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Lacking in research?

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by Inuranic, Apr 28, 2007.

  1. Inuranic

    Inuranic 5+ Year Member

    May 31, 2006
    I promised myself I'd never make a post like this. Oh well.

    I currently have a 3.9+ GPA from a public liberal arts school. I'm taking the MCAT May 11th (practice scores in the 30-33 range). I've worked in a hospital for four years, volunteered in a hospital and in the community over the past two years, tutored this semester, blah blah blah...

    I'm applying MD/PhD this cycle. I have a year of biological research. Is this enough? The PI I met up with last summer was starting research on a new animal model, and essentially let me set up the entire project. I wrote a grant proposal (and got my grant), presented my research at a small conference this semester, and will continue this research for the next year. I also began psychological research two months ago, and will work on that project this summer.

    Is a little over a year of research enough? Both projects have been essentially my own; I'm not a test tube monkey. I've also designed an individualized major for myself which has me continuing my bio research for my remaining time as an undergrad as a requisite for graduation. The people who post on here with 3+ years of research are making me neurotic. I'm not applying to many (if any) top-20 schools, mostly low- to mid-tier (if med schools and MSTP programs can be described as such...).

    Drum roll please - what are my chances?
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  3. jeniffer lopez

    jeniffer lopez La butifarra 7+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2003
    Inuranic, NEVER ever compare yourself to anybody in this forum. Schools care about the scientist in you and how committed you are to this path, not so much if you have had 3 or 13 different research experiences. They take into account your undergrad and what kind of opportunities you had there, believe me. If you show through your application that you are independent (within your level of training, nobody expects you to be at the postdoctoral level nor should you pretend to be somebody you are not because they can identify that crap easily) and, most importantly, motivated and decided, then you are good to go. You already wrote a grant and got it funded, so make sure you emphasize that.

    Make sure you apply to some dream schools too, don't count yourself out before even seeing how good you are. If you have killer letters of recommendation, that will put you with the most competitive applicants. Allow yourself to dream big. I was told MANY times over interviews that schools were looking for POTENTIAL, and they can identify that given what you have done with the opportunities available to you. Just my two cents.
  4. Circumflex

    Circumflex Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2006
    You'll be fine. Don't worry.
  5. totalcommand

    totalcommand Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Jul 26, 2005
    i don't see any reason why you should be aiming should aim across the board for where you want to go. you don't want to shortchange yourself by simply not applying to great schools.

    as a side note, i think your research sounds really in depth and much more significant than many people's experiences. the area you might want to improve is your mcat, since it seems that some schools have some kind of filter going where they only look at apps with a certain mcat score or above.
  6. Inuranic

    Inuranic 5+ Year Member

    May 31, 2006
    Thanks for the responses everyone.

    The MCAT score is one of the reasons I'm not aiming super high. I've checked the schools I'm applying to - as long as I score in my practice range, I meet/exceed the cutoffs.

    I just can't justify applying to my "dream" schools. This process is going to set us all back a good chunk of money, and I don't know about throwing away an extra couple hundred for a few more rejections.

    That is, unless I jump up to a high 30 MCAT. Then I'm throwing away money like there's no tomorrow.
  7. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd Administrator Physician PhD Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Mar 14, 2002
    the beach
    Don't start picking schools until you actually get your MCAT score back. I scored 6 points higher on the real exam than on my last practice test. I averaged on practice exams where you are now and did much better. Some students do much worse.

    I agree with the posters above. My application was similar to yours yet I felt the same way you do here. I applied to mostly the wrong schools for me, though it worked out since I got into my top choice anyways (a top tier school). I definately now feel like I aimed too low and just seeing some of these other schools would have been more useful than some of the middle of nowhere places I applied.
  8. jeniffer lopez

    jeniffer lopez La butifarra 7+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2003
    I improved 2 points from my highest practice, and some of my friends even 3-4. So if you are now around 32-33, then you can shoot for a 35, which is pretty solid. I agree on waiting until you get your MCAT before making any decisions.
  9. Shatterstar17

    Shatterstar17 Member 5+ Year Member

    Mar 4, 2006
    My kinda un-scientific suggestion is, if you manage to score >= 34, there's nowhere you shouldn't apply. MCAT seems to matter a bit less in this process than straight MD.
  10. bubbachuck

    bubbachuck Fear denies faith 10+ Year Member

    Jul 10, 2005
    I'm pretty sure you have more research experience than the average MSTPer. It's important that you had independent projects. Make sure your advisor points this out on the recs and you emphasize it as well.
  11. solitude

    solitude Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 27, 2004
    That's the impression I get too. It seems that once you're in the mid-30's, nobody really cares what you got on the MCAT.
  12. Dr.Watson

    Dr.Watson 2+ Year Member

    Oct 11, 2006

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