2+ Year Member
Dec 26, 2017
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I've been reading around but most of the posts I'm finding are years old and don't seem accurate today. Also its pretty long but I REALLY need some input :arghh:

I'm an international student [note: not Canadian nor US citizen/permanent resident] in my "third" year of my Bachelor's degree at a research-intensive university in Canada.
I'm currently studying Bioinformatics/Computational Biology and my goal for my degree was always to go on to a Ph.D. I've actually always detested the idea of going into medicine and never intended to do so but my life goal is truly translational research. I was therefore looking into Ph.D. programs that included translational tracks or masters of medicine as part of the curriculum which is how I discovered the possibility of an MD/ Ph.D. I initially dismissed the idea because (ofcourse) that darn medical school but months have passed and I really can't get the idea out of my head and I'm slowly coming to accept that it may be I want for myself.

Now I already know someone is gonna say "if you don't want to be a physician don't do an MD". And honestly, it's not that I hate the idea of being a physician I just grew up in hospitals (sick as a kid) and so never imagined myself returning. I interact with lots of doctors even today and have done some shadowing but it was with a pathologist. So this upcoming year I do plan on doing some real shadowing or other clinical experiences primarily to see if its something I can really see myself doing and secondly because i'll need it for applications anyway.

Ok so now for the questions:

1. What are my chances? (pretend I'm a US citizen, just humor me)

GPA: Canadian 89% - From what I've read AMCAS would convert this to a 4.0
MCAT: haven't taken yet but would aim for 520
Research: by the time I graduate 2 years (one full year in my current lab, a 1 semester research course, a summer research internship at a hospital and a full year thesis course), at least one presentation and hopefully a publication but who knows.
- Volunteered in a hospital lab during my gap year before university (10 months) - shadowed a pathologist, lots of histology/cytology based diagnoses and post mortems, obviously not much patient interaction but he did go onto the wards every now and then. Also spent time in the haematology/clinical chemistry departments performing blood tests and in specimen collection actually collecting samples from patients. Piloted a cancer registry (first of its kind in the country) with the support of the government by compiling patient information from all hospitals.
- No traditional clinical experience like I said
- Some non-clinical volunteering but nothing to shout about
- Lots of leadership experiences

2. I always planned on taking a gap year just because I wanted some work experience before my graduate degree. I was going to try to get a junior bioinformatician position but now I'm wondering if I should try to get a purely research position/ medical related position. Any input?

3. What are my actual chances?
I've been comparing myself to stats on MSAR and on MD/PhD websites which are already so competitive but i've seen on here that it's actually even more competitive for international students. Anyone have any idea what the stats are actually like? For example for top tiers like Yale, Upenn, Cornell etc or more mid range like Keck or Einstein?

4. How do I find information that I keep seeing people talk about about schools that say they accept international students vs those that actually matriculate ones?

Sorry for the long read but I really appreciate the help!
Last edited:


15+ Year Member
Sep 10, 2003
East of Eden
Status (Visible)
As a US citizen, you would be a solid but not outstanding applicant. To improve your application, I strongly encourage you to do a postbac year or two focused on research and to get more shadowing experience. For the 2017 entering class, 11 of 122 international (non-permanent residents) applicants were enrolled by MD-PhD programs; by contrast 635 of 1736 US citizens & permanent residents were enrolled . The enrollment rate for internationals, therefore, was 9%, versus 37% for US citizens, and internationals made up 1.7% of all enrollments. According to the AAMC MD-PhD program spreadsheet, 54 programs never consider internationals, 24 do consider internationals, and 11 consider on a case by case basis (whatever that means). You should contact those 35 programs and ask the following questions. 1)Do they treat international applicants the same as other applicants? That is, do they use the same evaluation criteria? 2)Do they limit the number of international students they can enroll in a given year? 3) Do they award the same amount of financial aid to internationals as to domestic students? 4)How many internationals are currently in the program & what percentage does that represent? The answers you want to hear are Yes, No, Yes, and multiple students.
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