How much more competitive is it to get into an MD vs DO medical school?

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Jan 24, 2021
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The question pretty much sums what I'm asking up. From the research I've done, it seems that many students apply to far fewer DO schools than MD schools (e.g. 25 total medical schools applied to, only 5 of which are DO--could also be because there are only 35 DO schools vs 141 MD), they also often treat it as a backup near the end of an application cycle, so if they feel as if they are not going to get accepted into an MD school, they apply late to DO. It really seems that, for the majority of premeds, DO schools are an afterthought or a backup plan. Yet, 35% of people who apply matriculate while 41% of MDs who apply matriculate. This is obviously different from an acceptance rate. I actually looked at a random DO school (UNT) which I later learned was one of the best DO schools in the country (based on an article). Directly from their website

TCOM Admissions Statistics - Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (unthsc.edu)

You will find that they offered 460 acceptances for a little under 4000 applications, even though matriculation was only at 230. That comes out to be around ~12%. This has made me really wonder just how much more difficult it really is to get accepted into an MD vs DO school. It seems that they are no where in the same region. Personally, I would be equally as interested with a DO (the osteopathic manipulation definitely seems useful) degree had it not been for how much more difficult it is to match into non primary care or even slightly competitive residencies.

My question: what's your .02 on how much easier or harder it is to get into DO vs MD. Is there a big disparity between the two?
 
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It's all about applying correctly and knowing how to play your stats and cards right. Statistically it's harder to get into a DO school but the stats needed to get into an MD are higher.

It's hard to get into a single med school-period. No, there is not a huge disparity.

Yield protection does exist. Fight me.
 
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drstranger

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Yeah, there are not clear-cut statistics here. I am from California with average states and as an ORM I had no love from MDs but lots of DO interviews. It is much easier to get into DO schools then MD school
 
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Goro

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The question pretty much sums what I'm asking up. From the research I've done, it seems that many students apply to far fewer DO schools than MD schools (e.g. 25 total medical schools applied to, only 5 of which are DO--could also be because there are only 35 DO schools vs 141 MD), they also often treat it as a backup near the end of an application cycle, so if they feel as if they are not going to get accepted into an MD school, they apply late to DO. It really seems that, for the majority of premeds, DO schools are an afterthought or a backup plan.

We already know this and we don't take it personally, unless such people come in with a self-hating attitude (I'm good enough for MD and it sucks that I have to settle for this!") These are people who we try to screen out because they prefer to curse the darkness rather than light a candle.


Yet, 35% of people who apply matriculate while 41% of MDs who apply matriculate. This is obviously different from an acceptance rate. I actually looked at a random DO school (UNT) which I later learned was one of the best DO schools in the country (based on an article). Directly from their website

TCOM Admissions Statistics - Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (unthsc.edu)

You will find that they offered 460 acceptances for a little under 4000 applications, even though matriculation was only at 230. That comes out to be around ~12%. This has made me really wonder just how much more difficult it really is to get accepted into an MD vs DO school. It seems that they are no where in the same region. Personally, I would be equally as interested with a DO (the osteopathic manipulation definitely seems useful) degree had it not been for how much more difficult it is to match into non primary care or even slightly competitive residencies.

My question: what's your .02 on how much easier or harder it is to get into DO vs MD. Is there a big disparity between the two?
The applicant pools are different (although ours does overlap a lot with MD this and the last several cycles). At my school, it's harder to get an interview, but easier to get the acceptance.. Really, one has to work at getting rejected with us. MD schools can afford to be more picky.

At my school this year:
~5000-6000 apps
Interview 400-500
Accept ~350
Seat ~100

Now, at Harvard it's
7600 apps
Interview 948
Accept ~320-400 (they don't have these data points in MSAR, but typically med schools accept 2-3x their number of seats.)
Seat 165


and at SLU
6800 apps
Interview 966
Accept ~360-450 (they don't have data [point in MSAR, but typically med schools accept 2-3x their number of seats.)
Seat 180
 
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Jan 24, 2021
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We already know this and we don't take it personally, unless such people come in with a self-hating attitude (I'm good enough for MD and it sucks that I have to settle for this!") These are people who we try to screen out because they prefer to curse the darkness rather than light a candle.
Ya, I think it is just how much harder it is to get into competitive residencies that makes it all gloom and doom. The prospects of osteopathic manipulation definitely seem incredibly useful even in my daily life. Like how many times have we woke up feeling like crap that could have been treated with a bit of manipulation?
 
