Is it worth applying to DO? *2021 edition*

Mkif586

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    Hey there. I know this has been beaten to death on this forum and on reddit multiple times before, but I would dare to start a new thread on that.
    Basically, the question is - is it worth applying to DO these days?
    A little about myself:
    I am graduating upcoming August. My current GPA is 3.9. I have Strong ECs (no research though) and so on.
    I know that I am however will not defeat the MCAT monster to get that sweet 512+ for an MD without taking additional year which I don’t want to do.
    I am not gunning for ortho/derm/uro or academia. Will be more than happy with IM/EM/neuro class specialties.
    Given a lot of hype regarding recent step 1 change and that few more DO schools are to open and potential healthcare reforms in the future. I wonder about perspectives of this decision. For the person who just wants to be a doctor is it worth to apply DO or one should better wait for one more year and get strong MCAT score. My LORs are also not going to be excited. I placed all my bets for this year but I will not be able to see any prof in person until summer since my school is going to be fully remote until the summer. I plan to take MCAT next July and apply by late August.
    Stay safe:=|:-):
     

    GreenDuck12

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      511 is the median MCAT score for accepted MD applicants. Half of accepted students have above a 511, and half of accepted students are below.

      As for your question about MD or DO with step 1 changes, indeed the camel has been beaten to death, and no new information is likely to be revealed at this time.
       
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      Mkif586

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        511 is the median MCAT score for accepted MD applicants. Half of accepted students have above a 511, and half of accepted students are below.

        As for your question about MD or DO with step 1 changes, indeed the camel has been beaten to death, and no new information is likely to be revealed at this time.
        Hi. I am not from a lucky state not sure 511 will be even enough. Anyway, I plan to score in 500-506 range unless miracle happens. Don’t think any MD schools would give me love with this stats and applying in late August. I just want to make sure that I will not be screwed after graduation and will still be able to obtain any residency in the US that is not FM or peds. Again IM/EM/neuro seem most fascinated for me. Not looking for Harvard IM program just any. Just don’t want to be screwed for being DO. Same true for future career. Want to be able to land a job without going through hell and being seen as inferior.
         

        GreenDuck12

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          Hi. I am not from a lucky state not sure 511 will be even enough. Anyway, I plan to score in 500-506 range unless miracle happens. Don’t think any MD schools would give me love with this stats and applying in late August. I just want to make sure that I will not be screwed after graduation and will still be able to obtain any residency in the US that is not FM or peds. Again IM/EM/neuro seem most fascinated for me. Not looking for Harvard IM program just any. Just don’t want to be screwed for being DO. Same true for future career. Want to be able to land a job without going through hell and being seen as inferior.

          I mean, you could hold off on the MCAT till you’re scoring in a higher range.

          It sounds like your looking for affirmation that it’s ok to sit for the MCAT before your scoring in a more competitive range and would rather go for DO because you anticipate it is the path of least resistance. IMO, that’s perfectly fine decision that you can make. I, like many, will argue that it matters much more what you do in medical school than where you attend. That being said, there are no guarantees. You could be in the top of your class and competitive for highly coveted positions, or you could struggle and have a hard time matching. When you become an attending, your salary will be the same as an MD. One usually finds more DOs in areas with DO programs and fewer DOs in areas without them. In my area, there are relatively few DOs Outside primary care. in Portland ME there are many DOs outside of primary care. It just depends. Generally it’s better to attend an institution that has departments and residency programs in the areas you are interested in. Many DO programs do not have this which can make things more difficult for the match as away rotations become even more significant. You can look up match statistics online to figure it what the match looks like for DOs. I think everyone who enters medical school has to know there is a chance they could end up in PEDS/FM/OBGYN etc. I would not recommend med school to anyone who only sees themselves being happy in a handful of specialties - there’s just too much that can happen.
           
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          zNoodlez

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            Hey there. I know this has been beaten to death on this forum and on reddit multiple times before, but I would dare to start a new thread on that.
            Basically, the question is - is it worth applying to DO these days?
            A little about myself:
            I am graduating upcoming August. My current GPA is 3.9. I have Strong ECs (no research though) and so on.
            I know that I am however will not defeat the MCAT monster to get that sweet 512+ for an MD without taking additional year which I don’t want to do.
            I am not gunning for ortho/derm/uro or academia. Will be more than happy with IM/EM/neuro class specialties.
            Given a lot of hype regarding recent step 1 change and that few more DO schools are to open and potential healthcare reforms in the future. I wonder about perspectives of this decision. For the person who just wants to be a doctor is it worth to apply DO or one should better wait for one more year and get strong MCAT score. My LORs are also not going to be excited. I placed all my bets for this year but I will not be able to see any prof in person until summer since my school is going to be fully remote until the summer. I plan to take MCAT next July and apply by late August.
            Stay safe:=|:-):
            Remember that med schools are getting more competitive every year with increasing number of applicants. On the DO side, while more seats become available yearly, the number of seats that are worth applying to remains the same (established schools). Take that MCAT and apply before COMLEX becomes P/F too lol.
             
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            Goro

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              Hey there. I know this has been beaten to death on this forum and on reddit multiple times before, but I would dare to start a new thread on that.
              Basically, the question is - is it worth applying to DO these days?
              A little about myself:
              I am graduating upcoming August. My current GPA is 3.9. I have Strong ECs (no research though) and so on.
              I know that I am however will not defeat the MCAT monster to get that sweet 512+ for an MD without taking additional year which I don’t want to do.
              I am not gunning for ortho/derm/uro or academia. Will be more than happy with IM/EM/neuro class specialties.
              Given a lot of hype regarding recent step 1 change and that few more DO schools are to open and potential healthcare reforms in the future. I wonder about perspectives of this decision. For the person who just wants to be a doctor is it worth to apply DO or one should better wait for one more year and get strong MCAT score. My LORs are also not going to be excited. I placed all my bets for this year but I will not be able to see any prof in person until summer since my school is going to be fully remote until the summer. I plan to take MCAT next July and apply by late August.
              Stay safe:=|:-):
              With a 511 score, I recommend a few DO schools as insurance.
               

              Rogue42

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                DO schools are worth attending so far as the fact that you WILL become a doctor. DO degree will close a lot of the doors to the big name specialties though, so do keep that in mind.

                I think with a 506, you would be a long shot at MD schools, but you could still apply. Again, we all need more specifics by what you mean when you say, "is it worth it to apply to DO?" Because DOs are doctors, and by going to DO school, you will become a doctor so long as you don't fail out / boards. You will be able to get the residencies that you described.
                 
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                Mkif586

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                  I know you don't care about the prestige or competitive specialties but I wouldn't allow myself to go DO if I had a 3.9 GPA. Take a year to study and get that 511+. I did an SMP due to a <2.5sGPA and if I'm able to score in the 75%ile on the MCAT so can you. I'm re-applying mostly DO since they're more likely to reward reinvention but with that said every single one of my DO friends regrets not taking a year off to improve their MCAT (they all had similar GPAs to yours but low MCAT) and one even had 3 IIs--> R's at MD schools which could have probably been turned into As with an improved score. Some of us have no choice but to apply to DO, you have a choice and it's up to you to decide what to do with it.

