Which option to choose?

  • A.T. Still University - School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona

    Votes: 36 43.9%
  • Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine - Bradenton

    Votes: 38 46.3%
  • Wait and apply 2009 for TCOM and M.D. Texas schools

    Votes: 6 7.3%
  • Wait and apply 2009 for other out-of-state D.O. schools

    Votes: 2 2.4%

  • Total voters
    82

sethman33

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I was recently accepted to ATSU-SOMA (South Carolina CHC) and LECOM-Bradenton. I am from Texas and took the January MCAT, my score went up from a 24R (May) to a 26Q. My GPA is about 3.4....

Which school should I pick and why? Or, since the Texas schools (TCOM and the MD's) didn't have a chance to see my new MCAT score or increased GPA (about a tenth), should I wait and reapply to Texas schools to save some money and stay in state?

I'd love to hear your opinions, but AT LEAST participate in the poll above...

Thanks!
 

DragonWell

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How did you feel about the PBL session you sat in on? Most people seem to have a pretty strong positive or negative vibe after that, and since that's how you'll spend the first two years, it'd definitely be one of the main things I'd consider.

I haven't followed it too closely, but it seems like people have a similar reaction to the CHC style of education - love it or can't imagine it. From my limited understanding of how SOMA works, these schools seem like pretty different animals...what's your opinion of where you'd be happiest?
 

NasPas

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I was in the exact same boat. My MCAT increased but the scores weren't available after the apps were due.

In my opinion, you should come to LECOM-B. If for no other reason than to pad the roster with students from Texas.
 

LauraDO

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It seems to me that people either love LECOM-B or hate it. I have also noticed this trend for SOMA, these two school are very 'student specific' and you have to be the 'right' type of person to really like them and get the most out of them.

You need to decide what is most important to you. What type of school enviroment you are looking for and how much the $ issue matters. But I would say if you are not feeling an extreme excitment about either of these two schools and the programs they present then niether of them are right for you....since they are both very unique in terms of medical schools
 

GreenShirt

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LOL, I was debating between these two schools last year as well. I went with SOMA in the end. As LauraDO mentioned both programs are very student-specific in that they have non-traditional teaching methods that don't jive with everyone. Here's some things to consider:

1) Perhaps the biggest draw IMO: At SOMA you get to spend 3 clinical yrs in one location and you know that location at the time of acceptance. This is helpful if you are coordinating with family or SOs. At LECOM-Br you don't know until the end of your second year where you're going for clinicals and you may not be able to stay in the same city all 24 months.

2) Location: Well, both Florida and Arizona are pretty cool places to live. Florida has great beaches, Arizona desert and grand canyon. SOMA has a suburban location whereas, LECOM is rural.

3) Curriculum: I really thought PBL was cool but after having experienced some of the "look it up" attitude from a few prof's at SOMA, I realize it's a bit irritating b/c there aren't enough hours in the day to do it all...a little help in the form of a lecture helps significantly.

4) The 3 yrs spent at a CHC is unique in medical education and something I'm looking forward to.

Feel free to PM if you have more questions.
 

EastWestN2grt

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LOL, I was debating between these two schools last year as well. I went with SOMA in the end. As LauraDO mentioned both programs are very student-specific in that they have non-traditional teaching methods that don't jive with everyone. Here's some things to consider:

1) Perhaps the biggest draw IMO: At SOMA you get to spend 3 clinical yrs in one location and you know that location at the time of acceptance. This is helpful if you are coordinating with family or SOs. At LECOM-Br you don't know until the end of your second year where you're going for clinicals and you may not be able to stay in the same city all 24 months.

2) Location: Well, both Florida and Arizona are pretty cool places to live. Florida has great beaches, Arizona desert and grand canyon. SOMA has a suburban location whereas, LECOM is rural.

3) Curriculum: I really thought PBL was cool but after having experienced some of the "look it up" attitude from a few prof's at SOMA, I realize it's a bit irritating b/c there aren't enough hours in the day to do it all...a little help in the form of a lecture helps significantly.

4) The 3 yrs spent at a CHC is unique in medical education and something I'm looking forward to.

