Lab experience (some posters and talks, publication eventually) in 3 labs.
Volunteering in hospital and in a clinic abroad.
leadership, music, athletics...
Applying to MSTPs!
// Applications //
Application Cycle One: 2009
Undergraduate Area of study: Biological/Life Sciences
Total MCAT SCORE: 524
MCAT Section Scores:
Overall GPA: 3.98
Science GPA: 4.00
Summary of Application Experience
Applying to 40% Midwest schools, and casting a dozen lines to coastal reach schools. At the very least, I\'m looking forward to going and seeing many of the elite schools I\'ve only ever read about (but an acceptance letter or two would be fantastic as well!)
AMCAS submitted June 17, verified July 7.
7/09 - Secondaries are trickling into my inbox, but I probably won\'t be submitting any until August. I\'m waiting on a letter until then anyway, so I have nothing to gain by submitting early (except peace of mind!)
8/7/09 - 13 secondaries submitted, 3 received but not submitted, 4 yet to receive. Maybe the most underrated part of the application process is how much you really learn about yourself just from the sheer amount of reflective writing these applications require.
8/20/09 - Just in time for school to start up again, I think I\'ve just about finished the secondary application process. I\'ve completed 18 secondaries. Still waiting on U of Washington\'s MSTP secondary, but I just submitted their primary a little over a week ago. Letter packet is uploaded to VE and AMCAS, so the \'Complete\' notifications should be coming in soon. Very excited to get interview season underway!
9/3/09 - All twenty secondaries have been received and submitted, and I\'m complete at seventeen schools as of today. Two interview invitations, which is exciting! I\'m glad I did all this during the summer, because the school year is as hectic as always...
10/2/09 - Twelve interview invitations thus far, nine MSTP and three MD. No rejections yet, but this could be the calm before the storm...Either way, I am going to be missing a LOT of school this fall and it is stressing me out a bit!
11/5/09 - Wow, what a whirlwind of a month October was. Fall term is over at school, and I\'m about halfway done interviewing...time to recharge a bit. I did more traveling this month than I have in the rest of my life, and met some incredible people along the way. Taking time to reflect on each journey has been helpful in sorting my thoughts and attempting to \'rank\' schools. Life is also less stressful now that I have an acceptance in hand! I\'m looking forward to seeing what the remainder of 2009 will bring.
12/12/09 - Finally done interviewing (except for Washington in late February) after two straight months on the trail. It\'s been a fun ride, but I\'m ready to stop answering the question \"Why do you want to do an MD/PhD?\" So far I have acceptances at three great Big Ten programs, a couple inevitable rejections, and a lot of uncollapsed wavefunctions in the metaphorical black box of medical school admissions. I\'ve met some incredible people on the trail, many of whom are so accomplished it\'s scary. I\'m definitely lucky to have gotten interviews at so many excellent programs. We\'ll see what happens come March, but from here on out it\'s all gravy.
1/8/10 - Back to reality. Post-interview rejections from two top MSTPs (Tri-I and WashU) are a little discouraging, but I didn\'t have great experiences with either. Disappointment buffered by the MD acceptance at UCSF, which was one of my absolute favorite programs. As I\'ve said before, if the process were to stop here I\'d be perfectly content - so I\'m not wasting time stressing about things anymore! It\'s track season and all is well in the world.
2/28/10 - I\'ve had incredible success in applying to medical schools (MD-only). I\'ve been accepted by three of the four US News-top 5 schools I applied to, with one still up in the air. I\'m also happy with my success in applying to MSTPs, but one thing is clear to me about the MD/PhD admissions game: There is no substitute for sustained, productive research experience in a productive, well-regarded lab. Believe me, I have just about all the other potential substitutes :) At my MD/PhD interviews at elite programs, I was absolutely blown away by the research pedigrees of my fellow applicants. The old adage that medical schools don\'t want academic robots is almost certainly true. But in silico applicants with good measurables and impressive research accomplishments stand a fighting chance at any MSTP in the country. This is certainly not a complaint; I would take my NIH-postbacc competition over me as well! Rather, it\'s just one of the very few things I am sure of with regards to MD/PhD admissions. Demonstrated research accomplishment is the most important aspect of an MD/PhD application.
3/22/10 - After nine months, my medical school application cycle has finally turned its last revolution. A quick recap: I applied to 20 schools, 19 MSTP MD/PhD programs and 1 MD-only. I was invited to interview at 16 of these schools (15 MSTP), and accepted 13 such invitations. 12 interviews were for MD/PhD programs (the other was for the University of Chicago, which has separate MD and MSTP interviews. I interviewed for the MD there, but declined my invitation to interview for their MSTP. It wasn\'t for me.).
Of these 12, I was outright rejected by 2, and rejected MSTP/accepted MD by 2 more. Not much to say there; I never seriously considered taking the MD-only offer from UCSF or WashU. The career flexibility of the MD-PhD is probably its biggest appeal to me. Of course, I would never make such an eyebrow-raising statement at an interview...
I was placed on 3 waitlists, all of which I eventually withdrew from. I wasn\'t ever high on Vandy or Northwestern, but I loved UWashington. I withdrew with some trepidation after receiving my Yale acceptance.
And finally, I was fortunate enough to receive acceptances to five MD-PhD programs, four fully funded. My Hopkins acceptance letter remarked that most funding decisions are made in mid-late April - which is probably a nice way of saying that they\'ll wait and see if those students to whom they initially offered MSTP funding plan to matriculate. So my decision has come down to fully funded MSTP spots at Michigan or Yale. I\'m leaning towards Yale enough to feel comfortable saying so here, but haven\'t withdrawn from UMich (or Hopkins, for that matter) yet. It\'s been a wild ride, and I\'m taking this opportunity to live it up for my final term of college. Contemplating the future with bright expectant eyes...
5/2/10 - The decision has been made! I couldn\'t be happier to be a Yalie.
Summary of Experience:
I was offered MSTP funding on 4/23, after I had written off JHU and skipped the revisit. They were exceedingly polite and apologetic about the untimeliness of the offer, and offered to fly me out to Baltimore, set up phone interviews with faculty, or do whatever was necessary to sway me. Unfortunately, my mind was already made up and this late-breaking wrench in the works added only a modicum of uncertainty to the equation. Nothing against Hopkins, but I don\'t think it\'s for me. Withdrew 4/27
Summary of Experience:
I\'ve spent the last four years in this neck of the woods, and believe me, there are not eight more years\' worth of things on my eastern Iowa to-do list. Good people here, though.