Goro's Guide to the DO School Application Process, 2018 ed.

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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 applying to med school (2018 version)


First off, should you apply to DO schools? I feel that if you have a GPA of 3.5 or higher, AND an MCAT of 513, then it’s worth trying an MD only cycle.

IF you have an MCAT of 512 or less and/or a GPA of < 3.5, then try MD + DO.

IF you have an MCAT of < 504, and/or GPA of < 3.4 (without a steep rising GPA trend or any postbac/SMP classes, then go DO only. Your mileage may vary if you live in a luck state like MS, ND, NM, AL, etc.

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. BTW, people wo have two DO LORs are rare, and we give them extra credit.

o If you look at the numbers , there are DO schools that have stats for matriculants that are on par with those of some MD schools 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???? And please do not be surprised that the mission of the AOA is to train more Primary Care doctors.

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. Every year we see threads entitled “Accepted at DO but on MD waitlist. Should I re-apply?” I despise these threads.

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?"

Concerning new schools, they can be problematic. Their Faculty take time to gel and deliver a good curriculum. For their first couple of years, they have lower Board scores, and higher attrition rates. Plus, PDs aren’t familiar with their grads. But keep in mind that low pass rates, Board scores and high attrition can result from Admissions policies. New schools, by the fact that they're new, are more desperate to fill seats and will accept more marginal candidates. These are the people who are more likely to fail, or take LOA. If you are good at self-learning, you can handle a new school.

Some valuable advice fromgrapefruit17 in this thread:

Factors that matter when choosing a DO school.

Currently, there are four DO schools I can’t recommend. Here’s why:

Nova: four consecutive years of declining first-time COMLEX pass rates. They're now at ~85% and this is something you expect from a new school, not a veteran. Something is very wrong there.


Wm Carey: VERY high attrition rates and only a 92% placement rate for their Class of 2018. That means 8% of their grads are now unemployed, NOT doing residency. No SOAP, no scramble, no TRI. This is simply NOT acceptable. I expect they'll be put on probation very soon.


Touro-NY: Poor COMLEX II pass rates; unethical behavior in how they dealt with an overbooking issue two years ago.


LUCOM: I have a profound distaste for the politics of their parent organization; their Faculty make blatant attempts to twist facts to match their theology.


From the wise gyngyn: Liberty is poorly regarded due to the history of intolerance of their founding fathers. This school's reputation for intolerance puts its grads at a disadvantage at many reputable residency programs.

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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 applying to med school (2018 version)


First off, should you apply to DO schools? I feel that if you have a GPA of 3.5 or higher, AND an MCAT of 513, then it’s worth trying an MD only cycle.

IF you have an MCAT of 512 or less and/or a GPA of < 3.5, then try MD + DO.

IF you have an MCAT of < 504, and/or GPA of < 3.4 (without a steep rising GPA trend or any postbac/SMP classes, then go DO only. Your mileage may vary if you live in a luck state like MS, ND, NM, AL, etc.

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. BTW, people wo have two DO LORs are rare, and we give them extra credit.

o If you look at the numbers , there are DO schools that have stats for matriculants that are on par with those of some MD schools 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???? And please do not be surprised that the mission of the AOA is to train more Primary Care doctors.

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. Every year we see threads entitled “Accepted at DO but on MD waitlist. Should I re-apply?” I despise these threads.

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?"

Concerning new schools, they can be problematic. Their Faculty take time to gel and deliver a good curriculum. For their first couple of years, they have lower Board scores, and higher attrition rates. Plus, PDs aren’t familiar with their grads. But keep in mind that low pass rates, Board scores and high attrition can result from Admissions policies. New schools, by the fact that they're new, are more desperate to fill seats and will accept more marginal candidates. These are the people who are more likely to fail, or take LOA. If you are good at self-learning, you can handle a new school.

Some valuable advice fromgrapefruit17 in this thread:

Factors that matter when choosing a DO school.

Currently, there are four DO schools I can’t recommend. Here’s why:

Nova: four consecutive years of declining first-time COMLEX pass rates. They're now at ~85% and this is something you expect from a new school, not a veteran. Something is very wrong there.


Wm Carey: VERY high attrition rates and only a 92% placement rate for their Class of 2018. That means 8% of their grads are now unemployed, NOT doing residency. No SOAP, no scramble, no TRI. This is simply NOT acceptable. I expect they'll be put on probation very soon.


Touro-NY: Poor COMLEX II pass rates; unethical behavior in how they dealt with an overbooking issue two years ago.


LUCOM: I have a profound distaste for the politics of their parent organization; their Faculty make blatant attempts to twist facts to match their theology.


From the wise gyngyn: Liberty is poorly regarded due to the history of intolerance of their founding fathers. This school's reputation for intolerance puts its grads at a disadvantage at many reputable residency programs.
What about the best quote MSU? read up on Larry nasser and you decide
 
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How do you have so much dedication?:cat:
 
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I like helping people get into medical school, and I like helping medical students succeed. It's my niche
You really make an impact on a lot of people.
 
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Thank you @Goro for all of your advice. As a matriculating non-traditional M1 student at OUHCOM this fall I am really excited and proud for the opportunity to go to medical school. It was difficult to navigate through all of the negativity and misinformation directed at DO schools, and the advice on here was really helpful during my applications. For what its worth, I am going to be a physician and my self worth isn't tied to what others think of me and the initials after my name. I hope future applicants reading this realize that being given the chance to attend a DO medical school is a privilege and not a fall back plan that should be loathed.
 
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This may be a dumb question but does primary care include IM subspecialties?
 
