Goro's Guide to the DO School Application Process, 2019 ed.

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Goro

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That time of year!

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 app process (2019 ed.)
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 lucky 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 who 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 for GPA, and MCAT of ~500.

o To that end, if your MCAT score is <497, 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 2018, see: https://www.nrmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/NRMP-2018-Program-Director-Survey-for-WWW.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???? But 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. Self-hating DOs are real, and I don’t want them as students.

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 five DO schools I can’t recommend. Here’s why:

Nova: three of the four last years have declining first-time COMLEX pass rates. They're now at ~85% and on top of this, some 7% of their 2018 grads failed to match. This was the second worst match rate among all the COMs (only WCU did worse). They also have yet to post their 2018 COMLEX results, even though they’ve had a full year to mull them over. This is NOT a good sign. These are all things you expect from a new school, not a veteran one. 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.

LUCOM: I have a profound distaste for the politics of their parent organization; they’re disingenuous about whether their strict lifestyle rules apply to medical students (they do); and 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.



LMU: granted continuing Accreditation with Heightened Monitoring. “Accreditation with Heightened Monitoring: This indicates that fewer than three standards are non-compliant and ongoing monitoring will occur via progress reporting. For schools with this status, accreditation will be granted for four years.”



This is the only COM that has this level of accreditation status right now.


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Lovely post Goro, it's always nice to see you trying to help us lowly premeds out ;)
 
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Hey Goro

Your thoughts on Non-trad applicants with more non-clinical employment in a variety of fields. I'd like to think that ad-coms take into account the workload they have and whether they can handle a med school curriculum. This also leads me to my next question. Just how does an adcom look at an application? After thousands of apps, does one just look for the short, sweet and to the point student? Curious to know. Btw thanks to you and all the others for the earlier advice you've given me for this cycle so far.
 
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Hey Goro

Your thoughts on Non-trad applicants with more non-clinical employment in a variety of fields. I'd like to think that ad-coms take into account the workload they have and whether they can handle a med school curriculum. This also leads me to my next question. Just how does an adcom look at an application? After thousands of apps, does one just look for the short, sweet and to the point student? Curious to know. Btw thanks to you and all the others for the earlier advice you've given me for this cycle so far.
Every Adcom member will have their own way of doing things.

I look at:
age
school attended
major
GPA
MCAT
if they have doctors in the family, especially parents
courses taken and grades, semester by semester
infractions (if any)
LORs
ECs
secondary essays
PS
 
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Hey Goro

Your thoughts on Non-trad applicants with more non-clinical employment in a variety of fields. I'd like to think that ad-coms take into account the workload they have and whether they can handle a med school curriculum. This also leads me to my next question. Just how does an adcom look at an application? After thousands of apps, does one just look for the short, sweet and to the point student? Curious to know. Btw thanks to you and all the others for the earlier advice you've given me for this cycle so far.

N=1 but my non clinical employment came up at every interview mostly as “you did a PB while working full time and studying for the mcat. Well done.”
 
Every Adcom member will have their own way of doing things.

I look at:
age
school attended
major
GPA
MCAT
if they have doctors in the family, especially parents
courses taken and grades, semester by semester
infractions (if any)
LORs
ECs
secondary essays
PS
In what way do you view having physicians in one’a immediate family? For example, someone with a parent who is a physician versus a student with no doctors in their family at all?
 
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Thank you so much for this! You are always so helpful. I have a quick question about the whole osteopathy thing. So I have shadowed two DOS and I know what Im getting into and why I want to do it. In my essay, I talk about why to me, it is important to have a holistic approach, mostly because ive seen the importance of both the science and the psychosocial aspects of medicine and healthcare, and i have proved my commitment to this by forming a club based on this kind of approach to wellness. is this too 'corny' of an approach to DO? I am aware of the OMM, and think it is so cool and so important as a daughter of a chiropractor, but I didn't mention that part in my personal statement cause of space (thought id save it for secondaries)
Your answer is fine...better than the usual tripe we see vomited up word for word from wiki.
 
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@Goro what are your thoughts on the new DO school at California Health Sciences University? Would you recommend applying there?
 
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Quick tip:

Go for the DO schools in major cities with the chance for away electives to hedge your bets. This is why PCOM is the best DO school. In all seriousness, if you rotate with your MD brethren it will allow you to maintain your DO core values while learning cutting edge medicine. Community hospitals can provide outstanding learning opportunities but do not always give exposure to novel innovations, research opportunities and new modalities.
 
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Quick tip:

Go for the DO schools in major cities with the chance for away electives to hedge your bets. This is why PCOM is the best DO school. In all seriousness, if you rotate with your MD brethren it will allow you to maintain your DO core values while learning cutting edge medicine. Community hospitals can provide outstanding learning opportunities but do not always give exposure to novel innovations, research opportunities and new modalities.
This would also include:
NYITCOM
KCU
CCOM
TUNCOM
touro.CA
OHCOM
Western
TCOM
LECOM.B?
UIW
 
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This would also include:
NYITCOM
KCU
CCOM
TUNCOM
touro.CA
OHCOM
Western
TCOM
LECOM.B?
UIW

Also...

