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How much of a boost?

MangoPlant

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Jul 27, 2012
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How much of a boost is it to be one of the mid authors for a publication in a powerful journal (like Science or Cell) for admission into research heavy schools? I've heard some people say that it's a big boost but others say that it's not so much?
 

aspiring20

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How much of a boost is it to be one of the mid authors for a publication in a powerful journal (like Science or Cell) for admission into research heavy schools? I've heard some people say that it's a big boost but others say that it's not so much?

it's probably somewhere in between. it'll be a noticeable boost, but it won't make/break your application, and it probably won't compensate for marked deficiencies in other areas.

but to me, that sounds impressive as hell! i have over 4 semesters of science research, but nothing to really show for it.
 
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it's probably somewhere in between. it'll be a noticeable boost, but it won't make/break your application, and it probably won't compensate for marked deficiencies in other areas.

but to me, that sounds impressive as hell! i have over 4 semesters of science research, but nothing to really show for it.

Sounds right to me :thumbup:
 
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shirtless

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long time lurker, first time poster...just wanted to say, in my limited experience, I completely disagree with LizzyM. Speaking as someone with 95%+ on MCAT, and very high GPA with substantial research and ecs, a nature/cell paper would do far more than add one lizzym point and would probably gaurrantee multiple interviews at top 10 schools
When competition reaches such a high level at the top 10-20 schools, a nature paper is precisely the thing needed to push you over the top and i have no doubt that a 3.8/35 with a nature paper will be prefered over a 3.9/39 any day of the week
 

Ismet

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long time lurker, first time poster...just wanted to say, in my limited experience, I completely disagree with LizzyM. Speaking as someone with 95%+ on MCAT, and very high GPA with substantial research and ecs, a nature/cell paper would do far more than add one lizzym point and would probably gaurrantee multiple interviews at top 10 schools
When competition reaches such a high level at the top 10-20 schools, a nature paper is precisely the thing needed to push you over the top and i have no doubt that a 3.8/35 with a nature paper will be prefered over a 3.9/39 any day of the week

:laugh:

You are n=1. LizzyM is an adcom at a top school, and I'm pretty sure she knows more about what gets people interviews and acceptances than someone who just happens to be a rockstar applicant.

Being first or second author on a Nature/Cell paper would probably boost >1 LizzyM point, but OP is listed as a middle author, which while it's still impressive, it's not as impressive as being listed near the beginning. Heck I'm listed 5th author on something and I had just gotten to the lab a couple weeks before it was submitted. I don't consider that impressive, because I didn't really contribute to the pub.
 
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shirtless

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ya well, you are completely twisting my words around. First of all, I am not a "rockstar applicant". I am a solid applicant with great grades and MCAT and an actual passion for doing what I do..However, the fact that I do not have a publication is what brought me down so I dont want to hear the bs from people like you and LizzyM (no offense) who say that its all about passion and that publications dont matter because they absolutely do

I am actually one of the few who wants to go into academic medicine and I actually like research for research's sake and the fact that I am lacking a pub hurt me big time, while others who feign interest in research and got lucky to have publications wont take advantage of the top schools' research resources..

sorry for venting but im tired of hearing the crap and want future applicants to not take others' posts as gospel.. if you are interested in top schools, get a publication or gtfo
 

mcloaf

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ya well, you are completely twisting my words around. First of all, I am not a "rockstar applicant". I am a solid applicant with great grades and MCAT and an actual passion for doing what I do..However, the fact that I do not have a publication is what brought me down so I dont want to hear the bull**** from people like you and LizzyM (no offense) who say that its all about passion and that publications dont matter because they absolutely do

I am actually one of the few who wants to go into academic medicine and I actually like research for research's sake and the fact that I am lacking a pub hurt me big time, while others who feign interest in research and got lucky to have publications wont take advantage of the top schools' research resources..

sorry for venting but im tired of hearing the crap and wants future applicants to not take others' posts as gospel.. if you are interested, get a publication or gtfo

Chill man. I'd also be inclined to say a publication, especially one in a top journal, might be worth more than 1 LizzyM point depending on who's looking at your file and which school is involved, but even so, the proportion of applicants with publications is small. Plenty of people with pubs aren't admitted to top schools, and plenty of people without them are.

Though you say you aren't, your first post makes it sound like you are a rockstar with great numbers and ECs and the only thing keeping you out of top 10s was the lack of a pub. This I doubt.
 

shirtless

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Chill man. I'd also be inclined to say a publication, especially one in a top journal, might be worth more than 1 LizzyM point depending on who's looking at your file and which school is involved, but even so, the proportion of applicants with publications is small. Plenty of people with pubs aren't admitted to top schools, and plenty of people without them are.

Though you say you aren't, your first post makes it sound like you are a rockstar with great numbers and ECs and the only thing keeping you out of top 10s was the lack of a pub. This I doubt.

