Is it harder to gain acceptance to an MSTP than an MD program?

PsychStudent

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Obviously the two types of programs are looking for different things, but I was just curious in regards to things like grades and test scores.
 

treetrunk

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Most people I have talked to have thought that grades and test scores are higher for MSTP applicants than MD applicants. I have not seen much hard data, however, that would confirm or deny this. One school, Washington University in St. Louis, tells on its website that the average numbers for its MSTP matriculants are 3.85, 36R. This is very similar to the averages for matriculants to the MD program (3.82, 36.6).
 

huseyin

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PsychStudent said:
Obviously the two types of programs are looking for different things, but I was just curious in regards to things like grades and test scores.

I guess MSTP programs and MD programs are equally competetive in terms of scores. However, the quality, duration and understanding of research determines one's competetiveness in MSTP application. The guy that I am working with interviewed with an applicant who has a first author Science manuscript. I do not know his scores but I feel like as long as it is average he is definitely in. My point is for MSTP you can have average scores(3.75,35) and a very strong research background and you can be more competetive than (4.000, 39) one summer research background.

On the other hand, for MDs besides your scores how you present yourself as a future physician is very important. What kind of things have you done to make sure that you wanna really do medicine and deal woth people?

Well, I guess one can claim that the average scores of MSTP class is higher than MD class. However, it is my guess that MSTP applicants tend to be more acedemically oriented than MD applicants.

Scores are only a part of our application not 60% of it. As long as you are able to get to the seconderies, you can send your papers, manuscripts and LORs. I feel like those will be the ones that make a difference.

huseyin
 
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Vader

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WashU's stats are misleading because the med school selects for high MCATs and grades. In addition, the stats you quoted for "MD program" probably also include MSTP stats.
 

whattodowithmys

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huseyin said:
My point is for MSTP you can have average scores(3.75,35) and a very strong research background and you can be more competetive than (4.000, 39) one summer research background.

man, i wouldn't mind having some "average" stats!
 

abeanatrice

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huseyin said:
I meant average scores for a competetive program. I am not claiming that anyone below these can not get in but generally cutoffs are around that.

When will people start to understand that there really aren't cutoffs once you get beyond a certain point??? I mean, you probably aren't going to get into a stellar MSTP if you have a 3.0 and a 28, but I am totally convinced that they really do try to look at your whole application. People post averages, but they don't post standard deviations. I think I can pretty much guarantee you the range for every "competitive" program goes from 3.5 to 4.0 and from 30-43.

Reminds me of an experience me and a friend of mine had along the interview trail from the same applicant in two different places. Every director will tell you that they interview a broad range of grades and scores...but for some reason people seem to refuse to believe it. "Oh, you don't have a cutoff of people with 3.8's and 37's? Man, that must mean your program isn't that good...I don't want to go here anymore." Or, "wait, you're saying you might take someone that's competitive but might otherwise not be admitted because they have a significant other that is already admitted? I bet that degrades the quality of the students so much, this school sucks."

Sorry to rant, but people need to grow up and realize that life isn't all about numbers and being human does help not only in gaining acceptances into these programs, but also helps you get through life happily and successfully...

(And to huseyin, please don't take this personally, cause I am pretty sure you didn't really mean it to come across that way...it's just pent up frustration)
 

Gfunk6

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abeanatrice said:
When will people start to understand that there really aren't cutoffs once you get beyond a certain point???
Well, a "cutoff beyond a certain point" is still a cutoff. And who's to say if a cutoff deserves to be at an MCAT of 29 vs. 30? Cutoffs are a way of life for many MSTPs and it continues in residency selection.

But to return to the original question, I think MSTP admisssions (statistically) is slightly easier than MD admission. Mainly b/c the MSTP applicant pool is self-limiting and smaller.
 

canadian

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I think it depends on the strength of your application. If you have a strong research background, getting into MSTP could be easier as Gfunk6 mentioned.

On a personal note, Applied to >15 MD programs .... 1 interview....1 waitlist
Applied to 3 MD/PhD programs.... 3 interviews... 2 acceptances.. 1 waitlist...
name on a Nature paper didn't hurt I guess...
 

Maebea

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MD-PhD programs are generally more willing to look beyond lower GPA and MCAT scores than MD programs. Our program admitted one student whose GPA was 0.95 below our average, and another student whose MCAT was 10 points below the average. The critical criteria for these individuals was their strong research background, just as it is for the 4.0, 42T MCAT applicant. While GPA and MCAT have some value in predicting how individuals will fare in the preclinical training, it has no predicitive value as far as clinical performance or excellence as a researcher. Our job is to train individuals to be outstanding clinicians and researchers, not to win the award for having the highest average MCAT and GPA among MD-PhD programs.

To be honest, if we had to choose between offering acceptance to only one of two candidates that were identical in everything except one had a 4.0 and a 40 MCAT and the other had a 3.5 and a 32, we would almost certainly take the one with the gaudier numbers. Part of this is a reflection of our culture's obsession with numbers and rankings, the other part is the fact that the NIH looks at these numbers when evaluating MD-PhD programs for funding. I should point out that MD admissions committees would make a similar choice when faced with the above hypothetical candidates. (However, their bogey man would be US News, rather than the NIH.)

To answer the OP, it is both easier and harder to get accepted by a MD-PhD program. Easier, because the pool is smaller and the programs, to varying degrees, do not rely on quantitative measures as heavily as most MD-only programs. Harder, because successful MSTP applicants have demonstrated that they are committed to research and have had substantial research experience that augurs for future success.
 

b&ierstiefel

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To echo some of the above...certain people will find admission to MD/PhD programs to be easier and certain people will find it to be harder than admission to straight MD.

For instance, if you have good numbers, solid lab research experience, and no volunteer experience (i.e., on paper you look like a socially maladjusted labrat--I say this facetiously of course), then MD/PhD is your backdoor into med school.

On the other hand, if you have some research experience and good numbers, organized volunteer events, and worked in the Peace Corps, then MD admission will be easier for you.

Hopefully, in college, you did what interested YOU the most and what made YOU happy and thrive/develop as a person...whether it be working in the lab and developing your scientific skillz or whether you spent all of your time serving the underprivileged, serving soup at soup kitchens, and playing nintendo with kids. Your CV should be reflective of this (I often feel sorry for those who do things just to put it on their CV but really didn't have a good time while doing those things). And hence, your CV and accomplishments should be quite consistent with the path you choose should it be MD or MD/PhD.

The above descriptions, of course, are extreme cases. The majority of applicants likely do have (and should have) a balance of accomplishments and activities. In the long run, balance in life is a very healthy thing.
 
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