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Non-Trad assistance with school list (GPA 3.93 MCAT 521)

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New Member
Aug 18, 2019
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Decided to post to try to get some feedback in figuring out what schools I should apply to or have a chance with as I have an odd background. My application was sadly a little late but should be verified within the week so I wanted to add some more schools to my list while I am writing secondaries.

I am a non-trad, ORM but disadvantaged first-generation, who is three years out and will be four years out of undergrad by the time I matriculate. I began a Ph.D. in Bioengineering at UPenn but due to massive issues with my advisor ( no rotations, was not allowed to work on anything remotely close to what I was promised), a realization that I wanted to have a role in patient care and focus more on translational research led me to leave the program. I now work in a research lab under a surgeon-scientist who has given me a great perspective and desire to pursue medicine.

GPA: 3.93 cGPA, 3.96 sGPA (Biomedical Engineering) attended a minority-serving state insulation

MCAT: 521 (130,129,132,130)

Shadowing: 150 hours shadowing an oncologist at a phase 2 cancer therapy center. 250+ hours shadowing my current PI who is a pediatric surgeon.

Non-clinical volunteering: 250 hours of peer mentoring students from K-12 throughout my undergrad. mentored disadvantaged community college students (150 hours)

Research: Around 15000 hours. I have worked in a variety of labs from beginning in community college. My major lab in undergrad I worked in for three years which led to multiple posters and oral presentations at national conferences along with awards. My work culminated in a first author publication and an undergraduate thesis. Two summer internships, one at MIT and another at UCSF. A six-month Co-Op at Merck research laboratories during my final semester. One year in a Ph.D. program at the University of Pennsylvania. Two years full time as a researcher with my current lab by the time I matriculate, this lab is heavy on translational research focusing on extreme prematurity and congenital defects and treatments for them. So far I have one first-author publication from this lab and there will hopefully be more by the end of my time.

Publications: Two first author publications.

State of Residence: Texas
LOR: I feel they will be very strong however I do not have a committee letter as my MCAT was delayed and I was not able to have my school's committee interview me for this cycle. I have my current PI, my undergraduate PI, the dean of my honors college from undergrad (worked with her extensively on fellowships), the oncologist I shadowed, and an engineering professor I have had multiple classes with.

For Penn specifically, I also have my PI from MIT and my supervisor from Merck writing additional letters.

National Honors: NSF GRFP, Goldwaters Honorable mention

One institutional action for receiving a C during the first semester of my Ph.D. work.

School List: I am applying solely to MD programs with the exception of Penn where I am applying for MD/Ph.D. solely to continue working with my current PI (who fully supports me pursuing this path) I think I may be optimistic in my school choices but I am not sure. I would prefer to go to a school where research is a focus. I truly want to integrate patient care and research in some form. Penn's MD/Ph.D. is my top choice but I also understand just how competitive and difficult it is to get into Penn's program.

Current List:

Dell Medical
Long School of Medicine

Thank you for any feedback and thoughts. I worry that I have not given myself enough time to prepare for this cycle but do not want to delay it another year if possible.

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You should apply to ALL your Texas MD schools. Do not assume that because you are a high stats applicant that you will be accepted to a top 20 school. You could also add Carle Illinois since you fit their profile.