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What should I do?

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JSU

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Hey everyone,

I typed this post up for the "should I retake thread," however it is more appropriate here.

Im not really sure what to do now. I was dead set on applying to MD/PhD programs this year and have already sent my application to a host of schools. However, my two problems are as follows. 1. I have very little OFFICIAL research (I have been scientifically involved since I could crawl) 2. I just got a 33R (12,9,12) on my MCAT, which was unexpected. On the upside, I have a 4.0 sGPA and 3.94cGPA. Do I still stand a chance or should I switch all of my applications for MD only?

I feel that I could get a 36+, which was my recent average with a 41 being my last score before the real thing, if I took the test again. However, I really don't want to go through the whole ordeal again, and if I do it would have to wait until this spring.

Thanks!
 

flashback

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i'm not sure what you mean by "scientifically involved". In my experience at interviews, research was by far the most important aspect of my application. Don't get me wrong the MCAT was definitely important and hurt me fairly badly: 32Q but still got into 2 of the 9 MSTPs I applied to- one of which was my 2nd choice. I got in to a total of 5 MD/PhD programs- all fully funded. (I had a similar gpa to you from a decent undergrad).

my point is that whrether you not you stand a chance isn't going to change dramatically with a few more points on your MCAT- it's your research that's going to make or break you. Odds are you're going to be fine, but if you don't have atleast a solid summer of "official" research (more is much better) school's are going to have a difficult time convincing themselves that you have any idea what you're getting into and that you can actually work efficiently in a lab.

maybe you can beg yourself into a lab for the rest of the summer?
 

JSU

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Thanks for the reply. In short, the last 7 years of my education (Rabbinical Seminary) didn't allow me time for research. I finished my Rabbinical degree and immediately enrolled at Community College for a semester and then CLU (which is where I am now). I started research in the fall at a Alpha Partical Gun (building a LinAc soon) and have been continuing through the summer. I also started some Ochem research a about a month ago which I am currently involved in. Im going to attach my MD/PhD essay as that should explain everything.

Thanks again.
 

dmblue

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That's not enough research, but what do you mean by "scientifically involved"
 

JSU

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I have attached my "Significant Research Experiences" page from my AMCAS application. Honestly, it's the weakest part of my app. Both my personal statement and md/phd essay are amazing.
 

flashback

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Sorry, don’t mean to be a downer here… but at least from my perspective (which you probably shouldn’t take too seriously) you’ve written about a bunch of things that most committee members will not care about. First, I believe that this section is meant to be written in essay format- not sharply broken into sections as you have.
While previous “research” doesn’t necessarily have to be medical research, I still assume they want to hear about the basic science research you participated in. The assumption at practically all programs is that you want to be involved in basic science research to some extent and you need to prove to them that you are genuinely interested and competent.
While it makes a neat anecdote, I don’t think the rockets you built when you were ten years old with your PhD-dad are of interest to the admission committee.
I think you reaaaally should have focused on your ALPHA PARTICLES MEDICAL RESEARCH and CHEMO ELECTRIC PHENOMENA (and you should do this if you’re invited for interviews). Everything else that is relevant sounds like things you might have included in your general activities section of your amcas. The Rabbinical research you describe, while important to you, is likely not what people are interested in reading about. Further, most people are probably not going to believe that religion-based research involves true “logical-reasoning.” I’m not saying that’s right or wrong… I’m just saying…
In any case, good luck with everything. As the other poster said, your basic science research experiences really aren’t there. When you go for interviews you will be expected to talk at length about them. Your competition is likely going to have 2-3 summers and school years of research in basic science labs. Your GPA and MCAT alone, while impressive, really won’t set you apart in this application process (that’s true for most applicants).
I won’t advise you about whether you should switch you application to MD-only. However I can tell you that you definitely don’t have the background of a traditional MD-PhD applicant.
 

