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Grad school or straight to med school? Advice please!

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amanda_jsu11

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So I am interested in anesthesiology. There are a few paths I can take and I would love to hear some opinions on which you guys think is best.
I will finish with my undergrad degree in biology/chemistry in one year. After I take the MCAT, these are my options:
1)Apply to medical school (accepted first try)

2)Not accepted first try- obtain master's degree in biomedical and health science @ UAB (11 month program-helps improve MCAT). Reapply.

3)Not accepted first try- obtain a master's in anesthesiology studies aka Anesthesiology Assistant Grad Program @ Emory or South University in Savannah GA. (24 month program- Pros: get experience in anesthesiology. Cons: AA's are not licensed in all states/jobs may be hard to find). Reapply.
 

The Best Psychiatrist

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Apply to multiple medical schools and multiple masters program. That way you still have all the options if you decide to change your mind.

Since the goal is to become an anesthesiologist, medical school should be your primary goal, with a masters program as your backup.
 

mathnerd88

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It honestly depends on your stats. What are they?

We really can't give good advice until we have some hard numbers and EC's.
 
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AlteredScale

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So I am interested in anesthesiology. There are a few paths I can take and I would love to hear some opinions on which you guys think is best.
I will finish with my undergrad degree in biology/chemistry in one year. After I take the MCAT, these are my options:
1)Apply to medical school (accepted first try)

2)Not accepted first try- obtain master's degree in biomedical and health science @ UAB (11 month program-helps improve MCAT). Reapply.

3)Not accepted first try- obtain a master's in anesthesiology studies aka Anesthesiology Assistant Grad Program @ Emory or South University in Savannah GA. (24 month program- Pros: get experience in anesthesiology. Cons: AA's are not licensed in all states/jobs may be hard to find). Reapply.

Being interested in anesthesiology is great. Do you KNOW 100% that's what you want to do? Are you so dead set on doing anesthesiology or working in that department that you'd be willing to give up being a physician for it? As you know, the majority of students in medical school end up changing their mind about what they want to do many times over when they rotate through 3rd year.

If you have know interest outside of anesthesia and would find it hard knowing that you may not end up doing the specialty (say because of a poor USMLE/COMLEX score that would essentially bar you from even applying to that area or because of a change of heart while M3) then don't even apply to med school and apply for the AA program. It'd be a waste of money.

On the other hand if you are interested and welcome the idea of being a physician in any other specialty besides anesthesiology then by all means apply and if you don't get in, do the masters.

Another implication here is time. Are you non-trad? if you are 40 or 50+ then you should be aware of the fact that it will at a minimum take 7-8 years to complete training before you are paid a decent salary. Just another thing to keep in mind!
 

adrian710

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Apply to multiple medical schools and multiple masters program. That way you still have all the options if you decide to change your mind.

Since the goal is to become an anesthesiologist, medical school should be your primary goal, with a masters program as your backup.
Wouldn't she be halfway through first semester in the masters program before she even received potential interview invites though? I am deciding if I should apply to DO schools AND MS programs at the same time but then I realized why I said earlier would be a conflict, right?
 

amanda_jsu11

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It honestly depends on your stats. What are they?

We really can't give good advice until we have some hard numbers and EC's.

My GPA is 3.6; Science GPA is 4.0
I have not taken the MCAT.
EC's are community service chair of The National Society of Leadership and Success: JSU chapter- I plan and recruit members for community service events such as habitat for humanity, nursing home visits, etc.
Phlebotomy Certification
DO shadowing

Have plans to:
Clinical volunteering
Work with Red Cross for blood drives/hold a phlebotomist position at a dr.s office/hospital.
 

amanda_jsu11

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Being interested in anesthesiology is great. Do you KNOW 100% that's what you want to do? Are you so dead set on doing anesthesiology or working in that department that you'd be willing to give up being a physician for it? As you know, the majority of students in medical school end up changing their mind about what they want to do many times over when they rotate through 3rd year.

If you have know interest outside of anesthesia and would find it hard knowing that you may not end up doing the specialty (say because of a poor USMLE/COMLEX score that would essentially bar you from even applying to that area or because of a change of heart while M3) then don't even apply to med school and apply for the AA program. It'd be a waste of money.

