Goro's Guide to the DO School Application Process, 2022 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 Application Process (2022 edition)
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 512, then it’s worth trying an MD only cycle.
IF you have an MCAT of 511 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.

*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 interview table (or Zoom electrons) and smack you upside the head!

*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.

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

*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.

*While there are a few 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.

*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.

*To that end, if your MCAT score is <500, I strongly suggest a retake. If your GPA is <3.0, I suggest either aceing a post-bac, or SMP.

* 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 will still be an uphill battle for DO grads for tippy top academic and/or the uber-residencies like Neurosurgery or Vascular Surgery.

BUT, since the merger, DO grads have been matching into better and better programs. As of this writing, some 25% of Derm Program Directors will often consider inviting and ranking DO grads. This number was down in the single digits just a few years ago.

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 2021, see: https://www.nrmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/2021-PD-Survey-Report-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 that 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?"

Brand new DO schools (those that have yet to graduation a Class) are to be avoided if at all possible until they at least graduate a class. It takes time for the Faculty to gel and deliver a coherent curriculum; they have limited clinical rotation sites [it takes time to build these!], the degree of oversight of clinical training will be weak; the schools are unlikely to have resources for academically struggling students or those with mental health needs; lastly their grads will be unknown products to residency program directors

If needed, if you are good at self-learning, and have a pioneer’s mentality, you might be able to handle a new school. But again, go in eye’s open.

Some valuable advice fromgrapefruit17 in this thread:
Factors that matter when choosing a DO school.

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

Firstly, those that are for profit schools are more interested in the needs of their shareholders than their students.


ARCOM: Required mandatory lecture attendance during the COVID pandemic! Lecturers were outside speakers and could have taught via Zoom.
And now they’re on heightened monitoring for accreditation: Accreditation Decisions for Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

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. In the midst of the COVID19 pandemic, Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr insisted that the campus stay open! This was in violation of state lawBlack Liberty University alums rebuke Jerry Falwell after blackface tweet
And read this, while you’re at it:
https://slate.com/culture/2020/08/l...football-sports.amp?__twitter_impression=true

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: Weak academics and the administration of the parent body fired a dean for supporting social justice and racial equality.Their position is: On August 14th (2020), an Associate Dean of Students emailed new student policy that stated “You are not allowed to be involved in any form of public statement about social justice and racial inequities in medicine in any prominent location on the LMU campus”."

BCOM: Also this: granted 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.
Accreditation decisions for colleges of osteopathic medicine

ICOM: Not recommended due to the apparent dishonesty they had in setting up their school that poisoned the relations with hospitals in Idaho and/or the Idaho Medical Association. In addition, most of their rotation sites are very far away from the school. This raises the risk that the rotations are not adequately supervised, and preceptors are not fully trained in teaching. And they have the nerve to give you only 48 hours to decide upon submitting a $1500 deposit!

RVU: I find for profit schools to be distasteful to medical education, but this is outright disgusting behavior:


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Speaking of schools with heightened monitoring. WesternU got added to this list, not sure for what though.

VCOM and WCUCOM also
 
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Speaking of schools with heightened monitoring. WesternU got added to this list, not sure for what though.

VCOM and WCUCOM also
Western????? This, I have to dig into!

EDIT:
Are you sure? Not mentioned here:
 
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Western????? This, I have to dig into!

EDIT:
Are you sure? Not mentioned here:
 
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Western????? This, I have to dig into!

EDIT:
Are you sure? Not mentioned here:
Please let me know what you find out. I only hear speculations from my classmate.
 
What are they saying?
Something about western failing to secure enough rotation sites. This may also be biased bc I’m in clinical years and most of the classmates I talk to are also. With that said, not a lot of current and past students I’ve talked to have great things to say about our clinical edu office.

*take with mountain of salt* no clue if any of what I’m saying is actually true/accurate
 
Western????? This, I have to dig into!

EDIT:
Are you sure? Not mentioned here:
 
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I have found there are many private do schools and they are very expensive. There's one in Illinois in Downers Grove I think.
 
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Thank you for the updated guide! I was wondering if Nova (D.O.) has improved their program since 2019 which is why it is not on your can't recommend list anymore?

Also, not sure if you can answer this, but would there be a difference between their Davie and Tampa campuses?
 