                  That person is now struggling because their step score is limiting what specialties/regions they can apply to (they scored 25 lower than predicted - which is much worse when you're a DO). Just anecdotes but there's no rush. If you're a traditional junior now and apply during your senior year you'll be 23-24 when you start med school.
                  I am almost 26, so this is one of the reasons why I don’t want to wait for one more year. I am also not that smart as I wish I was - nothing wrong with my self esteem just straight up fact. I know that even if get into MD school I will not survive the competition for top specialties/programs. And honestly I don’t need them, I just want to treat people at the end of the day.
                   
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                  goodtime

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                    Remember that med schools are getting more competitive every year with increasing number of applicants. On the DO side, while more seats become available yearly, the number of seats that are worth applying to remains the same (established schools). Take that MCAT and apply before COMLEX becomes P/F too lol.
                    Why would comlex being P/F be bad?
                     

                    El-Rami

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                      You don't need a 512 for MD... There are state schools with 508-510 as averages. 510 is equivalent to a 30. With your GPA, it shouldn't be hard to get at least 508 on the MCAT.

                      I mean if you must take a gap year to get a 510-512, then I would advise that you take the MCAT in January 2021 and apply in May when AMCAS and AACOMAS open for the 2021-2022 application cycle.

                      Here are some pros and cons to MD vs DO school:

                      MD:
                      -MD/PhD (full tuition + stipend)...512-515 with your GPA (and I assume you probably have research too) would make you very competitive
                      -Generally schools are cheaper. Some schools have IS tuition at about $30,000 per year. Factor in scholarships and taking out less than the calculated COL, then you can very likely graduate with about $100,000-$150,000 in debt (at the cheaper schools)...closer to $200,000 at the more expensive schools.
                      -Low tuition deposit (Maybe you would spend $500-1000 on tuition deposit upon acceptance to the COM)
                      -MD is preferred over DO when it comes to residencies, especially for competitive specialties. However, primary care does not seem to care as much if you look at the data. However, I have spoken with physicians and they say that there is a slight preference for MD over DO even in family medicine. However, there are more residency positions than US medical graduates, so you will most likely match somewhere as long as you are passing your courses and do okay on USMLE (or both COMLEX and USMLE if you are a DO student).

                      DO:
                      -DO/PhD isn't fully funded because they do not get MSTP (NIH funds MSTP for MD/PhD only). If you are interested in translational research, MD/PhD would be better. That isn't to say that you cannot do that with DO/PhD, but these programs are fairly new from what I understand and MD granting schools tend to have more established research centers than DO schools.
                      -DO schools are more expensive on average. Full COA at many schools is typically in the range of $279,000-$400,000. Of course, you can get scholarships and take out less than the calculated COL if you are frugal and only borrow what you have to borrow.
                      -HIGH tuition deposits ($2000-3000 is not an atypical amount). Not all DO schools have expensive tuition deposits, however. UIWSOM has a $1000 tuition deposit, which is more in tune with what you would pay at an MD school when you get your offer.
                      -Like I said, MD can be preferred over DO. However, it is very possible to get a competitive specialty even if you go to a DO school so long as you work hard (which you would have to anyway). Just be cognizant of that. More DO students go into primary care while MD students tend to specialize. That is fact.
                      -You may have to take USMLE in addition to COMLEX, which will make board prep very expensive. Be prepared to take COMLEX Level 1, COMLEX 2 (CS and CK portions), and COMLEX 3 in addition to USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, Step 2 CS, Step 3. However, only COMLEX is required for graduation and licensure, but USMLE makes you maximally competitive.
                      -People rail against OMM, but I don't believe this should be a reason to choose MD over DO. You can choose not to use it in your practice, and in fact I believe over 90% of osteopathic physicians do not even use OMM. Just treat it as something interesting to learn, and then move on. Don't rock the boat. Don't be self-loathing.

                      As for quality of education (school-specific curricula), I would not be worried about it too much, if at all. Medical education is highly standardized since the goal of medical school is to train students to pass the boards. Period. You will rely on third-party resources throughout your preclinical education not only to prepare for boards but also to pass lecture exams and quizzes (in addition to going to class and using powerpoints, of course). Board prep is student-driven.

                      When researching schools I would put more focus on match rates (what % matched the first time, what % scrambled, what % did not find a position at all) rather than first-time board pass rates. While it is true that board pass rates can imply the quality of the curriculum, there are multiple factors that are at play here, and like I said, everything is student-driven anyway.

                      MD emphasizes the chief complaint and using the patient's symptoms (short of breath, pitting edema, clubbed nail, jaundice, etc. etc.) along with labs and imaging in order to determine a diagnosis among a list of differential diagnoses that you are coming up with as soon as you walk into the room and start communicating with the patient.

                      DO does the same as the above, however, there is a greater emphasis on lifestyle factors contributing to pathology. What is the patient's diet like? How often do they exercise? Are they smoker or nonsmoker, etc. While MDs do this as well, it tends to be less emphasized in school. They tend to focus much more on the chief complaint rather than also addressing longterm lifestyle factors that contribute to overall health. MDs are moving towards a more holistic approach, and one could argue that the difference between MD and DO training is very much negligible in the grand scheme of things considering that both allopathic and osteopathic approaches are converging. If someone says that DO is less prestigious because they teach you OMM, laugh at them and tell them that most MD schools teach alternative medicine in the fourth year as an elective.

                      In the end, you go to either an MD or DO school in order to become a physician. It is about personal preferences that you have, and ultimately neither is inferior nor superior.

                      If you want to be a primary care doctor from the outset, and you really like the holistic approach to medicine, then consider DO. I know people with 3.9+ GPA and good MCAT scores, multiple publications, etc. who ultimately chose to go to a DO school over an MD school. They still had a good outcome and were happy with their choice.

                      However, if you think you want to do a ROAD specialty and/or you are really, really interested in translational research, then consider the MD.
                       
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                      Mkif586

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                        You don't need a 512 for MD... There are state schools with 508-510 as averages. 510 is equivalent to a 30. With your GPA, it shouldn't be hard to get at least 508 on the MCAT.

                        I mean if you must take a gap year to get a 510-512, then I would advise that you take the MCAT in January 2021 and apply in May when AMCAS and AACOMAS open for the 2021-2022 application cycle.

                        Here are some pros and cons to MD vs DO school:

                        MD:
                        -MD/PhD (full tuition + stipend)...512-515 with your GPA (and I assume you probably have research too) would make you very competitive
                        -Generally schools are cheaper. Some schools have IS tuition at about $30,000 per year. Factor in scholarships and taking out less than the calculated COL, then you can very likely graduate with about $100,000-$150,000 in debt (at the cheaper schools)...closer to $200,000 at the more expensive schools.
                        -Low tuition deposit (Maybe you would spend $500-1000 on tuition deposit upon acceptance to the COM)
                        -MD is preferred over DO when it comes to residencies, especially for competitive specialties. However, primary care does not seem to care as much if you look at the data. However, I have spoken with physicians and they say that there is a slight preference for MD over DO even in family medicine. However, there are more residency positions than US medical graduates, so you will most likely match somewhere as long as you are passing your courses and do okay on USMLE (or both COMLEX and USMLE if you are a DO student).