Really love reading all of your extremely informative posts @Goro ! I always try and stay up-to-date with all of the knowledge you provide us on the medical school app process on here so I can stay knowledgeable myself, especially after all of the help you had given me when I applied to medical school, eventually with an acceptance to Rowan's DO program. I hope to someday help others as well. I have a question for you myself that may provide some insight for DO hopefuls reading this page. For someone with the valid concern you mentioned for attaining an uber-competitive specialty and wanting to keep more options open, which specialties would you consider "DO friendly"? From what I have gathered so far it seems like Anesthesia, FM, Peds, OB/Gyn, PM&R, and EM. Am I missing any? Also, would you consider Gen Surg "DO friendly" or is that pushing it?
 
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Really love reading all of your extremely informative posts @Goro ! I always try and stay up-to-date with all of the knowledge you provide us on the medical school app process on here so I can stay knowledgeable myself, especially after all of the help you had given me when I applied to medical school, eventually with an acceptance to Rowan's DO program. I hope to someday help others as well. I have a question for you myself that may provide some insight for DO hopefuls reading this page. For someone with the valid concern you mentioned for attaining an uber-competitive specialty and wanting to keep more options open, which specialties would you consider "DO friendly"? From what I have gathered so far it seems like Anesthesia, FM, Peds, OB/Gyn, PM&R, and EM. Am I missing any? Also, would you consider Gen Surg "DO friendly" or is that pushing it?
DO friendly (where > 40% of PDs will "often" rank/interview DOs):
Radiology-Diagnostic
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Emergency Medicine
Child Neurology
Internal Medicine
Neurology
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics
Psychiatry
Anesthesiology
Pathology
Pediatrics
Family Medicine
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Difficult, but not impossible (20-25% of PDs often rank/interview):
Radiation Oncology
Surgery
Thoracic Surgery
 
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DO friendly (where > 40% of PDs will "often" rank/interview DOs):
Radiology-Diagnostic
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Emergency Medicine
Child Neurology
Internal Medicine
Neurology
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics
Psychiatry
Anesthesiology
Pathology
Pediatrics
Family Medicine
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Difficult, but not impossible (20-25% of PDs often rank/interview):
Radiation Oncology
Surgery
Thoracic Surgery
AMAZING post @Goro thank you!
 
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@Goro A few more questions. If one did interview at Nova, and you were on their faculty, would you be offended by an applicant asking about the downward trend of their COMLEX I scores?

Second, while I know many great DOs who got into exceptional MD residencies only taking the COMLEX exams, given the merger, what are you advising students to do? Is it insulting to ask schools about dedicated study time for both exams?

Last but not least, you mention the extra credit of two DO letters. While I have not shadowed the DOs in the ER in which I volunteer, would it behoove me to do so and ask for a letter from one of them? How beneficial is that extra credit? (Did shadow an MD in there for three shifts.)

My apologies if these questions have been asked elsewhere. I'm as nontraditional as they get, and I'm trying to make sense of everything. By the way, the D.O. writing my letter is a Nova grad and can't sing its praises enough. I am interested in what's going on there too--as is he.
 
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First off, should you apply to DO schools? I feel that if you have a GPA of 3.5 or higher, AND an MCAT of 513, then it’s worth trying an MD only cycle.

IF you have an MCAT of 512 or less and/or a GPA of < 3.5, then try MD + DO.

IF you have an MCAT of < 504, and/or GPA of < 3.4 (without a steep rising GPA trend or any postbac/SMP classes, then go DO only. Your mileage may vary if you live in a luck state like MS, ND, NM, AL, etc.

Thanks for all the advice through the forums @Goro. Would you say this range of MCAT/GPA and course of action a person should take is the same for graduate/SMP GPA as well, or just applies to undergrad GPA/MCAT.
 
oh man. This is making me question applying! I liked Liberty, i didn't realize they had such a poor Rep.
 
oh man. This is making me question applying! I liked Liberty, i didn't realize they had such a poor Rep.
LUCOM isn't optimal, but hey if it's the only school you can get into please take the offer lol. It is medical school after all and really what you make of it in the end.
 
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Need to know what : gpa=3.6/mcat=507.appplied to 24 DO schools; have 16 secondaries back.....Comments?
 
Solid post Goro. I just wanted to add something briefly, if you don’t mind. This was based on my last cycle. When interviewing, KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. As an example, we were obviously asked “why DO?”. Well, one of the students basically went on a rant as to why DO’a are “better”, and the whole holistic, blah, blah, blah. Moral of the story, he was basically shaming MD’a to over compensate his interest...apparently he wasn’t aware that the interviewer was an MD and there were no actual DO’s in the room. I’m sure that didn’t sit well with the MD.
 
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When I interviewed at Nova a few months ago one of the interviewees asked the dean about the comlex scores and she attributed it to the old dean who decided to stop making students take the comlex pre test something along those lines
 
When I interviewed at Nova a few months ago one of the interviewees asked the dean about the comlex scores and she attributed it to the old dean who decided to stop making students take the comlex pre test something along those lines
If the trend gets reversed with the 2018 test takers, then I'll gladly pull Nova off my Bad Boy list.
 
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When I interviewed at Nova a few months ago one of the interviewees asked the dean about the comlex scores and she attributed it to the old dean who decided to stop making students take the comlex pre test something along those lines
Starting with the class of 2019, everyone had to take and pass a COMSAE under testing conditions with a score of something like 500 before you could take the real deal. IMO that's kind of cooking the books, but I guess technically it will raise COMLEX scores.
 
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