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AcesCracked

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I would be equally as interested with a DO (the osteopathic manipulation definitely seems useful) degree had it not been for how much more difficult it is to match into non primary care or even slightly competitive residencies.
Getting into a D.O school is easier based on the average stats of the typical applicant. As a D.O your chances of matching at top-tier institutions or extremely competitive residencies is more difficult; but matching into "even slightly competitive residencies" isn't uncommon at all as a D.O if your application is competitive. You are not doomed to FM as a D.O so long as your board scores and other grades are sufficient.
 
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Jan 24, 2021
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Getting into a D.O school is easier based on the average stats of the typical applicant. As a D.O your chances of matching at top-tier institutions or extremely competitive residencies is more difficult; but matching into "even slightly competitive residencies" isn't uncommon at all as a D.O if your application is competitive. You are not doomed to FM as a D.O so long as your board scores and other grades are sufficient.
I would be interested in Ophthalmology or diagnostic radiology, wouldn't these be seen as very difficult to enter in as a DO?
 

AcesCracked

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I would be interested in Ophthalmology or diagnostic radiology, wouldn't these be seen as very difficult to enter in as a DO?
As Goro said, DR is very doable as a D.O. But also as a pre-med you really don't know what fields you will like, and on top of that, If you had a choice to be a D.O and go into X or Y field, or get denied and choose a different career, I know which one I would choose.
 
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8YearsLate

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Your numbers don't fully account for the fact that less people apply to programs for which they do not feel competitive. For example, given 100 med school applicants who plan to apply to both MD and DO, 100 will apply to the school with a median 502/3.5, 80 will apply to the school with a 505/3.6, 60 will apply to the 508/3.7, 40 to the 512/3.8, and 20 to the 515/3.9. So, the total # of apps is somewhat irrelevant to the actual portrait of competition. People try very hard to direct their resources to schools that fall around the bell curve of their own stats (at least the savvy ones do). Good luck!
 
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n = 1, I got interviews at 10/15 DO schools I applied to, attended 6 of those, and got 4 acceptances. 1 I didn't finish a post-interview requirement as I determined I did not want to attend that school so who knows whether I would have been accepted had I followed through.

Out of 26 MD applications, I have received 3 interviews. 2 are from in-state schools with HEAVY in state biases. I have gotten 1 rejection, and am awaiting 2 decisions which I do not have exceptionally high hopes for.

Based on my experience with the cycle, MD programs are much more difficult to get into lol. Thankfully I am very happy with the DO seat I have paid the deposit for should I go 0/3 on the MD font
 
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Dr.Meowz

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n = 1, I got interviews at 10/15 DO schools I applied to, attended 6 of those, and got 4 acceptances. 1 I didn't finish a post-interview requirement as I determined I did not want to attend that school so who knows whether I would have been accepted had I followed through.

Out of 26 MD applications, I have received 3 interviews. 2 are from in-state schools with HEAVY in state biases. I have gotten 1 rejection, and am awaiting 2 decisions which I do not have exceptionally high hopes for.

Based on my experience with the cycle, MD programs are much more difficult to get into lol. Thankfully I am very happy with the DO seat I have paid the deposit for should I go 0/3 on the MD font

Same.
2019 like 30 MD primaries. 0 II.
2020 25 DO primaries. 4 II. 1A. (turned down 3 interviews after A). Deposit paid.

MD is just INSANE.
 
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CricB4Tube

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There's a reason why MD deposits are only $100 and are refundable whereas DO deposits are like $1500+ and most of which is nonrefundable.
 
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8YearsLate

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M1 at T-30 school. 13,000+ applicants this year. will interview around 500-600 and accept 160. I agree with you. it is crazy.
I think the craziest part of this is that they knowingly keep this racket going by not being honest with applicants about their screening process. Schools that know full-well they won't be accepting anyone with an MCAT below 510, 3.8+ GPA, research etc whatever, won't dare say it because they profit heavily from giving people false hope. I'm sure AMCAS profits from this as well. I thoroughly believe schools should legally have to disclose a detailed meta report of those they've given interviews/acceptances to. It's false advertising to claim you're "holistic" and never actually disclose if this is true. They do this with locations, feeder schools, and other demographics, but won't do it with stats. Follow the $$.
 
