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DO MCAT standards

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by DNA-RL, Apr 19, 2004.

  1. DNA-RL

    DNA-RL Member
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    Can anyone offer any insight as to why osteopathic schools are willing to bend so much on mcat scores. I'm just curious because it seems that the majority of allopathic schools are real firm on at least a 27 on the mcat, i mean the average is 29.6 i believe. But DO schools accept people with as low as 18's. Sure the applicant can have a great gpa and ecs but 18 is pretty low for a medical school matriculant. Someone who scores sub 20's probably ranks down in the 30th-20th percentile. I mean if thats the case why even make the mcat a requirement for admissions?Also i'm sure many hospitals are aware of this and thats probably why its difficult to get into an allopathic residency as a DO. I personally feel that DO schools need to raise their standards, that way it adds credibility to the degree and it'll attract stronger applicants. I mean common if you have a 4.0 and a 33 on the mcat why would you want to graduate from the same institution as someone with a 3.8 but a 18 on their mcat, kind of makes you wonder why you even bothered studying for the 33. Can anyone out there please help me figure out their reasoning. I love the osteopathic principle but I just can't understand this.
     
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  3. (nicedream)

    (nicedream) Fitter Happier
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    Why don't you call one of them and ask?
     
  4. ornis4

    ornis4 1K Member
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    Maybe you'd choose that school anyway because you realize that medical education, like all other forms of education, are meant to be intensely personal endeavors, and not fodder for US News rankings. I appreciate your concern for respectability and standards...but by your line of reasoning, the people who attend DO schools with high MCAT scores should feel some automatic sense of entitlement for getting the scores, and for gracing the lowly school(statistically) with their presence. Also, let's not get in the habit of thinking that every DO school has some portion of students who got 18 or 19 on the MCAT...it's still quite rare for a score like that to be admitted to any US med school. Every day, thousands of DO's tend to patients across the nation, with no glaring discrepencies in performance in comparison to MD's. Although MCAT's may seem like a huge deal now...a few years down the road in the "real world", the last thing on a physician's mind is concern over his/her alma mater's average MCAT score for matriculants. If nothing else, high MCAT scores help applicants obtain a wider range of options...I can't imagine their final choice of schools comes down to their comparative MCAT score. Also, by your reasoning, why would someone with a 41T want to attend the same institution as the person who got a 33?
     
  5. DNA-RL

    DNA-RL Member
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    Okay look, you're getting just a bit defensive here, i can feel your anger through your words. I simply wanted an explanation as to why DO schools accept students with such scores. Also, I know a fair amount of students personally that got into numerous DO schools with numbers around the sub 20s. Do i think, a higher mcat will make a better physician "NO" I don't believe i ever stated that. I feel DOs are really well rounded individuals whom are also very bright. I was merely expressing my concerns on why certain people would discriminate against a DOs credibility and offering a view from their angle. I want to understand why osteopathic schools have such lower standards as allopathic. I'm sorry if i've offended anyone.
     
  6. Adapt

    Adapt 2K Member
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    Although I wonder the same thing as you, it is how it is.

    Even though 6000 applicants apply for the 2000 or so DO spots, many of those applicants choose to go to MD schools, decide to go to the caribbean, or withdraw and apply again to MD schools. The result is that realistically the effective number applying to DO schools is lower. DO schools need to fill spots and so occasionaly a subpar 20 MCAT applicant will get in.
     
  7. Robz

    Robz La Vie Boheme
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    I hated the MCAT...it was mean and it was rough and I took it a second time. I studied for 4.5 months before it again and pulled a 26. The MCAT is just one of the pieces to the puzzle that is my application. Some people around here would give crap for my score being below a 30. There are other aspects that people don't see. The EC's that I have done or the school work. I had a perfect average in classes like Organic 1 & 2 and biochem which amused me cause it totally messed with the premed gunners taunting ability with me.

    I guess what I am saying is the MCAT is a piece and not a end all to your application. I was impressed with a lot of DO schools in their approach to seeing me as a whole vs getting the ideal numbers. Would it bother me if someone with an 18 got in? Hmmmm I dunno. Thats an honest answer but what I'll probably never know is how they probably kicked my butt in community service or had a legacy of their family in medicine or had a 4.0 GPA and just totally bombed the MCAT.

    if they had an 18 and a 2.3 GPA.....then someone must have been bribing someone else....or had some great blackmail photos!! :D

    Wow....that was a round about way of saying DO schools tend to look beyond the numbers.
     
  8. DireWolf

    DireWolf The Pride of Cucamonga
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    One word = Money.
     
