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Improving the Application Process

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by hawkeey, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. hawkeey

    hawkeey Member
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    How can the MD/PhD application process be improved?

    What should be changed about the AMCAS?

    What are the best and worse secondary applications that you have seen?
     
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  3. dillanger

    dillanger Member
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    One big thing I noticed is that I had to reuse a lot of AMCAS essays for the secondaries, especially for the MSTP research ones. I believe that is just because this was the first year AMCAS included an MD/PhD essay but it would be nice not having to reuse/rewrite my essay again.

    I would say the worst secondaries I encountered were Stanford, Duke, and UVA. The moral dilemma question at Duke seemd horrid, and Stanford's "diversity" essay is great unless your not at URM and then it is terrible. I literally sat down with my dad for two days trying to come up with a good thing to write for Stanford and couldn't come up with anything.

    The "best" secondaries I encountered (besides Wash U which didn't have anything =) ) I would say were Penn, Harvard HST, and UCSF. The UPenn essay was:
    this was pretty standard, and I ended up reusing it a lot but it was good to help me think and articulate why I wanted to do with my MD/PhD so I had a convincing story for the interviews. UCSF had me describe one research project in much more detail but limited it to a paragraph or two which was good. I hope that helps


     
  4. Thundrstorm

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    I agree with dillanger's point on having to reuse my AMCAS essays. That being said, I liked having to write the 3 AMCAS essays, and I think this will continue to streamline the process as the schools' secondaries catch up to the new AMCAS.

    A lot of schools request/require 3 research letters. Not everyone has had 3 PIs. I had to request exemptions or substitutions from a few schools. None of them gave me a hard time, but it was still a hassle.

    Some schools send you a complete e-mail from the med school, and then tell you to check by e-mail or telephone with the MD/PhD office. Unfortunately, some of those offices never return your message. Or they have a status page that only reflects your MD status. I guess this is because the MD/PhD program office is separate from MD admissions, but it make it difficult to really know your status.

    If a school is not going to give post-interview decisions until January, they should not tell you to expect to hear in November or December. Correct information could've eased a lot of my anxiety while waiting for decisions (well, I'm still waiting, but now I know how much longer I'll have to wait).

    Some schools list your interview status on the status page, but never send you an e-mail or letter about it. What if you don't check your status page? What if you don't realize that school has a status page? Would you just miss your chance to interview?!

    The best secondaries can be submitted online, have atleast 1 essay (how does mailing you a check let you "get to know" me better?) but not more than 3, and only make you mail LORs to one address.

    Schools that expect you to give their specific form to your LOR writers are obnoxious. My LORs were sent to the pre-med advisor months ago; it's a complete pain to go back and ask them to fill out a separate form, and then make sure the form and the letter end up in the right office. One school even requested that I get my LORs with a special form sent to me in sealed envelopes, and then send the envelopes with my application. And the form had to be signed by me first b/c there was a waiver. So, I had to sign and mail these forms to my LOR writers with stamped envelopes, wait for them to mail them back to me with their signatures over the seals, and then send them and my paper app to the MD/PhD office, only to have them LOSE ALL OF IT. Of course, my MD app (along with my check) arrived just fine. Needless to say, I got sick of the hassle and withdrew my app. Do they have to make it such an uphill battle?
     
  5. ClarinetGeek

    ClarinetGeek Senior Member
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    :eek: :scared:



    Ok, I did not realize this! This is a bit unnerving. Can I ask what schools do this?

    Thanks a ton!
     
  6. Thundrstorm

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    UWash

    Jefferson did at first, but eventually sent a letter about a month later (when I called to inquire, I was told that interview status is updated automatically in their computer system, but that the letter hadn't been drafted yet... so I assume this was only a problem for people who got early interviews).
     

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