On the other hand if you are interested and welcome the idea of being a physician in any other specialty besides anesthesiology then by all means apply and if you don't get in, do the masters.

Another implication here is time. Are you non-trad? if you are 40 or 50+ then you should be aware of the fact that it will at a minimum take 7-8 years to complete training before you are paid a decent salary. Just another thing to keep in mind!

I am not 100% sure about anesthesiology. I have shadowed a DO but not an anesthesiologist. I have been interested in anesthesia for some time but I realize I may change my mind; I'm open to other specialties or family practice. I know that I want to attend medical school without a doubt, but I also realize med school isn't in the cards for everyone and I am unsure where I stand when it comes to being accepted. I replied with my stats so far and my EC's in the above post. I have AA as an option for security purposes. And I am 22 years old.
 
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AnatomyGrey12

Get some clinical volunteering, more shadowing and some research. That coupled with a rock solid MCAT and the sky is the limit, MD or DO.
 
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AlteredScale

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I am not 100% sure about anesthesiology. I have shadowed a DO but not an anesthesiologist. I have been interested in anesthesia for some time but I realize I may change my mind; I'm open to other specialties or family practice. I know that I want to attend medical school without a doubt, but I also realize med school isn't in the cards for everyone and I am unsure where I stand when it comes to being accepted. I replied with my stats so far and my EC's in the above post. I have AA as an option for security purposes. And I am 22 years old.

Your academic stats are very strong. Make sure you keep that with a good MCAT score as well.

As for your EC's they are a little on the weak side. If your phleb cert and work with the red cross go out to plan, that would count as clinical exposure. I would try to focus on non-clinical EC's (make sure that you make a strong impact in your chair work for the JSU).

You need to add non-clinical experience that goes beyond what you can do in school. Do you partake in any hobbies such as music? Exercising? You can use those for varying orgs as well and add to your community service.

For your DO shadowing, try and shadow a DO who does OMT/OMM. It'll give you a talking point that wins big during the interview stage of your application.

Obviously not a requirements but having some sort of research experience is always good too. But this should be low on your list.

If on the off chance you kill the MCAT and are able to strengthen your EC's well, I would definitely shoot to apply to MD schools as well.
 

amanda_jsu11

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Your academic stats are very strong. Make sure you keep that with a good MCAT score as well.

As for your EC's they are a little on the weak side. If your phleb cert and work with the red cross go out to plan, that would count as clinical exposure. I would try to focus on non-clinical EC's (make sure that you make a strong impact in your chair work for the JSU).

You need to add non-clinical experience that goes beyond what you can do in school. Do you partake in any hobbies such as music? Exercising? You can use those for varying orgs as well and add to your community service.

For your DO shadowing, try and shadow a DO who does OMT/OMM. It'll give you a talking point that wins big during the interview stage of your application.

Obviously not a requirements but having some sort of research experience is always good too. But this should be low on your list.

If on the off chance you kill the MCAT and are able to strengthen your EC's well, I would definitely shoot to apply to MD schools as well.

I strongly support the DO approach to medicine, especially in the case that I do not choose anesthesiology. So I doubt I will apply to an MD school. I don't have any hobbies that stand out, but I am open to new things. Do you have any suggestions for a hobby that will set me apart without taking all my free time? I work to support myself so I have little time for EC's. I would say my only hobby now is my obsession with organic food, I have been growing my own herbs and trying to convert to an all natural vegetarian diet. I enjoy running and have considered 5K's/marathons in the past.
 

AlteredScale

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I strongly support the DO approach to medicine, especially in the case that I do not choose anesthesiology. So I doubt I will apply to an MD school. I don't have any hobbies that stand out, but I am open to new things. Do you have any suggestions for a hobby that will set me apart without taking all my free time? I work to support myself so I have little time for EC's. I would say my only hobby now is my obsession with organic food, I have been growing my own herbs and trying to convert to an all natural vegetarian diet. I enjoy running and have considered 5K's/marathons in the past.