                        DO:
                        -DO/PhD isn't fully funded because they do not get MSTP (NIH funds MSTP for MD/PhD only). If you are interested in translational research, MD/PhD would be better. That isn't to say that you cannot do that with DO/PhD, but these programs are fairly new from what I understand and MD granting schools tend to have more established research centers than DO schools.
                        -DO schools are more expensive on average. Full COA at many schools is typically in the range of $279,000-$400,000. Of course, you can get scholarships and take out less than the calculated COL if you are frugal and only borrow what you have to borrow.
                        -HIGH tuition deposits ($2000-3000 is not an atypical amount). Not all DO schools have expensive tuition deposits, however. UIWSOM has a $1000 tuition deposit, which is more in tune with what you would pay at an MD school when you get your offer.
                        -Like I said, MD can be preferred over DO. However, it is very possible to get a competitive specialty even if you go to a DO school so long as you work hard (which you would have to anyway). Just be cognizant of that. More DO students go into primary care while MD students tend to specialize. That is fact.
                        -You may have to take USMLE in addition to COMLEX, which will make board prep very expensive. Be prepared to take COMLEX Level 1, COMLEX 2 (CS and CK portions), and COMLEX 3 in addition to USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, Step 2 CS, Step 3. However, only COMLEX is required for graduation and licensure, but USMLE makes you maximally competitive.
                        -People rail against OMM, but I don't believe this should be a reason to choose MD over DO. You can choose not to use it in your practice, and in fact I believe over 90% of osteopathic physicians do not even use OMM. Just treat it as something interesting to learn, and then move on. Don't rock the boat. Don't be self-loathing.

                        As for quality of education (school-specific curricula), I would not be worried about it too much, if at all. Medical education is highly standardized since the goal of medical school is to train students to pass the boards. Period. You will rely on third-party resources throughout your preclinical education not only to prepare for boards but also to pass lecture exams and quizzes (in addition to going to class and using powerpoints, of course). Board prep is student-driven.

                        When researching schools I would put more focus on match rates (what % matched the first time, what % scrambled, what % did not find a position at all) rather than first-time board pass rates. While it is true that board pass rates can imply the quality of the curriculum, there are multiple factors that are at play here, and like I said, everything is student-driven anyway.

                        MD emphasizes the chief complaint and using the patient's symptoms (short of breath, pitting edema, clubbed nail, jaundice, etc. etc.) along with labs and imaging in order to determine a diagnosis among a list of differential diagnoses that you are coming up with as soon as you walk into the room and start communicating with the patient.

                        DO does the same as the above, however, there is a greater emphasis on lifestyle factors contributing to pathology. What is the patient's diet like? How often do they exercise? Are they smoker or nonsmoker, etc. While MDs do this as well, it tends to be less emphasized in school. They tend to focus much more on the chief complaint rather than also addressing longterm lifestyle factors that contribute to overall health. MDs are moving towards a more holistic approach, and one could argue that the difference between MD and DO training is very much negligible in the grand scheme of things considering that both allopathic and osteopathic approaches are converging. If someone says that DO is less prestigious because they teach you OMM, laugh at them and tell them that most MD schools teach alternative medicine in the fourth year as an elective.

                        In the end, you go to either an MD or DO school in order to become a physician. It is about personal preferences that you have, and ultimately neither is inferior nor superior.

                        If you want to be a primary care doctor from the outset, and you really like the holistic approach to medicine, then consider DO. I know people with 3.9+ GPA and good MCAT scores, multiple publications, etc. who ultimately chose to go to a DO school over an MD school. They still had a good outcome and were happy with their choice.

                        However, if you think you want to do a ROAD specialty and/or you are really, really interested in translational research, then consider the MD.
                        Hello. Thank you for such a detailed post! I
                        I actually don’t have any research experience and don’t plant to get one, because I am not interested in that. My GPA will probably drop to 3.8 by the time of graduation because I am taking whole bunch of hard classes this year. I am nowhere ready for the MCAT in January, I hadn’t even take biochem yet. And for personal reasons I don’t to wait for another year, it’s been too long already.
                        I actually very like the idea that DOs put a lot emphasize on lifestyle (and I suppose stress?) because I am a firm believer that most diseases today (except for traumas, cancer and inherited diseases) are caused by lifestyle and psychosomatic problems. Another reason is that I have a state DO school in a driving distance with reasonable tuition and really want to go there instead of moving away. No guarantees that I will get there of course.
                         

                        El-Rami

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                          With your GPA, frankly speaking, I doubt you will have trouble getting into that school. Just make sure that you get a decent MCAT (i.e. don't bomb the MCAT! Treat it like you are trying to get that 512 but if you end up with a 506-508 just know that that should be "good enough") and do your extra-curriculars (volunteer, get healthcare experience through scribing, shadow, etc.). If you do that, you can at the very least expect an interview invitation (II) from that local DO school, and based on some data I have seen on SDN, there is roughly a 70% chance post-interview of an acceptance offer. That will vary from school to school, but my point is that with your GPA you should be fine so long as you can interview well and have good letters of recommendation.

                          Based on MSAR data (AAMC collects data for MD admissions) your GPA and a 510 MCAT would give you approximately 60% chance of admission to at least one school in an application cycle. With a higher than 510 MCAT, your chances go up dramatically. MD is more competitive than DO in general. I'm not saying that as something against DO schools, but rather that a lot of people prefer MD over DO (whether their reasoning is good or bad, I will let you decide that). DO schools tend to have regional preferences, too, so your local school will likely give your application preference over an out-of-state applicant from a different region.

                          If you would like, I would be more than happy to discuss things further over PM, should you wish to discuss things you might not necessarily want out in the open and get my advice on it.

                          Your reason for wanting to go to the local DO school sounds pretty solid, IMO. If you don't have your mind set on a ROAD specialty and don't want to do MD/PhD, then I don't believe there is any reason to not consider DO over MD, especially if it means that you get into school quicker and move on with your life. You will make enough money as a physician that the difference in tuition between MD and DO is negligible in the grand scheme of things.

                          Make sure that you have money set aside for the tuition deposit because I have heard of DO schools wanting their deposit 30 days from the offer of acceptance. I have seen the deposits as high as $3000. Just do your research to see how much you would need and when you would need it.
                           
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                          El-Rami

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                            By the way, I just want to add a massive caveat regarding advice you are being given. I have seen some information in this thread concerning MCAT scores that isn't necessarily true, such as "506 being long shot for MD." It really depends on who you are. For the 2015-2016 application cycle, when the new MCAT was introduced, the average MCAT for matriculants (MD) was 508. For that cycle, 508 put you in a very strong position for acceptance.

                            Prior to the 2015 MCAT changes, MCAT scores for matriculants (MD) had slowly risen from 30 (~508) to 32 (~511). 2015 was an aberration due to unfamiliarity with the new exam and a relative lack of high-quality resources, so 508 was the matriculating average for that cycle. Now the average has risen back to the same percentile rank as a 32. It is somewhat misleading to say that MCAT averages have risen in the past five years due to increased competition for MD schools. Actually, the MCAT scores are basically where they have been for several years.

                            Even with a less than average MCAT (up to a certain point), you can make up for it by having a high GPA and do undergraduate research. There are people who get into MD programs with 3.5 GPAs and less-than-average MCATs. Also keep in mind that averages differ from school to school, and that there may be IS preference for some schools (although IIRC this is less common for MD than DO). For MD schools with IS preference, they will likely accept you with a lower MCAT or a lower GPA if you are from that state. I know for a fact that there are schools like this. I do believe Meharry has an average MCAT of 502-503, but I am not certain. They are an MD school that prefers URM students, so their averages are a bit different due to having a greater proportion of students from low SES backgrounds.

                            This is a long-winded way of saying take everything you read online with a grain of salt. SDN can be a good resource, but I have also seen information on this site presented as Gospel that has not been true from my own experience.

