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TheBoneDoctah

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To give some background I applied this cycle and am beyond thankful to have received 7 DO acceptances out of the 10 DO schools I applied to but recently I have started entertaining the idea of re-applying MD. The main reason for this is that I am worried that by going to a DO school, I will be limiting my residency options down the line. I am a non-traditional applicant who has worked in the medical field for years and am fairly certain I would not be happy in primary care and would much prefer to go into some surgical subspecialty (be it ortho, GS, anesthesia, ENT, etc.). Another consideration of mine is that I am married and my spouse's career (which she loves and hopes to keep) is limited to a dozen or so major cities most of which are located on the coasts. While being apart for med school is a sacrifice we have discussed, I would really like to obtain a residency in a city where she can keep her career in.

When I started the application process back in June, I had yet to take my MCAT due to COVID delays. Recognizing that my GPA was weaker than most MD averages, I originally planned on only applying to DO school with the exception of my state schools UW and WSU (WA resident), however once I received my MCAT score in early August I rushed my application out to 18 other MD schools (mainly low yield/low tier WedgeDawg). I have since been rejected from 11 (including my state schools) and have yet to receive an interview so needless to say I don't believe I will.

So in the end my question is, should I take one of my DO acceptances or given my goals is re-applying MD a reasonable risk to consider taking? If I am being ridiculous and need some sense talked into me feel free to do so. Really appreciate all the help provided by all the experts on here, it has guided me through the process. Without SDN I would have been lost!!

My stats are:

WA ORM (27 years old)
cGPA 3.45, sGPA 3.3 (V shaped trend: 3.6, 2.9, 3.6, 3.6)
MCAT: 517
Scribe: 3000 hours
Clinical Research Coordinator: 4000 hours
Non-Clinical Volunteer: 500 hours (was 10 when applying, biggest weakness of application IMO)
Unique Non-Medical work experience: 4000 hours
Other Work Experience: 2000 hours
If you are going to try for MD, you will likely need a year post-bac to have a good shot next year. As you know, your app is good/ready for DO.

Your worries with DO:

You can get into most specialties as a DO, although the surgical specialties like orthopedics, ENT, and neurosurgery will be limited to smaller, community programs that were previously AOA programs (all programs now are ACGME accredited). Very few DOs match into these programs at academic centers.

Anesthesia, radiology, EM, general surgery are all DO-friendly and match a good number of students into good academic programs. It is tougher as a DO to match into higher caliber programs, but if you are a rockstar it's doable.

Your chances of doing a residency in the same place as your spouse really depends on which specialty you are pursuing. For example, if you want to do a non-competitive specialty in a big city (more desired location), it will be much easier for you to do than if you wanted to do ortho/ENT/NSG in San Diego.

Now is it worth passing up the DO acceptance to reapply? Like I said above, it kinda depends on what you wanna do with your life. Pre-med students rarely go into the specialty that they started medical school wanting. I do think you will need a year of GPA repair to have a good shot at MD. If this is something you are willing to do, then maybe reapply.

If it was ME, I would take the DO acceptance to the best, most established, cheapest DO school and get going knowing that if you are seeking residency in something competitive that you will need to be stellar. There are other posts on SDN from students showing their stats and CVs for these competitive specialites. Look into em.
 

TheBoneDoctah

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Do you think I need a full year of GPA repair or if I started taking classes now and took half a year's worth of classes it would help enough? To provide context I graduated 5 years ago but took the MCAT recently - was hoping that would show schools improvement but I guess I was wrong.

Also WSU is GPA and MCAT blind during review so I suspect there was more than GPA that kept me from getting an interview. Do you agree with my assessment that it was likely a lack of volunteer experience?

Thanks for all the help!! I really appreciate it!!
You said you had 3000 hours as a scribe (clinical experience) and 4000 hours of research experience. That will check both those boxes. You say you had 500 hours of non-clinical volunteer... doing what? And yeah, applying with 10 hours would be a killer for sure.

We usually suggest doing a full year of post-bac courses.
 

Goro

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I'm going to be blunt: your is not the trajectory of someone who will walk into the uber-residencies with an MD. Just because the doors aren't automatically shut, doesn't mean you can waltz through them.

But if it's still an issue, dump the DO accepts now, and let someone who wants to be a doctor now achieve thier dream.
 

TheBoneDoctah

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Definitely not expecting to waltz into the residencies that interest me. I know that no matter what it will be hard work and will require commitment. I am a different person now that 8 years ago when I struggled through my sophomore year of undergrad and am prepared to meet the challenges. I long considered doing a post bacc to prove it but needed to keep working to support myself.

My biggest concern is that by attending a DO school then some doors will be automatically closed to me no matter how hard I work. If that wasn't the case I would attend a DO school in a heartbeat.