  9. Robz

    Robz La Vie Boheme
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    a much less verbose answer than mine and more accurate as well.....
     
  10. hakksar

    hakksar Senior Member
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    I just think DO schools set different priorities in what they feel is important. The average MCAT score for most DO schools is around a 24 or 25. Although this is much lower than MD schools (average 29.6 or something) it is probably what most MD students would get on their MCAT if they didn't spend A LOT of time preparing for the exam. I think the DO schools just do not feel a test on a single day is an accurate predictor of the caliber of physician and feel that the most important predictor of a strong physician is a rich life experience combined with enough academic strength to understand disease processes. On the other hand MD schools focus more on academic strength and partly on motivation. I think they feel MCAT scores apply to both since scoring well on the MCAT requires a combination of intelligence to understand the concepts and motivation to study hard to increase the quality of your score (ie the difference between a 24 and a 30). With a normal curve around an average it is not surprising that there are some very low MCAT scores at DO schools since they do not weigh these scores as much as MD schools.

    edit: this coming from an allopathic student with an excellent MCAT score
     
  11. DireWolf

    DireWolf The Pride of Cucamonga
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    D.O. schools simply do not have the luxury of attracting a "large" number of top-notch candidates yet. This will change in time. Right now they need to fill classes. If the AOA decides to improve clinical rotation sites and residency programs, better applicants will follow. I guarantee that if adcoms at D.O. schools had more 30+ MCAT applicants to choose from, then they would eat them up. It has nothing to do with "D.O. schools look beyond the numbers." Right now, they have no choice but to look beyond the numbers. My school has made it no secret (DrMom can back me up) that they are looking for applicants with higher MCAT scores. I'm willing to bet this applies to almost all D.O. schools.
     
  12. DNA-RL

    DNA-RL Member
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    Thats all i was after, thank you.
     
  13. Idiopathic

    Idiopathic Newly Minted
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    I went to an interview at a top-20 school, back in 2002. During this interview, I met 11 people, all of whom were between the ages of 22-24, with, at the most, one year of out-of-school job experience to their credit. There were 2 Ph.D's, 3 Ivy Leaguer's and everyone was sporting 33+ on the MCAT (I asked).

    HOWEVER...no life experiences here. No real world training, no responsibilities outside of school, no spouses, no children (a deciding factor...I was actually told, when I asked about married students, that..."we had two students get married to each other, in their 3rd year". I was absolutely blown away by this.

    I decided to attend a school closer to my family, that happened to be a DO school. It was ranked higher than the state MD school, with a better community reputation. I was 28, with 10 years work experience and 6 years between high school and college, and some real-life experience. But I also had a very good GPA and MCAT. Here I have met nurses, PA's, lab techs, pharmacists, law-school graduates, EMT's, pilots, military personnel, college and high school professors, and regular 'straight-out-of-college' 22-year-olds. Do I think that type of mix is necessary for a quality medical education? No, but I think that for the 'non-traditional student' (i.e. 28, wife, kid) it is always better to be in a group of people who you can somewhat relate to.

    So, do we have people with MCAT scores of 18? Yes...Have we all, at one time or another, argued that MCAT scores have no bearing on one's ability to succeed in medical school/as a doctor? Yes...

    I am not making excuses, just telling you that when DO schools say that they look at 'intangibles', then trust me, they look at intangibles. They have turned down 30+MCAT's in the past and have been turned down by 30+MCAT's as well. Its all part of the game.
     
  14. hakksar

    hakksar Senior Member
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    Well, you would be more of an expert than me. However, if they want is to get higher GPA's and MCAT's they should just get rid of the clinical experience or letter from a Physician requirement. A lot of my friends with good scores and little experience would of applied to DO schools except they didn't have any of these required experiences or letters. I personally think that having these experiences improves the prospects of finding a candidate that makes a better Physician. I had this experience and applied to both DO and MD schools and chose my home state's MD school because I wanted to stay in Colorado, have cheaper tuition, and I thought it would be easier to match at my top choice residency (EM at Denver Health). However, with 30,000 MD applicants last year I think DO's could have a larger applicant pool by changing their requirements a little.
     
  15. Idiopathic

    Idiopathic Newly Minted
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    This might be the single most passive-agressive thing I have ever read, btw.
     
  16. DireWolf

    DireWolf The Pride of Cucamonga
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    Those extra requirements are not as "required" as you may think. I had no clinical experience and got accepted to all the D.O. schools I applied to. Also, there are tons of D.O. students that got letters from D.O. physicians that they had never even met before. Some schools will accept letters from MDs.