                            Also, you will get far higher than a 500 with your GPA. I have similar stats to you and was scoring 510-511 on practice tests after a month of content review and just using Kaplan books. If you have a solid knowledge base, which is implied by your GPA, then it wouldn't be that hard to get a competitive score for MD.
                             
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                            scoopdaboop

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                              1- your gpa is great, and can make up for a below average MCAT. I would say for you, a MCAT of 507 will still put you in the running for a lot of MD schools. Hurts you don't have research though. If you get a 507-509, I would apply lots of DO programs along with MD. If you get 510 +, I recommend less DO more MD.

                              2- Taking a gap year isn't the end of the world...A lot of students already take 1 gap year. It doesn't make as much sense for you with a 3.9, but it DOES make sense if you can take 3 months studying for the MCAT and kill it. If you get a 515 + you will be in a really good spot. Honestly, there is no reason why someone who studies like they should can't kill it.

                              3- being a DO is honestly a personal decision. Like you said, if you are truly ok with IM + possible subspecialty, Neuro, gas, radiology, OB, basically anything that isn't a surgical subspecialty or derm, then I don't see how it's a bad decision (if you take #4 into account below)

                              4- Take tuition into account. Don't even bother applying to places like CCOM who preys on pre-med's shiny eyes and the idea of becoming a doctor. Luckily, I attend a school whose tuition is 6th cheapest of all private MD+DO schools. A lot of top tier private MD schools tend to be expensive.. It's not just in the DO world. Lastly, I think you should try to limit tuition/living expenses to no more than ~350k. Any more than that I think you will choose specialties based on your income potential and not whether you like it. I think less than 350k you can comfortably pick any specialty and live a nice lifestyle and practice what specialty you actually want.

                              5- Don't worry about all the other random "medicare for all" crap. That's all radical left people who say things like that who also beleive in socialism. It's sad that the left's voice is now predominantly crazy people, and not middle of the road reasonable people... that's what happens when even politics gets click baity.
                               
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                              El-Rami

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                                5- Don't worry about all the other random "medicare for all" crap. That's all radical left people who say things like that who also beleive in socialism. It's sad that the left's voice is now predominantly crazy people, and not middle of the road reasonable people... that's what happens when even politics gets click baity.


                                You must be fun at parties.
                                 
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                                Mkif586

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                                  By the way, I just want to add a massive caveat regarding advice you are being given. I have seen some information in this thread concerning MCAT scores that isn't necessarily true, such as "506 being long shot for MD." It really depends on who you are. For the 2015-2016 application cycle, when the new MCAT was introduced, the average MCAT for matriculants (MD) was 508. For that cycle, 508 put you in a very strong position for acceptance.

                                  Prior to the 2015 MCAT changes, MCAT scores for matriculants (MD) had slowly risen from 30 (~508) to 32 (~511). 2015 was an aberration due to unfamiliarity with the new exam and a relative lack of high-quality resources, so 508 was the matriculating average for that cycle. Now the average has risen back to the same percentile rank as a 32. It is somewhat misleading to say that MCAT averages have risen in the past five years due to increased competition for MD schools. Actually, the MCAT scores are basically where they have been for several years.

                                  Even with a less than average MCAT (up to a certain point), you can make up for it by having a high GPA and do undergraduate research. There are people who get into MD programs with 3.5 GPAs and less-than-average MCATs. Also keep in mind that averages differ from school to school, and that there may be IS preference for some schools (although IIRC this is less common for MD than DO). For MD schools with IS preference, they will likely accept you with a lower MCAT or a lower GPA if you are from that state. I know for a fact that there are schools like this. I do believe Meharry has an average MCAT of 502-503, but I am not certain. They are an MD school that prefers URM students, so their averages are a bit different due to having a greater proportion of students from low SES backgrounds.

                                  This is a long-winded way of saying take everything you read online with a grain of salt. SDN can be a good resource, but I have also seen information on this site presented as Gospel that has not been true from my own experience.

                                  Also, you will get far higher than a 500 with your GPA. I have similar stats to you and was scoring 510-511 on practice tests after a month of content review and just using Kaplan books. If you have a solid knowledge base, which is implied by your GPA, then it wouldn't be that hard to get a competitive score for MD.
                                  Thank you!
                                  I always thought that research is overestimated in this forum though, I honestly don't see how it could hinder me from getting into MD/DO if it is not Stanford class school and personally I am not fun of being at lab sorting test tubes for PI. Also many people here gunning for Harvard and ortho/plastics specialties which, again, I am not really interested in. Too early to say that but I don't see myself as a surgeon. Many people on this forum and pre med community are young folks who have huge ambitions, nothing wrong with that but I prefer comfort over money, years of training and additional gap year.
                                  I take cost into account, again I have state DO school nearby with tuition less than 35k and my parents ready to help me a bit, so I could graduate with ~100k of debt. I don't need to hit the bank in ortho, again I value comfort over money so something in 250-350 range will be more than enough for me since I am a very thrifty person. I also don't plan to move to west or east and will be happy to live in KY/Indiana/Ohio/Penn/Mich states, where DOs usually well represented and don't have to fight for positions which I read happens in NYC or SoCal.
                                  I was even thinking of LECOM PCP 3 year track.
                                  When it comes to gap years - I am almost 25, and took 3 gap years before college. When I will be applying I will be almost 27, if I take one more year it would be 28 which means only at 32 I will graduate from med school. Initially I wanted to set up everything by 30. And one of the reasons to pursue DO is actually the fact that I would prefer to be around older folks than 22 y o kids and DO students are usually older with more life experience.
                                  May be mister @Goro could give some dad's wisdom on my reasoning?
                                   
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                                  MaxCycle42

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                                    I'm 26 applying for DO this cycle. It's never too late. It's just a matter of how you apply yourself. When you think you have the best shot of getting accepted. APPLY! Show your passion through the eyes of your patients then they won't care of your name ends with a MD or a DO.
                                     
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                                    El-Rami

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                                      Thank you!
                                      I always thought that research is overestimated in this forum though, I honestly don't see how it could hinder me from getting into MD/DO if it is not Stanford class school and personally I am not fun of being at lab sorting test tubes for PI. Also many people here gunning for Harvard and ortho/plastics specialties which, again, I am not really interested in. Too early to say that but I don't see myself as a surgeon. Many people on this forum and pre med community are young folks who have huge ambitions, nothing wrong with that but I prefer comfort over money, years of training and additional gap year.
                                      I take cost into account, again I have state DO school nearby with tuition less than 35k and my parents ready to help me a bit, so I could graduate with ~100k of debt. I don't need to hit the bank in ortho, again I value comfort over money so something in 250-350 range will be more than enough for me since I am a very thrifty person. I also don't plan to move to west or east and will be happy to live in KY/Indiana/Ohio/Penn/Mich states, where DOs usually well represented and don't have to fight for positions which I read happens in NYC or SoCal.
                                      I was even thinking of LECOM PCP 3 year track.
                                      When it comes to gap years - I am almost 25, and took 3 gap years before college. When I will be applying I will be almost 27, if I take one more year it would be 28 which means only at 32 I will graduate from med school. Initially I wanted to set up everything by 30. And one of the reasons to pursue DO is actually the fact that I would prefer to be around older folks than 22 y o kids and DO students are usually older with more life experience.
                                      May be mister @Goro could give some dad's wisdom on my reasoning?

