Ph.D. first time M.D. applicant

Clinical Shadowing Summer '22 Programs
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7+ Year Member
Jan 12, 2012
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I am applying to medical schools for the first time (list below). I didn't decide until after I graduated from undergrad and had some work experience that I wanted to be a physician. I will graduate with a Ph.D. in neuroscience in June. My stats are:

undergraduate GPA: 3.15 (physics major - University of Alabama in Huntsville, 2006)
undergraduate science GPA: 3.2
graduate GPA, all science: 3.67 (neuroscience - University of Tennessee Health Science Center)
TN resident

-first author, two papers published, one submitted
-significant research and teaching as a graduate student and undergrad, usually at least 60 hours a week, including neuroanatomy to medical students, physics labs, physics tutoring, anatomy tutoring, electrophysiology experiments, mouse surgeries.
-some shadowing (~20 hours), this has been difficult in Memphis due to HIPAA and rules at local hospitals. I've asked more than a dozen physicians (including those who teach at the teaching hospital!) and all but two have said it is not allowed.
-~40 hours of clinical volunteering, patient surveyor at Huntsville Hospital
-~40 hours non clinical volunteering at an animal shelter

There is nothing else I want to do. I've learned that I love science, but bench work is not for me. My clinical experiences have been overwhelmingly rewarding. I will reapply and have even considered going to the Caribbean to get an M.D. I would like to know my chances of getting an interview but would also like any suggestions for improving my application for next year. I will probably try to significantly increase my clinical experience in a more pre-med friendly city. I know my GPA is on the low side, but I'm really not sure how to improve that at this point. As you can see, my schools are a mix of reach and schools I thought I was competitive for. Thank you so much for your help and input!


UCLA (no secondary)
East TN (secondary complete, rejected without interview)
Florida State (secondary complete, waiting)
Northwestern (secondary complete, waiting)
Rush (secondary complete, waiting)
Stanford (secondary complete, rejected without interview)
Miami (secondary complete, waiting)
Arizona-Tucson (secondary complete, waiting)
UCSD (no secondary)
UTHSC (my grad institution, secondary complete, waiting)
UW (rejected without secondary)
Vanderbilt (rejected without secondary)
Wash U (secondary complete, rejected without interview)
Yale (secondary complete, waiting)


inside a lobster suit!
Jul 11, 2011
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Those are very top heavy schools and realistically speaking from your stats, your chances at more than half of those schools were slim at best. Gear up to reapply in case nothing pans out this cycle. I would continue with your clinical experiences in full gear. Start picking out schools that is more appropriate for your stats. Do a search and select more OOS friendly schools like Albany, NYMC, Vermont.

Before you go and apply to the islands, read this forum http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=880722

I would say if you beef up your clinical experience by volunteering and shadowing, you have a shot at MD schools. If your goal is to practice medicine, read up on osteopathic schools and consider applying DO in addition to MD next year. Before you apply, make sure you understand what being a DO entails and that you will matriculate if you were given the option. If not, don't waste your time and money.
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