If rejected in current MD cycle, thinking of applying MD/PhD for next

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basophilic

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I have only got 2 interviews from the 15 I'd applied to for MD - the thing is I'd sent the secondaries REALLY late (Nov/Dec).
I'm re-evaluating my long-term goals and now I really feel interested in doing MD/PhD (reasons for not doing so in current cycle were primarily familial pressure to finish quickly, though I've always had interest in research). Also, I feel if I look at my extracurriculars, they're fairly well-rounded but the biggest spike comes in research. Here are my credentials:

  • GPA: 3.75/3.75 in a top 30; chemistry major with several graduate chem electives as well as several upper-level math and bio electives
  • MCAT: 132/123/131/132 = 518; the low CARS score makes me more fearful but I'd hope the science scores help a bit
Research:
  • Physical Chemistry research (2.5 yrs): 1 non-first author pub; 1 comprehensive 60-page honors thesis in senior yr; 1 small in-school conference
  • Bioengineering research (~1 yr): 1 first-author pub; I have a second project which is looking pretty promising, so can try to maybe eke out a second 1st-author pub (or at least a manuscript) by September; poster at 1 national conference and plan to attend at least 2 more national/regional ones before next app cycle starts
Clinical experience:
  • Volunteering in 4 different departments in 5 different hospitals; several hundred hours; some shadowing as well (though only MDs)
  • EMT: for 2 yrs in undergrad
Teaching:
  • Tutored for a year in math/physics
  • Recently started private tutoring for college sciences; also MIGHT have an opportunity to TA a science elective/lab this spring semester before app cycle

I primarily want to stick to the mid-lower tier MD/PhD programs. In fact, in one lower-mid tier institution, I have actually done a bit of collaboration work with two of that institution's labs. Since they are both labs I'd be interested in working in, if say I work in one of the labs and make some progress before interview season rolls around, would I be able to maximize my chances in that lower-mid tier institution for MD/PhD? Also, I know for sure what specific department at this lower-mid tier institution I'd want to do the PhD portion in; so would it help if I did a Masters degree in that department at this institution? I'll still apply to several different mid-lower tier MD/PhD programs.

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What's your school list, and when do these schools traditionally send out their last interviews? I know we're now in the later half of the application cycle, but you shouldn't prematurely give up on your applications just yet. It's most likely these schools haven't gotten to your application yet since you're chronologically on the bottom of their lists. You should give them more time to get back to you- there are people who were complete in July who are still waiting to hear back from schools!

You sound like a very competitive MD applicant (idk about competitiveness for Md/PhD), and it's likely that you could get at least 1-2 more interview invites before the interview season ends. Good luck!

Thanks for the response. My schools are mostly mid-tier with a couple from higher and lower tiers. However, instead of passively waiting for acceptance, I want to really plan for a more successful next cycle. So aside from eking out another first-author pub, how else do you think I can be more competitive for MD/PhD? Keep in mind, my target schools for MD/PhD would be in the same mid or lower tier (roughly speaking, ranks 40+). What are my barriers here for gaining at least 1 MD/PhD acceptance next cycle?
 
I would search for the excellent thread a few days ago on MD/PhD admissions and their bias toward top 10 applicants. Might help you gauge your competitiveness.

Lack of success in this current cycle probably has more to do with timing than anything else.
 
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Wow, 99-100th percentile sciences and 37th percentile verbal isn't something you see every day. Are you ESL?

A 3.8/36 with multiple pubs, including a first author, is a very strong candidate for both top MD schools and MD/PhD programs. The verbal may cause issues at a few programs but I would guess others will still interview you. Why the hell did you apply so late? Waiting to hit complete until Nov/Dec is a great way to drop a very solid app down into the barely possible range!

I think if you apply early (like, hit complete in August at the latest) next cycle to a mix of MD and MD/PhD you will get attention. And as the above poster said, it isn't over, you need to hear back from two places and might get a couple more interviews at the tail end.
 
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I concur with @efle. Applying early, you should be set at least on paper to be competitive for most MD or MD/PhD programs. The low Verbal might be a problem but I think for MD/PhD you would still get some attention with your background.

Don't apply late kids.
 
Wow, 99-100th percentile sciences and 37th percentile verbal isn't something you see every day. Are you ESL?

A 3.8/36 with multiple pubs, including a first author, is a very strong candidate for both top MD schools and MD/PhD programs. The verbal may cause issues at a few programs but I would guess others will still interview you. Why the hell did you apply so late? Waiting to hit complete until Nov/Dec is a great way to drop a very solid app down into the barely possible range!

I think if you apply early (like, hit complete in August at the latest) next cycle to a mix of MD and MD/PhD you will get attention. And as the above poster said, it isn't over, you need to hear back from two places and might get a couple more interviews at the tail end.

Not ESL (though am immigrant who did spend majority of childhood in native country); I'd averaged ~126 on practice tests and even hit 87% on the AAMC sample test, but messed up on test day. Sciences I was averaging around 130s in FLs
I'll still definitely keep my hopes up for my current chances, but doesn't hurt to plan for next cycle. I'll definitely apply as early as possible, but in the 6 months I have till the next cycle I want to further my credentials, especially for MD/PhD. And from what I see, publications and teaching are looked at the most, right?
Also, could I maximize my chances at a specific lab at a mid-low tier institution if I actually work in that lab before app cycle? This way I can at least have a solid option I can have faith in. Thanks for the input
 
from what I see, publications and teaching are looked at the most, right?
Also, could I maximize my chances at a specific lab at a mid-low tier institution if I actually work in that lab before app cycle?
Yeah, once you've cleared the rather high stats bar for MSTP (which you have already done) the big thing is demonstrated research, and multiple pubs including a first authorship has you well above average in that department.

Also yes, I think your odds at that particular midlevel institution would substantially increase if you worked there for the next 6 months and during the cycle, and got a letter from the PI there. You'd basically have a setup where you could already point to exactly who you'd be doing the PhD with and what you'd be working on.

Others should be able to confirm or correct this that know more about MSTP than I do though.
 
Yeah, once you've cleared the rather high stats bar for MSTP (which you have already done) the big thing is demonstrated research, and multiple pubs including a first authorship has you well above average in that department.

Also yes, I think your odds at that particular midlevel institution would substantially increase if you worked there for the next 6 months and during the cycle, and got a letter from the PI there. You'd basically have a setup where you could already point to exactly who you'd be doing the PhD with and what you'd be working on.

Others should be able to confirm or correct this that know more about MSTP than I do though.

Okay, thanks for the great advice! I'll keep my hopes high for current cycle but also get straight to my above plan for next cycle
 
I could be wrong but some schools might be screening you out because of the CARS section. Especially since it's one of the most important.
 
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