I know it's hard to believe which is why I am very disappointed in the outcome. What I said in the first post is absolute truth; I have a high MCAT and high GPA andgreat ECs and research. I also applied early and turned in my secondaries on time. Maybe Im an outlier but I feel like I did everything right and still got ****ted on
 

MangoPlant

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Jul 27, 2012
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Thanks for the responses everyone! :)



:laugh:

You are n=1. LizzyM is an adcom at a top school, and I'm pretty sure she knows more about what gets people interviews and acceptances than someone who just happens to be a rockstar applicant.

Being first or second author on a Nature/Cell paper would probably boost >1 LizzyM point, but OP is listed as a middle author, which while it's still impressive, it's not as impressive as being listed near the beginning. Heck I'm listed 5th author on something and I had just gotten to the lab a couple weeks before it was submitted. I don't consider that impressive, because I didn't really contribute to the pub.

shirtless' post actually raises an interesting point.

Consider two applicants. Both have everything else equal except the stuff mentioned below.
Applicant A: 3.85 GPA + 36 MCAT + mid-author in Nature/Cell/Science paper
Applicant B: 3.85 GPA 37 MCAT

Both have the same LizzyM score after the 1 point boost from the paper for applicant A. Who is the more impressive applicant? If you think it is applicant A, then the paper would be more than 1 LizzyM point.

Nonetheless, I think it would depend on who is viewing the application. Perhaps at some schools (maybe LizzyM's school) publications are not as favored as much as they are at some other schools.
 

shirtless

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Thanks for the responses everyone! :)





shirtless' post actually raises an interesting point.

Consider two applicants. Both have everything else equal except the stuff mentioned below.
Applicant A: 3.85 GPA + 36 MCAT + mid-author in Nature/Cell/Science paper
Applicant B: 3.85 GPA 37 MCAT

Both have the same LizzyM score after the 1 point boost from the paper for applicant A. Who is the more impressive applicant? If you think it is applicant A, then the paper would be more than 1 LizzyM point.

Nonetheless, I think it would depend on who is viewing the application. Perhaps at some schools (maybe LizzyM's school) publications are not as favored as much as they are at some other schools.

.
 

JFK90787

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Judging from my personal experience this app cycle, I honestly don't think publications help that much for normal MD admissions, and they certainly don't compensate for a deficiency elsewhere in the app. For MSTPs or research-focused programs like CCLCM or HST they probably get more kudos.

Also keep in mind that as a premed, getting your name in the middle of a bunch of authors for a journal like Cell probably means you were lucky enough to get put into an accomplished lab, and your PI was nice enough to throw you a pity mention.
 
Last edited:

Ismet

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ya well, you are completely twisting my words around. First of all, I am not a "rockstar applicant". I am a solid applicant with great grades and MCAT and an actual passion for doing what I do..However, the fact that I do not have a publication is what brought me down so I dont want to hear the bs from people like you and LizzyM (no offense) who say that its all about passion and that publications dont matter because they absolutely do

I am actually one of the few who wants to go into academic medicine and I actually like research for research's sake and the fact that I am lacking a pub hurt me big time, while others who feign interest in research and got lucky to have publications wont take advantage of the top schools' research resources..

sorry for venting but im tired of hearing the crap and want future applicants to not take others' posts as gospel.. if you are interested in top schools, get a publication or gtfo

Maybe the attitude you gave off in your essays or interviews is what did you in, maybe you had bad/indifferent LORs, maybe you applied to too many top schools and not enough mid-tiers. Lack of publication absolutely did not keep you out of a medical school. There are people in my school (top 15) and other top schools that have never even done research, and it's not just 1 or 2 outliers. If you have the MCAT, GPA, and substantial research and ECs like you said you had, then you are an excellent applicant. There's something else OTHER than lacking a pub.

It's nice that you say "no offense" but saying what people, who have more experience in admissions than you, say is BS is pretty offensive. You need to take a step back and really evaluate your application and how you come across.
 

Ismet

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Thanks for the responses everyone! :)

shirtless' post actually raises an interesting point.

Consider two applicants. Both have everything else equal except the stuff mentioned below.
Applicant A: 3.85 GPA + 36 MCAT + mid-author in Nature/Cell/Science paper
Applicant B: 3.85 GPA 37 MCAT

Both have the same LizzyM score after the 1 point boost from the paper for applicant A. Who is the more impressive applicant? If you think it is applicant A, then the paper would be more than 1 LizzyM point.

Nonetheless, I think it would depend on who is viewing the application. Perhaps at some schools (maybe LizzyM's school) publications are not as favored as much as they are at some other schools.

It's a waste of time to consider these nit-picky hypotheticals because "everything else" will never be equal. Also, LizzyM scores are meant to be a GUIDE towards figuring out what schools might be in your range. It's not a hard and fast "82 will get me in but 81 won't." You should shoot for the majority of schools to be around your LizzyM score, and then some above as reaches and some below as "safeties."

