Jun 15, 2019
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Hi everybody,

I'm a rising sophomore bioengineering major at a decently well known large state school. I have always wanted to go into scientific research of some sort, and was pretty much set on getting a PhD since high school. Last semester, I started out in a computational biology lab that I find interesting and will likely continue to work in through my college career (along with possible research internships/summer programs in related fields/other fields of interest later on).

However, for reasons that I don't want to explain here, it has recently occurred to me that I might be very interested in medicine and translational research/becoming a physician-scientist. As such, I am strongly considering getting an MD/PhD to further this goal.

I have some questions regarding this, however.
1. Due to pure laziness, I had a poor start to my college career with a 3.4 GPA first semester but was able to get a 3.9 GPA second semester. What is a good GPA to be competitive for MD/PhD programs? I would say that my second semester GPA is more representative of my true ability due to its higher course rigor.
2. How exactly do I get started on the medical side of things? Eg. What should I do to get into clinical experience, shadowing, etc.?
3. Is starting on this track sophomore year too late?
4. I often see people listing hours spent in research, etc. on chance me threads. I have realized that I actually don't really track how much time I spend working on my research projects, but am more focused on results/getting things done. Is this bad for applications? Should I start counting hours?
5. How important are miscellaneous extracurriculars/leadership positions? I haven't really joined many clubs— do I need to?

Thank you in advance!
 

Tiran145

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1. Just continue to get 3.9+ semester from here on out and a 3.4 semester from Freshman year or so will not kill you. Rising trend is key.
2. Try getting a paid job such as CNA, scribe, EMT, caretaker, ER tech, etc to get clinical hours. Also doing a good amount of shadowing by cold calling doctors/ networking with family friends can sometimes count as clinical. Also start clinical volunteering in a hospital or nursing home is a good option.

3. No
4.yes, you will have to report hours in amcas, the centralized medical school application system.
5. You don’t necessarily need to join school clubs, but you do need leadership experience which can be shown in a variety of ways. TA, tutoring, clubs, coaching, etc.
 
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@Tiran145
What would be a good number of research hours? If I produce solid work (eg. publications, conference papers, etc.) but a low hour amount, would that negatively affect me in any way?
 
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Tiran145

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@Tiran145
What would be a good number of research hours? If I produce solid work (eg. publications, conference papers, etc.) but a low hour amount, would that negatively affect me in any way?
Not sure how many hours MD/PhD programs are looking for I only applied MD. I had only about 400 hours and that seemed to be fine but I am assuming you would be required to have much more, maybe a 1000? Maybe someone else here with more knowledge of the MD/PhD route can offer more accurate advice? @gyngyn
 
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Fencer

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I just saw the slides from an AAMC presentation for the 2018 cycle, when this question/number was first added.

2018 AMCAS Data Trends (as of 3/31/18)
New total research hours question for MD-PhD applicants
Range: 0 –99,999 hours (1,837 applicants with at least 1 MD-PhD)
Average: 3,158.4 hours
Median: 2,115 hours

As I indicated previously, for my program
Reported Research Hours
2019 AMCAS Cycle
matriculants​
interviewees​
applicants​
median​
5400​
4040​
2712​
average​
5429​
4430​
4019​
SD​
2387​
2620​
4484​

Now, we also interviewed several applicants who were still in college with significantly less amount of research experience (~1000 hrs). However, we are looking for people committed to research, which tends to result in significant number of research hours. Be truthful about the hours, but if you did work 60-80 hrs/week to pull out a project, described that amount. The LORs/manuscripts should back-up excessive number of hours.
 
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MyOdyssey

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Do these hours include research hours worked between the time an application is submitted and matriculation in a program?
 
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Fencer

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The instructions indicate that they are up to the date of submission. However, in the application, you can add an experience with future research hours that are expected to be accomplished by time of matriculation and/or May/June of the matriculation year.

There are 3 meaningful experiences, at least two of them should be research experiences. The other one should be clinical to pacify (domesticate) the SOM AdCom.
 
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gyngyn

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Not sure how many hours MD/PhD programs are looking for I only applied MD. I had only about 400 hours and that seemed to be fine but I am assuming you would be required to have much more, maybe a 1000? Maybe someone else here with more knowledge of the MD/PhD route can offer more accurate advice? @gyngyn
It's not just the hours. It's productivity, responsibility, resilience, mentor-ship and so much more.
The most expensive students in the medical school are the MD/PhD's. MSTP funding is tiny. The school has to come up with the rest.
It is a huge investment and nobody wants to make a bad one. I believe this is why many fine schools take them from the accepted MD class. There is more chance to observe and consider before making that commitment.
 
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ClimbsRox

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It's quite common to do ~2 years of research after undergrad before starting an mdphd. (Eg. Nih postbacc, research tech in an academic lab, etc.) Don't feel like you need to do it all immediately. Sophomore year isn't late to decide on this path. I went to college thinking I wanted to be a high school English teacher. Over the next few years, you will need a strong research background, some clinical experience, some volunteer experience, and to keep your grades up. Don't try and fit the mold. Find things you really care about that help people. As for hours, I never really tracked mine. I just rounded the amount spent per week in the lab and multiplied by the length I was there. Sure some weeks I worked 10 hours and others I worked 40, so I rounded to a conservative 20. If you care about your research, the hours will take care of themselves.
 
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