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MSTP interview/stats

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by passion4atcg, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. passion4atcg

    passion4atcg Member
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    Hi everybody,

    Ok so this is the first time I've posted. I apologize if any of this is redundant. I plan to apply to Md/Phd programs, entrance Fall 2007. After graduation I will have had 3 years straight of independent undergraduate research. Also, I spent one summer at the national human genome research institute and will return for 1 year on a fellowship post graduation (same lab). I'll be taking the MCAT this spring. I have a 3.68/3.70 and will be completing an honors thesis and will be an author (7th author, nothing too big) on a publication, in press, in PNAS. I've done tons of shadowing in the genetics dept (cancer and peds) at the hospital and am a companion for a rape crisis center. I'm not trying to flaunt myself but honestly want to know, based on others experiences, how competitive of an applicant I am. Will I need to settle for less competitive programs, or am I competitive for a top program? Are there any weaknesses in my profile thus far that I can work on before applying?

    Also, How articulate does one have to be about expressing the desire for the dual degrees in an interview? I'm not sure how much detail they will look for. And I'm not sure what is 'obvious.' I mean, we are all interviewing to become physician-scientists, right? So do I need to make that clear? Should I discuss my desire to have strong research training, not present in the MD only route. For example, I am intrigued by human genetics and would like to study the molecular basis of human genetic disease. And of course, this is very preliminary because who knows what I may become interested in later. But one thing is for sure, I love genetics. Whether it be cancer genetics or studying the genetic basis of heart disease. Is the desire to engage in more translational research, bringing insight from the basic science part into the clinic sufficient? For example, I want to have the medical training to properly approach biomedical problems and understand the pressing issues in medicine. I feel like it would be very difficult and require all your own, outside time to gain the medical knowledge while in a PhD program. I want to have the medical background to fully undestand the problem I'm studying. A medical knowledge is necessary to undestand the biomedical question that you are asking. Unless, its very basic science.

    Ok I'm done, finally, thanks! Sorry if this seems long.
     
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  3. dillanger

    dillanger Member
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    Where do/did you go to school? You seem very competitive for top programs in terms of your research and clinical experience, although the GPA is probably a little below the average but only slightly. If you have taken hard classes and are at a school that does not grade inflate a lot then this should not be a problem.

    If I were you I would apply to 12-14 primaries including the top schools, and see where you get secondaries. Then probably only fill out 8-10 secondaries including maybe one or two sure things (state schools, lower tier schools etc) and see where the interviews are. I applied to WAY too many schools and realized I worked my ass off on secondaries for schools where I end up declining interviews from.

    Also I wouldn't worry too much about the MD/PhD interview question. I've had a number of interviews already and not really gotten that question or if I did it was a watered down version. Certainly you are going to have to have something good for the MD/PhD AMCAS essay, but just talk about your research and somehow weave in the shadowing and how you find it rewarding to work with patients or to know your research could cure disease, etc...In my opinion it is a bunch of BS and they read the same essay over and over but its gotta be written. I've even asked a lot of my interviewers why the wanted an MD/PhD or what they made from it and a lot of them did not have a coherent response...


     
  4. Thundrstorm

    10+ Year Member

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    I have been asked why MD/PhD and how I envision using both at essentially every interview so far (I've had 6... with about 4 interviews at each school, so, actually, I think you will be required to articulate that well, and will have to do so a couple dozen times). I really don't think it's a BS question at all.

    I agree that about 10-12 secondaries is a good number. I did 15 and I really didn't need to apply to that many.
     
  5. gaganheim

    gaganheim Member
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    My two cents on the interview question is just be honest. I should think you need a damn good reason for yourself as to why you want another million years of schooling. As long as your answer as to why the MD/PhD isn't to get the free tuition, there will be a program out there that agrees with your philosophy. The very notable exception is at schools where you have to meet with the MD-only admissions committee. Pump them full of BS, that's what they're there for.
     
  6. JayQuah

    JayQuah Connect Four Champion
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    I'll start my response with the caveat that I don't know how qualified I am to have an opinion...yet...but here goes.
    I've recieved interviews at some of the top programs in the country with stats way crappier than you. You seem like an awesomely competitive candidate to enter "The Casino", which is my nerdy little term for this whole process being a crap shoot. Nothing is guaranteed, and there are a lot more surprises than not when it comes to "top schools". Doooo it.
    In response to your second question, i think in my interviews (I've been to 3 MD/PhD's so far), some of the interviewers have even let it slip: "What I really want to hear is how you are thinking of specifically combining the two degrees". Play the game with them. You can change your mind later, but come in with a rehearsed plan about why you think both are better than one and then the other. It sounds like you're on the right track...but it should be one step short of a sermon, preached to the choir of AdComs.
     
  7. SeventhSon

    SeventhSon SIMMER DOWN
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    i think where you go to school hsa a lot of pull.

    I've had adcoms from 2 different schools comment about the fact that each of them knew (different in the 2 cases) one of my letter writers. All-around, letters are very important... so is everything, but letters are more important than I anticipated. So your question is floating... obviously you still have to take the MCAT and we have no idea how strong your letters are.

    I would agree with the people around here... don't bother with more than 10-12 apps. There are just so many essays that they will start to suck if you fill too many apps out... the 3 primary essays took enough life out of me.

    I also applied to 12 schools only because I was cocky about getting at least an MD acceptance somewhere (and I just did, washU...) and I hear that as long as you continue to take research seriously you can usually transfer from MD-only into the MD/PhD with high success rate.
     

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