                                      Well, it seems like you have the correct thinking, even if people here are trying to guide you into taking a gap year and apply MD.

                                      Tuition cost is a powerful reason for choosing one school over another. If you are sure that you will be highly competitive and have a really good chance of getting in, then it seems you found your answer.

                                      As for research, opinions will be more varied. I did a lot of research and am published in a respected journal. I feel like it has definitely set me apart. However, I do not believe that not having it will harm you unless you wanted to go to Harvard. Research is more of an option for people trying to make up for deficient stats or gunners.

                                      By the way, one little thing I would like to mention about primary care is this: do not take statements from classmates/people on here too seriously. People on SDN love to crap all over family medicine and internal medicine. Also be aware that when you look for salary information, you are really looking at base salary, not necessarily the full yearly income you would make as a physician. There's a myth that primary care does not pay well and is only a recourse for people who didn't do well in school. There was a physician on this site who discussed remuneration as a hospitalist. He says he makes 250k base + makes bonuses, moonlights, etc. and ends up making $400k/year when it's all said and done. I've known physicians who do side-gigs that do not take up much time and easily gets them another $20k/year on top of what they already make. And they still have good hours and plenty of time for their families.

                                      There are many options to pay off med school debt, and it is pretty ignorant to believe you won't make much as a primary care physician and will be a "debt slave" for the rest of your life.

                                      You have a pretty bright future ahead of you.
                                       
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                                      fldoctorgirl

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                                        Going to speak as a similar applicant to OP, current M3 at a DO school. I'm also going to make the point that a large part of this conversation is pointless seeing as you're still a year away from taking the MCAT, and really you have no idea what score you will get. You can get a 506-507 like you say, or you can get a 499, or you can get a 517. You really have no idea. Anyways.

                                        I applied with a 3.9 GPA and a 506 MCAT. I knew that my MCAT would likely hinder me at MD schools, but I applied to both. I only applied to ~10 DOs as I knew my chances were pretty good with my stats, so I only applied to the schools I could really see myself attending. It's been awhile, but I believe I had 6 DO interviews, I attended 5, and I was accepted to all that I attended. I received 1 MD interview from my undergrad and was waitlisted.

                                        I was younger than you, but I also didn't see the value in taking a gap year. This is a very personal decision, and one that you will really need to sit with yourself to make. It's hard to say with certainty what specialty you will be interested in as a pre-med, and most people change their minds multiple times over the course of med school. That being said, lifestyle is a big thing for me: I want to be a wife and a mom and see my family etc. That's my #1 priority, and so I knew surgical specialities wouldn't really be my thing (not to say that you can't be a wife/mom and be a kick-ass surgeon, because I know many of them, but it just personally wasn't the life I envisioned for myself, hence me saying you really need to examine yourself and what you want from life when making this decision). I also had shadowed a derm for several months as an undergrad, and it reallllly bored me, so I knew I wasn't interested in that. To me, taking the extra year to retake the MCAT just wasn't worth it because I knew what I wanted: more than likely primary care.

                                        Now, 3 years later, how do I feel about this choice? Good. However, I do not think I would have been as comfortable attending a DO school if Step 1 was P/F, so this will make your decision a lot different. You may not know much about the intricacies of this decision, but basically Step 1 was a way for DO applicants to level themselves and have a score comparable with MD applicants. It's a way to overcome the "DO hurdle", if you will. I entered M1 with the mindset that I was going to crush Step 1 so that I could leave as many doors open as possible and have my choice in selecting a residency program that would allow me to go back home near my family (again, my #1 priority). It worked: I got a 250+ on Step 1 and so today I can say I have no regrets with my decision. Yes, it's annoying having to have learned OMM. Yes, it's sometimes frustrating thinking that an MD with a 230 Step 1 may end up with similar caliber residency interviews as me, whereas an MD with a 250+ will be getting interviews at Harvard etc (I'm planning on applying IM). However, for me and my life goals, none of that really matters. In retrospect, I completely didn't know how to study for the MCAT and I honestly barely studied when I compare to how I studied for Step 1. I'm confident that had I studied similarly, I would have crushed the MCAT. So my advice to you is to learn how to use something called Anki-- it's a flashcard program that a lot of med students use, but I believe people have also started using it for MCAT prep. And do tons and tons of practice questions.


                                        So, TLDR: as a current M3, I don't regret my decision to become a DO at all. However, with Step 1 being P/F, I would seriously take a hard look at what your goals and priorities are. Instead of worrying about what your score will be 1+ year from now, focus on doing your best starting now, and try to keep as many doors open as possible. This is a highly personal decision, and there is no blanket right answer that applies to everyone. At the end of the day, you will never know what would have happened had you taken another road. For example, had I gone to MD school, maybe I wouldn't have felt as motivated to crush Step 1 and would've had a lower score. Maybe I still would've ended up at the exact same residency program. Maybe, maybe, maybe. When the time comes, pick a path and commit to it, and don't spend too much time worrying about what could've been.
                                         
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                                        Goro

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                                          Thank you!
                                          I always thought that research is overestimated in this forum though, I honestly don't see how it could hinder me from getting into MD/DO if it is not Stanford class school and personally I am not fun of being at lab sorting test tubes for PI. Also many people here gunning for Harvard and ortho/plastics specialties which, again, I am not really interested in. Too early to say that but I don't see myself as a surgeon. Many people on this forum and pre med community are young folks who have huge ambitions, nothing wrong with that but I prefer comfort over money, years of training and additional gap year.
                                          I take cost into account, again I have state DO school nearby with tuition less than 35k and my parents ready to help me a bit, so I could graduate with ~100k of debt. I don't need to hit the bank in ortho, again I value comfort over money so something in 250-350 range will be more than enough for me since I am a very thrifty person. I also don't plan to move to west or east and will be happy to live in KY/Indiana/Ohio/Penn/Mich states, where DOs usually well represented and don't have to fight for positions which I read happens in NYC or SoCal.
                                          I was even thinking of LECOM PCP 3 year track.
                                          When it comes to gap years - I am almost 25, and took 3 gap years before college. When I will be applying I will be almost 27, if I take one more year it would be 28 which means only at 32 I will graduate from med school. Initially I wanted to set up everything by 30. And one of the reasons to pursue DO is actually the fact that I would prefer to be around older folks than 22 y o kids and DO students are usually older with more life experience.
                                          May be mister @Goro could give some dad's wisdom on my reasoning?
                                          Can't sugar coat this, OK, you've gotten a lot of advice in this thread, some great and and some of it starry-eyed pre-med single metric focused.

                                          Let's go back to your original question: Is it worth applying DO?

                                          Answer? Yes, for the same reason you have car insurance. An MD accept is NOT guaranteed, even for someone with median MD acceptee stats.

                                          Your own logic is very sound.
                                           
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                                          drducky.

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                                            You don't need a 512 for MD... There are state schools with 508-510 as averages. 510 is equivalent to a 30. With your GPA, it shouldn't be hard to get at least 508 on the MCAT.

                                            I mean if you must take a gap year to get a 510-512, then I would advise that you take the MCAT in January 2021 and apply in May when AMCAS and AACOMAS open for the 2021-2022 application cycle.

