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CuriousStar

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Hi,

I am a pre-med and have been doing neuroscience research for almost a year. I am now considering a dual degree. Any advice or suggestions on how to make myself standout as a good canidate for an MD/PHD program?

i.e what should my gpa/mcat score be, how much research experience should I have, how to go about choosing the right school etc.

Thank you in advance for reading and providing help!:)
 

TheCybermen

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Hi,

I am a pre-med and have been doing neuroscience research for almost a year. I am now considering a dual degree. Any advice or suggestions on how to make myself standout as a good canidate for an MD/PHD program?

i.e what should my gpa/mcat score be, how much research experience should I have, how to go about choosing the right school etc.

Thank you in advance for reading and providing help!:)

one of the things that will make selecting a school infinitely different with an eye toward both degrees instead of one is the presence of faculty doing the work that you might be interested in.

several of my colleagues in medical school couldn't understand why i withdrew all applications to some otherwise nominally higher-ranked schools as soon as i got into my top choice. i had to explain over and over that in addition to various med-school related factors (location, prestige, quality of life, quality of teaching, residency placement, etc.), the hit-or-miss insofar as my decision was concerned was whether or not the school was big on the fields that gripped me the strongest.

that said, it's important to commit yourself to a sustained effort in research. get yourself in a lab, get comfortable with the research focus that you pick (or picked), and work at it. the rest tends to follow (publications, presentations, networking opportunities, etc.). of course it's hard for individuals to know what their interests and outlook on a profession or personal future will be in ten years, given that so much of life is happenstance. but it's always good to have a plan and to see it through as best you can.:thumbup:

some of my less abstract offerings are:
1) what you major is in school and were you took your undergraduate degree are footnotes at best, and
2) your GPA and MCAT need to be competitive regardless of what you hear or read.

best of luck to you.
 
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JETER

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Hi,

I am a pre-med and have been doing neuroscience research for almost a year. I am now considering a dual degree. Any advice or suggestions on how to make myself standout as a good canidate for an MD/PHD program?

i.e what should my gpa/mcat score be, how much research experience should I have, how to go about choosing the right school etc.

Thank you in advance for reading and providing help!:)

There is quite a bit of info out there about MSTP and choosing schools, background required, etc. However, the single best resource I found when I was tossing the idea around was this thread:MSTP Boulevard. Its a bit old, but well worth the few hours to read. In fact, I think anyone who is even considering the MD/PhD route should read it.
 

AtreyuRocks

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one of the things that will make selecting a school infinitely different with an eye toward both degrees instead of one is the presence of faculty doing the work that you might be interested in.

several of my colleagues in medical school couldn't understand why i withdrew all applications to some otherwise nominally higher-ranked schools as soon as i got into my top choice. i had to explain over and over that in addition to various med-school related factors (location, prestige, quality of life, quality of teaching, residency placement, etc.), the hit-or-miss insofar as my decision was concerned was whether or not the school was big on the fields that gripped me the strongest.

that said, it's important to commit yourself to a sustained effort in research. get yourself in a lab, get comfortable with the research focus that you pick (or picked), and work at it. the rest tends to follow (publications, presentations, networking opportunities, etc.). of course it's hard for individuals to know what their interests and outlook on a profession or personal future will be in ten years, given that so much of life is happenstance. but it's always good to have a plan and to see it through as best you can.:thumbup:

some of my less abstract offerings are:
1) what you major is in school and were you took your undergraduate degree are footnotes at best, and
2) your GPA and MCAT need to be competitive regardless of what you hear or read.

I'm not trying to contradict thecybermen or anything, because i definitely agree that a competitive GPA and MCAT important for an MD/PhD applicant. But if your stats are poor as far as GPA and you can't increase it you really need to get the MCAT up there. If you can't do either (my case) you have to make DAMN sure your research shows in your essays. Getting into an MD/PhD program with not so stellar scores is possible if you have extensive research experience (I just missed the cutoff point for both GPA and MCAT). As far as getting into an MSTP program, your chances become very low if your GPA and/or MCAT are/is non-competitive.
 

AtreyuRocks

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what is the cutoff point for both GPA and MCAT?

sorry, i was mostly talking specifically about where i applied. it really depends on the school itself. from the data i have collected on my own... i can give you this (for the 2007 app cycle):

Brown 3.0, N/A
Georgetown 3.5 GPA, 10 in every section on MCAT
Loyola Stritch 3.33 (B+ average or better), 30+ (or close to this)
Virginia Commonwealth University 3.5 GPA, 30 MCAT
University of Miami (MD/PhD takes OOS) 3.4 GPA, 30 MCAT
University of South Florida (I think they are mainly instate) 3.0, 24 MCAT

wow, i just realized they are pretty similar. hehe. anyways, schools will often make exceptions... asking whether it is a hard cut-off or not is always a good idea. Many programs (especially MSTP) do not have any cut-off points BUT one thing that is always required is a letter of recommendation from a research mentor or someone familiar with your research. Despite no "cutoffs" (from what I have seen) this often means it is a competitive program (ie: MSTP) and you are looking at >3.6 and >33 to be competitive (I'm being lenient I know, but anyone else think vastly differently?) unfortunately not TOO many MD/PhD applicants utilize MDapplicants.com but it is still a nice resource anyways. the MSAR is also is not too useful so I did a crap load of researching and it will hopefully pay off soon =).
 

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Getting into an MD/PhD program with not so stellar scores is possible if you have extensive research experience (I just missed the cutoff point for both GPA and MCAT)..
I've found that research at the "right" places combined with a first author publication does a TON to offset a weak MCAT. Of course, this does NOT include say the top 10 or so schools, who seem to value 1) Youth :laugh: 2) a Strong MCAT and 3) a Strong GPA.
 

AtreyuRocks

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I've found that research at the "right" places combined with a first author publication does a TON to offset a weak MCAT. Of course, this does NOT include say the top 10 or so schools, who seem to value 1) Youth :laugh: 2) a Strong MCAT and 3) a Strong GPA.

yep! that is very true. i did research at a strong institution with a strong reputation but i lacked in publications (1 pub in UG journal, 1 pending for peer-reviewed journal). also, that letter from your PI and how important he is super-helps too. and your ability to talk about your research inside and out, upstream and downstream, question, hypothesize etc is super important. you want to WOW them with your essay to peak the interest for an interview invite, then kick ass in the interview and show them that your profile on paper does you no justice! (speaking from my experience thus far)

EDIT: youth, haha. yeah thats cause it takes so long, if you have your youth when you start, its gone when you are finished.
 

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EDIT: youth, haha. yeah thats cause it takes so long, if you have your youth when you start, its gone when you are finished.
A few of the top 10's and a recruiter from Meharry, considered me to be too advanced in age when I considered them in my late 30's (I'm 40 now) to even think about applying MD/PhD. Oh well, what's an "Old lady" to do?:laugh:
 
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