Medical Should I re-apply for MD or take DO acceptance?

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I am currently in my 3rd gap year and going through my first admissions cycle. Due to personal reasons, I was only able to (unexpectedly) apply very late this cycle. Even so, I had a few interviews and am currently sitting on a waitlist to an allopathic school. I also have an acceptance to an osteopathic school. With my stats and situation, I am not sure if it would be best for me to stick to DO or to reapply MD.

I am a caucasian male in NY.

MCAT: Took once, 513 (129/126/129/129)
Both cGPA and sGPA in the 3.80s

Research experience:
-Over 1000 hours in 2 different labs. Resulted in a publication and a few poster presentations.

Shadowing experience:
-Over 200 hours spread over IM, EM, pulmonology and critical care

Clinical volunteering:
-Over 500 hours volunteering at clinic

Non-clinical volunteering:
-Over 500 hours at a soup kitchen.

Other ECs:
-Executive board member of a club for 4 years, working my way up.
- Various other on-campus activities.

Paid clinical experience:
-Have been working full time as an office manager. Currently have a few thousand hours here.
- Over 600 hours as technician.

On the one hand, I feel confident about my chances on getting in if I apply early next cycle. However, this is not a certainty. On the other hand, the idea of another gap year is very unattractive to me.

I also have a few reservations about DO schools. The match results this year look fairly strong. However, with step 1 becoming p/f, I am uncertain if this trend will continue.

I am wondering if I would I have a fair chance at a considerably competitive residency going to DO school this year or would it be far more advantageous to reapply to MD, all else being equal.

Thank you for your help!

You have the stats to get into MD, however it's not a guarantee and every year there are people with your stats, some even higher, who don't get in. So the risk is there. This would lead be a 4th gap year for re-application, + the potential for yet another.

This years match was very strong despite everyone thinking the merger would make things worse. It did the opposite. P/F will affect DOs no differently than it would the weaker and newer MD schools. Only step 1 is P/F. Step 2 is still scored. Emphasis will be on other areas, such as clinical grades, LoRs, aways when we return to normal, and/or score emphasis would be on Step 2. Overall barely any change. IMO.

Getting into something more competitive is easier as an MD. That goes without saying. But it will not be more difficult as a DO due to Step 1 P/F. If anything it may equal the playing field a little more as maybe more DOs will take Step 1 not being worried about a score, thus as above may just shift to Step 2.

By taking another gap year, you're giving up on 1 year of terminal attending income assuming you want to retire at a given age rather than after a certain amount of time working. Or if your goal is to reach a certain amount savings between whatever accounts you choose, you're giving up a year of income toward reaching that goal.

You are in a tough spot for the decision. You may kick yourself with either decision. On one hand you go DO and you kick yourself for not going MD with a good application. On the other hand you attempt MD and don't get in, effectively putting you 2 years behind where you would have been. The DO school to which you're accepted may not respond well to seeing your app again after extending an offer.

Some people may also say "you made your bed, so lie in it" as in you applied late, which is on you for not being ready earlier or not waiting until the following cycle to apply early, as well as you chose to apply DO and attend interviews resulting in the acceptance.

My opinion with all of that said is DO. You have the acceptance in hand now. It is a guarantee. You cannot fault yourself for that by any means. You will be a doctor - a physician. And you will likely get to specialize in what you want. I have DO friends in ACGME derm (not former AOA), ortho (mix of former and not former), neurosurgery (primarily former), optho (always been ACGME programs), etc.

Keep in mind that even if you want something competitive, MD does not guarantee that either. It just makes it easier. I have an MD friend who grad from harvard with 250+ Step 1/2 and research, etc.. the whole 9 yards. Didn't match derm on 1st try. SOAPed into a transition year/prelim year and reapplied and got it (serving to show that there wasn't some hang up on their app, but that it's just competitive for everyone) - yet I have a DO friend who matched out of school to an ACGME program.

Good luck with making your own decision on the matter.


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Beggars can't be choosy. Take the accept or dump it now and let someone who really wants to be a doctor now have your seat and achieve their dreams.

I'd rather see you be an MD, since that is more important to you, then be a self-hating DO who makes life miserable for my DO colleagues in their lab courses


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I can promise you D.O. is not all doom and gloom (yet). I matched orthopedic surgery this year from a D.O. school and most of the students from my school who applied ortho also got in (two into ACGME programs, also a number of others matched ACGME derm, rads, anesthesia, surgery, etc). If you go M.D., the reason it is "easier" to match into competitive specialties is because of research connections, networking, and the M.D. brand. As a D.O., you have to actively seek out these opportunities yourself which takes effort. For example, I had to go get my own research because we obviously don't have our own in-house ortho research. I applied to residency with 5 publications and 15+ posters, talks, etc. It can be done, but you just have to bust your a**. Also, this isn't saying that if you went M.D. you wouldn't have to do the same, but bigger M.D. places have this stuff set up for them already so it's a little easier to get. So... if you are worried that you won't be able to get into a competitive specialty, I wouldn't make this decision based SOLELY on that.

I also agree that Step 1 going to P/F will hurt both low-tier MD and DO applicants. The Step 1 exam was the great equalizer where students from DO and lower MD schools could "prove themselves" which is no longer an option. Yes, Step 2 may step up and become what Step 1 was, but Step 2 is taken at a time when you are trying to wrap up research, get letters of rec, and figure out your auditions, adding to more stress and less time to focus solely on the exam. Also, what if you work towards a competitive specialty, and then bomb Step 2? Now you are deep into your medical school career and your plans have changed.

With that, the overall rule of thumb is (most of the time) go MD if you have the shot over DO. Caribbean should be your very last choice. I think you absolutely have the stats to get into an M.D. school, but acceptance is NEVER expected or guaranteed. Students with 4.0s and MCATs higher than yours get rejected all the time.

You need to weigh the risk you want to take. Do you want to risk waiting another year and 250k+ salary to MAYBE get into an MD school and then still do the same specialty that you would have gotten a year earlier as a DO? This would basically double your negative net worth (student debt + loss of at least a year of attending earnings).

Do you go DO this year and bust your tail and do everything in your power to get to where you want to be?

After going through the process, I would take the DO acceptance and run with it. To me, it isn't worth ANOTHER year especially after you have already taken three. Go DO and move on with your life. You will soon learn that once you are in medical school, it really doesn't matter if you are DO or MD as long as you get to do what you want specialty-wise and most of the reasons people get into competitive specialty is because of the individual student, NOT the medical school they went to.
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