Feel free to PM if you have more questions.
Ditto to my comrade from SOMA, minus the LECOM B acceptance:rolleyes:

My one piece of advice is that you have 2 guaranteed acceptances in hand. I think it would not be very wise to turn them down. Choose the one you felt most comfortable with--the one you most connected with, and we will see you in Mesa in the fall...!
 

DragonWell

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2) Location: Well, both Florida and Arizona are pretty cool places to live. Florida has great beaches, Arizona desert and grand canyon. SOMA has a suburban location whereas, LECOM is rural.
I can definitely see why it would seem that way based on the immediate location of the school - it is indeed surrounded by cow fields and heading east from the school quickly takes you into more farm land. Personally, I wouldn't consider it rural, however, as the areas immediately to the south, west and north are highly developed. It just happens to sit at the far edge of a couple of rapidly developing, highly populous small cities.
 

Mochajonz

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I agree with Dragon, the Tampa area is definitely NOT rural.

If you don't feel comfortable going to either of the schools you've been accepted to then you should seriously consider re-applying early.

Out of the schools you have been accepted to I voted for you to go to ATSU-SOMA, because if you are not excited about PBL then it can affect your class mates. :)
 

tlvuong4

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I think you should take one of the acceptances you have currently. I wouldn't bet against a sure thing because you never know what the adcoms are thinking. If you turn down your acceptances to SOMA and LECOM-B you won't be getting an acceptance from them next year.

Don't want to be too negative here but your improved grades and MCAT are borderline for the "easier" Texas schools. TCOM is no joke and is definitely one of the harder DO schools to get into. Their avg MCAT and GPA is very close to Texas Tech. You might have better luck since I think TT is opening a new school in El Paso (is that this year?) but I doubt you'd want to live there if you don't like Lubbock.

Definitely a gamble. Though, I think you'd still get interviews from other OOS DO schools next year. Question is, do you really want to rewrite all your essays, do the application again, and pay all the fees? I think you should be happy and proud of your two acceptances and pick which school you feel better about.
 

LauraDO

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I agree with Dragon, the Tampa area is definitely NOT rural.

If you don't feel comfortable going to either of the schools you've been accepted to then you should seriously consider re-applying early.

Out of the schools you have been accepted to I voted for you to go to ATSU-SOMA, because if you are not excited about PBL then it can affect your class mates. :)
Well said! Very much in agreement
 

digitlnoize

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Well said! Very much in agreement
I've seen this "LECOM-B is rural" thing a few times now, and each time it boggles my mind...

LECOM-B sits at the northern end of Lakewood Ranch, one of the most awesome suburban neighborhoods I have ever seen. The southern end of Lakewood Ranch is VERY developed with tons of restaurants, shops, etc. 5 min north of school is an amazingly huge outlet mall. If you head west from LECOM, you'll go toward Bradenton, which is a nice, quaint small-ish city...but definitely still a city.

If you head southwest, you'll be in Sarasota, which is an awesome quasi-urban area... but kinda upscale...

Northwest, but a bit farther is the massiveness of Tampa/St. Pete, which is about as big a city as you can find outside of the Big Three (LA, NYC, Chicago).

If you look out of the front doors of the school, it can seem very rural. But if you spent 20 minutes checking out the area, you would have found that it is a thriving awesome place!
 

GreenShirt

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I've seen this "LECOM-B is rural" thing a few times now, and each time it boggles my mind...

LECOM-B sits at the northern end of Lakewood Ranch, one of the most awesome suburban neighborhoods I have ever seen. The southern end of Lakewood Ranch is VERY developed with tons of restaurants, shops, etc. 5 min north of school is an amazingly huge outlet mall. If you head west from LECOM, you'll go toward Bradenton, which is a nice, quaint small-ish city...but definitely still a city.

If you head southwest, you'll be in Sarasota, which is an awesome quasi-urban area... but kinda upscale...

Northwest, but a bit farther is the massiveness of Tampa/St. Pete, which is about as big a city as you can find outside of the Big Three (LA, NYC, Chicago).

If you look out of the front doors of the school, it can seem very rural. But if you spent 20 minutes checking out the area, you would have found that it is a thriving awesome place!

