Publications, acknowledgements

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by heycurly, Apr 27, 2004.

  1. heycurly

    heycurly Junior Member
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    I have two first author publications (FEMS medical microbio. and Infection and Immunity) and one second author pub. (Inf. and Immun.). Is it worth mentioning being "acknowledged" in another paper?

    Also, any thoughts on which schools look most favorably on publications? My numbers are definitely mediocre (29R and 3.55)

    Thanks!
     
  2. plasticity

    plasticity Junior Member
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    I had VERY similar gpa and MCATs, and two first author publications and one acknowledgment when I applied. I also had very exstensive community and hospital experience. I mentioned all of it, acknowledgements included... it doesn't hurt, it will only help your app even more. The schools that looked favorably upon my application because of the publications and research experience were Albert Einstein, USC, UCI, UCSD, and U. Maryland. Places like Cornell, UCSF, and UCLA only considered me for MD only programs, most likely because of the lower MCATs and GPA compared to other MSTP applicants. But don't give up hope... they are not only looking for high numbers, but also for people who have the experience to know how to do research, and can make an honest commitment to a 7-8 year program. In my opinion, the only way you can truly decide if research and the MSTP is right for you is if you have considerable experience doing research, and a lot of admissions committees agree. And this is what you have :oops: Good luck!
     
  3. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    If you don't mind answering my questions, I'm curious about your success with borderline numbers. Three things come to mind immediately that could influence this--gender, URM status, and undergrad reputation. Could you expand on how these factors may or may not have applied to you?

    Thanks
     
  4. BandGeek

    BandGeek Member
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    I would mention everything you can. An acknowledgement means that you contributed something. Do you have any presentations? Those count as well.
    I would recommend trying to get extra volunteer experience and/or some teaching experience. Leadership, inside and outside of the lab, is also a benefit.
    Plus, if you can, retake the MCAT. I got the same score twice (29), but some ADCOM will use the best numbers from each as a "total" score. The shift in the numbers favored me (31). It was still low as far as MSTP standards, but I still got interviews at some very competitive schools.
    As far as the GPA goes, it depends on the reputation of your school and the difficulty of your course load. Remember, the absoulate GPA calculated by your school is slightly different than the one AMACS uses (this is driven home when you fill out that blasted form).
    If there is ANYTHING that makes you unique, use it!
    Good Luck!
     
  5. plasticity

    plasticity Junior Member
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    Sure. I guess what made me the non-traditional pre-MSTP was that I was an independent student (no financial support from family) who had to work while in school. I was a technician at a hospital. Female, URM, small undergrad institution. Also had ample teaching experience. However, it was not the minority or gender status that I believe got me in. My interviewers were more concerned with my ability to intelligently explain my research and answer questions about it. Not being able to do this would have definitely kept me out! And the lower numbers did keep me out of some places, but not all. I guess my point is that numbers are only one aspect of the application, and some admissions committees (but not all!) felt that the research and other experiences that made me a unique applicant outweighed the lower numbers.
    However, in my opinion, if one is applying with lower numbers and really wants to do MD-PhD, you should keep in mind that some schools probably aren't attainable, unless you are willing to "settle" ;) with doing one degree first, then the other. I did not rule out this option when I applied, because I knew the competition was fierce! Hope this helps...
     
  6. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    I think that the URM status gets you over numbers hurdles and into programs you wouldn't be able to enter otherwise, regardless of the rest of your application. Your application seems fairly strong, however I don't think you would have been as successful with those top programs had you not have been a URM female. It's a touchy subject, so I leave it to the rest of the board to decide for themselves.

    Still, thanks for sharing!
     
  7. plasticity

    plasticity Junior Member
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    I disagree, but respect your opinion. In being a URM, issues like these come with the territory. What about the URMs that have excellent numbers but don't get in? What about non-URMs with lower numbers, and are successful? Numbers, although very important, aren't the only factor of your app. I don't think you can fairly judge my app or my success not having known me or seen my application. But the rest of the board can decide, and we can agree to disagree.
     