    I do agree with Idiopathic that D.O. schools will look beyond the numbers in certain situations, but they still would like to have applicants with good "stats". Right or wrong, this improves the school's reputation.

    I am fortunate to be in a class full of people with tons of life experiences that bring a lot to the table. It makes the atmosphere about as friendly and non-cutthroat as medical school can be. And they are wicked smart to boot.
     
  17. hakksar

    hakksar Senior Member
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    That is true that these requirements may not be firm (apparently turning in a secondary and the application fee is not always required either since COMP invited me for an interview the other day despite the fact that I ended up not submiting the secondary or application fee because I got into CU so early). However, a lot of applicants decide not to apply because they think they are required.
     
  18. BklynWill

    BklynWill EM Attending
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    Your classmates' past MCAT performances will not make you feel better about the school you've selected. Stop worrying about their MCAT grades. Those with lower MCATs may soon score higher than you on tests and you will not be able to cope with that reality. "DOES NOT COMPUTE" will endlessly scroll through your brain and your head will explode :scared: .
     
  19. sophiejane

    sophiejane Exhausted
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    This is actually not true. Statistically, if the average is 29.6, it is impossible for the majority of schools to be "real firm" on at least a 27. You have given yourself quite a bit of wiggle room there with your numbers.

    Only premeds care about MCAT scores. No one in the professional world gives a flip what your MCAT scores were. They care if you can do the job. DOs prove over and over that they can. Plus our patients adore us. :)
     
  20. LP1CW

    LP1CW Senior Member
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    I have very little to add. A close friend of mine took the MCAT with me last year. I did well. He didn't do as well. We had studied together. He's very bright. We've been in several classes together. He didn't bomb the MCAT, but he didn't do as well as he had hoped.

    Now, because of this one exam, is he less qualified to be a doctor because I found more success on that day in April? I don't think so. He has consistently proven that he will be a find doctor. And he is starting medical school this fall.
     
  21. UltimateDO

    UltimateDO Goin' ho ain't easy
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    My situation is similar to Idiopathic's. I am 28 with a 3.7 and a 32 MCAT and an engineering degree from Ga. Tech. I didn't even consider the MD just because of my experiences with with MDs and DOs in the past. Your education is what you make of it, ultimately your work ethic is what is going to carry you onto residency and your career not how your perform on standardized tests. In talking to an adcom and asst adcom, they place a much higher weight on nontraditionals who were successful in their careers before deciding to make their change. They see that the person has a work ethic and has a lot of the intangible skills that recent grads haven't been exposed to yet. Ultimately DO vs MD is a personal choice, once you graduate you are an ambassador whether you want to be one or not. Most of the DOs I have interacted with in the past are the kind of physician that I want to be and that ultimately was what made my decision.
     
  22. medic170

    medic170 American Infidel
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    Maybe its because I live in DO friendly Michigan, but I was not aware that DO's had "difficulty" getting allopathic residencies. Around here, they are not really looked upon any differently than MD applicants.

    I think it may be invalid to compare DO and MD admissions. While they are both medical schools, they are still different and the adcoms are looking for different things. The applicant pools are also different demographically. Like others have said, DO academic standards may be lower than MD, but the standards are still quite high. Matriculation with a sub 20 MCAT is very rare. I think what really matters is not the average MCAT of matriculants, but its the education you get in med school. Once your in med school, nobody will ever care again what your MCAT score was. I think, if you want to make a comparison, it would be better to compare scores on licensing exams. maybe comlex vs. usmle, or, if thats not valid enough, compare MD'a against DO's that took the usmle. I bet that you would find there to be very little difference.

    The MCAT, as a predictor of success in medical school, is valid if you compare someone with an 18 against someone with a 29. The guy with the 29 has a better chance of succeeding. However, I doubt that the MCATs value as a predictor is valid when comapring a 26 to a 29. But, then again, I am just speculating, I could be wrong.
     
  23. HoodyHoo

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    I knew an applicant that got into the university of Iowa, which is supposed to be a top 30 school, with a 21 MCAT. Also my friend got into iowa with a 26 which is a ways below their average. All schools have exceptions. I think it is extremely rare to hear of someone getting into a DO school with a 20, let alone below that.
     
  24. sophiejane

    sophiejane Exhausted
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    You are kidding, right?

    It can't be THAT difficult because at TCOM, 80-90% of us ******ed DOs are getting spots at some pretty competitive allopathic residencies each year. You've heard of Johns Hopkins, Mayo, USC, perhaps? Well so have the dumb little DO grads from my dumpy low-standard school. They are packing their bags for Baltimore and Minnesota as we speak...
     
