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MD/PhD Wannabe; Advice Wanted

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Neuronix, Mar 17, 2002.

  1. Neuronix

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

    Mar 14, 2002
    the beach
    Hello everyone, I'm not really new to SDN, I've been a lurker for years, but I figured since I'm applying this year for 2003 I'd actually jump info the fray :cool:

    I'd like to get some advice on a few things, but this post is really long. So I?ve broken the 3 questions down into #ed paragraphs. The first is looking for something to do on my senior year off, the second is looking for non-MSTP MD/PhD programs with funding, and the third is asking what my chances are of actually getting in.

    1) I'm applying from my senior year at U of Delaware. I'd love to use the year off to do something that would improve myself (yeah and looking better on my app wouldn't hurt), but I'm having a hard time finding something. I worked in a lab (more on this later), but they cannot get the funding they need to pay an undergraduate assistant. That's the way it seems here at Udel, they're happy for you to volunteer, but there's not many paying spots available. I have to get paid something cause I'm pretty broke :)

    So anyways, my mind is really open to whatever opportunities I can find. My biggest issue is that Udel is screwing me by making me sit here another semester to take a required class that wasn't offered this semester. So I can't really go far from Delaware for more than about 6 months. Everything I find wants you to commit for a year or more. Also, I don't think I could go out of the country for that 6 months, considering I will be interviewing this Fall/next Spring. If anyone has any ideas for research opportunities or otherwise good pre-med experience that will pay me something and fits all my other requirements, please let me know! My counselors at Udel have been no help on this one, other than tell me to go find a job at one of the local biotech companies (we have a lot in Delaware), but I don?t know how helpful they would be or how likely I would be to get an interesting research related job.

    2) Ever since I learned about MSTP, the MSTP program has been my dream. However, I?m open to non-MSTP MD/PhD opportunities as well as long as they are funded. Like I said before, I?m pretty broke and if I?m not going to be making that money back after med school (I want to be a relatively low-paid researcher or clinician-researcher if I can help it) I won?t be able to afford otherwise. Does anyone have a list of non-MSTP MD/PhD programs? Maybe another thread or something dealt with this? If not, if people could just slip me some non-MSTP MD/PhD programs that would be nifty.

    3) What are my chances of getting into a MSTP or MD/PhD program? My Udel counselors don?t make it seem so bad, but the MSTP thread scares me. I will give a bit about me so you can answer the question. I?m a Udel senior, but I started college early (whole story behind that) so I?m still pretty young. My GPA is 3.89 (science GPA is actually higher), I?m a dual Biology + Psychology major, and I took my MCAT last August and got a 12,13,O,12. I have an interesting and screwed up background, spent a lot of time growing up in an urban area (well Wilmington, DE), but yes I am still a white male. I know it shouldn?t matter, but it sure seems like it does. I have a few years of experience in the computer industry (that?s how I paid for my first 2 years of college and make spare money now). I volunteered once a week at a local emergency department (level 1 trauma center) for 3 years, posting a bit over 500 total hours. I might resume my volunteer job there if I am able in the future, because on some nights it really got interesting. But, that?s it for my extracurriculars, except for my research. I tried to get into some other things at Udel, but none of it worked out, and I always sort of viewed a lot of other stuff people have as resume padding so I never got into them.

    I did one and half years of research, some of it part-time, some of it full-time in a non-traditional psychology lab. Partially because it was non-traditional and partially because our experiments required a lot of investment and did not work out, I never published. I am happy to tell you, or an interviewer for that matter, all about what we did and why I liked doing it, but I?m concerned this bit of experience is not going to impress them a whole lot. I could also write abstracts and/or a senior thesis for a ?Degree with Distinction? if that would help, but I don?t know if that would be worth the time investment. I wish I could continue in the lab, since maybe someday I might be able to publish there, but he is unable to pay me any more. I was paid for a short period during one particular grant, but most of the time I was not paid, and now the money is not there and I will have to get paid during my time off since I will not have all my student loan money anymore.

    My goal is to be an experimental surgeon. I?m interested the most in making paraplegics walk again and do other related neuro-research. Of course I?m open to other bioengineering research, but I don?t have an engineering background, so I?m mostly interested in the biological and application side of things. My parents are both medical miracles, so that?s one of the things that really pushed me in this direction. I think also that I could certainly get into this kind of work from an MD program at a top school (top 25?), but even getting in there seems near impossible. I?ve been told it?s easier to get into many schools on MD/PhD. What do you think about my chances and where I should apply?

    Thanks to anyone who waded through all that! <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" /> Good luck to everyone trying to get in this year!
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  3. none

    none 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2001
    Okay, spend this year getting some BASIC science research. You need to spend some time in a good old-fashioned biology lab and that's what I recommmend you spend your last semester doing. Most MSTP programs, and I do emphasize most, are very wary of letting you do anything very clinically oriented for your PhD, so they're going to want to see some evidence of your basic science research aptitude. Don't expect to get paid as an undergrad researcher! It doesn't happen very often. Be happy with units or just the experience.