Something about western failing to secure enough rotation sites. This may also be biased bc I’m in clinical years and most of the classmates I talk to are also. With that said, not a lot of current and past students I’ve talked to have great things to say about our clinical edu office.

*take with mountain of salt* no clue if any of what I’m saying is actually true/accurate
Rotations are absolute trash and the office is made up of some of the worst people you'll ever meet. The only reason WesternU keeps surviving is because California
 
Thank you for the updated guide! I was wondering if Nova (D.O.) has improved their program since 2019 which is why it is not on your can't recommend list anymore?

Also, not sure if you can answer this, but would there be a difference between their Davie and Tampa campuses?
They have inded fixed their pass rate problem for now.

I do get the vibes that they are one of the more anti-student med schools, never listening to student complaints and then threatening to bring out the professionalism cudgel. Best to inquire in the school-specific threads and see what current students have to say.
 
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Talk about a hidden treasure! Thank you Goro for your insight! And thank you to the commenters who bumped this thread into view!
 
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On the student panel, a WesternU student noted that their heightened monitoring was due to their EM rotation not being a "core" rotation, and it taking place in the 4th year vs the required 3rd year. This was coming from a OMS2 who works with the Dean(s) through an org that advocates for quality improvement in their education. They mentioned that it's being worked on, but is not an easily resolved issue due to them having to make significant curricular changes.
 
On the student panel, a WesternU student noted that their heightened monitoring was due to their EM rotation not being a "core" rotation, and it taking place in the 4th year vs the required 3rd year. This was coming from a OMS2 who works with the Dean(s) through an org that advocates for quality improvement in their education. They mentioned that it's being worked on, but is not an easily resolved issue due to them having to make significant curricular changes.
I dont think EM is a requirement. We dont have it at RVU, and they told us they dont have a ton of spots if you want it as an elective.
 
I dont think EM is a requirement. We dont have it at RVU, and they told us they dont have a ton of spots if you want it as an elective.
Interesting. I'm just relaying what a student said with a fair amount of confidence. If it indeed is not a requirement then I'm frankly uncomfortable.
 
@Goro How does a heightened monitoring accreditation make you feel about a school? Notably with this lack of transparency...? I'm normally a low stress person but this makes me particularly uneasy.
 
I dont think EM is a requirement. We dont have it at RVU, and they told us they dont have a ton of spots if you want it as an elective.
Jumping in with a quick question... Very seriously considering attending RVU Colorado this Fall. Is the lack of EM rotation spots something I could adjust for by doing away rotations in EM? It's one of the specialties I'm considering, so this would be a major concern for me.
 
On the student panel, a WesternU student noted that their heightened monitoring was due to their EM rotation not being a "core" rotation, and it taking place in the 4th year vs the required 3rd year. This was coming from a OMS2 who works with the Dean(s) through an org that advocates for quality improvement in their education. They mentioned that it's being worked on, but is not an easily resolved issue due to them having to make significant curricular changes.
They have withdrawn the heightened monitoring until the WesternU appeals process is complete. Apparently they put it as core in their application when it's actually not core and taken 4th year
 
They have withdrawn the heightened monitoring until the WesternU appeals process is complete. Apparently they put it as core in their application when it's actually not core and taken 4th year
If that's the type of stuff that gets schools on heightened monitoring why do we care about it, just because it sounds bad? Like who cares if its a core or not. COCA is dumb, but I think I already knew that.
 
If that's the type of stuff that gets schools on heightened monitoring why do we care about it, just because it sounds bad? Like who cares if its a core or not. COCA is dumb, but I think I already knew that.
Because what happened was they thought it was core but everyone had to find their own rotation, which would mean people might not graduate

Honestly, if anything, I'm glad this gets heightened monitoring. It makes me think serious things wouldn't fall through the cracks
 
Because what happened was they thought it was core but everyone had to find their own rotation, which would mean people might not graduate

Honestly, if anything, I'm glad this gets heightened monitoring. It makes me think serious things wouldn't fall through the cracks
Yeah that makes sense. But, I would have thought Core Rotations are set by COCA. It seems like that part of third year should should be standardized.
 
Yeah that makes sense. But, I would have thought Core Rotations are set by COCA. It seems like that part of third year should should be standardized.
EM is core in 4th year for us.
We don’t have a core Neuro rotation (I assume this was replaced by our core OMM rotation 🤣)
 
*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 interview table (or Zoom electrons) and smack you upside the head!
instant costochondritis from this
 
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