Should I go for the expensive MD school or the cheaper DO school?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by podocs, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. podocs

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    I’ve been accepted to an expensive public MD school as a OOS and could see myself well over $300,000 in debt coming out of medical school. I’ve also been accepted to a DO school that’s closer to home and roughly $85,000 cheaper. I’m torn deciding between the two schools. I do believe the MD degree will open more doors in the future and make specializing a bit easier. However, I don’t want to close the door on primary care fields by attending such an expensive school. As of now I’m unsure which medical field I would want to enter and was hoping to make that decision in medical school. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
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  3. ar2388

    ar2388 rads resident

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    i would vote MD. all i can say is that I know myself and personally iw ould not be happy with a DO degree when i know i could have gotten an MD.. yes, more debt, but where would you be happier? would you be able to completely accept that you got a DO instead of MD?
     
  4. taponthecloud

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    so.. 85k cheaper is $215,000 for DO. You seriously think there's a big difference here? Don't be penny wise, pound foolish.
     
  5. ROFL, 85k IS a big difference! LOL, to say it isn't is completely ridiculous.
    If you don't care about the initials behind your name, I would go DO. You could always take MD boards as a DO and apply to the same programs
     
  6. Lokhtar

    Lokhtar Dreaming about the lions

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    If you have to ask the question, go MD.
     
  7. TehDoc

    TehDoc What a pain...

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    Must resist ...
     
  8. WinterLights

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    Is this a serious question? By all means, give up your MD acceptance so that someone else can have it.
     
  9. podocs

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    No, please, I would like to hear your advice so I could make a more informed decision. I’m currently sitting on the fence on this. Opinions from residents or newer generation of docs would be helpful as well.
     
  10. taponthecloud

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    You're lacking foresight and thinking too small. 85k is nothing in the long run. Either way, loans will be taken out. A few more years in repayment will be an afterthought when you're making good money. But more importantly 85k should not dissuade someone from turning down an MD program if that's his/her true preference.
     
  11. Period, end of thread. Mods, lock 'er down.

    OP: If you, like so many of us, have nothing against DOs but are applying primarily to MD schools, then pay the one-time "fee" and get your MD.
     
  12. TehDoc

    TehDoc What a pain...

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    Bottom line is if you aren't going to be happy/interested at a DO school, go MD and make the 4 years easy on yourself. 85k is a big difference but i'm sure many other people has paid the price to be an oos student as well.
     
  13. Rikkye

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    I had to make the same decision. Although in my case, both school were equally expensive with the DO closer. To be honest, you can always pay off your debt but you can't change your degree. Once debt free as a DO, you will probably think about the "what ifs", and I don't think you should spend your life thinking about your other possible life as a MD. So if you waver, just do for the MD.

    By the way, what MD school is this? The most expensive that I can think at the top of my head is Georgetown at 64K per year.
     
  14. Revilla

    Revilla New Member

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    I'm just curious, are you a traditional college student or a non-traditional?

    OP, I think you'll get a different opinion from non-traditionals who have experience with debt. No matter what anyone says, 85K is a lot of money and the less debt you have after school, the better off you'll be. If the DO after your name isn't suitable for you, then go MD, but if you really couldn't care less, then reduce your debt. You'll be much happier when you graduate.
     
  15. Brown8472

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    You mentioned something about primary care. If this is where you are leaning, then I would suggest the less expensive route as long as you know you will be 1) happy 2) will be able to reach the goal that you set up at the beginning of this process. Remember, this is all about you and nobody else!:thumbup:
     
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  17. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon

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    The OP has no idea what they will end up doing. Future specialty plans are tenuous at best.

    I agree with almost everyone else, a savings of 85k is not enough to turn down MD and if you are asking the question you need to go MD.
     
  18. wanttogohome

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    Just to throw my 2 cents into the mix...

    1) ask this question on the pre-osteo board as well. Of course, you know what response you'll get here (and there- but at least you'll get different perspectives).

