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PhD to med school: is SMP overkill?

docrocket

Full Member
Apr 18, 2020
30
79
  1. Pre-Medical
    Hi all, I have been lurking around this forum for a bit and have loved the support the NTs give to each other. This 38 year old, ORM, re-applicant would really like some input. Here are my basics:

    -Over 15 years since prerequisites
    -12 years since my MS (done at a state school to increase my application to PhD programs)
    -6 years since I’ve taken a graduate-level physiology class (last hard science class)
    -3 years since finished PhD in allied health discipline (did take graduate pathophys and neuroscience courses)
    -finished post doc last year (drug trials coordinator)
    -In between MS and start of PhD worked for a few years. Currently have an awesome job, but it’s not my passion. Started rounding and shadowing during my PhD and realized I needed to make the switch to medicine.
    - Stats: cGPA =3.8, sGPA 3.2 AMCAS, 3.5 AACOMAS (AACOMAS counted my PhD courses as biology, but AMCAS did not). Essentially, screwed my first half of undergrad but increased sGPA as I matured.

    Cons: MCAT = 500—— I don’t recommend anyone studying for the MCAT when doing a post doc! Also, have a great job and title, which an interviewer at my first interview exclaimed “why on earth would you leave it for medicine?!” And was then lectured on why medicine is too big a gamble for someone with my job.

    Pros: 11 publications, a lot of leadership experience, a lot of community service, 5 years of mentoring URM for STEM pipeline programs, awards/grants, over 400 hrs of shadowing/rounding, a decade working in clinical research, and media appearances.

    Last cycle: Applied late-- primaries done late August; last secondary done end of September. I got 3 interviews, 1 MD, 2 DO. All rejected.

    I know that I need to up my MCAT score. MCAT is in 4 weeks, and I’ve already put in 400 hours of studying time, which is more prep than I put into last year’s exam.

    I’m on the fence regarding an SMP, although I’ve been accepted to the 4 SMPs I’ve applied to. 3 programs are at allo schools, but I would equally like to get into a DO program for med school. So is the SMP route worth showing I can still handle a hard science course load after being out of the game for a decade? Or should I just focus on nothing but the MCAT and make sure my apps are in early? AMCAS primary is 90% done, AACOMAS primary is 95% done.

    Anyways, thanks for letting me get this off my chest! I hope my fellow NTs are coping relatively well with the wrench this pandemic has thrown at us!
     

    DocJanItor

    Full Member
    2+ Year Member
    Jun 7, 2017
    467
    602
    1. Medical Student
      SMPs are for grade repair only. With a 3.8 cGPA it's essentially a waste of time and money for you. Additionally, if you were to do poorly it would destroy your chances for medical school forever.

      Your weakness seems to be the MCAT alone. Do well on it and you should have plenty of acceptances. Since you have 4 weeks to go, it's time to take FLs a few times a week. If you're not scoring in your target then you should push it back.
       
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      Osteosaur

      I eat the whole patient
      2+ Year Member
      Sep 9, 2018
      672
      1,323
      1. Medical Student
        You applied late and your MCAT was weak. I think you should fix those. You still did get interviews. SMP was always marketed as a matter of bad grade redemption which does not seem to be an issue.

        Your old coursework -may- be an issue but maybe it isn't. I got in with 8 year old grades. I think its a scenario where you might want to call schools.

        This also seems to be a situation where you need to fix maybe an advisor/advising service that focuses on non-trads and special cases. A PhD and 11 publications is just going to get looked at differently from a 22 year old whose EC was 'President of the pre-med club a.k.a. ordered the pizza when our premed advisor gave a presentation on personal statements'.
         
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        docrocket

        Full Member
        Apr 18, 2020
        30
        79
        1. Pre-Medical
          Your old coursework -may- be an issue but maybe it isn't. I got in with 8 year old grades. I think its a scenario where you might want to call schools.

          Judging by MSAR, I did not apply to any schools that explicitly stated an expiration date on pre-reqs. However, according to MSAR, I did apply to schools in which the pre-req expiration date was "not available". Perhaps, I'll call those schools. Thanks!
           

          GreenDuck12

          Full Member
          7+ Year Member
          Mar 30, 2014
          2,139
          2,305
          1. Medical Student
            With three interviews leading to rejections, time spent focusing on interview skills would be in order? If you got the interview in the first place, it likely indicates your numbers weren't the biggest issue you encountered. I would call the programs that interviewed you and see if you can get some feedback.

            In your position, I would do the following:
            1. Rewrite personal statements with additional eyes looking at them (make sure they aren't focused on research but instead on meeting the mission statements of your target medical schools).
            2. Get feedback from adcoms if you can regarding your application and interview
            3. Retake the MCAT but not until your practice scores are significantly higher. For a retake to make much of a dent, for MD programs at least, you need a significant bump of 10+
            4. *Apply more broadly to MD and DO schools* - you didn't include a list of schools that you applied to so this is purely speculative
             
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            docrocket

            Full Member
            Apr 18, 2020
            30
            79
            1. Pre-Medical
              SMPs are for grade repair only. With a 3.8 cGPA it's essentially a waste of time and money for you.

              I don't see studying for hard classes as a waste of time; but holy moly, I totally agree with you that there's the potential to waste money!

              Since you have 4 weeks to go, it's time to take FLs a few times a week. If you're not scoring in your target then you should push it back.


              Oh, great advice! Thanks! I took FL 1 and scored 2 points below target. So I'm keeping up hope.
               

              docrocket

              Full Member
              Apr 18, 2020
              30
              79
              1. Pre-Medical
                Rewrite personal statements with additional eyes looking at them (make sure they aren't focused on research but instead on meeting the mission statements of your target medical schools).

                I did tailor my secondary essays to each school. Am I wrong in summarizing that each school essentially has either a mission statement focusing on primary care, research, and serving the underserved, or some mix of these?


                *Apply more broadly to MD and DO schools* - you didn't include a list of schools that you applied to so this is purely speculative

                I applied to 25 schools. None in the top 30. Did not apply to any of the new schools, so I will definitely submit to those, and if I reach my target MCAT, a few research schools in the top 30.

                Thanks, GreenDuck12!
                 

                GreenDuck12

                Full Member
                7+ Year Member
                Mar 30, 2014
                2,139
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                1. Medical Student
                  I did tailor my secondary essays to each school. Am I wrong in summarizing that each school essentially has either a mission statement focusing on primary care, research, and serving the underserved, or some mix of these?




                  I applied to 25 schools. None in the top 30. Did not apply to any of the new schools, so I will definitely submit to those, and if I reach my target MCAT, a few research schools in the top 30.

                  Thanks, GreenDuck12!

                  Middle tier programs tend to have service oriented mission statements. Focusing on research in you personal statement risks coming across as a poor fit for their particular mission especially if your secondary essay themes are significantly different.
                   
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