JSU

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Sorry, don’t mean to be a downer here… but at least from my perspective (which you probably shouldn’t take too seriously) you’ve written about a bunch of things that most committee members will not care about. First, I believe that this section is meant to be written in essay format- not sharply broken into sections as you have.
While previous “research” doesn’t necessarily have to be medical research, I still assume they want to hear about the basic science research you participated in. The assumption at practically all programs is that you want to be involved in basic science research to some extent and you need to prove to them that you are genuinely interested and competent.
While it makes a neat anecdote, I don’t think the rockets you built when you were ten years old with your PhD-dad are of interest to the admission committee.
I think you reaaaally should have focused on your ALPHA PARTICLES MEDICAL RESEARCH and CHEMO ELECTRIC PHENOMENA (and you should do this if you’re invited for interviews). Everything else that is relevant sounds like things you might have included in your general activities section of your amcas. The Rabbinical research you describe, while important to you, is likely not what people are interested in reading about. Further, most people are probably not going to believe that religion-based research involves true “logical-reasoning.” I’m not saying that’s right or wrong… I’m just saying…
In any case, good luck with everything. As the other poster said, your basic science research experiences really aren’t there. When you go for interviews you will be expected to talk at length about them. Your competition is likely going to have 2-3 summers and school years of research in basic science labs. Your GPA and MCAT alone, while impressive, really won’t set you apart in this application process (that’s true for most applicants).
I won’t advise you about whether you should switch you application to MD-only. However I can tell you that you definitely don’t have the background of a traditional MD-PhD applicant.

Thanks for the reality check. I wrote the essay like that because I am not the average applicant with tons of research, however, hopefully someone will see my life experiences with science as interesting enough for an interview. Once there I can talk about my current research until their ears bleed.

Thanks again for the honest review.
 

Neuronix

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LOL at your overclocking story.

You need serious and recent basic science research. A bunch of neat things you did years ago is minimal fodder for your personal statement (NOT your research essay) to show you are an interesting and diverse person, but this doesn't make up for a lack of basic science research as a college student or after college. You should aim to have about 2 years of research by the time you start a MD/PhD program, i.e. you should be applying with over 1 year of experience (preferably full-time if it's that little).

Adcoms will care that you don't have tons of research--in a bad way. You're applying for MD/PhD and research is one of the most important parts of the application. What you've been doing for the past semester and what you're working on currently is not sufficient. Rabbinical studies does not count as research. You shouldn't even cite that publication outside of an AMCAS extracirricular description.

If you insist on applying this year, I'd recommend applying MD-only. The MCAT score is a little low for MD/PhD but not a killer on its own. Your research experience is the problem here.
 
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JSU

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LOL at your overclocking story.

You need serious and recent basic science research. A bunch of neat things you did years ago is minimal fodder for your personal statement (NOT your research essay) to show you are an interesting and diverse person, but this doesn't make up for a lack of basic science research as a college student or after college. You should aim to have about 2 years of research by the time you start a MD/PhD program, i.e. you should be applying with over 1 year of experience (preferably full-time if it's that little).

Adcoms will care that you don't have tons of research--in a bad way. You're applying for MD/PhD and research is one of the most important parts of the application. What you've been doing for the past semester and what you're working on currently is not sufficient. Rabbinical studies does not count as research. You shouldn't even cite that publication outside of an AMCAS extracirricular description.

If you insist on applying this year, I'd recommend applying MD-only. The MCAT score is a little low for MD/PhD but not a killer on its own. Your research experience is the problem here.

Thanks for your reply. Ill be calling my top schools and asking if my MD/PhD application will affect the possibility of me being accepted for MD only. If it has a negative effect on the MD app ill probably withdraw. This way I still keep some MD/PhD schools and can hopefully get lucky.
 

Neuronix

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Thanks for your reply. Ill be calling my top schools and asking if my MD/PhD application will affect the possibility of me being accepted for MD only. If it has a negative effect on the MD app ill probably withdraw. This way I still keep some MD/PhD schools and can hopefully get lucky.

Be careful. The official word on this may often be that you are considered for both MD and MD/PhD at a given school. However, the experience of MD/PhD applicants has often been different. i.e. That by the time the MD/PhD program has made a decision on your application (pre or post interview) you are very late or too late for MD consideration. There have been many threads on this topic in this forum, this one being the most recent:

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=743108

AFAIK, only Penn forbids an applicant from applying to both MD and MD/PhD. But this does change a bit from year to year.
 
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