Medical Acceptance to new DO or Reapply. What are the implications?

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TheBoneDoctah

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Hello. I hope this is a unique enough situation to post here. I've been fortunate enough to get 3 DO interview invites so far. One of them turned into an acceptance, the other two are waitlists.

My issue is this. The DO school I was accepted to happens to be the brand new DO school in the central valley, and I'm hesitant for a few reasons. For starters, no federal loans means my parents would likely have to cosign for me, and from what I've been able to gather their credit is "shaky" at best. I'll be in contact with a few loan agencies and probably the school's financial advisor over the next few weeks to flesh my exact situation, but so far it isn't pretty. Besides that I'm also a bit concerned with how new they are, and how hard matching into something besides primary care will be. I'm not looking to break into the ivory tower of elite academic medicine and I understand I probably won't get into something like ortho or derm without some incredible laundry list of accomplishments and powerful connections, but I am interested in exploring historically friendly DO specialties (EM, Radiology, Neurology, Anesthesia, etc) in addition to IM and FM as career options.

So I guess what I want to know boils down to this:
1) If I turn down this acceptance and reapply, is this something other schools would be privy to?
2) If yes to question 1, then would the issue of private loans and lack of cosigners be a reasonable explanation for turning away a coveted seat to medical school?
3) If I am somehow able to scrape together the cosigners to attend this new DO in the fall (and assuming both my waitlists remain waitlists), what kind of uphill battle will I have to fight to match into something that isn't primary care?
4) Am I being insane here for even considering a reapp!?

I've seen countless threads that basically peg turning down an acceptance as lethal in a re-applicant, and even more threads that completely mock students for applying and gaining acceptances to places they eventually decide they don't want to attend. For what its worth, this private loan business was something I was absolutely not aware about before so much as interviewing. I also didn't consider that graduating from such a new school could possibly harm my residency outcomes. I figured if the school was on AACOMAS it was about as safe as any other school on the site in terms of financing the education.

For some background, I'm an ORM from Northern California with a sgpa of 3.29, cgpa of 3.4X, and a single MCAT of 514 taken in August of 2020. No undergrad loans. My application this cycle felt fairly rushed and delayed (didnt complete at most places DO or MD until September/October). EC wise I've got a standard 100ish hours of shadowing scattered over my college years with a DO letter, a few internships (mostly natural sciences/non-clinically related, but I had some important interactions that I cite later on), a medical mission (which I know isn't a "real" domestic clinical experience), some clinical volunteering which I began after my MCAT, and a few other things. In the case I decide to reapply I'll likely be working as an EMT or scribe or something to actually have 100-200 total clinical hours while taking additional classes at a local CC to bring up my science gpa, and of course I'll be submitting my secondaries before the end of July. Thanks in advance
Can you explain the loan situation a little better? Are you saying you can't get federal loans through this school?

1. On your DO application, you will have to mark that you are a reapplicant.
3. This is something that circulates through the pre-med community. YOU ARE NOT LOCKED INTO PRIMARY CARE GOING TO ANY DO PROGRAM. You can get into a ton of specialties as a DO. All medical schools supply you (for the most part) with the same medical knowledge. The amount of studying YOU do and how well you do on your exams, boards, research, LOR is what dictates where you land for residency. It IS tougher as a DO to match into competitive specialties, but it can be done. My point is that there are students at Harvard who get 220 on their Step 1 and there were students at my DO school who scored 265+ on Step. Does that mean that my DO school supplied the student with better info? The student just worked their a** off to do well and you can too. One thing that is shaky about new DO schools is that a lot of the time their clinical rotations are not up to par yet as they are still working that out.

Now comes the do I take the acceptance and start or do I reapply. If you reapply, you will likely get more DO interviews next cycle if you can boost your clinical hours and non-clinical volunteer hours. Also, I assume you weren't thinking about taking a gap year which would be another path you could take. If you did a year post-bac and did well, you could reapply MD and have a good shot as your MCAT is good.

