I am an MS III now, having been in LDP at LECOM. I have to speak to the benefits of being in LDP. First off, it really depends upon what learning style you think is best for you. I could not imagine myself doing either of the two other pathways because I don't learn well in those environments day in and day out. And as has been stated before, there are benefits and drawbacks to each of the pathways.
For LDP, you know you're getting a truly complete education that will give you what you need to know for boards and more. The biggest benefit for LDP is that you are being lectured by both PhD's and DO/MD's once you hit the systems based curriculum. I cannot stress how important this is. Specialists for each of the systems (renal, cardio, pulmonary, etc.) come in and discuss important topics in their field and are able to give you their perspective as it's practiced. Internists and FPs also come in to discuss certain topics from their perspective. For example, a dermatologist comes in and will show you slides of his patients, tell you how they presented, what the treatment was, and the outcome. This does not occur in either of the other two pathways. PBL has the majority of their physicians coming in to lecture/moderate beginning the second year, but most are PCPs. ISP doesn't have any real interaction with physicians except for the clinical medicine course (CODA).
For some reason it always comes up that PBL is better trained for clinical years than LDP or ISP-not true. Their curriculum is more clinically-oriented yes, but you will still gain those clinical-thinking skills in the other two pathways. Do I wish LDP and ISP were more clinically-oriented?...of course, but I felt extremely well prepared going into clinical rotations, trying to figure out differentials and treatments. All three pathways go through a clinical skills course, just at different times and in different ways. We all do the same basic procedures and learn the same information. What matters on clinical rotations is how hard you work, how willing you are to work/show interest, and knowing your MSI/II material to apply it to patient care in the hospital/office. All three pathways are prepared to be excellent students in their clinical years.
Negative points about LDP...the longer hours and less board study time, and yes, having to deal with the rules of the school each and every day.
I actually wish the school would get rid of the pathway systems because an ideal education includes all three styles. I did well coming from LDP, and thought it was the best way for me to learn the material and apply it to patient care. For someone else, it's a totally different story.
And as for board scores...some of the top scores I heard from our class were LDP students. All three pathways had students that failed the boards. You can't correlate the pathway to board scores. Board scores always come down to how much an individual student can prepare him/herself once given all the information. All the information needed for board prep is given by the school, regardless of pathway. It's up to the student to excel as much as he/she can on their boards.
If you have any questions, you can PM me, and I'd be happy to tell you anything else about LDP or LECOM.