If you work full time to support yourself then you totally have a strong reason for not having many EC's. Stick with what you go. Just choose an EC that interests you, perhaps something in regards to gardening (maybe for a shelter or what not). Or volunteer for a wellness and prevention club that helps support healthy eating.

You can focus your application on your ability to be self-sustainable and your interest in health and wellness and how that lead you into medicine perhaps?
 

123456123456

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Try with option 1 obviously first.

I feel like obtaining another degree would only be worth it if you had a low GPA to show you can handle rigorous science classes because they are time consuming and expensive. Plus, you mind could change about anesthesia during rotations in med school.

As long as you have a solid GPA, if you do not get accepted the first time around I would try to find a clinical job like scribe, EMT, CNA, etc and then possibly volunteer a few hours per week and shadow to build your ECs. Also, retake your MCAT if you think that is what prevented you from getting in the first time around.
 
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AnatomyGrey12

What is it exactly about the DO philosophy that you are such a big fan of that you wouldn't apply MD as well?
 
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amanda_jsu11

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What is it exactly about the DO philosophy that you are such a big fan of that you wouldn't apply MD as well?

Based on the knowledge I have about both schools, I feel that DO fits me better. I have nothing against MD, I just feel that I will enjoy a DO school more. I like the holistic approach and the idea that the body is self-healing.
 

amanda_jsu11

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Try with option 1 obviously first.

I feel like obtaining another degree would only be worth it if you had a low GPA to show you can handle rigorous science classes because they are time consuming and expensive. Plus, you mind could change about anesthesia during rotations in med school.

As long as you have a solid GPA, if you do not get accepted the first time around I would try to find a clinical job like scribe, EMT, CNA, etc and then possibly volunteer a few hours per week and shadow to build your ECs. Also, retake your MCAT if you think that is what prevented you from getting in the first time around.

I feel like getting a job as an EMT or CNA is moving backwards. Is it common for re-applicants to pursue these jobs between applications?
 

amanda_jsu11

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If you work full time to support yourself then you totally have a strong reason for not having many EC's. Stick with what you go. Just choose an EC that interests you, perhaps something in regards to gardening (maybe for a shelter or what not). Or volunteer for a wellness and prevention club that helps support healthy eating.

You can focus your application on your ability to be self-sustainable and your interest in health and wellness and how that lead you into medicine perhaps?

Will do!
Thank you; your advice is helpful.
 
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123456123456

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I feel like getting a job as an EMT or CNA is moving backwards. Is it common for re-applicants to pursue these jobs between applications?

Yeah, because gaining clinical experience can really help you stick out, especially if your GPA and/or MCAT is average. Of even if you have excellent stats, it can still help you stick out since lots of people have excellent stats. I have a stellar GPA but my MCAT is lower than I wanted. However, I am a TON of clinical experience as a scribe and through volunteering and I feel that is what helped land my interview invites. It does not have to be EMT/CNA, I just said those because they are some of the shorter certification classes compared to medic and MA and stuff. Some people do phlebotomy also. & like I mentioned, I scribe in an ER. But do whatever clinical experience you like, but I would definitely gain more clinical experience some way rather than pay for another degree that is super time consuming and usually expensive (unless your GPA is low and you need to). One of the first questions I was asked in my interview which was a closed interview was about shadowing.
 
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cliquesh

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Based on the knowledge I have about both schools, I feel that DO fits me better. I have nothing against MD, I just feel that I will enjoy a DO school more. I like the holistic approach and the idea that the body is self-healing.

An average usmle step 1 score is around 225. In 2014, 79 out of 89 USMD applicants with scores between 201 and 210 (which is significantly below average) matched anesthesia. On the other hand, only 22 out of 55 independent applicants , which includes DOs, with the same scores matched anesthesia. This trend is seen in every speciality. Being a USMD will make your life easier.
 
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Roxas

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Based on the knowledge I have about both schools, I feel that DO fits me better. I have nothing against MD, I just feel that I will enjoy a DO school more. I like the holistic approach and the idea that the body is self-healing.
You'll learn this regardless of which school you go to. It's physiology.

