Seeking MD/PhD, paper looming, when should I submit AMCAS?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Calf, May 30, 2008.

  1. Calf

    Calf Eat more chicken!

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    So I am currently putting the finishing touches on some experiments and have written most of a paper for submission to the journal Bone, (impact factor of 6 I think), which my PI and I feel will probably be accepted. The work will be ready for submission in late June (probably).

    I want to apply to MD/PhD programs and am told that a first author paper would greatly enhance my chances. I had intended on applying as soon as the AMCAS opens, but am now considering waiting until the paper is submitted. Should I wait? And if so, how long can I safely hold off/how long is smart to hold off until?


    Some background on my candidacy to help you with your answers:

    GPA: 3.60
    Science GPA: ~3.6
    MCAT: 39
    Washington University in St. Louis Cum Laude Major in Bio
    Spector Prize for best undergraduate thesis in biology
    4 continuous years (will be 5 upon entering med school) of research
    3 national conference presentations, including one best poster award

    Should I wait until the paper is submitted or should I submit on June 4th?

    Thanks!

    -Calf
     
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  3. Pinkertinkle

    Pinkertinkle 2003 Member

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    Nah no point in waiting. Submitted is only a bit better than manuscript in preparation. Your goal should be to get it in press before your interviews. That may or may not be an easy task.
     
  4. Calf

    Calf Eat more chicken!

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    Really? My PI said there was a huge difference between "in preparation" and "submitted". Basically she said ANYONE can say in preparation, but only those with good research can legitimately say their paper has been submitted.
     
  5. Pinkertinkle

    Pinkertinkle 2003 Member

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    Anyone can submit anything to any journal. The real test is getting through peer review.
     
  6. Calf

    Calf Eat more chicken!

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    True, but I guess my thought is that it costs money to submit and most PI's aren't going to submit crap to a journal, they're only going to do it when the paper is ready. My PI used to be on an MD/PhD admissions committee and she said that sometimes she would get people saying "preparing for submission" that was work the student hadn't even touched in years, so that she was only interested when the application said "submitted" or "published."
     
  7. Pinkertinkle

    Pinkertinkle 2003 Member

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    I've never had to pay money to submit to any journal. Does bone really charge money to submit? That's crazy.

    Since i like quantifying things. I would say on a scale of 0-100 with 100 being published work: in preparation is 10, submitted is 25 and published is 100. In any case I think your numbers will get you the interviews and by then your work will be submitted so it really won't make a difference. Given the time it takes to finish peer review it is unlikely that even if you wait a month your manuscript will be in press before interviews.
     
  8. Calf

    Calf Eat more chicken!

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    So I guess your ultimate conclusion is that I should submit ASAP and forget about the paper for now? Or is it worth waiting till late June?
     
  9. Pinkertinkle

    Pinkertinkle 2003 Member

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    If you can submit asap without sacrificing the quality of the manuscript you definitely should. Any chance to increase the likelihood of it being in press before admissions decisions are made is good.
     
  10. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    As far as I know, the cost to submit amounts to the cost of the paper, toner, envelope & postage. On a scale of 0 to 100 "in preparation" and "submitted" are zero in my book. The proof of the pudding is getting accepted. I'd give "accepted pending revisions" a 75 and "in press" or "published" a 100.

    The MD/PhD programs put a huge premium on publications but there isn't a prayer that your paper will be accepted or even accepted pending revisions until late in the Summer (maybe longer). Would it be worth it to submit late? You are risking not getting an interview (because the early birds got there ahead of you). This goes double if the paper is rejected and has to be submitted to a second journal. On the other hand, without a publication, you may not get an interview because your application is weaker. In my experience, committees will find an interview slot for a really sterling candidate who submits on the late side but may be less likely to re-review the application of someone who submits an "up-date" and a plea to be reconsidered.