    2) I haven't been a member on sdn too long, but I already feel like i'm the DO defender around here. Why not look at each school separately based on the things that actually matter (location, tuition, etc..). These MD/DO debates get so tiresome after a while. If you are indeed interested in PC, I personally think this is a no brainer. Let's be serious, PC isn't the most lucrative route and that debt may actually make a difference for you. I actually didn't post to do any DO/MD comparison, I just think people should put the guard down and chill with the vanity. Be happy you're going to be a doctor and go where you can find a balance between practicality and where you feel comfortable.

    I think it would be really interesting to see how many pre-allo students would fall in love with many osteo. schools if they were blinded by the school type or if allopathic medicine enveloped them at some point...
     
    strawberry824 likes this.
  19. Jesus DO

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    Hi podocs,

    Are there any other MD schools that you have been accepted to and are cheaper? There are also some really good private allopathic programs out there too. $85,000 is a lot of money, but if what you really want is to go to an allopathic program - then by all means go to the allopathic program.


    Take a carefully at the osteopathic program if you haven't done so already:

    1 What is the facilities like? New or old?
    2 What are the students like? Nice people or gunners?
    3 What are 3rd and 4th years like?
    Do they have a mix of teaching hospital rotations and community
    hospital rotations? Or is it just sending you to some 1,000 bed hospital and letting you do nothing as a 3rd year? Or are they sending you to 150 bed community hospitals and you never have didactics or no morning lectures and they make you do unreasonable things that 3rd year medical students cannot be expected to perform?
    4 Does this osteopathic program have its own teaching hospital associated health clinics? Like a clinic for family medicine, a clinic for geriatrics? etc. Some osteopathic program have large teaching hospitals - some don't.
    5 What do the patients going to these clinics say.
    6 What is their match list for residency like? Is it wide spread and diverse?
    7 Do you think you will be happy having to deal with the OMM aspect of osteopathic medicine on top of the basic first and 2nd year aspects of education?
    8 Do you see yourself taking both the COMLEX and USMLE, or just the COMLEX?
    9 Research? My school doesn't have a lot of research labs. So if your into p53 and RB tumor supressor genes, then maybe you should go to the allopathic program.

    Best of wishes!:luck::luck::luck:
     
  20. wanttogohome

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    again, not at all trying to start something that's been hashed out ad nauseum elsewhere, but...if you are asking this question, shouldn't you be evaluating why you want to go into medicine.

    Am I lucky, foolish, or naive for not understanding the fear of DO's on the pre-allo board???

    OP: what about this osteo school don't you like? Let's keep this practical....if this osteo school was 85 K cheaper and allo would you go??? honestly?
     
  21. Lokhtar

    Lokhtar Dreaming about the lions

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    It's simple. The fact that you have to ask the question means you are not sure if you think the DO is worth it for you. It doesn't matter what anyone thinks. If you think you will regret going DO, don't go DO. You will be a physician either way, but you want to be happy with yourself. Some don't care what letters are after your name, but truthfully, some do. 85k in the long run is not a make or break type sum, so just pick based on other factors. The fact that you are asking the question means that if it weren't for the 85k, you'd go MD. So go MD.

    And I'm probably going to end up DO. But if I thought differently and I thought I would have a problem with the DO degree, I'd spend a year doing a SMP and getting a MD. I wouldn't risk a lifetime of unhappiness. You have to be sure. DO doesn't deserve to be someone's embarrassing choice, and you don't deserve to be embarrassed by your degree.
     
    #19 Lokhtar, Jun 21, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2008
  22. ripsta

    ripsta dog zero.

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  23. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon

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    Not at all. It's a serious question with serious implications for future training. Many have said it before but apparently it bears repeating. It is a tricky business to pick a medical school based on the fact that you "know" you want to do Primary Care.

    The trickiness enters in when you hit M3 and decide that despite you previous assurance that you wanted to do rural FM you rall in love with Urology, Ophtho, or hell even Anesthesia. Have you begun to take steps to bring these fields into your realistic chances?