OK, maybe the rural vs. suburban thing isn't entirely fair. Afterall, you can smell cow manure wafting across the SOMA campus on some days (they cattle farms aren't too far away). I did get the impression that Mesa is a bit more commercial than Bradenton, but then again it's almost too commercial for most.

So how about this one: No creepy clown paintings at SOMA?
 

Kateb4

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To the OP... what was your first choice school? If you are just considering LECOM or SOMA as back-ups and wouldn't mind waiting another year for your state school, then re-apply. If you really liked LECOM and or SOMA then pick one. I personally love LECOM-B, so I'm biased. But, there are plenty of facts on here about the schools for you to weigh to see if you could succeed and be happy at either of these schools.

OK, so greenshirt does have one point... the clowns!!! I think I'm just going to have to avoid that hall as much as possible for the next couple of years, or at least get someone to hold my hand.
 

tlvuong4

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OK, maybe the rural vs. suburban thing isn't entirely fair. Afterall, you can smell cow manure wafting across the SOMA campus on some days (they cattle farms aren't too far away). I did get the impression that Mesa is a bit more commercial than Bradenton, but then again it's almost too commercial for most.

So how about this one: No creepy clown paintings at SOMA?
I had to choose between DCOM and ATSU-SOMA. In the end I chose SOMA and I have to say that location was definitely a factor. I've never been too far from a major city and fell more comfortable in a suburban area. Mesa is pretty nice and is only like 10 mins from Phoenix. I'll be at the Seattle CHC and that's a big city as well. An added bonus is that I grew up near Seattle and have family there so I felt it was a good situation for me. I definitely like being in a commercial area, just not some place crazy like NYC.
 
OP
sethman33

sethman33

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Thanks for all the responses! To be honest, I liked both curricula, even though they were very different. Here's what I have so far:

LECOM-B
Pros: Florida climate is great (like Austin, a little more humid cause of the ocean); a relatively flexible curriculum; I don't have to get up early every day; PBL is cool because I like group discussions w/ clinical correlation; ties to clinics up North if I want; high board scores; Interdisciplinary learning style integrating systems.

Cons: PBL-only curriculum is a little scary, I'm not sure if I have THAT much confidence in myself; not a very big inter-student base (there might be a pharm school there, but thats it); a lot of independent study/reading


ATSU
Pros: Interdisciplinary approach w/ a structured class time, clinical exp, Sim-Man (mechanical patient), and a little PBL-style stuff: established professors (I interviewed with the former prez of the AOA) from the old DO school in Missouri; tech savvy (I like the latest technologies and am a huge proponent of electronic med records/pt. histories/etc. and wouldn't mind getting a head start on those); several other grad schools integrated into the university (to get to know some non-docs); clinically-based ONSITE curriculum yrs. 2-4

Cons: $35k tuition, probably no scholarships (right? or no?); still a new school (getting the bugs worked out); might be confined to southern SC for 3rd/4th year which might be detrimental in gaining big-hospital experience...)

All in all, I'm leaning toward SOMA at the moment. However, I'd love for you to add more pros/cons or debate the ones I've written, that'll help a ton!
 
OP
sethman33

sethman33

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To the OP... what was your first choice school? If you are just considering LECOM or SOMA as back-ups and wouldn't mind waiting another year for your state school, then re-apply. If you really liked LECOM and or SOMA then pick one. I personally love LECOM-B, so I'm biased. But, there are plenty of facts on here about the schools for you to weigh to see if you could succeed and be happy at either of these schools.

My first choice school was initially UT-Houston b/c of the awesome medical center and the proximity to home. Then I researched D.O. and loved the philosophy and saw it would be more attainable to actually be admitted. Then I wanted TCOM, but this was before my MCAT went up and was the first school I was rejected from in January.

Applied D.O. late (finished in late November). Secondaries finished by early Jan, waiting on a D.O. letter until February. Interviewed at both LECOM's first then SOMA a month later. Liked PBL alot at both, liked Florida b/c of climate, Erie b/c they had optional lectures available. ATSU was great b/c it really lets you get in w/ underserved pops which is what i want to do eventually anyways...

