MD/PhD Reapplicant Uncertainty. Looking for advice.

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tired_old_crow

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Hello, unfortunately this past year hasn't been nice. On top of some personal stressors, I was reject from all the programs I finished applications for. I did manage 2 interviews that I thought went well, but unfortunately ended in WLs and eventual rejections. I'm trying to figure out if it is worth reapplying this year.

Some Stats:
GPA: 3.8
MCAT: 519
~4000 hours of research across multiple labs. At the time of application last year it was about 2500.
Some posters from undergraduate work, but no publications. I got asked about this in both interviews and I'm worried it held me back.
Mistakes:
- I applied very top heavy last year. I can be less picky with geography this year, but I struggled to find PIs in my area of interest (computational neuroscience).
- Terrible secondary writing.
- Didn't finish many secondaries

I was encouraged to reapply by my mentors, but I'm hesitant. I don't have any clear signs of research productivity besides a starting a new project. While most of my interviewers seemed to like me, the only clear positive feedback I got was on my personal statement.

I'm currently considering: a) just take a shot and maybe better writing + more schools will make the difference and b) find a new research tech job and wait another year before applying. I'm considering (b) because my current PI has explicitly told me not to expect any publications from my work and I'm frankly miserable where I am now. On the other hand I already feeling like I've thrown away one year and don't want to throw away another two to maybe be a better applicant.

I'm looking for advice and recommendations.

-Crow

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From your title, we are to assume you applied only/mainly MD/PhD, yes?

If that is true, which of these three best describes you?:
1. It is most important to me to be a physician, but I would also like to do research.
2. I fully intend to do medical research that would be greatly facilitated by also being a physician.
3. While I would like to be a physician, I would be happy being a medical researcher as a PhD.

If you fall into category 1, I would recommend reapplication with other non-MD/PhD apps (including DO).
If 2: You can try predominantly MD/PhD again, but you will need to add things to your app and show productivity. This may necessitate an additional gap year.
If 3: You might consider moving on with a PhD instead of MD or DO.

Also, what does the rest of your app look like (volunteer, clinical work/volunteering, shadowing)?
 
Both are important to me. I've considered MD/DO only, but my application leans more toward research and I think the research I want to do would be hard without structured training. I have 100 hours in clinical volunteering, ~300 non-clinical, and 50 hours of shadowing between 2 physicians. If it is important I could easily pick back up the non-clinical volunteering I did, but getting more shadowing time or clinical time would be very hard with my work.

I was really afraid that I would have to take another gap year since I'm not sure I can handle being here another 2 years. I can have something in August, but relying on updates some like a bad strategy. I've also considered finding a new job, but obviously that would set me back.
 
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You may consider applying MD-only and then switching into MD/PhD after matriculation. This would cost you some loan money, but there are almost always empty slots as existing MD/PhD students convert to MD-only.
 
Welcome to the forums.

Question #1: What significant improvements will be documented in your reapplication?
Question #2: What continued growth will be documented in your reapplication?

Where are your community service/service orientation activities?
If you wanted to stay in your field (comp neurosci), why did you not apply for a research masters/PhD? Heck with the idea of throwing away a year... you want to be happy doing what you want, even if ultimately you want the bite at the medical school apple.
 
Welcome to the forums.

Question #1: What significant improvements will be documented in your reapplication?
Question #2: What continued growth will be documented in your reapplication?

Where are your community service/service orientation activities?
If you wanted to stay in your field (comp neurosci), why did you not apply for a research masters/PhD? Heck with the idea of throwing away a year... you want to be happy doing what you want, even if ultimately you want the bite at the medical school apple.

Thank you for the reply. I'll try to answer, but I'm not sure what you mean by 'documented' improvements/growth.
A1: I got a little feedback from last cycle, mainly addressing poor writing, especially with regards to my research. I had similar feedback from my interviews. I'm getting more feedback on this writing.
A2: During last cycle I started a project which is nearing completion. I've submitted to present but I'll have to submit my primary well before I get confirmation. Some of my letter writers will update their letters, but I don't have any brand new activity. I've had a complicated year which people have suggested writing about to demonstrate "resilience", but the reality was a series of lucky and unlucky events.

I don't want to go into to much detail on my activities since it makes me very identifiable:
~ 100 hours volunteering in a clinic.
- 200 hours from a student organization I started and ran for a year. We mostly did fundraising and logistical support for a parent charity.
- 120 hours of volunteer math tutoring.
My feedback was limited but didn't mention my activities. With that said, I'm no longer actively volunteering. I had to stop tutoring due to my work schedule.
I did plan on applying to PhD programs last year, but I didn't have the money. Money is also why I didn't submit most of my secondaries last cycle.

You may consider applying MD-only and then switching into MD/PhD after matriculation. This would cost you some loan money, but there are almost always empty slots as existing MD/PhD students convert to MD-only.
A lot of friends have recommended this, but I feel less competitive as an MD applicant.
 
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Thank you for the reply. I'll try to answer, but I'm not sure what you mean by 'documented' improvements/growth.
A1: I got a little feedback from last cycle, mainly addressing poor writing, especially with regards to my research. I had similar feedback from my interviews. I'm getting more feedback on this writing.
A2: During last cycle I started a project which is nearing completion. I've submitted to present but I'll have to submit my primary well before I get confirmation. Some of my letter writers will update their letters, but I don't have any brand new activity. I've had a complicated year which people have suggested writing about to demonstrate "resilience", but the reality was a series of lucky and unlucky events.

...
My feedback was limited but didn't mention my activities. With that said, I'm no longer actively volunteering. I had to stop tutoring due to my work schedule.
I did plan on applying to PhD programs last year, but I didn't have the money. Money is also why I didn't submit most of my secondaries last cycle.
The main focus for MD/PhD applications is your research experience, so take to heart any suggestions you have about writing about your projects and results. Activities aren't as heavily weighted except for fitting mission with the MD side as necessary.

I think you need to decide whether you should just do PhD (for now). Go to the Physician Scientists forum where most of the MSTP folks hang out and get their insight.
 
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