  25. Eyecon82

    Eyecon82 Senior Member
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    Even in chicago...where there are 4 major MD (northwestern, u of c, uic, rush,...) institutions...the lone CCOM DO students get outstanding recognition... Go to any prestigious teaching hospital in chicago and talk to any dr...CCOM students are really well known for their "hard work" and dedication they put into the medical profession.....my family physician who is a recent graduate from CCOM just landed a hemo-something oncology fellowship at rush...and if im not mistaken...oncology is probably the most competitve field in medicine
     
  26. DNA-RL

    DNA-RL Member
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    I never said it was impossible for DOs to get a great residency, and i never said ALL DO schools have low standards. To my understanding MSU-COM and TCOM both have ranked very well according to us news. And i have heard of those schools you mentioned, however, i'm sure everyone here will agree that DOs are at a slight disadvantage when applying for residencies in such schools. Let me repeat that D-I-S-A-D-V-A-N-T-A-G-E. And i never said DO schools are full of idiots either, you are misinterpreting what i said. Lastly, try not to be so defensive over something you READ over the internet, things can be misunderstood and the fact that you are so eager to lash out at someone for asking what you may consider to be a stupid question is a sign of your own insecurities and immaturity. So what i'm trying to say is: GROW UP!
     
  27. (nicedream)

    (nicedream) Fitter Happier
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    No, that would be derm. But that's besides the point. :thumbup:
     
  28. DoubleImage

    DoubleImage Junior Member
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    DNA-RL- I think that in any field, profession, or job if someone asks a similar question like you did, you would get the exact same response. I simply think your question was intuitive, you made it sound common DO schools accept sub-20 MCATs. Are there probably a few schools that have? Yes. Just as Loyola Medical school has accepted a low 20 MCAT. Allopathic schools aren't strict on MCAT's they are strict on who you know, and in that case so is every school. I personally did quite well on my MCAT, everyone is at your repsective school for a reason, each student is an expensive investment and a committee would not accept someone whom they weren't confident was able to pass boards. So, I could pose the same question to many allopathic school students how they feel that a low 20 MCAT score is sitting right next to their 35, but as stated before, I bet the low 20 is doing so well, no one evens knows (or cares) about MCAT scores. People will always reply harsh to criticism of their profession or interests, but then again, I guess you'll learn that when you grow up.
     
  29. sophiejane

    sophiejane Exhausted
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    You never said "slight disadvantage" in your original post. You said that "...that is why it is difficult to get into an allopathic residencies as a DO." There is quite a difference there.

    If you want to be better understood, on the internet or anywhere, try to express yourself more clearly and do your homework before opening your mouth to make such a broad statement, especially to an audience of people who know a lot more about being a DO than you appear to know...
     
  30. sophiejane

    sophiejane Exhausted
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    By the way, I got a 24 on the MCAT. I'm making better grades than a classmate who got a 33.
     
  31. bobo

    bobo Senior Member
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    Good lord, this clown is obviously a troll. Quit feeding it.


    I sure didn't have any problem.
     
  32. moo

    moo 1K Member
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    As an MD student at a top 20 school who scored pretty high on the MCAT, I can tell you that no one gives a rats ass about the MCAT once you are in med school. I'm studying for the Step I right now, and to tell you the truth, I am a bit stressed, but I know that a few years from now when I'm doing my residency, no one will really care what my Step I score was, just like how no one will really care what your MCAT score was. Stop worrying about how others do and just concentrate on your own achievements.
     
  33. DNA-RL

    DNA-RL Member
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    Yeah i see that now, mostly the insecure ones!
     
  34. DNA-RL

    DNA-RL Member
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    So being at a slight disadvantage would not make it difficult for you to get an allopathic residency??? What should i have said MODERATELY difficult, its sure not going to be easier. Any way you look at it its going to be more difficult, but no matter how you want me to rephrase my statement in order for it to be more clear to YOU, the word "DIFFICULT" will always be in there somewhere.
     
  35. s42brown

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    No you don't.
     
  36. 2008DO

    2008DO New Member

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    Does any one in here think this discussion has just totally gone sour or is it just me??? It appears to me that DNA asked a question, maybe he/she could've been more considerate towards the feelings of others when he did it, but i think he admitted his/her fault about this already. Bottom line, the standards are different and i've been told even during my interviews at tucom, pcom, and at lecom that it might be a bit difficult to get an allopathic residency comming out of an osteopathic school especially if you want to do derm or orth. It is what it is, so instead of everyone going back and forth at each other, how about we all just drop it, as a future medical student i am proud of the profession that i have chosen to pursue, but this conitued bickering makes all doctors look bad MD or DO. When it all comes down to it we're all on the same side its us against the microbes! YES great, good luck to everyone taking boards, classes, and residency.
     