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Goro

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I think the craziest part of this is that they knowingly keep this racket going by not being honest with applicants about their screening process. Schools that know full-well they won't be accepting anyone with an MCAT below 510, 3.8+ GPA, research etc whatever, won't dare say it because they profit heavily from giving people false hope. I'm sure AMCAS profits from this as well. I thoroughly believe schools should legally have to disclose a detailed meta report of those they've given interviews/acceptances to. It's false advertising to claim you're "holistic" and never actually disclose if this is true. They do this with locations, feeder schools, and other demographics, but won't do it with stats. Follow the $$.
I would argue the opposite. There are people who apply to medical school with less care than they would have in buying a new suit or a used Camry.

The MSAR is readily available and has loads of useful information, as does SDN. Someone who is going to five into 3-4 Teslas's worth of debt should be approaching this process as if they buying Lotto tickets or playing pickup basketball. You'd be surprised how many SDNers have the attitude of applying to Harvard because "you never know" or "you miss every shot you don't take".

As I have mentioned multiple times, this process can be a tax on the hopelessly naïve, if not pathologically optimistic.

And "profit heavily"? Get real. Apps fees are a drop in the bucket compared to the costs of running an Admissions dep't. Well, caveat...I'm talking about DD schools. The deposits DO schools charge (including my own) are extortionate.
 
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Damson

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I think the craziest part of this is that they knowingly keep this racket going by not being honest with applicants about their screening process. Schools that know full-well they won't be accepting anyone with an MCAT below 510, 3.8+ GPA, research etc whatever, won't dare say it because they profit heavily from giving people false hope. I'm sure AMCAS profits from this as well. I thoroughly believe schools should legally have to disclose a detailed meta report of those they've given interviews/acceptances to. It's false advertising to claim you're "holistic" and never actually disclose if this is true. They do this with locations, feeder schools, and other demographics, but won't do it with stats. Follow the $$.

When reading your post I immediately recalled that student demographics page I saw in WSU medical school's demographics page a while ago MD Class Demographics and Statistics | Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine | Washington State University

They're admitting students sub-500 MCAT sub 3.0 GPA. Clearly, for some students, their apps really are being "holistically" assessed.
 

Dr.Meowz

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How far will the hype go? Will it eventually climb up to like 30000, 40000, 50000+ app for 150 seats each school.
And what is the cause of this? Covid? I doubt covid would make anyone suddenly want to do medicine.

With such a crazy number of apps, it would mean that DO stats would continue to soar year by year until the averages would be similar between DO and MD. Just a few years ago, the DO average was 500 and now it's 505. Maybe in a few more years, DO would be 510 and MD would be 515.

I was so proud of finally getting a 508 only to find that the average for MD is now frickin 511.
 

Goro

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When reading your post I immediately recalled that student demographics page I saw in WSU medical school's demographics page a while ago MD Class Demographics and Statistics | Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine | Washington State University

They're admitting students sub-500 MCAT sub 3.0 GPA. Clearly, for some students, their apps really are being "holistically" assessed.
This is no different that, say, U KS, U MS, or SIU. State schools favor the home team.

But keep in mind that the sub-3.0 GPA people may have done GPA repair via post-bac or SMP.
 
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8YearsLate

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When reading your post I immediately recalled that student demographics page I saw in WSU medical school's demographics page a while ago MD Class Demographics and Statistics | Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine | Washington State University

They're admitting students sub-500 MCAT sub 3.0 GPA. Clearly, for some students, their apps really are being "holistically" assessed.
Yeah, but that's still just medians and ranges. Every school essentially does that. But what they don't tell you is what that 3.0 / 500 person did to stand out, and I think that would clear a lot of confusion for people throwing money at them with false hope. When you apply to a job, they don't tell you Degree needed: HS Diploma - Masters; Experience needed: 0-5 yrs, and you don't pay out the ass for a job interview. They could also be more transparent in general: "Between August - December, we review people with stats above X and hours above X who have 2-3 strong letters; after 50 seats fill we will review X-X, and if you have below X without XYZ experiences/factors, we may or may not review your app." Because they ARE working it like that somehow. There are simply too many apps to have a subjective review process. They have to make piles somehow, and they won't share that info because they'd lose revenue.
 
