Mar 26, 2010
Other Health Professions Student
Hey all, I will be finishing a PhD in physiology within a year or so. At the end, I will have at least 1 first author (maybe more) research publications and another second author. As an undergrad, I did all the stuff you are supposed to...volunteered at a hospital, shadowed an ER doc, was president of a bunch of science clubs, and did other extracurricular stuff. I took the MCAT about 6 years ago, but I took it absolutely cold (didnt study at all) and got a 25 with 9, 9 and 7 (physics). I know I would have to take it again and get at least 30. After all that, when it came down to it, applying to med school just wasnt right for where I was in my life at the time (I was a single mom with a 5 year old) and I couldnt honestly afford to apply to a bunch of med schools (which I thought you had to do to have a decent chance), take an MCAT prep course.... so grad school seemed like a better option (and there was a stipend).

My undergrad GPA was 3.5 overall and 3.4 science. Grad GPA is 3.45. What do you all think my chances are? Btw, I am doing my pHD at a top teir research/med school, although I wouldnt want to do med school here.

Thanks for any/all feedback!!
Sep 4, 2006
Inside the tesseract
Perhaps you are aware that when applying to med schools, it is primarily the undergrad GPA that one is judged by, along with MCAT score, to determine if the rest of the application will be looked at. Fortunately, your undergrad GPA isn't too bad. If you could get an MCAT score of 32, you'll get some looks from allopathic schools (maybe lower if you have a forgiving state school). Another 25 would still get you into a DO med school.

The PhD is a great EC and probably provided you with teaching and research opportunities that strengthen your application considerably. Certainly a publication is very helpful. That it was in a hard science helps you at a few schools.

Besides that, you'll need current clinical experience, physician shadowing if not yet done, and ideally some nonmedical/noncampus community service, though you might be cut some slack due to family responsibilities. Keep in mind that volunteering in your child's daycare or sport team, or whatever, is community service that will help your application. Even two hours a week until you apply is good.

Key will be knowing your PhD completion date. You'll be expected to provide a letter from your graduate advisor which will hopefully say good things about you, but also proves to med schools that the grad school knows your plans. Abandoning one's obligation to a grad program is frowned on. You'll therefore need to complete your PhD or defer a year after acceptance, and all med schools don't permit deferral.

So your chances rest on another MCAT score and finding the time to do the necessary ECs. Fortunately, you've already got a lot of them.