reine1jb

MD/PhD hopeful
10+ Year Member
May 17, 2007
197
0
in a corn field
Status
MD/PhD Student
Hello everyone,
I have taken the MCAT twice and twice scored well below the average for accepted MD/PhD applicants.
1st try
9PS, 9VR, 10BS
2nd time
8PS, 9VR, 12BS

I have a 3.88 and three years of research experience plus two summers at medical schools and 100 or so hours shadowing experience....Do I have any chance at MD/PhD programs or is it pretty much hopeless

Thanks a bunch for your opinions I appreciate it
 

ratherberocking

10+ Year Member
Jul 22, 2007
175
0
Cambridge, MA
Status
Pre-Medical
Hey. Don't loose hope. I know a girl from my department who got into the University of Colorado MD/PhD program with a 27 on her MCAT. Don't loose hope! But, if you feel that uncertain, study harder and retake the MCAT in August.
 

redoc

10+ Year Member
Nov 3, 2007
52
0
Status
MD/PhD Student
That's really tough... A lot of schools put a heavy emphasis on the mcat... I would say give it a shot but keep your expectations low. I would save my money and apply to programs where you have a chance...(avoid top tier schools)
 

jjmack

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2003
823
11
LA
Status
MD/PhD Student, Resident [Any Field]
unless you have a ton of research with papers I don't see it happening.
 

CCLCMer

CCLCM Alum c/o 2011
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 10, 2006
1,873
29
Cleveland expatriate
cclcmstudent.blogspot.com
Status
Resident [Any Field]
You should talk to the program directors at some schools you think you would apply to. None of us can really tell you what your chances are. I know in my program (MD/MS, not MD/PhD), there is no minimum MCAT, and some people do get in with MCATs in the high 20s. Probably some MD/PhD programs would be more strict about MCAT requirements than others, and of course your research credentials are really important too.

If you don't get a good reception from the MD/PhD program directors, you could also try applying for an MD at schools that will let you transfer into the MD/PhD programs. You would have to pay for your first year or two of med school, but at least you could get both degrees if that's really important to you. Good luck, I hope you can find some programs that will give you a chance.
 

Neuronix

Total nerd
Staff member
Administrator
15+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2002
13,002
2,219
the beach
Status
Attending Physician
You should talk to the program directors at some schools you think you would apply to. None of us can really tell you what your chances are.
My experience with this has been: Oh sure, of course you should apply. Rejection without interview a couple months later. It's still not bad advice, just take what you get with a grain of salt.

I know in my program (MD/MS, not MD/PhD), there is no minimum MCAT, and some people do get in with MCATs in the high 20s.
Do you happen to be a URM? That would help mitigate the MCAT score.
 

CCLCMer

CCLCM Alum c/o 2011
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 10, 2006
1,873
29
Cleveland expatriate
cclcmstudent.blogspot.com
Status
Resident [Any Field]
My experience with this has been: Oh sure, of course you should apply. Rejection without interview a couple months later. It's still not bad advice, just take what you get with a grain of salt.
Silly me, of course the advice you'd get from a bunch of premeds and med students on the Student Doctor Network who know absolutely nothing about you besides your MCAT score is bound to be better, right? :laugh: Ok, so we can both grant the point that ALL advice should be taken with a whole shaker of salt. That's why you don't just ask one person.

Do you happen to be a URM? That would help mitigate the MCAT score.
No. I don't know whether to roll my eyes at you or laugh at you. I can't fathom how you concluded that MY score was below a 30, let alone that I must be URM, from my previous post. Those are some interesting leaps of logic you made, but you're off base with both of them.
 

Neuronix

Total nerd
Staff member
Administrator
15+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2002
13,002
2,219
the beach
Status
Attending Physician
Ok, so we can both grant the point that ALL advice should be taken with a whole shaker of salt.
Indeed. Perhaps I am overly sensitive because I have been given bad advice by those who should be helping me a few more times than I'd like. I've seen my own program give people, especially someone who was very close to me, false hope a few too many times.

Those are some interesting leaps of logic you made, but you're off base with both of them.
That was meant to be directed towards the op, apologies for the miscommunication.
 

CCLCMer

CCLCM Alum c/o 2011
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 10, 2006
1,873
29
Cleveland expatriate
cclcmstudent.blogspot.com
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Indeed. Perhaps I am overly sensitive because I have been given bad advice by those who should be helping me a few more times than I'd like. I've seen my own program give people, especially someone who was very close to me, false hope a few too many times.
I'm sorry that happened, and I'm glad you were successful in spite of it. Sure, not every program director is necessarily a great person who will tell the potential applicant everything straight. But some of them do. I just don't think that reine1jb should automatically give up all hope at every MD/PhD program across the nation just because some programs put a lot of emphasis on the MCAT. 29 isn't THAT bad of a score. Sometimes on SDN you get the impression that if you're not some kind of superstar with a perfect app in every way, you can't get into med school, and that's just not true.