    The sad fact (and it is a fact, not an opinion or an agenda) is that many, many residencies in competitive fields are de factor (or de jure!) closed to DOs. The typical responses that there are DO residencies in every field is true, but outside of the Candyland that is SDN these are often not considered equivalent options in terms of training.
     
  24. Lokhtar

    Lokhtar Dreaming about the lions

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    This is an important point. There are many big time community programs in fields like Ortho that are as good as any community ortho MD program, for example. But you won't find the type of academic programs in the DO world that you will in MD. You just won't. It's definitely something to keep in mind. Now if you want to do private practice somewhere, it matters less, but if you want to do academic medicine, which many do, it will definitely matter quite a bit. It goes for things like neurosurgery, dermatology, etc, as well.
     
  25. Strength&Speed

    Strength&Speed Need more speed......

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    No contest. MD
     
  26. seizethedee

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    I think you need to take money out of this decision- like others have said, in the long run, what is 85k more when you're already going to be in debt by thousands? you need to consider which type of physician you want to be- where you think your ideals and philosophies fit in best. DO's are in no way inferior to MD's, they are just different. And those differences provide people with more options and in turn, better health care. So just do some more research on those differences, and choose accordingly.
     
  27. Revilla

    Revilla New Member

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    At $1000.00 a month, it's 85 months more, without counting interest.
     
  28. Lokhtar

    Lokhtar Dreaming about the lions

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    Again, its a small price to pay long term for being comfortable with your degree.

    Money should be not be the main factor in this decision.
     
  29. Revilla

    Revilla New Member

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    I guess that depends on your goals. For me, when I get out of medical school, I want to be in as little debt as possible because it's more important to me to build a house and a family. That takes money. I don't want to have to worry about how I'm going to pay for my car insurance and my mortgage while juggling outrageous loans for the next 20 years. Again, it depends on your goals.

    I have a feeling those who've already managed debt at some point in their lives will have a different perspective on just how much money 85K is in loans (at 9% interest over 11 years, 85K is actually more than $134,000. That's a year's salary if you go into primary care. Just FYI).

    But again, if you won't be happy with a DO degree, then you should go ahead and do MD. Only go with DO if you truly would be happy in the long run.
     
    #27 Revilla, Jun 21, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2008
  30. JaggerPlate

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    -I had something offensive written, but changed my mind. Amory, you don't need to categorize all DO residencies together. Just like MD, there are some good and some bad. You really haven't rotated at any of these sites, and probably base your opinions on the same 'candyland' knowledge we all feed on via SDN. You stated earlier that you didn't want this to turn into a flame war, but comments like this seem otherwise. Unless you want this thread to spiral down and become locked, keep your opinions directed towards the issue.
     
    #28 JaggerPlate, Jun 21, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2008
  31. TehDoc

    TehDoc What a pain...

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    More DO spots for me and those who are really interested.
     
  32. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I've actually met quite a few DOs in gas, so osteos have made decent inroads into that field, but agree the other things you mentioned may be significantly harder at the current time.
    But yeah, i think the real point is that you (OP) won't really know what you are going to want to go into until you have had broader exposure, so it benefits you to take the path that keeps the most doors open to you until you get to that point. Most med students change their mind about specialty at least once during this process. So yeah a primary care gig may sound great now, but when you fall in love with some harder to get specialty, you might end up kicking yourself that you didn't set yourself up better to land it.
     
