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stats vs research for MSTP

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by jhrugger, Apr 29, 2004.

  1. jhrugger

    jhrugger Senior Member
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    sorry if this question is over-asked, but it is a genuine concern of mine that i haven't found an answer for. does good research overcome lower stats? are MSTP's much more number crunchers than others?

    my situation, briefly:

    stats-3.3 overall gpa (going up though, with current trend should be 3.4/3.5 by graduation), 31 mcat.

    research-just started work in an embryonic stem cell lab at jhu hospital and will have worked there for 2.5 years before starting my AMCAS application. have also just submitted a first authorship abstract for the amercian academy of pediatrics.

    based on your experiences, am i underqualified academically to be considered as an MSTP candidate?

    thanks for your candid replies
     
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  3. MumbleJumble

    MumbleJumble Member
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    I'll be completely honest with you, the biggest problem that you have right now is the gpa. However, if you can get that up to a 3.5 you will have a much better chance. In answer to your question, yes, research can overcome lackluster stats- md/phd programs are less numbers conscious if you have stellar research. There is a limit to this, and some schools will probably not interview you with those stats, but I think that it is definitely worth applying, possibly to non MSTP MD/PhDs as well.
    -steve
    p.s. just out of curiosity, who are you working with at jhmi right now?
     
  4. jhrugger

    jhrugger Senior Member
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    Hi MumbleJumble,

    i just began work with Dr. Laksh, in Urology but with a lab in cell engineering. are you or were you at JH?

    i'm working super hard to improve my gpa, which i know is a low point. am looking for schools that have stem cell programs to get the phd in, but the only ones are super competive (stanford, ucsf..)

    do you think its worth taking the mcat over, its low for mstp as far as i can tell. i am just worried about being blackballed due to stats before even getting a serious look.

    thanks
     
  5. MumbleJumble

    MumbleJumble Member
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    jhrugger,
    yeah, i'm a senior at hopkins. i would not advise you to retake the mcat unless you didn't do any preparation the first time. there is a debate about this, and i'm sure many people will disagree with me, but i believe that the amount of time and effort you would invest to retake it are not worth it since you will probably not significantly increase your score. i'm not much help with good stem cell schools, coz i'm more interested in immuno, so hopefully someone else will comment on that. pm me if you want more info.
    -steve
     
  6. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    If you can pull your GPA up to a 3.5 (you're at Hopkins right) and do that 2.5 years of research, I think you have a good shot at MSTP. However, you're probably going to have a hard time at the top MSTPs (ie. the ones you mentioned before). You have to evaluate how important that is to you, and then we can go from there.
     
  7. hockebob

    hockebob Member
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    uminn, uw-madison and umich all have some interesting stem cell stuff going on (verfaillie at uminn, thomson/kamp at uw-madison and morrison/clarke at umich)... although the number of people doing stem cell work there is probably smaller than at the harvards, ucsfs and stanfords of the world. i guess if i were you, i would figure out at which schools i will be competitive and then contact those programs or do your own research about their stem cell research faculty. some schools might surprise you.

    best,
    aaron

    ps- also, i second neuronix's evaluation. your mcat is probably a bit low for the top schools (although, again... you never know i guess).
     
  8. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    The 3.5 GPA would still be borderline too. The combination of the two is what makes things especially bad for the op. I would also question the op's ability to get into UMich, even with the improved GPA. The others are a possibility at that point, but I'm not sure how much of one...

    I'm not disagreeing with you, just making myself clearer.
     
  9. hockebob

    hockebob Member
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    yeah, i guess my point was just that there are definitely other places out there doing good stem cell work (besides harvard, stanford, etc) and that the op should look around a bit when considering where to apply... especially in light of the suggestions posted in this thread.

    aaron
     
  10. jhrugger

    jhrugger Senior Member
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    thank you so much for your replies, they are really helping me sort things out. It is really tough trying to pull up the grades i got as a freshman and during first semester sophomore year.

    i'll continue researching what other schools have programs i would like to devote several years to, and then let fate take over.

    two questions i'm not sure if anyone outside an adcom might know the answers to, but its worth a shot since you've given great advice so far:

    1)when i see mcat ranges for mstps, i feel ok. when i see mcat averages, that's another story. would a 34 really change my app a whole lot more than a 31? (if so i'll study extra hard and retake).
    2)if last two years of college (not taking any gut courses) are about 3.7/3.8, does this get looked at more seriously than an overal of say 3.4/3.5?

    thanks again
     
  11. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    I think a MCAT score of 35+ would help your application for MD/PhD programs. Obviously, the higher the better. The caveat is that most retakers do not do better than they did the first time. If you really think you can do it if you study harder, it may be worth considering.

    It helps, but your cum GPA is always going to be the first and most important thing adcoms are going to look at. If you're borderline for an interview or an acceptance, it might help that you've had an "upward trend".

    Good luck!
     

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