                                            Here are some pros and cons to MD vs DO school:

                                            MD:
                                            -MD/PhD (full tuition + stipend)...512-515 with your GPA (and I assume you probably have research too) would make you very competitive
                                            -Generally schools are cheaper. Some schools have IS tuition at about $30,000 per year. Factor in scholarships and taking out less than the calculated COL, then you can very likely graduate with about $100,000-$150,000 in debt (at the cheaper schools)...closer to $200,000 at the more expensive schools.
                                            -Low tuition deposit (Maybe you would spend $500-1000 on tuition deposit upon acceptance to the COM)
                                            -MD is preferred over DO when it comes to residencies, especially for competitive specialties. However, primary care does not seem to care as much if you look at the data. However, I have spoken with physicians and they say that there is a slight preference for MD over DO even in family medicine. However, there are more residency positions than US medical graduates, so you will most likely match somewhere as long as you are passing your courses and do okay on USMLE (or both COMLEX and USMLE if you are a DO student).

                                            DO:
                                            -DO/PhD isn't fully funded because they do not get MSTP (NIH funds MSTP for MD/PhD only). If you are interested in translational research, MD/PhD would be better. That isn't to say that you cannot do that with DO/PhD, but these programs are fairly new from what I understand and MD granting schools tend to have more established research centers than DO schools.
                                            -DO schools are more expensive on average. Full COA at many schools is typically in the range of $279,000-$400,000. Of course, you can get scholarships and take out less than the calculated COL if you are frugal and only borrow what you have to borrow.
                                            -HIGH tuition deposits ($2000-3000 is not an atypical amount). Not all DO schools have expensive tuition deposits, however. UIWSOM has a $1000 tuition deposit, which is more in tune with what you would pay at an MD school when you get your offer.
                                            -Like I said, MD can be preferred over DO. However, it is very possible to get a competitive specialty even if you go to a DO school so long as you work hard (which you would have to anyway). Just be cognizant of that. More DO students go into primary care while MD students tend to specialize. That is fact.
                                            -You may have to take USMLE in addition to COMLEX, which will make board prep very expensive. Be prepared to take COMLEX Level 1, COMLEX 2 (CS and CK portions), and COMLEX 3 in addition to USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, Step 2 CS, Step 3. However, only COMLEX is required for graduation and licensure, but USMLE makes you maximally competitive.
                                            -People rail against OMM, but I don't believe this should be a reason to choose MD over DO. You can choose not to use it in your practice, and in fact I believe over 90% of osteopathic physicians do not even use OMM. Just treat it as something interesting to learn, and then move on. Don't rock the boat. Don't be self-loathing.

                                            As for quality of education (school-specific curricula), I would not be worried about it too much, if at all. Medical education is highly standardized since the goal of medical school is to train students to pass the boards. Period. You will rely on third-party resources throughout your preclinical education not only to prepare for boards but also to pass lecture exams and quizzes (in addition to going to class and using powerpoints, of course). Board prep is student-driven.

                                            When researching schools I would put more focus on match rates (what % matched the first time, what % scrambled, what % did not find a position at all) rather than first-time board pass rates. While it is true that board pass rates can imply the quality of the curriculum, there are multiple factors that are at play here, and like I said, everything is student-driven anyway.

                                            MD emphasizes the chief complaint and using the patient's symptoms (short of breath, pitting edema, clubbed nail, jaundice, etc. etc.) along with labs and imaging in order to determine a diagnosis among a list of differential diagnoses that you are coming up with as soon as you walk into the room and start communicating with the patient.

                                            DO does the same as the above, however, there is a greater emphasis on lifestyle factors contributing to pathology. What is the patient's diet like? How often do they exercise? Are they smoker or nonsmoker, etc. While MDs do this as well, it tends to be less emphasized in school. They tend to focus much more on the chief complaint rather than also addressing longterm lifestyle factors that contribute to overall health. MDs are moving towards a more holistic approach, and one could argue that the difference between MD and DO training is very much negligible in the grand scheme of things considering that both allopathic and osteopathic approaches are converging. If someone says that DO is less prestigious because they teach you OMM, laugh at them and tell them that most MD schools teach alternative medicine in the fourth year as an elective.

                                            In the end, you go to either an MD or DO school in order to become a physician. It is about personal preferences that you have, and ultimately neither is inferior nor superior.

                                            If you want to be a primary care doctor from the outset, and you really like the holistic approach to medicine, then consider DO. I know people with 3.9+ GPA and good MCAT scores, multiple publications, etc. who ultimately chose to go to a DO school over an MD school. They still had a good outcome and were happy with their choice.

                                            However, if you think you want to do a ROAD specialty and/or you are really, really interested in translational research, then consider the MD.
                                            If youre a premed applying DO, please dont tell your interviewers what you wrote here, especially the part about DOs focusing on a pt’s diet more than MDs lol
                                             
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                                            Mkif586

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                                              Can't sugar coat this, OK, you've gotten a lot of advice in this thread, some great and and some of it starry-eyed pre-med single metric focused.

                                              Let's go back to your original question: Is it worth applying DO?

                                              Answer? Yes, for the same reason you have car insurance. An MD accept is NOT guaranteed, even for someone with median MD acceptee stats.

                                              Your own logic is very sound.
                                              Thank you!
                                               

                                              Angus Avagadro

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                                                Let's not over think this. Step 1, get into med school. I know a student with a 3.7 chem major from a local pre med mill. They were an athelete, lettered in college 3 yrs. Could not score above 500 MCAT, and didnt meet admission requirements after completing our Post Bac. Focus on getting accepted first. If no admission, see Step 1. Thinking beyond that is moot. As @gonnif says, 60% of applicants get rejected. Consider yourself a rejection until the admission letter is received. I'm not trying to be negative, but focus on getting admitted and don't expend energy on things that dont contribute to that. Good luck and best wishes!
                                                 
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                                                Mkif586

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                                                  Let's not over think this. Step 1, get into med school. I know a student with a 3.7 chem major from a local pre med mill. They were an athelete, lettered in college 3 yrs. Could not score above 500 MCAT, and didnt meet admission requirements after completing our Post Bac. Focus on getting accepted first. If no admission, see Step 1. Thinking beyond that is moot. As @gonnif says, 60% of applicants get rejected. Consider yourself a rejection until the admission letter is received. I'm not trying to be negative, but focus on getting admitted and don't expend energy on things that dont contribute to that. Good luck and best wishes!
                                                  Thank you!
                                                   

                                                  gonnif

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                                                    Let's not over think this. Step 1, get into med school. I know a student with a 3.7 chem major from a local pre med mill. They were an athelete, lettered in college 3 yrs. Could not score above 500 MCAT, and didnt meet admission requirements after completing our Post Bac. Focus on getting accepted first. If no admission, see Step 1. Thinking beyond that is moot. As @gonnif says, 60% of applicants get rejected. Consider yourself a rejection until the admission letter is received. I'm not trying to be negative, but focus on getting admitted and don't expend energy on things that dont contribute to that. Good luck and best wishes!
                                                    1) Just to clarify, the data says 60% get rejected and therefore I say to every student from the moment you submit AMCAS assume you will be a reapplicant and therefore, continue to enhance your record.
                                                    2) I would also add another 20% of applicants get a single acceptance applying on average to 15 schools.
                                                    3) I would also say that do not for a moment assume you will be an automatic acceptance to a DO school. If you are 3.9 and a 510 MCAT, you may be beyond their typical matriculant (ie they assume you will get into MD school).
                                                    4) Lastly, a 3.9 and a 510 is a solid candidate for MD. This paranoia of you have to have a 512 is ridiculous
                                                     
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                                                    goodtime

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                                                      1) Just to clarify, the data says 60% get rejected and therefore I say to every student from the moment you submit AMCAS assume you will be a reapplicant and therefore, continue to enhance your record.
                                                      2) I would also add another 20% of applicants get a single acceptance applying on average to 15 schools.
                                                      3) I would also say that do not for a moment assume you will be an automatic acceptance to a DO school. If you are 3.9 and a 510 MCAT, you may be beyond their typical matriculant (ie they assume you will get into MD school).
                                                      4) Lastly, a 3.9 and a 510 is a solid candidate for MD. This paranoia of you have to have a 512 is ridiculous
                                                      You'd only be considered a "reapplicant" to the ones you apply right?
                                                       
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                                                        1) Just to clarify, the data says 60% get rejected and therefore I say to every student from the moment you submit AMCAS assume you will be a reapplicant and therefore, continue to enhance your record.

