Molecular Biology and Philosophy major, non-Canadian international.
I applied in the 2013 cycle as a college senior to 23 MD/PhD programs and 13 MD programs (either schools that don't accept internationals for MD/PhD or those that considered me for MD after MD/PhD). It was a big failure; I attended 9 interviews (6 MD/PhD, 3 MD), was waitlisted by 6, and ultimately rejected by all.
Unfortunately, this fiasco left me a reapplicant to virtually all schools that will consider me for my application in 2015. Aggravating the problem is the fact that I took my MCAT in September 2012. This forced me to omit about 15 schools that will only accept MCAT scores from 2013 onward (I wasn't about to retake a 39 knowing nothing about Sociology and being years out from my last pre-req course). [Note: I found out later that MCAT expiration policies are often BS. I've heard many cases of students getting in with MCAT scores older than what the school 'requires'. Northwestern for sure, and a few other schools I don't remember.]
Battered, penniless, and weary, I will continue to force my way toward my physician-scientist dream. I have another year of research under my belt, a letter from an MSTP assistant director, and will prepare the hell out of my interviews this time. I'll apply to about 16 MD/PhD programs and 14 MD programs, 8 of which are new faces.
Main ECs: Research (4 years at the time of second application, still no publication) and IT/teaching job.
February 18, 2016: ACCEPTED!!!!!!!
I'm going to be a physician-scientist!
Applied to 16 MD/PhD programs (12 MSTPs, 4 non-MSTPs):
|Baylor ($100)||Einstein ($120)||Minnesota ($0)||Upstate ($110)|
|BU ($110)||Emory ($120)||MUSC ($95)||UTSW ($0)|
|Columbia ($100)||Harvard ($100)||Penn ($80)||Vanderbilt ($0)|
|Cornell ($100)||Jefferson ($80)||UConn ($85)||WashU ($80)|
Invited to interview at 8 (all 8 pre-II rejections were from MSTPs):
Applied to 11 MD programs (these schools don't take non-Canadian internationals for MD/PhD), and an additional 3 alongside/after MSTP consideration:
|Case ($90, w/CCLCM)||Pritzker ($85)||Stanford ($85)||Cornell (moved to MD after MSTP reject)|
|CCLCM||Rosalind Franklin ($125)||Tufts ($105)||Einstein (moved to MD after MSTP reject)|
|Hopkins ($90)||RWJMS ($80+$10 CASPer)||Yale ($95)||WashU (MD/MSTP decide separately)|
|Pitt ($85)||SLU ($100)|
Invited to interview at 3:
Below are the costs of my interview trips. I omitted food costs because I technically could eat at McDonalds for <$5 per meal, but who does that in New York or Boston? :)
|Credit card annual fees||Southwest Premier $89; Southwest Plus $69; British Airways Avios waived first year $0||$158|
|9/24||CCLCM||SW flight x2 $11.20; return RTA tickets $4.50; stayed with host $0||$15.70|
|10/22â€‘23||Emory||SW flight x2 $11.20; MARTA tickets $6; stayed with host $0||$17.20|
|10/29-31||MUSC||SW flight x2 $11.20; free hotel $0; shared Uber to airport $16 (it was $8, but the girl who promised to pay me back never did...)||$27.20|
|11/16-17||UConn||Flights paid for, although it took them three months. Uber to airport $0.91 ($30 promo).||$0.91|
|12/3-5||Vandy||Flights paid for, free hotel and shuttle. Took local bus to the airport ($2.25).||$2.25|
|1/4||WashU||Avios flight x2 $11.20; forfeited fee once to reschedule $11.20; one trip on metro $4 (WTF?); free dorm stay $0; tagged with a local applicant to airport $0; 2x airport toll $4||$30.40|
|1/12-13||Jefferson||Outbound SW flight $5.60; stayed in hostel $32.75; Philly transit $24.50; Avios flight to SYR $5||$67.85|
|1/14-15||Upstate||Free shuttle and hotel stay. I had to take Megabus to Rochester for my flight ($19.50) and local bus to the airport ($1). Return SW flight $5.60||$26.10|
|1/28-29||BU||SW flight x2 $11.20; transit tickets $11; stayed in hostel $48.20; Uber home $7.50||$77.90|
|1/2||Cornell||This trip had many other costs as it was partly a vacation :) basic costs excluding extravagant meals: SW flight x2 $11.20; 7-day pass $32; hotel $116.05; Uber home $7.50||$116.75||$540.26|
|Interfolio for rec. letters||$25|
I kept track of how much my flights would have costed if I didn't have the miles from those credit card sign-up bonuses, and by the most conservative estimates they would have been at least $2,000, especially because of some last-minute invites that would have costed $300+ one way. So 3 credit cards with annual fees totaling $158 saved me ~$1,900 (with tons of points to spare). You can easily cancel at the end of the first year to avoid paying again.