MDforMee

Sweet Cheeks
Aug 29, 2012
791
150
Status
Pre-Medical
I'm not sure if I need a letter from a DO, or not. I've called admissions offices at AZCOM, Western, Touro, and other schools but they give me overly polite answers that seem disingenuous. I've searched, and no one that's posted this question has my background.

Anyhow, I worked in healthcare as a CNA for 3 years, volunteered in various hospital departments for 1.5 years, and also attended nursing school for 1.5 years (of a 3 year BSN) before vacating my spot to pursue medicine.

I have a letter from an MD (a friend that encouraged me to pursue medicine at the time I left nursing school) whom I did not shadow or have any clinical experience with; his letter is more of a character letter that speaks to why I left nursing school.

Otherwise, I have a biochemistry degree from a decent school (3.5 with an upward trend), and my MCAT is alright (30R). I'm currently doing an M.S. in Pharmacology and Toxicology at a good school where my PI is a professor in the affiliated School of Medicine (I will receive a LOR from her, as well).

If I shadowed a DO for a LOR, I'd feel like a 3rd wheel. I know what doctors do, and know what I'm getting myself into by going to medical school. Shadowing is a waste of my time; I'm working on a thesis, learning to program in C++, presenting in journal clubs, tutoring at the local community college, and serving on a committee to oversee the hiring of a new Undergraduate Dean at my University, plus taking classes and being involved in other ECs.

What do you guys think? Suck it up and play the game to be safe instead of sorry, or tell the admissions committees that I have a genuine interest in -- and knowledge of -- osteopathic medicine based on interactions with DOs during my clinical work and from my own philosophy of treating the patient holistically based on my SCUT job history and nursing exposure?
 

WhyDoWeFall

5+ Year Member
Feb 5, 2011
468
108
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Honestly, I would suck it up and play it safe. I worked in the ER for 4 years side by side with physicians and I shadowed one for a LOR just to be safe. I feel like having one can't hurt you but not having one might disqualify you from some schools that require a DO letter to apply.
 

1badz

5+ Year Member
Jan 6, 2012
124
52
Status
Medical Student
It's a requirement at some schools, therefore required (not trying to be sassy). Plus, even though you think you know what it will take to become a doctor, you do not. Best of luck this cycle! :)
 

N. Marin

Sleepless
Dec 22, 2013
32
4
Status
Medical Student
DO schools like to see that incoming applicants at least have an idea of how Osteopathic medicine differs from Allopathic medicine (as opposed to simply applying to them as additional medical schools) so a letter having shadowed a DO is a significant plus, even if you know what they do already. Also yes, a number of schools require a DO LOR and I recall a couple of my secondaries asked if I had a DO LOR.

Remember in DO schools especially, aside from your stats, they are also trying to judge if you are a good fit for the profession and are familiar with what it entails.
 
Sep 23, 2013
98
35
Status
Pre-Medical
If your undergrad had a DO school or was near a DO school do you think that would help in assuring schools you understand the difference between Osteopathic and Allopathic?
 

N. Marin

Sleepless
Dec 22, 2013
32
4
Status
Medical Student
If your undergrad school had a DO school and you took some sort of class that might have delved into the DO philosophy as part of their curriculum, then maybe. If your school only had a DO school nearby, probably not.

Needless to say, hoping admissions will infer that you know the difference is not nearly as attractive as showing them you do.
 
Sep 23, 2013
98
35
Status
Pre-Medical
If your undergrad school had a DO school and you took some sort of class that might have delved into the DO philosophy as part of their curriculum, then maybe. If your school only had a DO school nearby, probably not.

Needless to say, hoping admissions will infer that you know the difference is not nearly as attractive as showing them you do.
That is what I had thought, my school is near a DO school, and I have a few friends who attended their Pre-SOMA events but that was it for their exposure to Osteopathic Medicine and are applying this cycle. I am not sure how it has affected them in applying but I didn't think it would be helpful.
 

AkGrown84

5+ Year Member
Jun 26, 2013
313
136
Philadelphia, PA
Status
Medical Student
I've been accepted this cycle without a LOR from a DO. I *did*, however, shadow a DO (I started shadowing him around the time I sent my primary in), but never got a LOR from him. I know he would have been happy to write one for me, as we discussed it, especially if I ended up with interviews at schools that required a DO LOR (LECOM, LECOM-B, etc). To date, I've had 3 DO ii's without a DO LOR. During the interview at the school I was accepted to, one of the first questions was asking about my time with this DO, what I learned, etc. I feel like this part was actually very pivotal in my acceptance, and I was definitely thankful that I spent the time to shadow him.

Long story short: if you have the resources (a willing DO) to shadow a DO, DO IT! If you get a LOR from it, great....but it's not necessary unless the school explicitly says you have to have one from a DO (most are just fine with an MD). If you aren't able to shadow, then make sure that the schools know that YOU KNOW what osteopathic medicine is about, and try to emphasize that in your secondary and interviews!
 

hallowmann

Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2012
5,455
4,983
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Honestly, I would suck it up and play it safe. I worked in the ER for 4 years side by side with physicians and I shadowed one for a LOR just to be safe. I feel like having one can't hurt you but not having one might disqualify you from some schools that require a DO letter to apply.
This. Its a hoop, just jump through it. Yes, you can get in without it, but your chances are better with it. /end of thread
 
  • Like
Reactions: MedSchoolMama