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Damson

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Yeah, but that's still just medians and ranges. Every school essentially does that. But what they don't tell you is what that 3.0 / 500 person did to stand out, and I think that would clear a lot of confusion for people throwing money at them with false hope. When you apply to a job, they don't tell you Degree needed: HS Diploma - Masters; Experience needed: 0-5 yrs, and you don't pay out the ass for a job interview. They could also be more transparent in general: "Between August - December, we review people with stats above X and hours above X who have 2-3 strong letters; after 50 seats fill we will review X-X, and if you have below X without XYZ experiences/factors, we may or may not review your app." Because they ARE working it like that somehow. There are simply too many apps to have a subjective review process. They have to make piles somehow, and they won't share that info because they'd lose revenue.
It's true that not everything that goes behind the scenes that could be useful for applicants to know is shown publicly. But if you dial the admissions/HR office or directly speak to a professor (could be an adcom), you'll glean a lot of information.

Like you said, they need to pick from the pile. Applicants who really want the position will make that phone call. Applicants who just kinda want the position / don't really care if they get rejected probably won't pick up the phone to introduce themselves / double check their qualifications.

If they publicize "what that 3.0 / 500 person did to stand out", it's quickly going to retire as a stand-out quality for obvious reasons.
 

Deecee2DO

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I would be interested in Ophthalmology or diagnostic radiology, wouldn't these be seen as very difficult to enter in as a DO?
With decent scores and clinical grades and no red flags DR is totally doable as a DO. Im not applying ophtho but from my knowledge Ophtho is a different animal-small field so you need to network like a boss have strong board scores clinical grades and research. It can be done but Ophtho as a DO is incredibly difficult to match
 
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I'm a DO. I've been in practice for 21 years so my med school days are far past. I'm a neurologist and I live in Missouri where there are lots of DOs in many specialties. I did an MD residency in Pittsburgh. There are DOs at Washington University and SLU in specialties. I think it depends on many things as to what your path eventually looks like regardless of DO or MD.
 
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ampersandwich

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I think the craziest part of this is that they knowingly keep this racket going by not being honest with applicants about their screening process. Schools that know full-well they won't be accepting anyone with an MCAT below 510, 3.8+ GPA, research etc whatever, won't dare say it because they profit heavily from giving people false hope. I'm sure AMCAS profits from this as well. I thoroughly believe schools should legally have to disclose a detailed meta report of those they've given interviews/acceptances to. It's false advertising to claim you're "holistic" and never actually disclose if this is true. They do this with locations, feeder schools, and other demographics, but won't do it with stats. Follow the $$.

This is obviously anecdotal, but I was one of these statistical anomalies who was screened holistically. I graduated with a 2.5 GPA; even after a DIY post-bacc, I still only raised my final AACOMAS GPA to ~2.9 cGPA, 2.75 sGPA (AMCAS even lower). I ultimately completed an SMP and rewrote the MCAT for reasons below.

Interestingly, I’ve had extreme difficulty getting interest from DO schools. When I initially decided to reinvent myself, my goal was to target DO exclusively because I assumed I was uncompetitive for MD. In the past few years, more and more DO schools have instituted hard GPA screens, of which I fall short even after my post-bacc. I’ve emailed admissions, explained my situation, asked for exemptions, etc. No dice.

So after some consideration, I decided to enroll in a formal SMP and then try applying to both MD and DO. Again, I contacted DO admissions and trotted out my new stats, SMP and MCAT. Again, I was told no at every single school with a screen.

At this point, I’ve had a successful MD application cycle, and absolutely no interest from DO schools. For a candidate like me (that is, reinventor with a sub-3.0) it actually appears to be harder to get into DO than MD. Go figure.
 
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I'd say DO shoudl be easier, but my cycle says otherwise. I applied to almost 40 schools (60/40 DO/MD split), and have only had one II from each!
 
