Goro's Guide to the DO School Application Process, 2017 ed.

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Goro

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OK, it's app season, and I've already addressed things that will be common concerns to any med school applicant (MD or DO). See this thread:

Goro's guide to the med school app process, 2016 version

But here I'd like to touch on things for you DO candidates specifically.

o Do your homework. We expect you to know about osteopathy, and please, do better than quoting wikipedia at us. And if any of you say "they look at the whole person" or, “your hands are your tools” one more time, I'm going to reach across the table and smack you upside the head!

o To that end, find a DO to shadow! This is especially imperative if you live within driving distance of a DO school, or live in areas of the country which are relatively DO-rich, like the mid-west or the east coast.

o If you've ever been on the receiving end of OMM/OMT, make sure you let us know about it in your app.

o DO does not always = MD in terms of how doctors approach a clinical problem. So be sure to shadow both MDs and DOs, if at all possible. You should be able to articulate how they're similar, and how they differ.

o While there are DO schools that require a DO LOR, lacking one will not kill you at those schools (like mine) that don't require one. We know that there are some areas where there are fewer DOs, and a gazillion pre-meds are pestering them for LORs, so it's hard to get them. BUT, having a DO LOR always helps! Shows you've gone the extra mile.

o If you look at the numbers , DO schools have stats for matriculants that are on par with those of MD schools, like, say, Albany/Drexel class, and even exceed some state MD schools, like U AR or U KS. So like MD schools, DO schools will expect you to have a minimum standard, but they're more willing to accept a high GPA + low MCAT or a high MCAT + low GPA applicant. By "low", I mean a floor of 3.0-3.1 for GPA, and MCAT of 500+

o To that end, if your MCAT score is <499, I strongly suggest a retake. If your GPA is <3.0, I suggest either aceing a post-bac, or SMP.

o If you're hesitant to apply because of fears that you won't get that coveted ultra-competitive residency, well, that’s a valid concern. With the merger of AOA and ACGME residencies, it’s going to be an uphill battle for DO grads for top residency sites, and/or the uber-residencies like Neurosurgery or Derm. The best source to give you an idea of how competitive different fields are can be seen in the annual NRMP Program Director’s survey. (for 2016, see: http://www.nrmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/NRMP-2016-Program-Director-Survey.pdf)

Does this mean that you’re limited to Peds or Family Medicine? No, but just approach this process eyes open, and be aware the some fields are more DO-friendly than others. Let’s put this another way: knowing that the majority of DO grads go into Primary Care, are you OK with that being your most likely career path????

o Most MD schools are in urban areas. Not so for a number of DO schools. So think carefully about where a school is. I don't believe that the areas around Pikesville or LUCOM will be happy places for gay or minority students.

o If you'd rather be at an MD school, and you're applying to both, consider NOW whether you'd rather be at a DO school, or an MD one. We've certainly had people turn us down for the nearby MD school, and vice-versa.

o When you go on interviews, the most important question you can ask is of the students who attend there: "why did you choose this school?"

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Hey Goro- wouldn't this be better suited to be placed in the pre-DO thread?
 
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o If you've ever been on the receiving end of OMM/OMT, make sure you let us know about it in your app.

Oh I wish I had thought of this. A few of the DOs I've shadowed tried OMT on me. Should I bring that up in an interview?

Thank you for this! So helpful.
 
Hey @Goro -- I saw that you referred to it as "osteopathy." Is that the proper terminology when mentioning it in secondaries, interviews, etc? I've heard that it's more politically correct to say "osteopathic medicine."
 
Very much appreciate the updated summary!
 
Ah, wish I had thought of mentioning being on the receiving end of OMM from a current medical student. Will have to keep in mind for (hopefully) interviews.
 
Thank you for being a huge help and resource on these forums! Also keeping in mind that a lot of DO schools are mission based towards primary care would it be odd/weird or beneficial if my personal statement was geared towards family care/pediatrics and my journey to that point? I want to sound genuine about my desire and end goal, but should I have that in my PS or should I leave it for secondaries? I'm drafting my PS now and thinking of a central theme/why medicine to help me stand out.
 
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hey you said that if we were ever on the receiving end of OMM/OMT to let you know about it. should we mention it in our personal statement becasue in my opinion it seems like this is something that should be mentioned before schools make a decision as it might help you with your app/ show the admissions committee that you are interested in osteopathic medicine that you may not have another chance at showing if you don't get an interview...if that makes sense. Do you agree and should it be mentioned in your personal statement or not? If not then where should it be mentioned?
 
@Goro My experience with shadowing osteopathic physicians has not included OMT or anything different in the approach that I saw shadowing MD's. Can I talk about (in secondaries/interviews) the osteopathic principles (especially the one about the body's inherent ability to health itself) and how it was related to something I saw while shadowing a non-primary care DO specialist, even though the MD's I shadowed also took into account this principle?
 
