Postponing amcas?

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Thanks for the advice about that p-chem grade earlier... Since this forum is great for discussion, I mind as well come out of the "closet" (this is an analogy!!!) and say that I am considering postponing my application until next year. The main reasons:

1) Gain more research experience to strengthen app.

2) Pull up the science gpa (after p-chem!)

3) Confidence

For the first reason, I don't feel like I have the depth of research that others have whom I have personally spoken with. I have done clinical research for quite awhile (2 years-summers etc.), but little outside of this. I'll be graduating next year, so I figure if I do some independent studies this next year, I can get more depth. I have also spoken with a couple of students from UCSF and they each said publications are key to the entire process...while you may or may not agree with this, there is a reason why MD/PhD programs ask for your publications... I'll have one by the end of august on the clinical side, but feel that I should try to get another.

For the second reason, its not really a reason... just the pre-med anal retention disorder taking full effect

For the third reason, I just don't think I stack up with the big schools. I spoke with a researcher from Pritzker who conducts interviews awhile back and he basically said that if a student doesn't have at least 2 years of "highly significant" research, then they are wasting their time.... he said almost all of the students in the top programs have spent years (over 2 I assume) in labs. This is basically supports the first reason. Anyways, what do you think? Will amcas hold my application? I know there is a lot of fluff out there concerning what one needs to be competitive in this process, but I feel that if I spend some more time in the lab, I'll get a better feel for what I really want to do, and at the same, strengthen some of my application.



if you feel that waiting a year is within your range of tolerance, it can only help your application as long as you do some "substantial" research in the meantime. i've heard the same things as you - and though there are always outliers, what you've said seems to be generally true. don't let that p-chem grade be a legit reason, it seems insignificant in the scheme of things. i personally would get restless waiting a year, though it may be for the best. i suppose it is better doing this process once, and with your best foot forward, then a half-hearted effort, it takes too much time,money, and energy to not be giving your all. i'm interested in what others have to say though - goodluck nevertheless.


I heard certain schools (ie top schools) basically say on the outside an applicant needs 2 years of research, but most accepted students have more.... This is just what a student at UPenn told me 2 years ago. As a result, I decided to wait for one year after I graduate to apply and take the mcats because I think the research does matter, quite significantly.


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I don't think you ever feel really confident in this process. Don't wait for that.


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Yeah from what I've heard it has alot to do with the schools you are applying to. At Hopkins, Harvard, UPenn, UCSF, etc... You're going to be competing against alot of applicants with publications. It's not impossible, but it will be tough to get into these schools without publications or significant amounts of independent research.

On the other hand, lesser named (but still high quality) schools will be more willing to overlook lack of publications. That's what I'm hoping for in my case. I'm sorry, my parents aren't both PhDs that have labs at the school I'm attending (like both the MD/PhDs from my school last year), and I had to work my ass off during school to support myself.

Blah. Anyways, good luck :)


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Jun 5, 2001
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Well, I attend UCSF and didn't have publications at the time I applied. However, I was able to notify the schools of publications "in preparation" by a letter, so maybe that helped. That being said, the bottom line point of top schools requiring significant research experience is true.


I've been doing my research the past couple of years ever since I became interested in these MD/PhD programs. The more people I talk to, the more I have learned that what some programs advertise, is NOT what they accept. There seems to be a two-way street. The length of research is one of the top ones. And not only the length, but also the publication aspect. Because of this, I'm trying to publish a clinical paper currently, hopefully finish another one this upcoming school year, and then maybe another one or two during my year off. I'm new to this SDN thing, but I just wanted share my two cents from what I've learned.:rolleyes:

I suppose the best example of this two-way idea was my TA three years ago and my roommate's best friend. When my TA was applying for MSTP, she was rejected from every top-15 school, even though she had a 3.7 gpa, 37 mcat, and 2.5 yrs of research. Strange, but maybe she just didn't do well in the interviews...but this is a tough argument cuz she was extremely personable.

My roommates best friend, barely graduated on the dean's and had a 32 mcat, yet also had 2 publications. He applied to 8 schools, 6 being T-15 schools,1 his state school, the last was some safe program of really low ranking (it only offered PhD's in 3 or 4 areas). He was rejected from one MSTP program... which one was it? The safe program that he thought for sure he would get into.

I have always found this to be interesting, but also seems to be the common thread through most applicants that I have observed. I'm sure it is possible to get in without pubs to some of the top schools, but I think, from what I have observed, it is an uphill battle.