LooKing4Ward

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My stats: 2.5 cum/2.2 science GPA BS in Biology 2000. Worked in IT since. Want to do science and into medicine.

I'm a long no shot at MD.

Been reading about DO lately. I'm starting to like it. They average Masters and take the most recent repeat classes--better fit for me. And I'm not getting that sinking/end of the world feeling/in the pits of my stomach anymore--I may have a chance in medicine and to help people. Unless, as I find out more, I'm a long shot in DO also.

I'm retraining/rethinking, DO is not a "backup", it's a another path to a similar end. And they do say DO is no different, just that they practice the whole body more and getting into specialties might be difficult.

1. I need to contact and shadow a DO.
2. Read more about Residency for DO. I heard its tough to enter specialties, like derm or plastic surgery, which I'm interested in, even for MDs, but it's doable? How doable? They say you have to take the COMLEX and USMLE and do very well. Is it doable then, or are you still SOL?
3. Find a post-bac/Masters geared/linkage towards DO. Anybody know of
one?
4. Read more about research in DO. Is DO research pausible? I read that they don't have a MSTP yet. Not that I think I could get in, as I realize MD MSTP itself is crazy on stats, and would think DO MSTP would be the same but in the DO world.

Any thoughts advice keywords is greatly appreciated that can trigger me to look into it more. Thanks!
 

jonb12997

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I don't want to discourage you... but your GPA is pretty low. You might have a story about it (like you partied your whole freshman year and got a bunch of F's and then brought your grades up from there), who knows. but I'd STRONGLY consider doing something to bring your GPA up...
 

group_theory

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Welcome. Good luck on the long road to becoming a physician.

First issue - your undergraduate GPA. Your science GPA is more than 1 whole point lower than the average entering science GPA for most DO schools. Your overall GPA is no better (slightly less than 1 whole point). There are schools that will not send you a secondary application if your science GPA is less than 2.75. And remember, you're competing against the pack, not just yourself (just barely making the cutoff won't save you).

*the mean overall GPA for the entering class of 2003 was 3.45 according to 2004 Annual Report on Osteopathic Medical Education.

So you have to work on your undergraduate GPA by taking postbac classes. Masters program won't do since graduate GPA are kept seperate from undergraduate GPAs (and if you don't make the cutoff, the admission person won't even get a chance to see the other aspects of your applications). Many DO schools do have Master-geared (or graduate level) programs for people interested in medicine, but as mentioned above, you need to take undergraduate classes to raise your stats.


Second issue - contacting DOs and shadowing - starting early and getting to know more about DOs is always good. Having the DO write you a good LOR because he/she knows you well is a good plus. Starting early will help since it is hard to find DOs willing to let pre-meds shadow.

Third issue - Plastics or Derm as a DO. Doable (as in there are DOs who are plastics or derm) but EXTREMELY HARD. It is extremely competitive as an MD from a LCME school, but from an AOA school, it is a lot harder (you're like an outsider trying to join an exclusive club). There are DO programs in plastics, but the numbers are very limited.

Fourth issue - MSTP. As of today, there are no NIH-funded MSTP programs for DO schools. There are DO schools that offer DO-PhD (whether the schools fund it or they charge you tuition depends on the school). There is a push for more basic science research in DO schools but right now, still lagging significantly behind most LCME schools. Is research possible? Yes - I would say that most DO schools offer some sort of basic science research opportunity.


Another option is overseas - but then your chances of plastics/derm is gone, no research opportunity (at least significant research), and depending on the schools, you might not be able to practice in certain states. Foreign schools definately require doing some research before deciding which to attend.

Good luck - hate to be harsh but the overall goal is to someday turn you into an excellent physician. The first step is to see the hurdle - the next is to tackle them. Best of luck.
 
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TAI786

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Who knows? Maybe you're an excellent candidate otherwise. But unless you get your GPA over the 3-point mark I doubt they're going to send you secondary apps
 

Sundarban1

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Excellant advise, however I want to comment about this statement:

group_theory said:
Masters program won't do since graduate GPA are kept seperate from undergraduate GPAs...
I've been told, as the OP mentioned, that yes, while your graduate GPA is listed seperate on both allopathic and osteopathic applications, that osteopathic schools actually DO factor your graduate GPA into your undergraduate GPA, unlike allopathic schools.

I've heard this many times from applicants to DO schools and I want to put a nail in this coffen of confusion for everyone. Maybe others can also confirm this.
 

group_theory

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Sundarban1 said:
I've been told, as the OP mentioned, that yes, while your graduate GPA is listed seperate on both allopathic and osteopathic applications, that osteopathic schools actually DO factor your graduate GPA into your undergraduate GPA, unlike allopathic schools.

I've heard this many times from applicants to DO schools and I want to put a nail in this coffen of confusion for everyone. Maybe others can also confirm this.
You may be right. It has been quite a while since I last filled out AACOMAS (the DO application) so my memory may be off or things may have changed.

As I recall, the report the school gets is your application profile, which breaks everything down into GPA by year

From AACOMAS's website, I got this

After all application information is processed, the AACOMAS computer system constructs an Applicant Profile, which serves as one of the central elements in the consideration of your application materials at the medical schools. This Profile includes the following items:

Colleges You Designated (Applicant copy only)
Name and Social Security Number
Sex and Date of Birth
Preferred Mailing Address
Permanent and/or Legal Residence (County/State)
Citizenship and (if applicable) Visa Type (blank if U.S.)
Disadvantaged Response
Self-Description
Year of Most Recent Application to a D.O. Institution (Year of Most Recent Application to this College is individual college specified)
Misdemeanor or Felony Conviction
Family Member a D.O. or M.D.
Advisor Release Statement
How you first learned of osteopathic medicine
Degree, Date, Major, and Institution
GPA and Hours by Year (Academic Status)
Course Record GPA and Hours by Subject
Deficiencies in required course hours based on the specific requirements of each college
Hours less than a grade of 2.0 or C
Date to take or retake the MCAT
Number of times the MCAT was taken
MCAT scores (up to three sets)
Quality Points: Science, Non Science, and Total
Date Applicant Profile was printed


Now whether the admission committee will lump everything into one big GPA - I honestly don't know. However, postbac classes are ideal to replace some horrible undergraduate grades (and thus affecting the undergrad science GPA). Masters will just be average with the horrible undergraduage GPA (if they do average masters with undergraduate).
 

Nate

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Derm, like any specialty, is doable. Not only will you have a shot at some of the MD programs but we also have our own residencies. My mentor is a DO Dermatologist so there is your anecdotal evidence.

Your GPA will need to come up, DO programs might be slightly less competitive than MD programs but you have a chance. The difference is MD programs may see some F's on your transcript and trash it while DO programs may look deeper and see your over-all picture. You should make a list of classes you got less than a B in and retake as many as you can to boost your GPA over 3.0 for starters (as will be seen by AACOMAS, you already understand their policy). You should then take the MCAT and shoot to score as high as possible, ideally 28+ but if you score 26+ you are still in the game. Good luck and don't take too long with all of this, you can have it done in a year, even if you work.
 

LooKing4Ward

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thanks for the inputs. i'll have to dig deeper regarding grades. i thought besides averaging, they also take the most recent grades, but that's just from reading it somewhere on a forum. on aacom, i can't seem to locate how they handle various post-bac/masters grades. they list stats and general requirements.
 

size_tens

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If your commitment to medicine is really that strong then don't forget to consider foreign schools. While going to a school in the Caribbean is a pretty drastic move, it would give you a chance to earn that medical degree.
 
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