@Goro My experience with shadowing osteopathic physicians has not included OMT or anything different in the approach that I saw shadowing MD's. Can I talk about (in secondaries/interviews) the osteopathic principles (especially the one about the body's inherent ability to health itself) and how it was related to something I saw while shadowing a non-primary care DO specialist, even though the MD's I shadowed also took into account this principle?
That's fine.
 
hey you said that if we were ever on the receiving end of OMM/OMT to let you know about it. should we mention it in our personal statement becasue in my opinion it seems like this is something that should be mentioned before schools make a decision as it might help you with your app/ show the admissions committee that you are interested in osteopathic medicine that you may not have another chance at showing if you don't get an interview...if that makes sense. Do you agree and should it be mentioned in your personal statement or not? If not then where should it be mentioned?
Yes, fine for PS
 
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Thank you for being a huge help and resource on these forums! Also keeping in mind that a lot of DO schools are mission based towards primary care would it be odd/weird or beneficial if my personal statement was geared towards family care/pediatrics and my journey to that point? I want to sound genuine about my desire and end goal, but should I have that in my PS or should I leave it for secondaries? I'm drafting my PS now and thinking of a central theme/why medicine to help me stand out.
Not at all weird. Why would you think that? But be sure (if you haven't done so already) to shadow some Primary Care docs. If you're only shadowed specialists, your words would ring hollow.
 
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"they look at the whole person"

Ahh I guess I'm going to get smacked in the head. Though really with all the essay writing I feel like I'm just repeating myself over and over again. I feel for the admissions team, all of that has got to be tedious.
 
@Goro when would you consider the latest for an MCAT retake, August....for DO cycle specifically.....my friend said september I said august the LATEST preferably July or June tho
 
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Hey Goro, I am writing a secondary about experiences with osteopathic medicine. I briefly mention that I have had past success with chiropractic manipulation. Is it taboo to mention chiropractic even though the manipulations can be similar or overlap at certain times? Just trying to build up that I want to learn OMM and believe it is very useful.


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Hey Goro, I am writing a secondary about experiences with osteopathic medicine. I briefly mention that I have had past success with chiropractic manipulation. Is it taboo to mention chiropractic even though the manipulations can be similar or overlap at certain times? Just trying to build up that I want to learn OMM and believe it is very useful.
My DO colleagues get very pissed when Osteopathic medicine is compared to chiropratic. Ditto for massage therapy.
 
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@Goro

I've worked as a medic in two different emergency departments for a little over 4 years and I honestly can not notice any difference in practice between the DO's and MD's we have. We have a good number of each as well, and a DO is our medical director at one of the ED's. Maybe it's because it's emergency medicine, and much of what we do is based on protocols (chest pain workup, abdominal pain workup ect..) but I truly see no difference in this setting between DO and MD. I feel I've seen a fair amount of medicine outside of the ED, doing clinicals in the OR, L&D, cath lab and more. My childhood primary care doctor was a DO and I've personally also had an MD since too.

How would you advise me to help delineate some of the finer points of MD/DO approaches to medicine? Are there any universal differences? In my personal experiences I haven't noticed a difference but I don't know if that answer will be satisfactory during an interview.
 
Your answer will be 100% fine. Trust yourself and your observations.

@Goro

I've worked as a medic in two different emergency departments for a little over 4 years and I honestly can not notice any difference in practice between the DO's and MD's we have. We have a good number of each as well, and a DO is our medical director at one of the ED's. Maybe it's because it's emergency medicine, and much of what we do is based on protocols (chest pain workup, abdominal pain workup ect..) but I truly see no difference in this setting between DO and MD. I feel I've seen a fair amount of medicine outside of the ED, doing clinicals in the OR, L&D, cath lab and more. My childhood primary care doctor was a DO and I've personally also had an MD since too.

How would you advise me to help delineate some of the finer points of MD/DO approaches to medicine? Are there any universal differences? In my personal experiences I haven't noticed a difference but I don't know if that answer will be satisfactory during an interview.
 