That was meant to be directed towards the op, apologies for the miscommunication.
Heh, you quoted my post, so I thought you were asking me. I was going, WTF? Sorry. :oops:
 

tbo

MS-4
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
May 5, 2002
324
3
Visit site
Status
Medical Student
Well, I'll share at the cost of my own embarrassment - but I too was looking for such candid experiences when I was applying so here goes. I went to a good school but got horrible grades, partially due to just being plain dumb (more specifically being too young and as an extension too immature for college, I will never let my kids skip grades). My undergrad GPA is appalling even for bottom-tier MD-only tracks (it's a 3.0). My MCAT I took a few times, got sub 30 my first try out, but finally pulled a 33. I applied to MD-only in 2003ish and got nothing, no interviews, no nada. With enthusiasm waning for med school, I went and got a Master's degree (non-special, traditional Masters) at a top 10 med school that I could use outside of being a doctor. Did really well (near 4.0) to show that I could hack school (and even tutored some MDs) but also developed a fine professional career in healthcare.

This year I applied to about 25 MD/PhD programs, both MSTP and non-MSTP all across the gamut (from Harvard down to the smallest of programs), received 1 MSTP interview and was waitlisted, and ultimately pseudo-rejected. I have no hard evidence but I'm convinced i was in maybe the top 2 of the waitlist of a small MSTP program.

I think my only strength throughout has been my research. I have 9 publications, 1 first author. I've researched up the wazzoo. The other thing is I've worked in a myriad of positions along all of healthcare and the Dean of the School that I interviewed with made special comment about this - he thought this was my biggest strength and not my research (We have a bunch of 22 year olds who have never paid a single dollar for healthcare in their life.. and we expect them to understand the foibles of our healthcare system? and somehow incite change to it? - i found this to be a very insightful topic of conversation and something I never considered in my candidacy). The same dean also made indirect comments that he was fully aware of the weaknesses in my GPA but saw my potential contributions and insights as outweighing these things.

So what I hope to convey is what neuronix and CCLCMer have said, which is approach this whole process with realism, but do so with a fervor and a full-head of steam and energy. Ultimately I was close but not quite there for MD/PhD. I am, however, going to medical school (accepted MD only) and with any luck, may get into the MSTP as an internal applicant next year.

Would I have gone ahead and applied knowing the full breadth of emotions I had to go through for the last X years? Ugh.... I have to say it's been more than brutal. BUT, the answer would be I would do it all again, because I'm going to be a doctor and I can make it as research-intense as I want. I was a borderline MD-only candidate and now I have a chance to do some great things either as an MD or MD/PhD at a fine school.

Recognize that you have a tough battle, but there's no need to distinguish between "no chance" and "low chance" or even "application-worthy chance". I got 1 acceptance and that was all I needed to be on the path to physician scientist... of some sort.
 
OP
R

reine1jb

MD/PhD hopeful
10+ Year Member
May 17, 2007
197
0
in a corn field
Status
MD/PhD Student
Again thank you all for your responses and giving thoughtful answers, they have been extremely helpful...I have emailed some program director's and obviously heard alot of what some of you have been saying..with a sub 30 MCAT it will be extremely hard to find a spot...guess I have some thinking to do...
 

iadrmr

MD/PhD applicant
10+ Year Member
May 21, 2008
1
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I'm unfortunately in the same boat as the original thread author. I just got my score back yesterday: 30R. 11 verbal, 10 bs, 9 phys. I was aiming for a 33 or 34 based on schools I've been looking at. Any recommendations on what to do next? I won't be able to retake until August (summer research internship in NYC). Should I still do that? Would anyone also recommend delaying my application timetable a little bit so that the August score shows up in my primary at some of the upper-tier schools? Just looking for advice on what to do next...thanks
 

gbwillner

Pastafarian
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Jan 30, 2006
2,186
310
You've got the Touch- You've got the Power!
Status
Attending Physician
I'm unfortunately in the same boat as the original thread author. I just got my score back yesterday: 30R. 11 verbal, 10 bs, 9 phys. I was aiming for a 33 or 34 based on schools I've been looking at. Any recommendations on what to do next? I won't be able to retake until August (summer research internship in NYC). Should I still do that? Would anyone also recommend delaying my application timetable a little bit so that the August score shows up in my primary at some of the upper-tier schools? Just looking for advice on what to do next...thanks
A low 30's score is really not the end of the world. The score is adequate if you are URM (the reason Neronix brought this up earlier) even at top-tier places. Otherwise, your overall chances rest on having a great resume and great LORs (great GPA or top-tier college a must).

But as others have said, you may just want to lower your expectations a bit. Perhaps UPenn, WashU, Hopkins, and Harvard may not return your phone calls, but there are 30-something other MSTPs out there that may. IMHO retaking the MCAT is of limited use... it MAY help you a little, or it may hurt you... you are not guaranteed to do better and the schools will see your previous score. Just apply.
 