    But really...your application is stellar and your counselor is right. MSTP programs are not super-competitive compared to med school admissions, they're just self-selective. Like you, a person with a 37, choosing to apply. You won't have a problem getting into a program if you just slept all next semester. As to where to apply, apply to many and apply to a broad range, including Finch.
  4. Sir William Osler

    Sir William Osler Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 3, 2001
    planet Earth
    i'm not an mstp applicant, but since we have a weird sort of "small-world" connection I'll comment. Based on your maturity from your post, I think you have a great shot at mstp. I think during the year off you should find a more funded lab at a research institution near delaware if you like (jhu, upenn, nih et al). The one thing that I think can help you is the additional lab experience and possibly a great recommendation from an md or md/phd mentor. finding mentors is the most important part of being a scientist. if you had one, you wouldn't have to come here to answer these questions. My advice is to look online at some nearby research institutions as mentioned earlier and email some people who do research that you find interesting. be honest wiht them and say exactly what you just wrote and i bet that you can find something wtih at least a bit of funding (probably nothing more than 8/hour or so).

    you're on the way and your grades/mcat are fine. what is most important in mstp admissions is a passion for being a physician scientist and a clear perspective on how the md/phd will aid your future career. i think you have both of those ingredients and will be quite successful in admissions. Also, if you're really young, why not take an additional year off and try to get something more substantive like a year at NIH. This isnt a race, and i think the extra year would help out alot. i woudl avoid biotech unless you're doing something interesting. find an academic position.

    Anyways, i wish you luck and i wish i could remember who you were. i'm sure a md/phd applicant or vader will respond with some great advice.

  5. zephyr_97

    zephyr_97 Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 4, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Hi neuron,

    Like you I am interested in applying MD/PhD, hopefully a MSTP program for year 2003. As for the particulars I know that I would love to get PhD in Public Health/Epi, but will ask my premed advisr for her opinions. Also I am looking for something to do next year during my time off. I'm looking into research opportunities at NIH, but you might want to work in university labs as well. As for the specific questions, I suggest you ask poeple who are in the programs or already admitted, like Vader, Original, and SonicHedgeHog. Going from your stats, you're a strong applicant. Just keep kocking on doors and one will be bound to open for you. Good luck.

    Six more weeks until freedom!

  6. Patiently Waiting

    Patiently Waiting Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 30, 2001
    Bayee Area
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Neuronix:
    <strong>2) Ever since I learned about MSTP, the MSTP program has been my dream. However, I?m open to non-MSTP MD/PhD opportunities as well as long as they are funded. Like I said before, I?m pretty broke and if I?m not going to be making that money back after med school (I want to be a relatively low-paid researcher or clinician-researcher if I can help it) I won?t be able to afford otherwise. Does anyone have a list of non-MSTP MD/PhD programs? Maybe another thread or something dealt with this? If not, if people could just slip me some non-MSTP MD/PhD programs that would be nifty.
    </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Neuronix,

    Check out the below website. It gives you the list of all 39 schools that offer MSTP, ie. out of 125 med schools in the States, 125 minus 39 listed schools will offer non-MSTP MD/Ph.D.

    <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

    Your stats are superb. I don't think you'll have any problem getting into a MSTP, but I'm gonna echo what others said--be sure to get lots of benchwork experience and know how this experience supports your goal of pursuing the dual degree.
  7. Sonic Hedgehog

    Sonic Hedgehog MSTP guru 7+ Year Member

    Jul 21, 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    Neuron -

    Let me start off by saying that I'm an MD/PhD applicant. I don't have the stats that you have. (My GPA is about the same as yours, but my MCATs are definitely lower)... I don't have a single publication to my merit. All I have is several years of hardwork in a basic science labs, outstanding research mentors who forced me to work hard (to no avail - publication-wise), and in the end wrote me fantastic letters of recommendation that told MD/PhD committees that they were confident that I could do wonders. Let me tell you that throughout my MD/PhD interview trips, I haven't been to a single school where they looked down upon me because I didn't have pubs. In fact, in most schools when I tried to make excuses for not having any, they made me shut up saying "we don't expect that from undergrads". Now that I have 10 acceptances from 11 schools that I interviewed at, let me tell you all that matters in the process is that you did some solid basic science research (in any field, if you don't dig biology you can do chemistry, physics, engineering all the same), and spend a significant amount of time in it, and be able confidently and professionally discuss your research with a colleague (or in this case, an interviewer). That's all I had to get me into all these MD/PhD programs.

    Before you have any acceptances, I agree it's a little hard to believe. I was very much like you (last year), because I was so freaked out I didn't have the stuff on "paper". But the bottom line is it didn't matter at all. From the looks of it, your stats are outstanding. I see no reason why you should be turned down by any MD/PhD program (MSTP or non-MSTP).