I'm cool with staying in-state or out-of-state. Each has pros. Texas: lower priced, close to home; Other: diverse people; unknown experience
Each has cons. Texas: similar population that I'm used to. Other: High tuition, unknown experience...

Anyways, I'm an options-type person. I applied to 11 undergrad schools, got into 6. Applied to 20 med schools. I'd like to see what else opens up after I get a year of experience either working at a hospital here in town or going to a university hospital to do clinical research (if I can get that, probably competitive)...

What if I can defer for 2009? I've heard ATSU is friendly for that (or is that wrong?)... I wouldn't mind paying the deposit for them to hold my spot for a year while I spend time saving some money, traveling, and researching before I start school. I could apply to Texas schools in the meantime just to see and then weigh them up against SOMA if the option comes. I'd also get the chance to see how this first class deals with their CHC's and contact some peeps in SC to check it out beforehand...

:thumbup:---WHAT DOES EVERYONE THINK ABOUT THE DEFERRAL OPTION AT SOMA?---:thumbdown:
 

GreenShirt

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What if I can defer for 2009? I've heard ATSU is friendly for that (or is that wrong?)... I wouldn't mind paying the deposit for them to hold my spot for a year while I spend time saving some money, traveling, and researching before I start school. I could apply to Texas schools in the meantime just to see and then weigh them up against SOMA if the option comes. I'd also get the chance to see how this first class deals with their CHC's and contact some peeps in SC to check it out beforehand...

:thumbup:---WHAT DOES EVERYONE THINK ABOUT THE DEFERRAL OPTION AT SOMA?---:thumbdown:
I'm not sure how ATSU feels about deferrals, but this will only buy you another year. Considering TMDSAS opens May 1 and you'll need to have your secondaries in by August to be competitive, that only gives about 3-4 months to significantly improve your application from last year. Not a lot of time from improvement and you'll be missing out on a year's worth of salary down the road.
 

DragonWell

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Honestly, if you are looking at lots of independent study/reading time as a con, I would think very seriously about whether the PBL curriculum is the best fit for you. The vast majority of your learning here (LECOM-B) will be done in this way.
 
OP
sethman33

sethman33

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I'm not sure how ATSU feels about deferrals, but this will only buy you another year. Considering TMDSAS opens May 1 and you'll need to have your secondaries in by August to be competitive, that only gives about 3-4 months to significantly improve your application from last year. Not a lot of time from improvement and you'll be missing out on a year's worth of salary down the road.
But since I applied to Texas schools last summer, I've actually had almost a year to improve my application and still have 3 months... Since then I've raised my GPA to 3.4 and my MCAT to 26Q, I've completed a 150 hour internship in the Radiology dept. at a 400 bed hospital and I plan to get a paid job between now and 2009 either working in a hospital or doing research at a med school...

If you don't think those improvements are worth it, let me know because I would probably prefer to stay in state, but not if i don't have a chance of getting in with the above stats. (See my MDProfile for more stats if you're curious)...

THANKS!

P.S. - I'm not worried about the year's salary... I'm 22 with no family to support; I'll be fine...
 
OP
sethman33

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Here's something a friend of mine said who is a first year at UT-Houston...

I told him my situation and asked what he thought... Let me know if you agree, disagree, whatever... Anything, I'd love to hear from you...

"Yes, I do think you have a shot to get into Texas schools. Your scores are strong and GPA is good. Make sure your essay is very well written and keep trying if you want to get into a school in Texas (remember to not go just to the first school that lets you in). Getting into medical school doesn't have to be a cookie cutter process (i.e. don't have to go right after college graduation). Several people in my class took a year or two off to take a break or work a little (to be honest, i wish I had taken a year off) before starting medical school. SO hang in there and don't just go somewhere because it is your first offer, make sure you really want to go there. And yes UT-H is a great school (biased, I know). Talking to some Baylor Med students, they accutally think that I have it better at UT-Houston (the teaching especially). Good work on the radiolog internship...that will help with the application. Let me know if you end up in Houston or need advice for interviews. Thats all I got for now.

Oh yeah, make sure you take a BREAK after graduation, you deserve it."
 

