Medical Deferment from DO school and considering applying to MD - What should I do?

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Oct 14, 2011
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Hi, I am sorry in advance for the long post. I would appreciate anyone's advice for my dilemma.

I am a senior who just graduated. I applied last cycle (2019-2020) and I ended up with a 497 MCAT score. My GPA was a 3.7. I applied to MD schools received several secondaries but no interview invites and eventually got rejected. I also applied to a few DO schools. I did not care as much about MD vs DO. However, by December I still didn't receive any word on acceptances so I decided to enroll in an MCAT class seeing that the cycle wasn't working out.

Towards the end of January I finally received an interview from a DO school that I was very excited about. I scheduled the interview for February and all was good. But I was still studying for MCAT in case this school didn't work out. A couple days before my interview date my father passed away in Egypt while he was on a short trip to visit family. I was forced to reschedule my interview and I was out of the country for a few weeks. I returned to the states and rescheduled my interview and got accepted. However, I made the difficult decision to defer due to my father's passing and my family's condition.

I cancelled my MCAT course and stopped studying after my father's passing in February. My father's passing made me realize I mainly chose the medical field due to my deep passion to serve my community back in Egypt. I realized that this may not be feasible as a DO because they are not accepted in Egypt as doctors. Hence, my dilemma.

I am now considering reapplying to MD schools and retaking my MCAT in July. However, I have not been able to change much in my application since the last cycle. I spoke to several schools that rejected me last cycle and many just stated it was due to my low MCAT score. They also stated that my extracurriculars and experiences were good. The only change I would make is my MCAT score, personal statement, and more hours as a Patient Care Technician.

So I guess my questions are:
1) Could I get in trouble for reapplying while having deferment to DO school? I did not sign any sort of contract.
2) Would I have any chance in getting in this cycle with the minor changes in application?
3) Will it look bad that much of my application has not changed even with the whole COVID-19 situation?
I would take a year to work on all the improvements suggested to you. COVID-19 doesn't make it easy for you to get additional clinical experience, but it won't be accepted as an excuse.

We would need to know the conditions of your deferment as being binding to that school or not. I think your wish to be a practicing physician in Egypt by going to a US medical school may require a little more research; because of the expense of US medical education, most will stay in the US for quite a period of time to pay back their loans, and I don't think being a physician in Egypt really will pay back those loans either.

You'll have to weigh your options: spend more money and anxiety with retaking the MCAT, applying to schools with no guarantee of interviews, and trying to rack up more US clinical hours once the COVID-19 epidemic subsides (if it does) versus focusing your efforts on your personal and family's health and preparation for beginning medical school. Also, just because you do what is prescribed does not mean you get accepted; faculty on the admissions committee will determine that, and there's no guarantee of success as a reapplicant. You also have to know that AMCAS will ask you whether you have been accepted to another medical school; technically you have (accepted not matriculated) by accepting that deferral, and most schools don't want to raid other school's students.
 
Jun 11, 2010
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Schools that award deferments may also stipulate that you may not use the interval time to apply to other schools. What did your DO school say?

Frankly I think you should drop your acceptance and improve your application to apply for MD schools, because I would rather see you are seat go to someone who wants to be a doctor now. You clearly don't.

if your application doesn't approve, why should an MD school take you now?

Then there is the issue on that many secondaries will ask if you have been accepted to another medical school. What are you going to do, lie?
 
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I am supposed to inform the DO school by February whether I still intend to matriculate for fall of 2021. During COVID-19 I will get clinical experience at a hospital because I work as Patient Care Technician. Do you think this would be sufficient?

I do plan on staying in the states for a while until I am financial inept to open a clinic back in Egypt so it is a really long term goal. In the AMCAS application it doesn't ask if you have been accepted but it asks if you have attended a medical school. Do you think I would get in trouble for this?
If you are still able to work at a patient care technician under these circumstances, go ahead and get it. I'd also make sure I prep my MCAT and be sure my score increases at least by 10 points. You can say you have been accepted but have been granted a non-binding deferral if that is truly how your deferral condition letter is written. If you think that may reduce your chances of getting accepted to MD schools, then roll the dice, refuse the deferral, and apply. You won't be able to apply to that deferred school again.
 
Jun 11, 2010
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The DO school told me to inform them by February if I still intend to matriculate for Fall of 2021. If I drop my acceptance to apply for MD schools should I apply this cycle or wait for the next one?
Don't apply without a new MCAT score.
 
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This really isn't my area. But...

You're accepted to medical school. Dropping this acceptance in the hopes that you get a better MCAT is a big risk. You may never get in again, and not be a physician at all. And there's no guarantee that you're going to move to Egypt to be a physician -- you'll discover that once you're settled somewhere, have kids (if that's your thing), it's not so easy to pick up and move.
 

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You must keep something in mind, and this will depend on a few things as well.

Do you plan to move to Egypt and work permanently? Or for a period of time that is beyond temporary? Or do you plan to do some sort of work through missions or some sort of organization?

Even with an MD, there are many hoops to jump through, and still may not even be allowed to practice abroad without being involved with some sort of organization. And if it is through an organization, your license for where you are in fact license usually is what stands, and thus DOs would be eligible anyway.

Now I know you said your father was in egypt, but that doesn't tell me about you to know how to go about giving the advice. Did you grow up there or did you grow up here? Are you fluent in written and spoken language there? Can you pass their medical board exams there - written, oral, and practical if they have it?

I dont know the specific for egypt, but many countries for anyone to practice there require that you take and pass their medical boards in their language, you are fluent, they have a need for your specific specialty, and/or you agree to work for their government for a period of time before you have an opportunity to do any type of private practice or other model of medicine, etc.

Just be sure that before you give up a chance to become a doctor (as there is a chance for this to backfire I imagine) for a possibility of becoming one with different initials, that you are well-aware of everything that must go into practicing in another country and by the means in which you'd plan to be practicing.
Thank you so much for bringing all these questions to light.

I plan on working in the states for a while than eventually opening up a clinic in Egypt. I do not plan on living there permanently but rather establishing the clinic, training people and coming to Egypt every couple of months. I would hope to work with a missions organization.

I lived in Egypt till I was about 8. I speak and write Arabic. I am not sure what their medical board exams are like. So I have to do some more researching.
 
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