MUCOM (Indianapolis)
DMU (Des Moines)
Burrell (Las Cruces)
TouroCOM (NYC)
OSU (Tulsa)
 
I forgot about Indy!
But the other cities are smaller and I was wary of about how many other opportunities there are.

I left off Touro-NY because aI can't recommend it.

Idk... I think Des Moines (DMU) and Tulsa (OSU) have larger populations than those of Athens (OUHCOM), Vallejo (Touro-CA), and Pomona (Western). Also, Las Cruces is the second most populous city in NM, so I'd count that as a "major city," even though it's not huge.
 
Idk... I think Des Moines (DMU) and Tulsa (OSU) have larger populations than those of Athens (OUHCOM), Vallejo (Touro-CA), and Pomona (Western). Also, Las Cruces is the second most populous city in NM, so I'd count that as a "major city," even though it's not huge.
Athens near Columbus
Vallejo near San Francisco and Oakland
Pomona = LA

I've been to Las Cruces...the food is narvelous, but aways? No
 
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I think Western / Pomona is bigger than some of those other schools in terms of population. It's basically only 1 hr drive (35 miles) to LA proper/Irvine/Loma Linda.
 
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Thank you for making this informative post. I understand that not having a DO letter won't necessarily hurt you if the school doesn't explicitly say they require it. But for schools that say on their website that they do require a letter from a physician, is it absolutely a donation to apply there without one? I was just wondering this with regards to the Touro schools.
 
Thank you for making this informative post. I understand that not having a DO letter won't necessarily hurt you if the school doesn't explicitly say they require it. But for schools that say on their website that they do require a letter from a physician, is it absolutely a donation to apply there without one? I was just wondering this with regards to the Touro schools.

If a school requires a physician letter and you don't submit one, then you're most likely going to get rejected. If you only submit an MD letter to a school that requires a DO letter, then you're most likely going to get rejected. If a school recommends submitting a DO letter but accepts both DO and MD letters, then you will lower your odds by submitting only an MD letter but you wouldn't be out for the count.
 
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But for schools that say on their website that they do require a letter from a physician, is it absolutely a donation to apply there without one?

What do you think??????

Part of the weeding process for Admissions Deans is vetting people who can't follow simple instructions.
 
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Keep in mind also that all major cities are not necessarily major medical cities. No one in their right mind would compare Columbus, OH to Philadelphia, NY, or Boston, for example.
 
Also...

MUCOM (Indianapolis)
DMU (Des Moines)
Burrell (Las Cruces)
TouroCOM (NYC)
OSU (Tulsa)

Don’t forget MSU. Lansing isn’t a small place either. Metro area pop above 400k and a huge B10 university.

Also a portion of the class goes to Macomb, a major Metro Detroit suburb, and another in Midtown Detroit at the medical centers. Lot of people do third year rotations in Metro Detroit (~4 million ppl).
 
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Does COCA have meetings at set times of the year to evaluate new DO schools seeking preliminary accreditation? (for MD schools, LCME, the big evaluation visit & meeting is in October with a report coming out soon after).

Trying to keep tabs on the process for a new TX prospect Sam Houston State University COM. Thanks for any info-
Wysdoc
 
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Does COCA have meetings at set times of the year to evaluate new DO schools seeking preliminary accreditation? (for MD schools, LCGME, the big evaluation visit & meeting is in October with a report coming out soon after).

Trying to keep tabs on the process for a new TX prospect Sam Houston State University COM. Thanks for any info-
Wysdoc
Yes, the next meeting will be August 23-25 in Washington DC. Usually the agenda is published a few days before the meeting at
 
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Yes, the next meeting will be August 23-25 in Washington DC. Usually the agenda is published a few days before the meeting at
Thank you, @Faha !
 
Wait... WHAt?!?!?!

Every Adcom member will have their own way of doing things.

I look at:
age
school attended
major
GPA
MCAT
if they have doctors in the family, especially parents
courses taken and grades, semester by semester
infractions (if any)
LORs
ECs
secondary essays
PS
 
As such, I have specific questions I ask of the youngest candidates if they're under 24.

And to think there are some places in the world where people graduate med school by 24......
 
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@Goro is your ev
Every Adcom member will have their own way of doing things.

I look at:
age
school attended
major
GPA
MCAT
if they have doctors in the family, especially parents
courses taken and grades, semester by semester
infractions (if any)
LORs
ECs
secondary essays
PS
Is this list the ranking of importance?
Also how much are you at a disadvantage if you attended a "cardinal direction" "small state university" ?
 
@Goro is your ev

Is this list the ranking of importance?
Also how much are you at a disadvantage if you attended a "cardinal direction" "small state university" ?
This is how I and only I look at things in the app. All Adcom members will be different .
I don't care where you go to UG, only that you do well.
 