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When reading your post I immediately recalled that student demographics page I saw in WSU medical school's demographics page a while ago MD Class Demographics and Statistics | Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine | Washington State University

They're admitting students sub-500 MCAT sub 3.0 GPA. Clearly, for some students, their apps really are being "holistically" assessed.
Oh wow. I am actually very familiar with the WSU College of Medicine, and was very excited when I came across someone mentioning it. I attended a college not far from their medical school, and I once went on an intensive tour of their program and campus. I am telling you, they REALLY are holistic of their student acceptances. They told us that once you are given an interview, that not one of the evaluators is able to see your MCAT and possibly GPA scores ever again. This means that a barely passing student and an exemplary student are in the same level field once they are going through the interview process. In some ways, I think this doesn't sound like a bad idea to do, though it has its disadvantages of course for both sides. Sorry, just wanted to throw this out there.
 
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Damson

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Oh wow. I am actually very familiar with the WSU College of Medicine, and was very excited when I came across someone mentioning it. I attended a college not far from their medical school, and I once went on an intensive tour of their program and campus. I am telling you, they REALLY are holistic of their student acceptances. They told us that once you are given an interview, that not one of the evaluators is able to see your MCAT and possibly GPA scores ever again. This means that a barely passing student and an exemplary student are in the same level field once they are going through the interview process. In some ways, I think this doesn't sound like a bad idea to do, though it has its disadvantages of course for both sides. Sorry, just wanted to throw this out there.
Incredible!
 

Goro

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Oh wow. I am actually very familiar with the WSU College of Medicine, and was very excited when I came across someone mentioning it. I attended a college not far from their medical school, and I once went on an intensive tour of their program and campus. I am telling you, they REALLY are holistic of their student acceptances. They told us that once you are given an interview, that not one of the evaluators is able to see your MCAT and possibly GPA scores ever again. This means that a barely passing student and an exemplary student are in the same level field once they are going through the interview process. In some ways, I think this doesn't sound like a bad idea to do, though it has its disadvantages of course for both sides. Sorry, just wanted to throw this out there.
Many med schools use a "blinded" or closed file interview process
 

Cornfed101

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I would says it’s just “different” in my experience. I interviewed at a handful of MD and a handful of DO schools and the DO schools were much more interested in my experiences and the MD schools were more interested in my stats. My non-tradness seemed to be an asset at the DO schools and more of a liability at the MD schools. Obviously n=1, but I straight up had an MD school tell me I would have been accepted had my GPA been a few points higher. They loved everything else (from the admissions dean’s mouth)
 
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I would says it’s just “different” in my experience. I interviewed at a handful of MD and a handful of DO schools and the DO schools were much more interested in my experiences and the MD schools were more interested in my stats. My non-tradness seemed to be an asset at the DO schools and more of a liability at the MD schools. Obviously n=1, but I straight up had an MD school tell me I would have been accepted had my GPA been a few points higher. They loved everything else (from the admissions dean’s mouth)
They can do what they want but I don't see how that makes a better doctor.
 
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primarydr

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N=1, this cycle I applied to 30 MD schools and received 2 interview invites, and I am WL'd at both... I urgently began my DO apps over New Years & applied to 7 DO schools super last minute (apps submitted late Jan - early Feb 2021), but I still received 4 interview invites (1 acceptance + 3 I'm waiting to hear back post-interview)! To put my apps into context, everyone advised against applying to DO that late in the cycle because I have zero DO shadowing/exposure while I have a ton of research (pubs, presentations, etc), so needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised to receive much love from DO schools!:claps: Just my 2 cents, but you miss all the shots you don't take!
 
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chemdoctor

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N=1, this cycle I applied to 30 MD schools and received 2 interview invites, and I am WL'd at both... I urgently began my DO apps over New Years & applied to 7 DO schools super last minute (apps submitted late Jan - early Feb 2021), but I still received 4 interview invites (1 acceptance + 3 I'm waiting to hear back post-interview)! To put my apps into context, everyone advised against applying to DO that late in the cycle because I have zero DO shadowing/exposure while I have a ton of research (pubs, presentations, etc), so needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised to receive much love from DO schools!:claps: Just my 2 cents, but you miss all the shots you don't take!

Damn man! Stats?
 
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