This is really up to you. I would never advise you to go to a new DO school, BUT it's up to you if that's your only acceptance. Medical schools are not going anywhere so if you want to reapply after a gap year that would also be a good option.
 

Goro

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Normally, I advise people to go with a new school if it's their only accept.

But you can do better by merely buffing up your ECs.

Med schools, especially DO schools, do NOT know if you've turned down accepts. Some schools ask if you've been accepted in secondaries. Just tell the truth.

If asked why you turned down an accept, just list all the flaws of the school, and the loan issue. No one will default to the thinking of "you don't really want to be a doctor!" mindset.

If the school you're turning down is CHSU, I don't blame you. They appear to be very limited in thier rotation sites. Are a for profit school? If so, that's another reason to turn them down.

FYI, Neuro, Gas, Rads, PM&R, IM, Psych, Path, EM, OB/Gyn are all DO friendly. Even Gen Surg is doable.
 

TheBoneDoctah

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Thank you for the response. I really really appreciate it :)

Regarding the loans, you said it like it is. The school's students are not eligible for federal loans until they (the college) have graduated their first class (I'll be matriculating into their second class). To pay for the yearly tuition/CoA, students are expected to take out private loans through lenders (Sallie Mae, Wells Fargo, etc etc). The school website seems to even encourage us to shop around. From what I've seen on last years applicant thread (or maybe it was this years) students weren't having trouble getting these loans, some even getting deferment through residency. The caveat is that I have no idea what their credit (or their cosigner's credit) was to get such an outcome, as that is what it pretty much boils down to. Heck even QUALIFYING for the loans requires a certain amount of credit.

Thanks for letting me know I'd have to mark myself as a reapplicant. That's useful information, and I'm mostly concerned that schools wouldn't touch me with a 10 foot pole if they knew I turned down a chance to start a year earlier. Regarding the specialty choice, I understand DOs are represented in every specialty. My concerns have to do with the fact that there wont even be a Step 1 to get my foot in the door for the rest of my app to shine, and that residencies (risk averse as they are) might not want to take a risk on new graduates of a brand new school if all else is equal on my application as say another DO graduate. One plus of the school is that they are extremely focused on addressing healthcare in the central valley, and from what I've been able to gather they are building relationships with hospitals in the area to build trust in their students for future matches. I just don't know if taking the leap of faith with this school is a greater risk than turning down a for sure acceptance and reapplying next year (or taking a gap year like you said) and then having to explain why I turned down the opportunity to become a doctor 1-2 years ago.

Again, I appreciate your advice. This has been starting to feel like a judgement call where the grass feels greener on the other side, which is why I posted here for advice in the first place. I'm leaning towards attending the school in all honesty if I'm able to secure even somewhat reasonable private loans (and I'll figure out what somewhat reasonable means with a bit of research over the next week or so), but as the school recommends I'll have to "shop around" for a bit before getting any answers.
Wow. Was not aware of that loan issue. That’s pretty wild.

Your thought process is sound on this school though. I turned down Campbell University as I would have been in their second class. School turned out to do very well and turn out a great match list, but it would have been a gamble.

Like Goro said, I would really take the time to buff up your ECs and GPA. I really think you can get into MD if you took the gap year but that’s completely up to you. Otherwise boost your ECs and get into a better, more established DO school next year.
 

AlteredScale

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Thanks for the advice everyone. The ChooseDO website has them listed as a for profit, private which I guess answers that. Yeah the school is CHSU, and I'm at least partly glad that I'm not going insane thinking about passing up the school. Unfortunately actually pulling the trigger to say no scares the **** out of me and it would also mean I'd have to start working towards those clinical experiences which I specifically cut back on due to COVID and what not (although that's less of an issue now than it was 4 months ago with the vaccine rolling out).