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This is how I and only I look at things in the app. All Adcom members will be different .
I don't care where you go to UG, only that you do well.

When you say no DO letter is not a death sentence for schools where it is preferred/not an absolute requirement, do you suggest getting an MD letter for sure? Is applying without any shadowing letter going to tank your application, if your stats are slightly above average (LM 69/70)
 
When you say no DO letter is not a death sentence for schools where it is preferred/not an absolute requirement, do you suggest getting an MD letter for sure? Is applying without any shadowing letter going to tank your application, if your stats are slightly above average (LM 69/70)
Well, most schools require a clinician LOR
 
Followed Goro's guide last cycle and it helped to make the process easier/clearer. Shoutout and thank you to Goro's service to us applicants!
 
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Hello all, I am planning on requesting my LOR this week from some of my previous professors. After looking at different schools that I will be applying to, I see there are some with a tad bit different requirements in the letters they receive. What I am wondering is if anyone has any “guidelines” I can give my professors that will suffice all possible letter requirements. For example, should I request them put the classes I took them for, do they need to print it off, physically sign it, and then scan it PDF style. Sorry if this did not make much sense, was just wanting to make sure that I gave good thorough requests. Thanks in advance!
 
Hello all, I am planning on requesting my LOR this week from some of my previous professors. After looking at different schools that I will be applying to, I see there are some with a tad bit different requirements in the letters they receive. What I am wondering is if anyone has any “guidelines” I can give my professors that will suffice all possible letter requirements. For example, should I request them put the classes I took them for, do they need to print it off, physically sign it, and then scan it PDF style. Sorry if this did not make much sense, was just wanting to make sure that I gave good thorough requests. Thanks in advance!
AAMC has a guideline for LOR writers
 
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What schools would be good to avoid/aim for if you're a minority student (African American in my case)?
 
What schools would be good to avoid/aim for if you're a minority student (African American in my case)?
Avoid: The ones in rural areas: LMU, KYCOM, the AR schools, DMU, ACOM, WCU, PCOM-GA, VCOM-AL, VCOM-SC, CUSOM
Good: Ones in suburbs or decent sized cities: CCOM, MUCOM, LECOM, NYITCOM, Western (both) Touro-CA, KCU, UIW, TCOM, OHCOM, MSUCOM, TUNCOM, AZCOM
 
Avoid: The ones in rural areas: LMU, KYCOM, the AR schools, DMU, ACOM, WCU, PCOM-GA, VCOM-AL, VCOM-SC, CUSOM
Good: Ones in suburbs or decent sized cities: CCOM, MUCOM, LECOM, NYITCOM, Western (both) Touro-CA, KCU, UIW, TCOM, OHCOM, MSUCOM, TUNCOM, AZCOM

If I might humbly add, PCOM-GA is in a fairly suburban area. I haven't spent that much time there though (and I'm Asian).
 
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What avoid PCOM-GA? Theres a lot of minority students here... the area is EXTREMELY diverse. It's be no means rural
 
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What avoid PCOM-GA? Theres a lot of minority students here... the area is EXTREMELY diverse. It's be no means rural
What schools would be good to avoid/aim for if you're a minority student (African American in my case)?
I'm from Suwanee (where PCOM-GA is located) and I agree that it's one of the most diverse suburban areas in the state. You'll find a good amount of every race/ethnicity here, particularly Asians and African Americans. Not to mention it's only an hour drive away from Atlanta, which is known as a "Black Mecca".
 
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Avoid: The ones in rural areas: LMU, KYCOM, the AR schools, DMU, ACOM, WCU, PCOM-GA, VCOM-AL, VCOM-SC, CUSOM
Good: Ones in suburbs or decent sized cities: CCOM, MUCOM, LECOM, NYITCOM, Western (both) Touro-CA, KCU, UIW, TCOM, OHCOM, MSUCOM, TUNCOM, AZCOM

If I may make a humble request, would you consider making a detailed thread about selecting which DO schools to apply to, taking into account location, race, finances, establishment, stats, research, etc? I feel like a lot of students struggle with making a DO list and would greatly benefit from it.

Of course, I do understand that it is our responsibility to do our own homework. But I feel like a lot of the information out there is outdated or misleading and it would be difficult to discern what is and isn't accurate without the kind of experience that you have.
 
If I may make a humble request, would you consider making a detailed thread about selecting which DO schools to apply to, taking into account location, race, finances, establishment, stats, research, etc? I feel like a lot of students struggle with making a DO list and would greatly benefit from it.

Of course, I do understand that it is our responsibility to do our own homework. But I feel like a lot of the information out there is outdated or misleading and it would be difficult to discern what is and isn't accurate without the kind of experience that you have.

That's your responsibility as an applicant.
Goro, are you MD or DO?
Phony doctor...PhD
 
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Goro do you want to go into medicine one day?
Are you serious? I'm too old and fat for that sort of nonsense.

I was pre-med for maybe 10 mins, and thank God I lost that notion, because this is what med school would have done to me:
1566947747220.png
 
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