  37. Medikit

    Medikit Plastic Bag Middle Class
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    DNA, Once you've taken the boards I think you will change your opinion
     
  38. Freakingzooming

    Freakingzooming Senior Member
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    personally, I think you don't understand how the MCAT or any standardized test works.... When I took it cold, without any preparation, I got a 25. But after my second time, after putting tons of money and studying time I got a 30.

    Who is to say that I was stupid or smart for getting a 30 or a 25 the first time? What my point is that the MCAT isn't the end all of everything and thankfully a lot of DO schools realize that.
     
  39. Sam212

    Sam212 Lover, not a fighter
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    I know Chicago Med has bad reputation, but how can one forget Loyola? it is another great Chicago school.
     
  40. raspberry swirl

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    i dont have anything new to add, but im gonna say it anyway. MD schools are most likely more number concious than DO schools- they're more worried about rankings, and research fundings, etc., and they have a bazillion applicants. my classmate got 10 pts lower than me on the MCAT (and my MCAT wasnt overly fabulous to begin with) but he's one of the top ranked students in my class (with a GPA about 20 pts higher than mine :p ). i think both MD and DO schools know that the MCAT basically does't mean anything, but MD schools have the luxury of the cream of the crop. DO schools are trying to create a full class of qualified students, which often means taking qualified people who had a bad day they took their MCAT. big deal.
     
  41. Howard Roark

    Howard Roark Senior Member
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    how do you feel about LECOM asking for a 1000 dollar non-refundable deposit to hold a spot? kinda fishy dont ya think? :eek:
     
  42. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN
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    no, it is a way for them to cut down on the # of people who are just holding spots there while waiting to hear back from other schools.
     
  43. Howard Roark

    Howard Roark Senior Member
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    right, but why are they having such a problem with people bailing on them?? Other schools don?t need to do that.
     
  44. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN
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    many other schools just put up with the many people who accept spots and then choose to go to another school. it happens nearly everywhere to some degree.
     
  45. Howard Roark

    Howard Roark Senior Member
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    i dunno. sounds kinda fishy. but whatever..............
     
  46. OnMyWayThere

    OnMyWayThere OMS-III
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    It is not fishy.
     
  47. Howard Roark

    Howard Roark Senior Member
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    ok..if you say so?
     
  48. PublicHealth

    PublicHealth Membership Revoked
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    If you're waitlisted at your #1 choice for D.O. school, would you want people who are not 100% interested in that school to "hold your spot" while they wait to hear from other M.D. and D.O. programs?

    Most D.O. programs that charge these fees to hold spots do so during the time when decisions have to be made regarding the program one wants to attend (typically after May of the matriculating year). Charging $1000 is one way to separate those who are truly interested in attending (or possibly attending) the program from those who are holding out for other options.

    NYCOM charges $1,500.
     
  49. delicatefade

    delicatefade ASA Member
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    I applied to 2 DO schools. CCOM wanted a $1000 deposit to hold my spot. I was accepted in October. $250 was due in December, $750 due at the end of January. Only $100 is refundable.

    I also was accepted to VCOM - $1000 deposit to hold the spot. I declined. If they're trying to keep people from holding multiple spots, it works. I sure couldn't afford it. :laugh:
     
  50. osteo emt

    osteo emt Member
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    Stop complaining..............for god sakes............ most osteopathic schools ask for big deposits. Now whether or not it has to do with all the competition out there, namely making sure you're serious about that school or just making sure u want ostepathic medicine and are not using it as a backup while holding out for an allopathic school, i couldnt tell u. ;) ( those are my two biggest theories on why the deposits are so large, in case u didnt get it.) As was said before, it keeps the not so serious osteopathic applicants from holding spots while they wait for their first choice,which is probably an allopathic school. There's nothing fishy about requiring a large deposit, you just have to think logically, yeah it sucks to have to shell out all that money but wouldnt u rather have people in you're class who really want to be there. Oh and incidentally, Kansas city university of medicine and biosciences (formerly uhs ) requires a $2000 deposit to include, a $1000 acceptance fee due shortly after acceptance and then a $1000 matriculation fee due a few months later...........now thats showing interest. :D
     
  51. delicatefade

    delicatefade ASA Member
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