BCLumas

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Think of it this way: you can decide to wait and reapply, but if you do, I wouldn't even try to send an application to the LECOM-Bradenton or ATSU-SOMA again. They wouldn't take you because you regarded them as a "back-up" school. Being from the Texas system myself, I do see the positives in going to the Texas schools, but I would not place so much hope on that. Although your GPA is a 3.4, your MCAT is rather weak for MD Texas programs, known for taking 3.8+ GPA and a >30N MCAT. You would be a decent candidate for TCOM, but you'd have to make sure you get your application in early as they fill up and have high standards.

LECOM-Bradenton either sold itself when you sat in on the 2 hour PBL session, or it didn't. What sold it for me was not the work that I had to do, but the knowledge that the students showed. I figured that, with a little extra work and focus outside of the classroom, I could be as smart as them... and that did it for me. However, there is a LOT of studying that has to be done, and from what I hear, exams can consist of 45 chapters, or more. Daunting? Absolutely. Do-able? Absolutely.

There was a wise man named Roger Corbman at Touro-NV that said "Do not go to a school just because they accepted you.. because you will be there for 4 years, and if you hate it, then you will have the worst experience of your life." Wisdom in a quote.. but know that you should not reapply to those schools.

Good luck in your decision.
 
OP
sethman33

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Just wanted to kind of update you guys on what I decided to do. I actually still have not been accepted to LECOM-B. I'm currently still on their alternate list. I wanted u guys to think I was accepted there, just so it would be a tougher choice btwn SOMA and LECOM. If I get accepted (they start in a little over a month, but I guess it happens) I'll try to defer I guess.

I was able to defer my SOMA acceptance to 2009 (after paying a hefty deposit). I decided to re-apply to the UT schools and TCOM and I probably won't re-apply to DO schools (mainly b/c I don't want to pay for or do another application). My primary application was submitted last week and processed yesterday. I expect to finish my secondaries by this weekend or early next week. I'd love to keep hearing from you guys, but if not - I wish everyone the best and sincerely thank you for your input!
 
OP
sethman33

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Final Update:

Didn't get in on the re-apply to Texas schools... For some reason, not even an interview.

But its all good... I'm enjoying my time as a first year at ATSU-SOMA. Just wanted to let everyone who posted on here --> THANK YOU FOR YOUR ADVICE AND CARING!

-Seth
 

PinkStarburst

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I stumbled upon your thread and being a tx resident I totally feel you about wanting to stay in tx. That's pretty cool that you were so gutsy to reapply and defer your medical education for a year. At least you can say you reapplied and it was a no go. It was just meant to be that you ended at SOMA and looks like you're in the CHC in Hawaii! That's so awesome! I interviewed at SOMA not too long ago and thought that CHC must be sweet. I just wanted to say you have an interesting story here and I wish you luck with boards and residency matching. or more super short term- good luck on your next exam!
 

TriagePreMed

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If you don't go to a DO school now (since you've been accepted), forget ever becoming a DO doctor. Once you close that door, you can't open it again.
 

PunkmedGirl

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If you don't go to a DO school now (since you've been accepted), forget ever becoming a DO doctor. Once you close that door, you can't open it again.

That's only true if you were accepted all DO programs and declined admission.
 

Colbare

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I wanted to add to this thread because I was just in a very similar situation. I applied to all Texas schools in July and none out of state until November. I didn't interview in Texas, but was accepted to both ATSU-SOMA and LECOM-B. SOMA was full and so I've been on an accepted pending an open seat list there. I was just accepted to LECOM-B from the waitlist several weeks ago.

I was really coming to terms with reapplying and having SOMA as a backup for the next cycle. I reapplied to Texas (however later withdrew) and almost sent my AACOMAS until I got off the waitlist at LECOM. I'm 25 going to be 26 in the fall so I decided to start now and go with LECOM. I would have waited and reapplied like you did if I was your age, but LECOM is an excellent program and I'm not getting any younger. The only change in my Texas app was ~0.02 increase in overall and ~0.05 increase in science GPA. Also additional health work/volunteer experience and applying 1 month earlier. I didn't think that was enough to roll the dice for Texas again.

Anyway I was very impressed with SOMA at the interview and knew I'd be very happy there as well, but decided LECOM made more sense in my situation. Hope you're enjoying Hawaii!