It does depend on what school you're applying to and who is viewing the application, but it depends on the applicant as a whole as well as the interview.
 
ya well, you are completely twisting my words around. First of all, I am not a "rockstar applicant". I am a solid applicant with great grades and MCAT and an actual passion for doing what I do..However, the fact that I do not have a publication is what brought me down so I dont want to hear the bs from people like you and LizzyM (no offense) who say that its all about passion and that publications dont matter because they absolutely do

I am actually one of the few who wants to go into academic medicine and I actually like research for research's sake and the fact that I am lacking a pub hurt me big time, while others who feign interest in research and got lucky to have publications wont take advantage of the top schools' research resources..

sorry for venting but im tired of hearing the crap and want future applicants to not take others' posts as gospel.. if you are interested in top schools, get a publication or gtfo

Nice rant there bro. A publication isn't necessary for applying MD-only, but it may be in MSTP. There are probably other flaws in your app that resulted in your bad luck.
 

Ppierce baller

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Give yourself 1 LizzyM point.

long time lurker, first time poster...just wanted to say, in my limited experience, I completely disagree with LizzyM. Speaking as someone with 95%+ on MCAT, and very high GPA with substantial research and ecs, a nature/cell paper would do far more than add one lizzym point and would probably gaurrantee multiple interviews at top 10 schools
When competition reaches such a high level at the top 10-20 schools, a nature paper is precisely the thing needed to push you over the top and i have no doubt that a 3.8/35 with a nature paper will be prefered over a 3.9/39 any day of the week

So shirtless, I kind of have to agree with LizzyM here. Lizzy does seem to have the gunner mentality and in this case it is exactly spot on. If you are not FIRST autor (primary author) it is not going to hold major significance as you are referring to. Adcoms want to see FIRST author publications, because that means you did a significant amount of the work and wrote the paper. Any ***** could stain a few slides and run a western and bam they are third author on a Nature or Cell paper. What the heck does that tell an adcom? You're a lucky SOB in a high quality lab?

Now if you are FIRST author on a Cell/Nature/Science paper, Lizzy is way off. That in my opnion is worth way more than 1 point on her scale. Why? It is so freaking few and far in between. Basically no one (even in the Yale, Harvard, Cornell, NW, Hopkins pool of applicants) is going to have that quality of research (even most junior or senior faculty). That would put you over the hump anywhere (even with a slightly subpar MCAT or GPA). But second or third author? Come-on give me a break...no way. One point is being generous. It's not your original work. Right place at the right time....should be worth no more than being able to describe your research intelligently. Although it is good in the sense that you have something to show for your hard work.

If you don't believe me google the dean of admissions at UMich talking about this. He agrees with me 100% on this. So does everyone else in academia (who judges you). Remember, most adcoms are Phds so they know how all this stuff works.
 

Narmerguy

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I know it's hard to believe which is why I am very disappointed in the outcome. What I said in the first post is absolute truth; I have a high MCAT and high GPA andgreat ECs and research. I also applied early and turned in my secondaries on time. Maybe Im an outlier but I feel like I did everything right and still got ****ted on

I'm sorry you didn't have much success, but it is very unlikely that it had anything to do with your lack of pubs. The majority of matriculants to top schools probably don't even have publications. Hell, some of them don't even have any research experience (and many more don't have much else besides a summer of research).

Pubs are great and show a lot about an applicant, but there's diminishing returns with research (as with any component of an applicant's record). It's like someone with a 41 MCAT vs a 43 MCAT. There reaches a point where it's great to have the 43, but hardly necessary and frankly not that much different from a 41. Why don't you email/call some of the schools after this cycle is over and ask them what you could have done to strengthen your chances. I think you may be surprised at what they have to say.
 

shirtless

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I'm sorry you didn't have much success, but it is very unlikely that it had anything to do with your lack of pubs. The majority of matriculants to top schools probably don't even have publications. Hell, some of them don't even have any research experience (and many more don't have much else besides a summer of research).

Pubs are great and show a lot about an applicant, but there's diminishing returns with research (as with any component of an applicant's record). It's like someone with a 41 MCAT vs a 43 MCAT. There reaches a point where it's great to have the 43, but hardly necessary and frankly not that much different from a 41. Why don't you email/call some of the schools after this cycle is over and ask them what you could have done to strengthen your chances. I think you may be surprised at what they have to say.

I appreciate your advice. SDN needs more people like you. I will definitely follow your advice and see what happened. And btw, I did get in to great schools but I certainly expected more love from top twenty schools (I got a few interviews).
 

Narmerguy

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I appreciate your advice. SDN needs more people like you. I will definitely follow your advice and see what happened. And btw, I did get in to great schools but I certainly expected more love from top twenty schools (I got a few interviews).

:thumbup: You've already won then. I understand the burning desire for more, I often have it too, but seriously the rest is all gravy.
 
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