Factors that matter when choosing a DO school.

G

grapefruit17

This is my contribution to pre DO students who are looking to go to DO school and are having trouble deciding which is the best for them. I will triage them in categories of A. Super Important, B. Moderate-low importance C. Low importance but can be helpful

background- DO graduate. Psychiatry resident at MD program.

Category A
Cost- Always look at this. Look at how much debt you will graduate with. You may think it will be easy to pay off. You may think you'll live super frugal and only take out the minimal loans you need. You may think "but they have such a good rep! I want to go because of the prestige this will help me get into residency easier!". This is a common mistake people make. Pre meds often try to predict the future and plan 10yrs in advance. Plan 3 months in advance. More than that is futile, things in the medical world can change before you can say "wtf??", things are in constant flux. Your plan to pay off 400k loans now may seem practical, but in 4 years you may look back and think "what was I thinking?". Also cost of living in medical school is higher than people predict. I don't even recommend living with someone first semester unless you know them well. Why? You may not be compatible roommates creating extra stress you don't need. Or even worse, they may fail out and abandon the lease and you're stuck in a lease SOL. Wait until you know people before making commitments. or hey, you may just prefer to live alone and do better that way. /end rant. Oh and those board exams you'll have to take? they're super expensive btw. And if you do usmle, you can tack on another 1,000 dollars, more actually. There are many hidden fees in medical school that you find out the hard way.

Location- This is pretty obvious. If you go somewhere where you know you'll hate life, you're unlikely to do well. Its very hard to succeed when you aren't in the right mental state. Go somewhere where you can see yourself at least being content, if not happy. Also go somewhere where the clinical rotations are near, or at least in the region of where you want to apply for residency. Believe it or not, this is a factor, although not a huge factor but still a factor, of what residencies will look for.

Mandatory attendance- I mean this part is just the worst. Especially look at year 2 schedule. You don't want to be in class 8-5 5 days a week during your second year. I don't care if you get off 1 month for boards, if your schedule is crap and its mandatory for entire second year than your life will be way harder than it needs to be. And step 1 score, as common knowledge, is ridiculously important no matter what field you go into.

Category B
New vs established school- Not as big of a deal as people make it out to be. Matters some. When residencies see a name like PCOM or LECOM, or any DO school thats been around for a while they're more likely to give you at least some credibility. Matters mainly for the allo match. Ultimately this won't give you a huge advantage over another applicant, but every small advantage counts. Problem with new schools is policies are more likely to be in flux too. Attendance may be voluntary one year, then they can change it mandatory the next and youre SOL. With established schools I would doubt policies would change dramatically over a short period of time.

Rotations- most rotations you get what you put in really. I would look at fourth year schedule and see if they offer a lot of electives and the policy on that. If you desire something super competitive and have a specific date you want to do a Subi, you don't want to get shafted by the rotation policy of your school. I would look at how scattered rotations are. How much driving will you be doing? Can you stay in the same city? Driving an hour or two hours a day sucks when you need to at least somewhat study after rotations. Plus you don't want to be exhausted every day of third year. The quality of the rotation itself isn't necessarily as important as the flexibility. In life, theres many opportunities to turn a crappy situation into a decent one.

Class schedule- Try to find a schedule with least amount of lecture hours as possible. Of course you'll have lectures but so much of DO lectures are "fluff" that could easily be taken out. A school that Is low in fluff lectures is ideal. A school thats streamlined and doesn't have you in class 8-5 5 days a week sounds ideal to me.

Curriculum style- PBL style vs lecture. Do you want to just do everything yourself? maybe consider PBL. Everyone learns differently and the mistake that many medical schools make is trying to force everyone to learn the same way

Match list- most people don't know how to interpret this and its arguable. But for the most part, I would look and see if people are matching in the areas/hospitals you want to be at, consistently. If so that could mean the residency programs you're after are familiar with your school and how to interpret your application. Number of competitive matches is for the most part, irrelevant, because there will always be hard working/smart students who do well in each class.

Category C
Gym- stay in shape, run, do stuff. exercise gives euphoria. Makes you feel better. Helps at time, and if you let yourself go you feel more lethargic/less motivated.

Cafeteria- you get hungry when you study. seriously.

stuff to do in the area- you will get bored/lonely at times and want someone to hang out with.

I would score it like this
Category A factors=4 pts each
Category B=2 pt each
C=1 pt each

So a DO school w/ no attendance policy, average to low cost, but a place you don't want to be in is an 8. But has a gym/cafeteria that brings it to a 10. Rotations scattered? stay at 10, but has a match list you want to be a part of, go to 12.

so yea I would just sort of score DO schools you apply to like that.

feel free to ask Qs
 

Goro

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Mods, please sticky!!!

I am so stealing this.

I suggest additions to category C:
Quality of research. Some schools have pretty robust programs, at others, research is non-existent.
Quality of OMM curriculum. SDNers may be shocked that some people seek out schools that give more than lip service to Osteopathy.

For Category B: Board scores and pass rates. COCA has mandated that one or both of these (I can't remember which) be listed on the school's website. These numbers are important, and also consider how hard it may be to dig them up.
 