And the whole "holistic" thing is a complete gimmick. Good doctors treat their patients effectively, be they MD or DO. That said, I do agree that you should go to a school that you feel is a good fit for you (based on more than just conjecture). Just be aware of what you are getting into, and set yourself up for as much success as possible.
 

amanda_jsu11

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You'll learn this regardless of which school you go to. It's physiology.

And the whole "holistic" thing is a complete gimmick. Good doctors treat their patients effectively, be they MD or DO. That said, I do agree that you should go to a school that you feel is a good fit for you (based on more than just conjecture). Just be aware of what you are getting into, and set yourself up for as much success as possible.

Do you feel that I will be setting myself up for a less successful career as a doctor if I choose a DO school?
 

amanda_jsu11

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An average usmle step 1 score is around 225. In 2014, 79 out of 89 USMD applicants with scores between 201 and 210 (which is significantly below average) matched anesthesia. On the other hand, only 22 out of 55 independent applicants , which includes DOs, with the same scores matched anesthesia. This trend is seen in every speciality. Being a USMD will make your life easier.

Can you explain why this trend is present?
Also do the independent applicants include Caribbean doctors?
Would a DO with a 225 be chosen over an MD with a 205?
 

mathnerd88

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Do you feel that I will be setting myself up for a less successful career as a doctor if I choose a DO school?

Can you explain why this trend is present?
Also do the independent applicants include Caribbean doctors?
Would a DO with a 225 be chosen over an MD with a 205?

Obviously, if you can get into a MD school, go to that MD school. MD's get more opportunities at competitive residencies than DO's.

DO's are more geared towards holistic care which is predominantly for primary care physicians. Most of its students graduate into primary care. You can specialize as a DO, but it won't be as easy as specializing as a MD, especially the more competitive ones such as anesthesia, surgery, derm, etc. Many competitive residency programs close their doors to DO's. However, some of the oldest and most established DO schools can make it easier to get into a residency of your choice over others.

In any case, you have to keep your options open to any specialty, because things obviously change over time. I'm leaning towards primary care, but that can definitely change as I go on rotations and find something that I like more. Also, I have to take my board scores into account.
 
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cliquesh

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Can you explain why this trend is present?
Also do the independent applicants include Caribbean doctors?
Would a DO with a 225 be chosen over an MD with a 205?

It is the way it has always been. USMD applicants are the candidates of choice in the acgme match. Yes, "independent applicants" includes Caribbean students and non-us citizens, and these applicants do skew the information I provided you. Osteopathic graduates still, however, do worse in the acgme match when compared to USMD applicants (78% overall match rate versus 94%). Every residency program director is different. Some care about the DO thing; others not as much. Some may take the DO with the 225 and others may rank the MD with a 205 higher. I can tell you that a USMD friend of mine with a 230 got interviews at places that rejected me, even though I had a 250+.

I am not trying to say it's impossible, or even difficult, to match anesthesia as a DO. I applied to 60 programs and I got 40 something invites. I didn't have any trouble matching and I doubt things would have ended up much different if I was a USMD. It's just easier to match as a USMD, especially if you're not a rockstar. If you do about average on the usmle, you will likely be competitive for a decent state university program as a DO.
 
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mathnerd88

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It is the way it has always been. USMD applicants are the candidates of choice in the acgme match. Yes, "independent applicants" includes Caribbean students and non-us citizens, and these applicants do skew the information I provided you. Osteopathic graduates still, however, do worse in the acgme match when compared to USMD applicants (78% overall match rate versus 94%). Every residency program director is different. Some care about the DO thing; others not as much. Some may take the DO with the 225 and others may rank the MD with a 205 higher. I can tell you that a USMD friend of mine with a 230 got interviews at places that rejected me, even though I had a 250+.

Where did you end up in residency? You have a godlike USMLE score.
 

Roxas

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Do you feel that I will be setting myself up for a less successful career as a doctor if I choose a DO school?
Not a less successful career, but you will have a harder time matching competitive specialties. If that isn't an interest of yours, then it makes no difference. My whole point was that you shouldn't get sucked in to the whole idea that DO schools treat the whole patient and our allopathic counterparts do not.

Also, OMM can be a PITA.
 
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