Regarding limited rotation sites, the school mentioned that they have an abundance of sites for their core 3rd year rotations (more than they'd even be able to fill with students). Many of them are nearby to the campus which is a plus (I guess? sorta) but from what I can see 4th year electives are going to be basically 4 VSLO auditions which take us from June to October, then a required primary care rotation (huh?), an OMM rotation, an emergency rotation, a required specialty rotation, then that gets us basically to match day. I guess what I'm asking @Goro @TheBoneDoctah or anyone else who can see this, how does this stack up against more established MD/DO schools. Is it harder to get those audition rotations in something/somewhere desirable as a student from a brand new school? Or is it more I should be concerned with a disjointed curriculum during those last 2 years. Or does it have to do with the fact that half that fourth year seems to be pretty locked in for primary care/OMM/FHQC. Or is there something else I'm missing here.

Sorry for all the questions, its just that up until about 4 weeks ago my attitude was you'd have to tear a medical school acceptance on US soil from my cold, dead hands. Now I'm considering actually giving it up willingly, and before I do that I want to have a rationale I can well....rationalize. Thank you all again for the advice :)
That is essentially how all DO schools work in the way of 4th year. You are expected to full your fourth year accordingly which in a way is nice because you do want to tailor it well.

Because CHSU doesn't have a dedicated affiliate teaching hospital, you will get second dibs if you choose to audition at any university program or program that already has a medical school. But you can usually "beat the system" by applying smart and broadly. Usually, places will accept outsiders for auditions if you are from a school nearby but even so, it is not guaranteed.

The last two years at most DO programs are a cluster. That's the downfall. Most realize that and try their hardest to get the best rotations possible. The statement that "we are a primary care driven school" is honestly a ploy to allow for some really subpar rotations (1:1 middle of nowhere, preceptor-based, clinic practice that may or may not be just shadowing instead of actually doing) to count as core rotations in third year.
 
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TheBoneDoctah

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Thanks for the advice everyone. The ChooseDO website has them listed as a for profit, private which I guess answers that.
This is the case with 95% of DO schools. Michigan State and Oklahoma State are state schools, but most DO schools are for-profit and private.
Regarding limited rotation sites, the school mentioned that they have an abundance of sites for their core 3rd year rotations (more than they'd even be able to fill with students).
It's super easy to say "we have so many damn sites we have no idea what to do with them! We have sites coming out of our ears!" In reality, most of these sites are rural sites like @AlteredScale said which is horrible training. They can say whatever they want.
4th year electives are going to be basically 4 VSLO auditions which take us from June to October, then a required primary care rotation (huh?), an OMM rotation, an emergency rotation, a required specialty rotation, then that gets us basically to match day.
This is no different than other DO schools. For our school, we got lucky in that they kinda left our fourth year open so we could do as many auditions as possible as long as took our required emergency medicine rotation. Depending on what specialty you wanna do, you will shoot for between 3-6 audition rotations. Sometimes you will be able to find ways to bend the rules a bit (for example, using your family med as a sports medicine rotation when it's actually orthopedic surgery. This is the big one I have heard of). Four auditions is actually good as some of the schools in Michigan only allow three auditions for their students.
Is it harder to get those audition rotations in something/somewhere desirable as a student from a brand new school? Or is it more I should be concerned with a disjointed curriculum during those last 2 years. Or does it have to do with the fact that half that fourth year seems to be pretty locked in for primary care/OMM/FHQC.
I don't think it has to do with the "newness" of the school as much as it has to do with the students from the school which is affiliated with the hospital always gets the first choice. You, as the visiting DO student, get the last pick, which sometimes ends up being no pick, haha. But again, this is no different at any other DO school. It's just how it is. Like @Goro and I said before, sometimes the rotations may not be set up particularly well and there can be hiccups along the way as the school is still figuring things out (which to a point is expected I guess).
Or does it have to do with the fact that half that fourth year seems to be pretty locked in for primary care/OMM/FHQC.
Again, you only need 3-6 (6 is a lot) auditions. My last year of medical school was:

Ortho surgery
Ortho surgery
Ortho surgery
Ortho surgery
Ortho surgery
Ortho surgery
Sleep medicine/neurology
Emergency medicine
OMM

Even for orthopedic surgery, which you need a ton of auditions, I really would have been fine with 4-5. As long as you get your four months of electives, it really doesn't matter what the other rotations are and I suggest making them the easiest rotations you can, haha.
 
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