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OK, it's app season, and I've already addressed things that will be common concerns to any med school applicant (MD or DO). See this thread:

Goro's guide to the med school app process, 2016 version

But here I'd like to touch on things for you DO candidates specifically.

o Do your homework. We expect you to know about osteopathy, and please, do better than quoting wikipedia at us. And if any of you say "they look at the whole person" or, “your hands are your tools” one more time, I'm going to reach across the table and smack you upside the head!

o To that end, find a DO to shadow! This is especially imperative if you live within driving distance of a DO school, or live in areas of the country which are relatively DO-rich, like the mid-west or the east coast.

o If you've ever been on the receiving end of OMM/OMT, make sure you let us know about it in your app.

o DO does not always = MD in terms of how doctors approach a clinical problem. So be sure to shadow both MDs and DOs, if at all possible. You should be able to articulate how they're similar, and how they differ.

o While there are DO schools that require a DO LOR, lacking one will not kill you at those schools (like mine) that don't require one. We know that there are some areas where there are fewer DOs, and a gazillion pre-meds are pestering them for LORs, so it's hard to get them. BUT, having a DO LOR always helps! Shows you've gone the extra mile.

o If you look at the numbers , DO schools have stats for matriculants that are on par with those of MD schools, like, say, Albany/Drexel class, and even exceed some state MD schools, like U AR or U KS. So like MD schools, DO schools will expect you to have a minimum standard, but they're more willing to accept a high GPA + low MCAT or a high MCAT + low GPA applicant. By "low", I mean a floor of 3.0-3.1 for GPA, and MCAT of 500+

o To that end, if your MCAT score is <499, I strongly suggest a retake. If your GPA is <3.0, I suggest either aceing a post-bac, or SMP.

o If you're hesitant to apply because of fears that you won't get that coveted ultra-competitive residency, well, that’s a valid concern. With the merger of AOA and ACGME residencies, it’s going to be an uphill battle for DO grads for top residency sites, and/or the uber-residencies like Neurosurgery or Derm. The best source to give you an idea of how competitive different fields are can be seen in the annual NRMP Program Director’s survey. (for 2016, see: http://www.nrmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/NRMP-2016-Program-Director-Survey.pdf)

Does this mean that you’re limited to Peds or Family Medicine? No, but just approach this process eyes open, and be aware the some fields are more DO-friendly than others. Let’s put this another way: knowing that the majority of DO grads go into Primary Care, are you OK with that being your most likely career path????

o Most MD schools are in urban areas. Not so for a number of DO schools. So think carefully about where a school is. I don't believe that the areas around Pikesville or LUCOM will be happy places for gay or minority students.

o If you'd rather be at an MD school, and you're applying to both, consider NOW whether you'd rather be at a DO school, or an MD one. We've certainly had people turn us down for the nearby MD school, and vice-versa.

o When you go on interviews, the most important question you can ask is of the students who attend there: "why did you choose this school?"


Can anybody give me an example of the different thought processes between DO and MD? I'm serious. I've been trying to find a good explanation of this for a long, long time and I've found nothing other than H word. If anybody has any insight to offer I'd really appreciate it.
 
Can anybody give me an example of the different thought processes between DO and MD? I'm serious. I've been trying to find a good explanation of this for a long, long time and I've found nothing other than H word. If anybody has any insight to offer I'd really appreciate it.
Traditional DOs believe in self healing and using OMT to aid the body in self healing. I was shadowing a pretty old school DO and he basically said the DOs today are pretty much allopathic in every way. He does a lot of alternative medicine like ozone therapy or high dose vitamin C infusion for cancer patients.
 
Can anybody give me an example of the different thought processes between DO and MD? I'm serious. I've been trying to find a good explanation of this for a long, long time and I've found nothing other than H word. If anybody has any insight to offer I'd really appreciate it.
Go out and shadow some, then report back.
 
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@Goro

I've decided that retaking the prereqs in my case wouldn't yield good results in the long run so I'm just going to prep very hard for the MCAT as well as take some upper-level Biology classes.
What SMPs/Masters programs impress you the most in regards to applying DO?
 
@Goro

I've decided that retaking the prereqs in my case wouldn't yield good results in the long run so I'm just going to prep very hard for the MCAT as well as take some upper-level Biology classes.
What SMPs/Masters programs impress you the most in regards to applying DO?
All of them. We make no distinction.
 
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If you dont have a DO LOR then get it in ASAP to have a better cycle
 
If you dont have a DO LOR then get it in ASAP to have a better cycle
Not necessarily. I don't have a DO letter, only MD, and I've received 8 II's so far and 2 acceptances. No post-II rejections yet nor was a lack of DO letter ever brought up in my interviews! :)
 
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DO letters probably help but certainly won't disqualify you! Unless the school requires it of course.
 
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Not necessarily. I don't have a DO letter, only MD, and I've received 8 II's so far and 2 acceptances. No post-II rejections yet nor was a lack of DO letter ever brought up in my interviews! :)


your lizzy m is also like a 66 which is good enough for a MD school :laugh: im talking in the event of an average DO applicant who needs an edge
 
Hey all! I’m currently in my gap year and have shadowed 2 DO’s (4 hours each per week) since getting my applications submitted (primaries and secondaries). Is this worthy of an update email? Or just bring it up during interviews? Thanks!
Shadowing you can mention at interviews. If you can get DO LORs, those are worthy of an update.
 
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