OP
G

grapefruit17

Mods, please sticky!!!

I am so stealing this.

I suggest additions to category C:
Quality of research. Some schools have pretty robust programs, at others, research is non-existent.
Quality of OMM curriculum. SDNers may be shocked that some people seek out schools that give more than lip service to Osteopathy.

For Category B: Board scores and pass rates. COCA has mandated that one or both of these (I can't remember which) be listed on the school's website. These numbers are important, and also consider how hard it may be to dig them up.
Mainly step 1 pass rates would give a decent indication of trends. Only reason I didn't include that on b was because finding a lot of schools step 1 pass rate is like trying to find a mermaid in the Atlantic Ocean lol

But yea that could be useful info if you were inbetween two schools
 
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mfrey28

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Is there a list of schools based on the strength of their OMM curriculum?
 

Goro

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Mainly step 1 pass rates would give a decent indication of trends. Only reason I didn't include that on b was because finding a lot of schools step 1 pass rate is like trying to find a mermaid in the Atlantic Ocean lol
But yea that could be useful info if you were inbetween two schools
I think the harder it is to find that info on a school's website, the fewer points that school should get from an applicant...even at mine.

Is there a list of schools based on the strength of their OMM curriculum?
prob not but I would count it as a negative any school that had a really harsh OMM policy
School's strengths in OMM, or whether they give it lip service (and there are schools that do this) seem to be in the realm of "word on the street". I would guess that the older schools (obviously, KCOM at the top) give it the higher priority. Hopefully current students can chime in.
 

mfrey28

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School's strengths in OMM, or whether they give it lip service (and there are schools that do this) seem to be in the realm of "word on the street". I would guess that the older schools (obviously, KCOM at the top) give it the higher priority. Hopefully current students can chime in.
Do you know which way it goes at AZCOM?
 

Goro

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fourandtwo

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What would be a high cost school, average cost school, and lower than average cost school?


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mfrey28

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High - AZCOM/CCOM

Low - TUCOM (in-state)

Average - Everyone else
 
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What would be a high cost school, average cost school, and lower than average cost school?


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From what I've seen, everything is pretty close in tuition costs in that 48-55K per year range apart from LECOM (33K/yr) and the Midwesterns (AZCOM/CCOM are ~65K/yr)
 

Peach Newport

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Looks like someone's gunning for a sticky. It's a damn good idea for one though.

I would add some things!

I think the REAL category A is "school accepts you." (Just kidding, the categories are good). Make it clear that this whole "choosing a school" is something that comes after having multiple acceptances, not before. Lots of people ruin their chances by being too picky about the schools they apply to and accept interviews at. Only forego the schools that you wouldn't attend if it were your only acceptance!

I would argue that having a support network nearby is category A stuff, maybe more so than location. Medical school can be extremely lonely, and having family and friends nearby, or just familiar ground, can make so much difference. If you're in a relationship, this is doubly important. You really need good people around you in medical school, and you cannot expect to make good friends in medical school.

Quality of advising (category B/C?) Ask current students how they fee about their advisors!
 
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G

grapefruit17

TUCOM and lecom-b are the lowest I can think of. When I was still in med school tuition would increase annually at least 1-2k a year..Im scared to even know how bad its gotten. Maybe some of the newer schools will offer lower tuition, that would at least offer more incentive for students to attend.

fwiw tho, even 48k vs 55k is a huge difference in my mind. thats 28k not factoring in interest, which makes the actual number much higher. The lower the number of debt you graduate with, the more flexible you can be with your practice after residency..
 
OP
G

grapefruit17

Looks like someone's gunning for a sticky. It's a damn good idea for one though.

I would add some things!

I think the REAL category A is "school accepts you." (Just kidding, the categories are good). Make it clear that this whole "choosing a school" is something that comes after having multiple acceptances, not before. Lots of people ruin their chances by being too picky about the schools they apply to and accept interviews at. Only forego the schools that you wouldn't attend if it were your only acceptance!

I would argue that having a support network nearby is category A stuff, maybe more so than location. Medical school can be extremely lonely, and having family and friends nearby, or just familiar ground, can make so much difference. If you're in a relationship, this is doubly important. You really need good people around you in medical school, and you cannot expect to make good friends in medical school.

Quality of advising (category B/C?) Ask current students how they fee about their advisors!

yes the loneliness factor can be hard in medical school..and tbh you may/prob will get tired of your class at some point. For all the people entering med school tho, they can use good ole fashion tinder lol. I used it, back in the day, when I was a first year.
 
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FM Hopeful

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What would be a high cost school, average cost school, and lower than average cost school?


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Good question. Schools are relentlessly increasing tuition every year. Getting out of medical school under $200,000 is basically impossible because most schools tuition and fees exceed $50K per year.
 

JamesPotterMS-3

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Tuition/cost should be important but shouldn't be all important (Category A). Some schools are dirt cheap but have no student support services and their rotations are horrible. I'd rather not name names.
 

FM Hopeful

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Tuition/cost should be important but shouldn't be all important (Category A). Some schools are dirt cheap but have no student support services and their rotations are horrible. I'd rather not name names.
For the sake of helping those applying to medical school, they should be named.
 
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