                                                        It just depends. If you have a 4.0 GPA and 520 MCAT, years of research and multiple publications, hundreds of volunteer hours, etc. etc., you are more or less a shoo-in at many schools so long as you interview well.

                                                        It is important to not look at general stats but rather more specific stats in the MSAR. Someone with the stats I mentioned would have well over an 80% chance of admission to an MD program. The people that have those stats, ECs, etc. and don't get in are ones that have issues with their interview.

                                                        Not all applicants are equally likely to get into med school, which is sort of implied with the "40% get in, 60% don't" statistic.

                                                        People say the OP could potentially get a low MCAT, and while that is true (anything is possible), I would say this is less likely given that (s)he has such a high GPA. High GPA = greater foundation of knowledge. Greater foundation of knowledge = easier to get a higher score. Unless the OP has some severe testing anxiety (which is likely not the case because of the high GPA) and/or doesn't put in adequate time to prepare for the test, a 510 score is extremely reasonable.
                                                         

                                                        Goro

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                                                          It just depends. If you have a 4.0 GPA and 520 MCAT, years of research and multiple publications, hundreds of volunteer hours, etc. etc., you are more or less a shoo-in at many schools so long as you interview well.
                                                          I think the stats are that at least 10-15% of these folks get no accepts. No applicant is God's gift to Medicine.

                                                          High GPA could also mean grade inflation, and never discount the effect of test taking anxiety. 4.0 automatons are actually a dime a dozen. The median MCAT score for all takers is ~500. The OP's 4.0 GPA guarantees nothing, and I mean nothing.
                                                           
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                                                          Mkif586

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                                                            If you are 3.9 and a 510 MCAT, you may be beyond their typical matriculant (ie they assume you will get into MD school).
                                                            @Goro
                                                            Does it actually happen that DO schools screw relatively strong applicants out of the fear that they might be attending elsewhere (MD)? How to limit such possibility? I read all your posts regarding DOs - I plan to visit my local DO school for more info, plan to see OMT in action (unlike many folks I don't believe that this is a pseudoscience because I know people who were improved by this), will get DO LOR and read as much as possible. And though I am almost a year from applying I am not over optimistic about being accepted to MD and DO as well. But really hope to get into DO though.
                                                             
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                                                            Angus Avagadro

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                                                              @Goro is spot on. At my DO school, I have seen high GPAs and mediocre MCAT, like 3.8 and 501. Its uncommon but not rare. Note my example above. As far as yield protection, passing on a high stat applicant for fear they will go elsewhere, I am unaware any DO schools do this. My friend was number 1 on our class, could have gone anywhere but went DO by choice. I dont think a high stat candidate needs to worry, just articulate their reasoning in the personal statement and interview.
                                                               
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                                                              Goro

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                                                                @Goro
                                                                Does it actually happen that DO schools screw relatively strong applicants out of the fear that they might be attending elsewhere (MD)? How to limit such possibility? I read all your posts regarding DOs - I plan to visit my local DO school for more info, plan to see OMT in action (unlike many folks I don't believe that this is a pseudoscience because I know people who were improved by this), will get DO LOR and read as much as possible. And though I am almost a year from applying I am not over optimistic about being accepted to MD and DO as well. But really hope to get into DO though.
                                                                NOT at my school! We're now seeing candidates from the Ivies. If we reject Stanford/Harvard class candidates, it's because they had lousy interviews.
                                                                 
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                                                                drkoffee87

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                                                                  Anecdotal but I know two individuals who were accepted with <505 (and interviewed VERY late in the cycle). Both ORM (One low SES and one high SES, 4.0 SMP GPA and 3.2 undergrad GPA, respectively). Obviously these are rare circumstances and a higher MCAT will always give OP a leg up especially if their state schools are not as generous. Neither had any research experience nor did my other friend who is now MS1. If you look at state school matriculants on MSAR 75-90% have research and the AAMC even lists it as the least important EC but everyone does it as a "checklist item" so that's why it's so common.

                                                                  El-Rami brings up a lot of good points and as someone who is pursuing mainly DO due to my stats, I don't buy into the "it doesn't matter where you go because you will become a DOCTOR at the end of the day" mentality. There a maybe a few DO schools where I would rather pursue a different career than attend. Even though I'm interested in less competitive specialties, I want to have the option/ease of pursuing EM/Rads (which are DO friendly if you apply broadly) and at some DO schools my friends attend, the administration constantly makes up bull**** mandatory lectures or forces students to take certain prep courses which hinders their ability to study effectively for the board exams. They nicknamed this "operation primary care" because their school wants everyone to become a FM doctor.

                                                                  Of course, there are schools like PCOM, DMU, KCU where you'll see amazing board scores, clinical rotations, etc. That's just one thing to keep in mind. We're around the same age so I understand where you're coming from. None of my classmates from my SMP who took 2 cycles to get into an MD school regretted not applying to DO the first time around. There is always the possibility that even with a 510+ that you don't secure an MD spot, but you'll never know unless you try. If I were you I would take the time to do well on the MCAT or at the very least only apply to "top" DO schools alongside MD.
                                                                  Making my D.O school list now.. What schools do you recommend?
                                                                   

                                                                  Osminog

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                                                                    Choosing to attend a DO school means you close some doors for yourself and take on extra burdens, e.g., OMM and extra board exam(s). However, it also means you get to save time and money; each year of delayed matriculation comes with the opportunity cost of a year of income from the end your career as a physician. To navigate this trade-off, you need to reflect on your own priorities and goals. Nobody on SDN can tell you with certainty what the right decision is for you.

                                                                    When making this decision, I wouldn’t focus too much on what specialties you’re interested in. Half of entering medical students with a preferred specialty change their minds by the time they apply for residency. On top of that, you must remember that even in relatively uncompetitive specialties, there is variation in the quality of training among residency programs; there are quite a few IM programs at major academic centers, for instance, that would never (or very seldom) consider taking a DO.

                                                                    Side note: I would strongly advise you to ignore a majority of what El-Rami said above. DOs have zero reason to take USMLE Step 3, DOs don’t emphasize patients’ lifestyle factors more than MDs do, “ROAD specialty” is an outdated term (anesthesiology and diagnostic radiology are no longer very competitive and are in reach for most decent DO students), DOs aren’t more “holistic”... I’m going to stop there to keep the length of this post reasonable. What I’m getting at is that this guy’s advice is a compilation of misconceptions and distortions, and it shouldn’t be taken seriously.
                                                                     
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                                                                    harrislakers123

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                                                                      Sick of these threads! Every year they decline in number but still pop up.

