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MD Applicants

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  • twodegreez

  • Application cycles: 06/20/2015
  • Demographics: Female,
  • Home state: Wake Atoll
  • Last Active: 09/14/2016
  • Brief Profile: This is an exercise in poor planning and time management. Applied all MSTP. There aren't many detailed MD/PhD applicant profiles so I hope this helps someone like it would have helped me. Started slacking with my impressions, but I'll try to get them all up eventually.

    AMCAS Activities
    1. Hour-long podium presentation on my thesis work
    2. Conference poster presentation on my thesis work; won one of the major awards
    3. Science outreach, 40 hours over ~1.5 years* (Thankfully it didn't raise any eyebrows that one of my most meaningful activities was one that I was involved in for a short time.)
    4. Senior thesis project, ~1.5 years (and full time during gap year)*
    5. Dance team, 2 years
    6. Summer research program for pre-MD/PhDs, prominent cancer/neuro lab, 10 weeks
    7. Campus jobs, ~200 hours
    8. Research assistant, DNA repair lab, one year
    9. Free clinic volunteer, 100 hours over 3 years*
    10. International clinical volunteering while studying abroad (not one of those medical service trips), 4 weeks
    11. Shadowing, 30 hours
    12. Research assistant, cell bio lab, 7 months
    13. Board member/president of campus cultural organization, 4 years
    14. Intramural sports/team captain, 4 years
    15. Public school health educator, 4 years

    *most meaningful

    Application weaknesses:
    -By far my greatest weakness was my GPA. My AMCAS GPA is inflated by some college courses that I took in high school, so I actually performed worse at my university than it reflects (I actually finished with a 3.6/3.47, complete with a D in one of my BCPM courses). However, I was very forthright in most of my secondaries about why I performed so badly my freshman/sophomore years (basically wasn't prepared academically or socially for my school's environment), and I had a very strong upward trend (3.94/3.93 my senior year with a science-heavy courseload) that showed that I got my shit together. I actually probably would've been fine not mentioning it at all since the schools where I didn't talk about it in my secondary didn't seem to care.

    - I was pretty short on shadowing hours, but my sustained clinical volunteering made up for it.

    -No pubs, which nobody really seemed to care about anyway. It's true that they're by no means a requirement.

    -Could've submitted things earlier, but the only place that I was truly "late" at was Harvard (and maybe WashU). Finishing secondaries by the end of August is a pretty good rule-of-thumb.

    Application strengths:
    -99th percentile MCAT score, which I took the summer after my sophomore year (before finishing second semester physics). This also made up for my bad GPA. I was told by an interviewer that my score was right at the point where scoring any higher doesn't matter, and my verbal score made an impression on one of my interviewers. Not sure how relevant this is after the new MCAT, but here's how I studied:

    -A risky (based on the subject matter) but powerful and heartfelt personal statement that was brought up in many of my interviews. Was told that I was a great writer and that it was one of the few where they actually wanted to keep reading.

    -3 years of research experience, and I'll have 4 upon matriculation. My most significant experience was a really unique project that I built from the ground up and worked on as my senior thesis and over my gap year. Interviewers were enthralled by it and it showed that I can be an independent researcher. Plus I've been interested in the MD/PhD route since high school, so I was able to make it clear that I know what I'm getting in to.

    -Very strong rec letters, including one from an HHMI professor. I didn't read them but they were brought up in a few of my interviews.

    -I think I was pretty good at interviews overall. I knew my research project like the back of my hand, and I always made sure to ask smart questions about my interviewer's research, even if I wasn't really interested in it. Some of my interviewers went out of their way to walk me to my next location just so that we could keep talking, let me know how the adcom scored me, sent personal congrats emails after my acceptance, etc., so I think I left a very good impression on people. I didn't send any thank you notes or emails, since that question often comes up.
  • // Applications //

    Application Cycle One: 06/20/2015

    • Undergraduate college: HYPSM
    • Undergraduate Area of study: Biological/Life Sciences
    • Total MCAT SCORE: 522
    • MCAT Section Scores: B/B 131, C/P 128, CARS 132  
    • Overall GPA: 3.71
    • Science GPA: 3.60