  33. FatherOblivion

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    I have a serious question on the whole MD/DO topic, but I want to preface it by saying that the last thing I'm trying to do is offend anyone or in any way diminish people's decisions. What I want to know is why it is that osteopathic medicine constantly gets talked about like it's just another route to the same place. If that's all it is then the entire thing seems like kind of a joke to me. There were supposed to be fundamental differences that separate the practice of osteopathic medicine from allopathic, the primary one being a major emphasis on manipulative medicine. I just think it's really messed up that these discussions on here virtually always completely ignore the difference between the two. If DO is just another path into the field if you're not putting up the numbers than I guess that's just how it is, but it feels really phony to me for schools to profess fundamental differences in philosophy and then graduate a class composed predominantly of people who never really bought into it in the first place. Before all the DOs start ragging on me, I genuinely believe that DOs make fine physicians and I am in no way trying to disrespect osteopathic medicine. I just don't like the fact that people ignore any actual differences when having these discussions.

    To the OP, I think as part of this decision making process you should ask yourself whether manipulative medicine is something you're interested in or even buy into. I went to a presentation put on by a PCOM administrator and it seemed like a pretty big part of the patient care philosophy. If you're into it I say great, but I wouldn't just dismiss the two as the same exact thing.
     
  34. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon

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    You are wrong to suggest I did did this and wrong to suggest that my post is somehow off topic. Here's what I wrote.

    "but outside of the Candyland that is SDN these are often not considered equivalent options in terms of training."

    Lokhtar pointed out that there are good DO training programs in all fields but then, very appropriately I might add, went on to say that there are not the big academic names you get at MD residencies. If you decide to do academics or want to break into a tight job market these things matter. If you decide you want to participate in alot of advanced, truly tertiary care during residency these things matter.

    There need be no pathetic "flame war" on this topic unless you choose to start it. If you read my post carefully you'll notice that I said nothing about the value of an MD vs. DO degree. It is a simple fact that MDs have easier access to the best residency training programs in most specialties. Is that fair? No. Is it reality? Yes. The OP is trying to decide between two schools and acting as if consideration of career options is not relavent to the task at hand is inappropriate.
     
  35. Lokhtar

    Lokhtar Dreaming about the lions

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    Agreed. A survey taken by osteopathic seniors said that 43% of them think MD world has better training overall in the residency department. And that's D.O. students. That doesn't mean there aren't fantastic DO programs - there is NS program in Ohio thats rated higher than a lot of NS programs. The best D.O. programs match up quite well with the best M.D. community programs in all fields.

    But you won't find the academic residencies in the D.O. world, and while many D.O's go onto allopathic academic residenies in IM, Anes, and now EM and a couple others, you're going to have a harder time than the allopathic residents. Not impossible, but harder. That's just a fact. This is coming from a person who is probably going to go D.O., by the way, so I am not knocking the four year education you get at those places. But D.O. schools aren't usually associated with big time academic programs, and so their programs cannot replicate the type of research and the variety of cases that are unique to academia.

    Now, plenty of allopathic students do community programs, and for many physicians, doing an academic program is not needed. But at this point, you really have very little idea on what your future goal will be. What if you decide that research is right for you? You're going to put yourself at a disadvantage (again, not impossible as many do it, but why put yourself at that disadvantage)? Keep your options open, and don't let money be the deciding factor.
     
  36. JaggerPlate

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    Trust me, I saw the 'often' strategically placed in the center of your sentence and still felt a great deal of generalization. One word doesn't alter an entire tone (despite how much you might want it to).

    I never argued with the fact that MD programs are primarily associated with big academic names and DO programs generally are not, but I did argue with the fact that you equate this with a lesser quality on that basis alone. As long as you can accept the statement that 'there are good DO training programs in all fields' and not automatically assume they are all of the same, lesser, quality - then we have no argument. You should also remember that many people have no interest in academics and feel that the experience gained in a more community based institution is sufficient training. I do appreciate your concern for our future ability to break into a tight job market. Very altruistic of you :rolleyes:.


    My post was blunt and civil. There was no intent to start a 'flame war,' and I would expect, with your adverse attitude towards bickering, your comments to be the same.



    Sometimes reading carefully also entails reading between the lines ...



    There is nothing wrong with trying to select the path of least resistance, nor is there anything wrong with using this as the basis of your argument for choosing a school. I do take issue with the complete dismissal of osteopathic residency programs (especially with no first hand experience), and we have already covered these issues.
     