                                                                      1. Step 1 pass/fail means Step 2 CK will be the focus.

                                                                      2. There are 30-50 former AOA derm and Ortho programs that are ACGME now. Additionally there are many competitive specialties and programs that take DOs, and new ones emerge every year. You can match at competitive specialties and programs. It is just hard, as it is for everyone. 50% of DOs go into specialties

                                                                      3. Use common sense, Of course your school name and ranking will help but you can still match wherever if you put the work in. It happens every year at smaller MD and DO schools.
                                                                      If you go to Harvard it will be easier to get research and networking opportunities vs. Touro Nevada obviously. Going to a “lower ranked” school hurts more because you typically lack good access to research, networking and LORs. If you are able to get your app to look the same when application time comes 99% of programs will not care if you are a MD or DO or what school you went to.

                                                                      You often hear about places “never taking DOs” and most often it is not true, a rumor, gossip, or something that is circumstantial that can be explained by other factors. Rarely in the modern era is there 1950 style DO discrimination (yes indeed it exists at certain programs, but those programs you want to avoid in the first place and they typically will also be biased against smaller state or low ranked MD schools).
                                                                      My experience is based off of 4 years of national leadership and hundreds of cases across the nation.
                                                                       
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                                                                      VeggieMed

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                                                                        Choosing to attend a DO school means you close some doors for yourself and take on extra burdens, e.g., OMM and extra board exam(s). However, it also means you get to save time and money; each year of delayed matriculation comes with the opportunity cost of a year of income from the end your career as a physician. To navigate this trade-off, you need to reflect on your own priorities and goals. Nobody on SDN can tell you with certainty what the right decision is for you.

                                                                        When making this decision, I wouldn’t focus too much on what specialties you’re interested in. Half of entering medical students with a preferred specialty change their minds by the time they apply for residency. On top of that, you must remember that even in relatively uncompetitive specialties, there is variation in the quality of training among residency programs; there are quite a few IM programs at major academic centers, for instance, that would never (or very seldom) consider taking a DO.

                                                                        Side note: I would strongly advise you to ignore a majority of what El-Rami said above. DOs have zero reason to take USMLE Step 3, DOs don’t emphasize patients’ lifestyle factors more than MDs do, “ROAD specialty” is an outdated term (anesthesiology and diagnostic radiology are no longer very competitive and are in reach for most decent DO students), DOs aren’t more “holistic”... I’m going to stop there to keep the length of this post reasonable. What I’m getting at is that this guy’s advice is a compilation of misconceptions and distortions, and it shouldn’t be taken seriously.
                                                                        OMM is a nice burden to have. An extra ~$100k per year in revenue to play around with.
                                                                         

                                                                        VeggieMed

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                                                                          No one is making an extra 100k doing OMM on top of their current salary as a FM doctor or other specialty. Maybe this is what you're telling yourself to justify your decision for going DO? Correct me If I'm misinterpreting what you're saying

                                                                          As someone who is mainly applying DO, I realize that I will be spending an additional $100k-150k on tuition compared to my state school MD counterparts. The OMM doctor I shadowed made ~$140k working 2 half days a week and teaching (which is chill af since he saw ~12 patients a week and recycled the same powerpoints year after year) But he told me this is because he was faculty and jobs like this are rare. Like 95% of DO students if an MD school offered me a seat you bet your ass I'd move to whatever city in a heartbeat. You always hear about DO schools losing ~5 students who get off MD waitlists in the first week but never the other way around. At my friend's school, they lost 15 in one year. At the end of the day MD = DO with some hurdles/limitations but it's still a pathway to an amazing career that puts you at the top 3% in education and earnings.
                                                                          Ok 100k may be a stretch but it appears that there are a few scenarios where someone can achieve a substantially higher income than a PCP who is not performing OMM. I don't know too much about how insurance and billing works so these scenarios reflect cash-based practices.

                                                                          Take for example a DPC practice that offers basic primary care services to members for around $50/mo. OMM is often an "extra" service where members can get it at a discounted rate (~$250/hr) compared to non-members. Most patients get 30 minute appointments. So to net an extra $100k this provider would need to perform 400 hrs of OMM in a year. And this is even assuming that everyone who got OMM was a member of the practice. I don't see this as unreasonable.

                                                                          A fee-for-service practice will charge slightly more than the DPC prices from my experience. Closer to $350/hr for OMM based on those who I shadowed. Obviously, now you have to take into account the price difference between a standard primary care checkup and an appt for OMM. Assuming the average PCP works 2500 hours per year and makes $250k, the hourly rate would be $100. So a difference of about $250/hr. To turn that into $100k, the provider would also only need to do about 400 hrs of OMM each year.

                                                                          At the end of the day, patients love OMM. During my shadowing, I even saw an MD walk into the clinic requesting OMM to help with chronic shoulder pain. If it makes patients feel better while reducing the need for pain meds then it seems like a win/win scenario for me.
                                                                           

                                                                          Osminog

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                                                                            OMM is a nice burden to have. An extra ~$100k per year in revenue to play around with.

                                                                            You could also make lots of extra revenue from selling homeopathic products or injecting vitamins into middle-aged housewives trying to relive their trophy wife days. You don't need to waste time learning osteopathy to deceive people and unethically profit off of their gullibility and desperation.
                                                                             
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                                                                            VeggieMed

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                                                                              You could also make lots of extra revenue from selling homeopathic products or injecting vitamins into middle-aged housewives trying to relive their trophy wife days. You don't need to waste time learning osteopathy to deceive people and unethically profit off of their gullibility and desperation.
                                                                              I wouldn't say that this is necessarily unethical as long you are open with the patient about the evidence or lack thereof behind the treatment. If a patient comes in and has tried every "conventional" treatment in the book and wants to try a homeopathic remedy (given it doesn't produce any harmful side effects), would you really encourage them not to?
                                                                              There is evidence showing that OMM is beneficial for back pain which 80% of people will suffer from during at least one point in their life. Additionally, with your logic physical therapists and massage therapists are also acting unethically by charging for their services. Please correct me if I am wrong on that. These modalities help those suffering from chronic pain immensely and attempting to negate the power of touch is borderline insane. What is the best way to treat chronic pain in your eyes? Opioids? Telling patients it's just all in their head?
                                                                               
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                                                                              Dr.Meowz

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                                                                                I wouldn't say that this is necessarily unethical as long you are open with the patient about the evidence or lack thereof behind the treatment. If a patient comes in and has tried every "conventional" treatment in the book and wants to try a homeopathic remedy (given it doesn't produce any harmful side effects), would you really encourage them not to?
                                                                                There is evidence showing that OMM is beneficial for back pain which 80% of people will suffer from during at least one point in their life. Additionally, with your logic physical therapists and massage therapists are also acting unethically by charging for their services. Please correct me if I am wrong on that. These modalities help those suffering from chronic pain immensely and attempting to negate the power of touch is borderline insane. What is the best way to treat chronic pain in your eyes? Opioids? Telling patients it's just all in their head?

                                                                                And how many of those 80%'s backpain goes away on its own?
                                                                                I'd say difficult to quantify.
                                                                                I've certainly had backpains that lasted 6 months then poof and disappear. Had I went to a chiropractic, PT, or DO (OMM) during that time, I might have mistakingly attributed my disappearing backpain to their intervention.

                                                                                But if you want massages, get a random kid to punch around your back (Like my dad made me do, though he never gave me 140K per year to do it).
                                                                                 
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