Want to get an idea of what are my chances, and get an idea of what are my biggest holes and concerns in my application. I'm planning on applying MD/PhD for entrance in 2013 or 2014. I graduate 2012, and am planning on taking most likely just one year off to either apply for an NIH IRTA or RT position. I only recently decided to pursue the MD/PhD route; previously I was PhD only. I was actually pretty adamant about not MD. Funny how life turns out. Well basically, an MD/PhD friend, a PhD postdoctoral fellow I work with, and my last PI all suggested that I'm fully capable of MD/PhD, and MD/PhD suggested that I would really enjoy medical school. So now here I am after some more thinking and consideration. GPA: Cumulative 3.57 with one more year to go. I know this is on the low side. What's worse is that my science GPA is lower- 3.34 right now... Coursework: A major reason that the GPA is low is because I took a pilot program course that combined introductory biology, chemistry, and physics in one class. Needless to say it was pretty intense, and counted as a double credit (half of my course load). Ended up with a B- both semesters. But it has been an upward trend minus a bad fluke in genetics my sophomore year. Otherwise, I'm a biology major, so I have upper-division biology along with a fair amount of humanities courses. I like balance. MCAT: Taking it in August. Not looking too great, honestly. Will probably take it again after I graduate since I'll have little time if at all during school. But I'm studying. Probably shouldn't be posting so I can add more study time... Research: I have 1 full year (4.5 months full-time, 5 months about 25 hours a week due to being back on a full course load, then 2.5 months full-time again during the summer) that will hopefully be resulting in at least 1 publication assuming we get the paper out eventually. It is possible that we're splitting the project into 2 manuscripts, so I'd be coauthor on both if that happens. I also have another summer research experience (10 weeks full time) that will also be resulting in a publication, assuming that comes out eventually as well. So total research is about 15 months. Plus if I take a year to do an NIH IRTA, that's at least 2 solid years with at least 2 publications. Both of the research experiences are in areas that I am considering (cell biology, immunology-ish). I'm taking my last year off of research to focus on clinical/volunteering and boosting the GPA. LOR: Solid if not outstanding. I have told all of my potential letter writers that I am planning on MD/PhD, and they have all agreed that it's a great idea for me. 2 of the letter writers are obviously from my 2 research experiences. I'll have another one from school, and potentially another from the postdoc I worked with once he gets a faculty position. Is 4 overkill? I know 3 is what's required... Volunteering: Unfortunately I'm lacking in this department, at least with regards to clinical volunteering. I was fairly involved on campus at my previous school before having to transfer: worked a lot with the admissions office and student life office. Last semester I did some tutoring at an elementary school. Looking to potentially volunteer in the ED at a local hospital but am seeing how my schedule will work. Haven't been as involved on campus at my current school because of my heavy research schedule, and because there's a lack of ways to get involved on campus... I now attend a branch campus. Long story short: the school I originally attended became too expensive, and if I still wanted to graduate on time instead of adding at least 2 more years (which financially would've been pointless), attending the branch campus was my only option. Clinical Exposure: Starting that whole process for this next academic year. I'm meeting head of radiation oncology at a prominent teaching hospital this next month to discuss the opportunity of gaining exposure in the department. There is also the slight potential of shadowing a pediatric cardiologist, but that's not as likely, so I'm going to see how that turns out. I'm a first-generation college student, so it's been hard to find shadowing opportunities w/o having the right contacts... thankfully my past year of research has been at a teaching hospital and my PI is helpful. So what are you overall impressions? Are top-tier MSTPs even possible? If not where should I be shooting for?