    Let me tell you know that based on my experience after having gone through the process, I'm willing to put down some money on your chances. I bet $50 that you will get into a fantastic program.. may the other SDN'ers be my witnesses. PM me if you're interested in this wager.

    Also, feel free to PM me anytime if you have any specific questions about the application etc.

  8. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior 7+ Year Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Hey Neuronix! You'll do just fine. Your stats are better than mine as well. I got into 3 great schools of the 4 interviews I chose to attend; the 4th is yet to send out decisions. With your year off for research, you're looking golden already. For more info, check-out Vader's website at <a href="" target="_blank"></a> .

    If you're down with it, I'm willing to make $50 bucks off of you as well. Cheers!
  9. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jun 4, 2001
    I agree with the others--some basic research would be good to have. Otherwise, it sounds like you have a great chance.
  10. RepairGuy

    RepairGuy New Member

    Mar 16, 2002
    <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" /> Pretty funny coincedence, I am a senior at UD right now (very new to SDN), and almost done the whole MSTP process (thank God). I don't want repeat what everybody else said, but you have nothing to worry about. Your application is just about identical to mine, tho I had a little more research, and a little less clinical experience, and I got into a bunch of good schools, and probably going to end up at UMich or UWash. Good luck, I'm sure you'll be fine. If you have any UD specific questions I'd be happy to answer.
  11. Lukkie

    Lukkie Banned Banned

    Aug 2, 2007
    I hate Pre-Meds!!!
  12. What up doc

    What up doc FLASH 7+ Year Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    wow, to think, at one point in time neuronix was a neurotic, information seeking pre-med as well...hehe...nice find dude

    EDIT: whoooaaaa, just spent the past 20 min reading that blog...mad respect neuro...mad respect
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
  13. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Thank You for Smoking Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    May 22, 2008
    Deep in the heart of Texas
    This thread is 6 years old.
  14. SDN2013

    SDN2013 Athens 5+ Year Member

    Dec 27, 2006
    Cute Overload
    nice thread ressurection, lukkie
  15. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar* 10+ Year Member

    Jul 29, 2007
    Neuronix is the man. I see him on IRC all the time. I would say he is THE legend, not a legend among legends, I mean the leader of legends.
  16. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Archerize It 7+ Year Member

    Jan 18, 2008
    Always Bespin

    Wait..there's an SDN IRC channel?:confused:
  17. Lukkie

    Lukkie Banned Banned

    Aug 2, 2007
    I hate Pre-Meds!!!
    you should put "Master of the Obvious" on your app

    someone should make a movie about it!
  18. Neuronix

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

    Mar 14, 2002
    the beach
    :D Thanks for all the props. I think this thread is so old it won't even come up in my UserCP. But it's really this kind of thanks and recognition that are a big part of keeping me going to do the things that I do.

    I am writing a novel. Also, I'm writing a blog entry right now about graduate school, though it'll be so revealing and damning I don't think I can publish it under my own screenname.

    I think one of the themes in my own life is that good things in life don't necessarily happen to good people. You can change your own life, but you can't make others like or love you. Yet, our relationships with others is the primary thing that creates happiness. The great literary works, at least in my mind, come from this angst and the unsettled emotions of struggle with others and with yourself. It is this sense of triumph that gives us the human spirit, and that makes for good reading. In any case, there's good and bad about everything and I'm here to sort of tell it all.

    Yeah, I'm in charge of that ;) We have our own IRC server at which is accessible through java chat, a little Chat button up in the top right corner. A few users also hang out on Efnet on #sdn. I don't hang out much on SDN Chat these days because I'm so busy with other things.

    I was the MOST neurotic :laugh: Everyone sort of made me that way. I had my step-grandmother who was a high school advisor who constantly reminded me my undergrad was not a big name and would be a hinderance in life. She would typically suggest transferring every holiday. My undergrad advisors were so anti-MD/PhD it clouded everything they told me. I was told frankly that I would never get into Penn without a couple of publications. I was so happy I had SDN to give me the straight dope, and that's why I still contribute today. Though, I had to tone it down a bit. A lot of people thought I was a real dick because I used to say things in the MCAT forum like "LISTEN TO ME I GOT A HIGH SCORE THESE OTHER PEOPLE ARE WRONG". :laugh: I've figured things out a little better than that these days.

    I'm not always right, but I'm always straightforward and tell things how I see them. Not everyone appreciates that straightforwardness, but that's ok. I wouldn't have it any other way.

    Has it really been that long?! ;) It's strange sometimes to say, yes, I am a CD6. But, yes, actually I am a CD6. I have a PhD. But, what you realize is what makes you, you, really doesn't change that much over the years. In that way it doesn't feel like 6 years. Have I really changed and grown in 6 years? But when I think about it... Yeah, I really have. So thanks for pointing out the obvious ;)
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
  19. MrBurns10

    MrBurns10 Excellent, Smithers Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Jul 14, 2005
    neuronix, I don't usually read blogs but I read yours and I must say...I think everyone should have to read it. You truly are an amazing individual. I wish you the best of luck :)

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