PlayFair

10+ Year Member
May 14, 2008
25
0
Status
Medical Student
So granted, I applied about 6 years ago, but I had MCAT 30 and 31 with some minor research experience. Maybe it was my sparkling personality, but I was able to get 2 offers (out of ~8 interviews) and have done great at my smallish program. I am now within one year of finishing the whole shebang (PhD is complete and in the bag) and will be applying for residency this fall. I think that if you can definitely get good training at smaller MD/PhD programs, so go ahead and apply and don't limit yourself to MSTP programs. Maybe also look at programs that are newer, and within their first few recruiting classes. They may be more likely to review your whole application instead of just your numbers.
 

ldhlsu1

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 3, 2007
12
4
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Can you take the MCAT again? I was once told by the director at the University of Michigan that they did not look down at people that took the MCAT up to three times. I also agree with the others that say not to worry if you do not make it into the very top programs. The education is much more important than the name of the school.
 
OP
R

reine1jb

MD/PhD hopeful
10+ Year Member
May 17, 2007
197
0
in a corn field
Status
MD/PhD Student
Can you take the MCAT again? I was once told by the director at the University of Michigan that they did not look down at people that took the MCAT up to three times. I also agree with the others that say not to worry if you do not make it into the very top programs. The education is much more important than the name of the school.
I had thought about taking it a third time but I have had a hard time finding a spot to take it. I have an internship at the University of Washington this summer, I do not want to be studying for it while I'm there because the whole point is to be dedicated to doing research so I can't find a spot prior to leaving.

I realize that top 10-20 institutions are out of the question which is perfectly fine, but what schools would I have a realistic shot at getting into? If any?
 

LunderKind

MS4
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 8, 2007
167
0
Status
MD/PhD Student
I'm unfortunately in the same boat as the original thread author. I just got my score back yesterday: 30R. 11 verbal, 10 bs, 9 phys. I was aiming for a 33 or 34 based on schools I've been looking at. Any recommendations on what to do next? I won't be able to retake until August (summer research internship in NYC). Should I still do that? Would anyone also recommend delaying my application timetable a little bit so that the August score shows up in my primary at some of the upper-tier schools? Just looking for advice on what to do next...thanks
If you're unhappy with your score and think you can do about 4 points better upon retaking the test, then do so. It's likely the last major opportunity you have to improve your chances during the application cycle, so why not go for it?

I don't know about delaying your primary...many schools will wait for the later MCAT score before reviewing your application anyway. I would still tend to think that you should submit your primary early, so you can have the secondaries from schools to complete right after you take your August MCAT. Then you can have secondaries submitted by the time schools receive your next MCAT score and still be applying relatively early in the process.
 

jdeng87

10+ Year Member
May 29, 2008
25
0
Status
MD/PhD Student
hey redoc.

im curious to learn more about emory and what they look at.

thanks!
 
Last edited:

xanthines

decaying organic matter
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 22, 2002
1,094
4
slashdot.org
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Your MCAT score is fine if your GPA, research experience, and LOR's are good. Emory has a MCAT/GPA cutoff for interviews but they revise it somewhat frequently and I've been out of the game too long to know what that is.

Is there a reason you're not sending the 3rd letter? I'm of the opinion that it doesn't really hurt to add more letters (within reason) because the worst that will happen is that they won't get read. However, some interviewers/adcoms may think the worst, so if you can get a good letter I would do it.

-X

hey redoc.

emory is one of my top choices for mstp and iwas curious what do you think is the avg mcat score for this program? i got a 33S (13, 10, 10) in january and i retook in may hoping for a few points higher, particularly in bio. my advisor said that mstp programs will look down on the fact that my bio score is low compared to my phy, esp since i am applying for phd in immunology. how much truth do you think is in that? also, do i need to send LOR from all of my research PIs? i am only sending 2 of three.

thanks!
 

Brunette1981

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 30, 2007
103
0
East Coast
Status
Resident [Any Field]
If you're unhappy with your score and think you can do about 4 points better upon retaking the test, then do so. It's likely the last major opportunity you have to improve your chances during the application cycle, so why not go for it?
The question is if a 4 point improvement is likely. If there were untoward circumstances the first time you took the test (you were ill, a family member became suddenly sick, bf/gf dumped you, you decided to wing the test without studying), then retaking it definitely makes sense. If you put 4-6 weeks of studying in beforehand, you are unlikely to make a 4 point leap. You may do 1 pt better but as a second test grade, that is unlikely to be considered "better." And you may do 1 point worse, which would put you below the 30 point line.

So, not that it's a bad idea, but retaking the MCAT isn't necessarily a good idea either without considering these other factors. And a 30 isn't a horrible score, although it may put you out of the running for top 10-20 places if the rest of your application is average (for an MD/PhD applicant).
 
Jul 7, 2012
16
0
Status
Thanks for the insightful response. Care to share what made you stand out or where you are a medical student at? Thanks!