    Summary of Application Experience

    6/22 Primary submitted
    7/15 Primary verified
    7/17 Committee letter received by AMCAS
    7/5-7/21 Stupidly went on a Eurotrip without prewriting, causing my secondary submissions to be delayed. Was it worth it? We shall see.
    8/4 First interview invite
    9/2 Well, clearly the 2 week rule is BS. Absolutely ecstatic about my invites do far. I hate that I'm still sitting on my Stanford and Yale secondaries though. Was hoping to be done by the end of August. Why are they so longggg.
    9/8 I think I'm done with secondaries. I just don't have it in me anymore. They've done enough damage to my credit and to my social life. I have enough faith in my interview skills, so I'll try my luck with the invites I have so far. Maybe I'll throw in some last-minute applications if I don't get good news come October 15th. (Notice that, aside from UChicago, the schools with the longest secondaries are the ones I didn't complete lol. It's def a great way of weeding out applicants who aren't passionate about your school.)
    10/15 First acceptance from UChicago! But there's still a long road ahead. I have a lot other top choices coming up for interviews, and I won't hear back from them all until 5 months from now. But I can definitely rest easy with one of them already under my belt.
    12/10 Officially done with interviews! Time to start thinking critically about where I want to end up. brb burning my suit.
    3/8 With my Penn acceptance today, I've officially heard from everyone! I'll be attending the Tri-I, Penn, and Hopkins revisits and will decide from there. Still leaning heavily towards Tri-I, but I might be surprised.
    3/31-4/2 Tri-I revisit. Met with some cool potential mentors, both the MD/PhD and MD administrations seem great, students from all years seem to be happy, like my potential classmates for the most part (an exception or two but what can you do), and New York is absolutely THE place to be for the rest of my 20's. Definitely coming here unless my other revisits are life-changing.
    4/7-4/9 Penn revisit. Ok turns out this was kinda "life-changing" haha. I'm pretty torn now. Don't feel like attending Hopkins revisit anymore.
    4/15 Stuck with my top choice from the beginning and officially decided to matriculate to Tri-I! Though it's douchey because it's obviously a great school, I admittedly don't feel the same level of pride saying that I'm going to Cornell med as I would if I said I was going to Penn or Hopkins or some of the other places I applied to (at least for now). But I wanted to be as happy as possible for this period of my life, so those places can wait until residency and fellowship. What will make me happier than going to an extra prestigious med school is living in a city that I already I know love with most of my college friends (Philly would've been a shot in the dark), having program mates whom I clicked with the most (at Penn I generally preferred the regular MDs over the MSTPers whereas it was the opposite for Cornell), getting tons of funding for travel, and all the special little things about the Tri-I MSTP. Plus Tri-I was the best research fit, and that's what I'm here for. There were obviously things about Penn that would've made me very happy that I sadly won't get at Tri-I (their robust diversity and social justice initiatives, the benefits of a full university campus, getting a pet whenever I want, Maggie), but the scales tipped to Tri-I. So it's a wrap, folks! Thanks for watching.

    MCAT: $240 Originally $270 but I got the $30 trial section Amazon gift card.
    Primary: $789
    Letter Service: $50
    Secondaries: $1140 The NYC schools are killing me here.

    Pantsuit: $80 Cheap and got some compliments on it. Thanks, H&M. Already had blouses and heels from a conference that I went to earlier in the year. I bought them with future interviews in mind.
    Flats for walking tours: $20

    Pitt: $255 Whyyy so expensive to get here. Even the Megabus was like 80 bucks one way. (Turns out that I should've taken it anyway.) Hotel was provided.
    UChicago: $23 Just airport food and a tip for my airport shuttle driver. Hotel and transportation was covered.
    NYU: $19 The perks of being close to New York. Hotel provided.
    Hopkins: $73 Student host provided.
    Michigan: $69 (hehe) Hotel and flight covered. The $300 wasn't enough to also cover airport transportation.
    Cornell: $33 Hotel provided.
    Mount Sinai: $30 Hotel or student host provided depending on how far you are from NYC.
    Penn: $31 You can choose between a host or a hotel. I did a mix of both.
    Columbia: $59 So many unnecessary metrocard swipes -_- Student host provided.
    UCSF: $360 Student host provided. Made the most out of this expensive visit by arriving a few days early to explore the city.
    TOTAL: $3271 welp

    Applied, Withdrew

    Yale University
    Stanford University
    University of Maryland
    Northwestern University
    University of California, San Diego

    Application Complete, Withdrew

    Albert Einstein of Yeshiva University

    Invited for Interview, Withdrew

    Washington University in St. Louis
    Harvard University

    Attended Interview, Withdrew

    Mount Sinai School of Medicine

    Attended Interview, Waitlisted, Withdrew

    University of Pittsburgh


    Cornell University
    New York University
    University of Pennsylvania
    University of Chicago
    University of California, San Francisco
    Columbia University
    University of Michigan
    Johns Hopkins University

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