  37. JaggerPlate

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    43% > 57% ?????
     
  38. Lokhtar

    Lokhtar Dreaming about the lions

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    If you don't think that an extremely significant amount of students, you are kidding yourself.
     
  39. MedStudentWanna

    Banned

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    Yeah, but you're only going because you couldn't get into an allopathic program so we should probably take what you say with a grain of salt.
     
  40. podocs

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    Thanks everyone for the posts. To be honest, I was set on going the DO route before the MD acceptance landed in my lap. I don’t care as much about the degree behind my name (at least right now as a student I don’t) like some folks here in the pre-allo forums do. But unfortunately we live in a rather shallow society that affords more prestige and opportunities to MDs. I’ve seen this discrimination firsthand in the medical center I work at.

     
  41. chinamazing

    chinamazing Kung Fu Manchu Master

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  42. Lokhtar

    Lokhtar Dreaming about the lions

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    You can look the facts I quoted up, if you don't believe the sources.
     
  43. MedStudentWanna

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    Oh I couldn't care less about the facts since that wasn't my point. My point is that you post these posts and then add the disclaimer that you're going to DO school, etc. as if you're some objective soul or something when you're clearly not. You're as biased as everyone else here.

    The facts are the facts, but seeing as how these were SENIORS in osteopathic school, it's fair to say that their opinions aren't exactly as informed as those who've, I don't know, actually done an osteopathic residency? It doesn't matter because as I said, that's not the point. The point is, you're "and I'm going to DO school" statements were trying to imply that people should listen to you because you're not trying to bash DOs when in fact, you have more motive than anyone to bash DOs since you couldn't get into an MD program and you're not exactly thrilled about DO school.
     
  44. Excellent post. Totally agree.
     
  45. Lokhtar

    Lokhtar Dreaming about the lions

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    If I didn't want to go to a DO school, I'd do a SMP and then go to a MD school. But really, that's not the point. The reason I am not exactly thrilled about DO schools is only because of the residency issues. That's the only objection I have against DO, and you're right, I'm worried about it. Especially as they are increasing their enrollment across the board, opening up new schools, including a for-profit institution, and not doing anything about increasing the residencies in a porportional manner, especially in the specialties. MD schools are increasing their enrollment too, while not increasing the residencies and the crunch is going to be felt for everyone. And considering the huge numbers of osteopathic students who go on to MD residencies, the squeeze is going to be felt for them and the FMG's first. So it doesn't make sense to not take advantage of every advantage you have, if you have any choice about it. Now, if DO's opened up a lot more specialty residencies, much of this would go away. But 3-4 new schools are in the planning stage and everyone seems to be increasing their enrollment - that doesn't worry you?
     
  46. bcat85

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    Absolutely M.D.
     
  47. OddNath

    OddNath Senior Member

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    This may be state-dependent, but it may be possible to buy a condo or something near the MD school, become a resident, and then qualify for in-state tuition for years 2-4. In which case you'd only be paying the extra tuition for 1 year.
     
  48. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon

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    Ludicrous post. The bolded statements are (in order) an unsupportable assertion, complete nonsense, and then a false accusation.

    I'll not be interacting with anymore on this particular thread, especially not when there are serious issues to discuss which the OP has raised.
     
  49. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon

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    Not as informed as those who have done a residency but far more informed than college students applying to osteopathic schools.
     
  50. JaggerPlate

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    Good. Your pompous attitude and thinly veiled bigotry both surprise and annoy me.
     
  51. dog0

    dog0 dough go.

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  52. taponthecloud

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    Being traditional or non-traditional is irrelevant. I never said 85k is not a lot of money. I said 300k vs. 215k is essentially the same in the long run. Either way, one will have to take out a lot of loans. If you're gonna do something, it's worth doing it right and getting the results you truly want- for medical school, this is even more true since you only have one chance to get it right.
     

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