  8. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    You're right in that I have no hard data to support myself. The hard data used to exist for MD admissions (matriculation stats by race breakdown), but is no longer posted. All I have is anecdotal experience as an applicant and as a student interviewer for the MD program. Here, MD/PhD admissions seem very closed-door, so I don't know what exactly goes on.

    I do know this much... URMs are highly prized in both MD and MD/PhD admissions. The percentage of URMs and females in MD/PhD programs are lower than MD or PhD alone. There is a huge drive to rectify this issue. However, the percentage of accepted URMs is not lower (indeed, it's higher) than for all others, but rather there are just much fewer URM and female applicants. How do we rectify this problem? I'm unsure. Are there steps being taken now to increase racial diversity?

    Of course more goes into an appliction than numbers. Things like research experience, interviews, LORs, other ECs, etc are also heavily considered. These things can easily explain outliers. However, when I see someone asking about their application, their URM status is something that needs to be considered. Do you deny that being a URM would get you into a better school than that of an ORM with the same application? My experience has supported this hypothesis, but again I have no hard data and I'm not in the position to collect any.
     
  9. plasticity

    plasticity Junior Member
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    In my experience, it really depends on the admissions committee of that school. My numbers did keep me out of some very good schools, despite the URM status. But I didn't apply to a lot of schools very far from home, b/c of the numbers and other personal reasons, so I can only speak about those to which I applied. And I didn't get in to all of the schools I interviewed at. I don't deny that URM status may have gotten me an interview, but from that point onward in the selection process admissions committees were more concerned with my knowledge of my research and if I could support the things I had on my application. One interviewer pointed out to me the strengths and weaknesses of my app disregarding URM status. So in that particular case, I don't think an ORM would have been less successful than me with the same app. And this was at a very good MST program. But again, depends on the school, interviewers and admissions committee, in my opinion. I do deny that solely being an URM would "get me into a better school" than an ORM with the same application, because my numbers did not meet the standards of some of the "better schools." Investing the MSTP fellowship into a student is a huge commitment, and I would like to believe that schools select student who have proven in their interviews that they are ready to make that commitment, and not just because they have stellar numbers or are a URM.
    Thank you for this conversation. There is a huge disparity in URM and female representation in MD and MD/PhD programs, and hopefully this will change in years to come.
     
  10. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    In retrospect, being an independent (disadvantaged?) applicant helps also. It certianly helped me, though my stats were not borderline. I may be an ORM, but I grew up in poverty in the city. I also worked for years before and during undergrad and took out tons of loans to support myself at my "no-name state school". I have a GED, since my high school was so bad, and I left home at the age of 16, because my parents couldn't support me.

    So, does being a disadvantaged applicant get you an advantage? I know it does. Does being a URM without a disadvantage also get you one? I'm not sure.

    To put things back into perspective, I thought your application was very successful for you to have gotten into programs like UCSD, Albert Einstein, and others. I was searching for ways to explain that, as to not get up the hopes of applicants who did not have these sorts of things on their applications, but had similar GPA, MCAT, Research, and ECs. I'm certain now that it was more than just being a URM in your case, and I apologize for the way I probably sounded to you and everyone. I still believe that just being a URM helps your application, but still some URMs (and ORMs) like yourself have had to overcome significant adversity, and for that they deserve special consideration.

    PS: I love to hijack threads :) Still, I'd rather not make this into a standalone debate. We'd probably pull in all the AA vs no AA arguers from around SDN and end up with something large and viscious...
     
  11. Maebea

    Maebea Member
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    Plasticity & Neuronix: Props to you on the measured, reasoned, and respectful tone of your postings. :thumbup: :love: :thumbup:

    Too many "discussions" on this subject end up like a WWF smackdown featuring Rush Limbaugh and Al Frankken.
     

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