    The other hope is that your PI writes a very strong letter with details of the work that you've been doing and the paper that is about to go out. On second thought, you have to have that letter -- the only thing that MD/PhD committees seem to like less than no publications is a the lack of a LOR from a PI (and you had better walk on water).
     
  11. Calf

    Calf Eat more chicken!

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    That sounds gloomy haha...

    Do I have a good chance without the paper? Or should I be kicking myself for not going into overdrive to get it done last semester?

    I feel like I'm a decent candidate without the paper, but most people I've talked to said you don't need a paper, but you're telling me differently so... now I'm worried :(.
     
  12. foster033

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    If you can get the paper submitted before you apply, great, but if not I wouldn't wait to apply. Surely the paper would help, but you already have a strong research background and I think that makes you a pretty good candidate even without the paper. Most applicants will not have any publications.
     
  13. JHopRevisit

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    I strongly disagree. Firstly, some journals charge large premiums for publication, and they make you pay by page (PNAS charges $1700 - http://www.scientificjournals.org/submission_guidelines_forestry.htm). But that's really besides the point.

    If a PI is putting their last name on a submitted paper odds are its at least decent. A submitted paper has the backing of at least one faculty member (your PI) and is thus worth at least a 50 on your scale, I would say. They should also mention a submitted paper in their letter and what they think of the work; that will help add to the legitimacy.

    Furthermore, it will spawn conversation during the interview, shows you've brought a project close to completion, and shows the level of committment you gave to the project (if you're one of the first several authors, particularly the first).

    Again, I disagree. At my program, which I think has many bright students, I would say approximately half the students were published at entrance, about half weren't (don't know the exact breakdown, point is many, if not most were not published). I know more than 12 published students applied, so obviously many published students were turned away. What I think all the accepted students shared in common was strong letters, an ability to discuss both their research and the broader field, and an ability to convey a passion for research and clinical practice. It all sounds trite, but its true, and it vastly overshadows the importance of papers for acceptance, at least at my MD/PhD program. So I think saying programs put a "premium" on it is overstating the value of papers.

    So to summarize, IMHO having a submitted paper is worth something because it shows you brought a project to completion. However, overall, the value of having papers is vastly overrated and is less important than other less tangible parts of your application.
     
  14. JulyMorning

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    Submit the application as soon as the AMCAS application is available. Publications are not a prerequisite for receiving interviews. You have an outstanding MCAT with a good GPA which WILL get you interviews. Also, when your paper gets accepted, that gives you a reason to pull out that extra-heavy, watermarked paper (because you may want to impress the program administrator with your professionalism) and write an update to the programs telling them of your first-author publication and continued interest in their program.
     
  15. Pinkertinkle

    Pinkertinkle 2003 Member

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    He's talking about submitting. It doesn't cost a dime to submit to PNAS. Once its accepted people will pay whatever they charge for page.
     
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  17. BluePhoenix

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    I agree with LizzyM and JulyMorning. Sorry but if it's not accepted, then it counts for nothing. It's not that we're saying your PI would submit a crap paper, but not every submitted paper is worthy of being published. Check out the stats for various journals, the better the journal, the lower the odds your paper will be selected for publication. SO...saying it's been submitted doesn't mean it's about to be published, doesn't mean it'll be accepted, doesn't mean it was complete.

    But don't worry. It gives you a chance to update the schools with great news when it is accepted...and your advisor can still write you an excellent letter telling about all the research you've done. For MD/PhD programs, what's important is that you've done some research and you know what you're getting into. Publications help but they're not required, not everyone has the chance to do massive amounts of research at their school and not every projects works out that way.
     
  18. Calf

    Calf Eat more chicken!

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    Ok, thanks for the advice guys. I think I'll go ahead and submit the AMCAS in early June and hope that my paper is accepted by the time secondaries or at least interviews role around.

    Now if I can just get my PI to finish her letter haha. She's the last one I'm waiting on...

    I can still submit the AMCAS without all my letters in right? I hope?
     
  19. JulyMorning

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    Yes
     

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