishing up a PhD in chemistry now, had about a 3.7 GPA as an undergrad and got a 36Q on the MCAT. I'm looking into schools now- I've come up with about 10 so far... I'll keep working on it.

    Thanks for your advice!

  6. BeanerMD

    BeanerMD Junior Member 2+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    Wow, my grad advisor recommended upwards of 15-20 for all students. When I came up with a list of 25, she said to tone it down a tad...and I went to 22:D
  7. remo

    remo Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Oct 9, 2005
    Bailout Nation
    You have good stats so if your EC's, clinical experience, and LOR's are good then you should be set. However, CA is the toughest state so you should still probably apply to at least 20 schools.

    Oh, and the cost of applying is nominal compared to a physicians salary for a year (which is what you would miss if you applied to too few schools the first time around).
  8. CATallergy

    CATallergy 2+ Year Member

    Jan 23, 2007
    not to nitpick, but a rough calculation should technically be based on:
    (physician's salary*(1.05^-10) - your current salary)

    since 5% is about the 10 yr treasury rate and it takes about 10 years to finish medical school + residency

    I say rough, because it disregards that you have to pay application fees twice, and it ignores that the present value of the cost of medical school will be slightly lower if you are starting a year later)

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