Pre-grad to pre-MSTP

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by nowaydude, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. nowaydude

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    I'm a junior at an Ivy who recently switched from pre-grad to pre-MSTP. (I've given much thought to this, and finally made my decision after a semester of volunteering at a hospital.) My profile's decent for grad school admissions, though unfortunately not for top MSTPs, from what I gather. I've been doing independent research since freshman year and worked in a well-known PI's lab every summer, but I have no publications yet. My GPA is a little over 3.7 right now -- I took interesting but tough upper-level courses in my major last year -- and realistically I can only bring it up to a 3.8 by the time I graduate. I am planning to take a year off after I graduate to take the MCATs, but what else can I do during my gap year to improve my chances of admission at a top MSTP, if that's even possible?

    Thank you all in advance!
     
  2. StIGMA

    StIGMA Doctor Professor
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    Get a 36+ MCAT, and you will almost certainly get into a "top 20" program. Continue to shadow/volunteer in your gap year. Continue with research, either in the same lab or at another university, which could be a great letter of rec and would also be a great experience on your app. Also, a one year thing like a Rhodes scholarship or something prestigious is nice if you are accepted (I dont know if it is really one year, but I am sure there are programs that exist). Good luck!
     
  3. sluox

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Congratulations on making the switch. Most likely you won't regret it.

    the only piece that is missing is your MCAT. You can estimate your MCAT score by using the practice tests. I would actually recommend taking it later this year, if possible, if you estimate that you can score above 35. Waiting another year is not necessary if your numbers are okay and you've done research every summer, and I'm not sure if gunning for a "top" program is worth a year of your life. You can think about that. You should keep doing research during the school year as well.

    publication per se isn't as important as the letter from your PI.

    other important considerations: apply early, apply widely, include a complete package when you apply, have a clear direction and vision for your research goals for your essay (this is not to say that you need to know exactly what you want to do). Read the MD/PhD guidebooks online, and be able to explain the "why both" question.
     
  4. fairalexfield

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    If you're looking to continue research for a year after graduation I would suggest the NIH Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA). I graduated from an Ivy last year and applied MSTP. I ended up with an acceptance at UTSW, but I didn't really feel like it was a good fit for me. So, I took a year off and I'm at the NIH now on an IRTA. I've reapplied MSTP and I've had a much more positive response (and an acceptance at a school that I LOVE).

    It's great down here in the DC area, it's a wonderful place to take a year off, get exposed to more research (and clinical opportunities), and chill out. The first time around, I felt that my application was a little too grad heavy and without much clinical activities (because there was no med school on my undergrad campus), but there have been plenty of shadowing/volunteer opportunities down here.

    Definitely work hard for a good MCAT score, that will bring you a long way.

    Good Luck!
     
  5. nowaydude

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    Thank you for your helpful replies!
     
  6. CancerKiller007

    CancerKiller007 mudphud wannabe
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    I was also thinking about doing graduate school when I graduated but my dormant interests eventually evolved into pre-mstp. I would say that make sure you that you do sufficient clinical exposure (via volunteering, shadowing and other opportunities). I think this was the biggest negative factor in my application. You may notice on this forum that if a person gets rejected from MSTP, s/he may get the MD only invite. It has never happened to me, and I suspect it may be b/c I have strong research background but comparetively weaker recent clinical exposure.

    Good luck!!
     
  7. nowaydude

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    Thanks, CancerKiller. That brings me to another question...

    Ok, so I understand that applicants rejected from an MSTP at a particular school could be invited to the MD-only program. In my case, if I were rejected from MSTP programs, I'd rather go for a PhD, but there seems to be no formal procedure that would let me do this. Is it ok to apply to both MD/PhD programs and PhD programs in the same year at the same schools? I can imagine it would be weird running into the same faculty at different interviews...
     
  8. nowaydude

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