One of my 7 DO acceptances was deferred to the school's matriculating class of 2022 rather than 2021 due to a mistake on their part (kind of a red flag about that school). That is part of what led me to consider reapplying in the first place because worst case scenario I could go there.

And volunteer hours have been split between working at my local food bank and for a suicide hotline. Once again I truly do appreciate the perspectives and help!! I'm leaning towards just going to the cheapest/best DO school I got into.
You are right in that SOME doors close for you basically when you accept to go to the DO school. These doors mostly being academic programs, in general, for competitive specialties (ortho, NSG, ENT). As a DO, you would match into community programs for these specialties. Once you start medical school, you worry less about prestige and more about getting into what you want. The "crappiest" ortho program in the nation is still accredited by ACGME and graduates 2-5 orthopedic surgeons a year.

If you want EM, rads, IM, GS, anesthesia, you can match into good/great programs and should aim to, but your app needs to be better than the MD counterpart on average.

Even if you went to an MD school though, if your boards are subpar, you can kiss these competitive specialties goodbye. Not sure if I would waste another 1-2 years to have the chance of POSSIBLY being in a position 4th year of medical school after getting through courses, boards, research, LOR, etc.
 
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TheBoneDoctah

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That last point definitely resonates with me. I needed to hear that because that thought has definitely crossed my mind!! Like I said I will most likely end up going DO. It's hard focusing on what you have achieved instead of getting caught up in what could have been - I need to keep that in mind.

One last question: I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on pursuing research at a DO school. The school I will most likely end up attending is admittedly weaker in regards to research (leaning towards it for a variety of other reasons) though clinical research is something I am definitely interested in pursuing. How would I approach getting on a project, finding a research mentor, and hopefully pursuing several questions of my own?
Since most DO schools don’t have an affiliation with a hospital or easy research access, ways you can participate in research as a DO student:

1. Get in contact with residents at nearby residency programs and ask them if they have and need help on research. Lots of times residents will need some work done that can be done by a medical student. Good way to not only get your name on a paper, but show face and get to know residents.

2. Email attendings at academic centers. I always looked up the attending on PubMed to see if they had any pubs in the past few years to see if they were actively publishing.

3. Cadaveric research at your school. If your school has cadavers, you can always ask your anatomy faculty if they have any projects that you can help on or you can start your own.
 

MusicDOc124

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I vote DO in your case after reading all the above.

Guaranteed versus a possibility. You dont know how classes or boards will go which may defeat the whole purpose of going MD in the end anyway.

FYI @TheBoneDoctah is a DO and is ortho.

What schools have you been accepted to, and which one was the mistake and for 2022? Maybe that can also help us help you better - meaning that if these are all brand new DO schools with no academic hospital affiliate, etc, then maybe other things can be considered, but if you have programs like PCOM, Rowan, MSU, etc on that list which have their own hospital systems and/or research and/or a history of producing great doctors, then it's a non issue completely.
 

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I am a non-traditional applicant who has worked in the medical field for years and am fairly certain I would not be happy in primary care and would much prefer to go into some surgical subspecialty (be it ortho, GS, anesthesia, ENT, etc.). Another consideration of mine is that I am married and my spouse's career (which she loves and hopes to keep) is limited to a dozen or so major cities most of which are located on the coasts.
It will depend one where you've been accepted, if those cities are acceptable for your spouse.

You also need to consider the fact that clinical rotations MAY or MAY NOT be in that same city. many DO schools do not have enough clinical rotation spots in the respected city their school is in. so plan accordingly regarding where you may do rotations.

the nice thing about most MD schools is that there is an affiliated teaching hospital. which means you are guaranteed at least 4-5 years there along with your spouse.
One last question: I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on pursuing research at a DO school. The school I will most likely end up attending is admittedly weaker in regards to research (leaning towards it for a variety of other reasons) though clinical research is something I am definitely interested in pursuing. How would I approach getting on a project, finding a research mentor, and hopefully pursuing several questions of my own?

Go to the website NIHreporter and you will see that most DO schools do not have research funding either in the way of clinical or basic. which means you will have limited resources and opportunities. the way you bypass this is honestly going to a DO school where you will be in proximity to research centers via MD schools or other institutions in the city. again this will depend not only on if the DO school has these (because if they are in the middle of now where or too far, you aren't going to be commuting to do research at the other places) but also on your 3rd and 4th year location. Y

Again as an MD student, these resources are all available right there at your university medical center.

Personally, I am going to offer a different opinion than my respected colleagues here and say because of the requirements from your spouses job to be in a big city, that you may portend better to reapplying to MD school. I have had many close friends reapply and get their MD acceptance, so as long as your application is strong enough.
 
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