What should I do?


  • Total voters
    11
Sep 20, 2013
81
30
The Final Frontier
Status
Pre-Medical
The deadline is fast approaching and I need to make a decision. When I started, I was very interested in podiatry, but after speaking with several MDs, DOs, and DPMs, I am starting to second guess myself.
I have a 3.88 cGPA, 3.95 sGPA, research, many hours of shadowing , +850 volunteer hours including two medical missions to Africa, I am a Medical Laboratory Scientist certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathology with 2000+ clinical hours, I have good LORs, and I teach an undergraduate course at the university I graduated from. I am in my late 20's with a family, I have NO MCAT score(scheduled for Jan 2014), and I am finishing up my physics courses. I had a 3.3 my first year and then two semesters of W's due to contractual obligations with my work. I have attended 5 different schools and have 4.0 at 3 of them, including the university that actually granted my degree.

Podiatry:
Pros
- Seems like an excellent career that allows a great mix of clinical and surgical procedures. I can enter podiatry school in the Fall of 2014(I feel like I am getting older and the earlier time is really attractive to me). Podiatrists treat people from all age groups and do some pretty awesome procedures. The foot is actually pretty sweet.
Cons- There is current residency shortage that may or may not be a problem in 4 years. No flexibility(you go to podiatry school, you can't switch when you decide you want fix hips instead of feet). There is a lot of disparity in the profession(I haven't personally seen this, but the DPMs I have shadowed tell me its true).

Osteopathic Medical School:
Pros
- Gives you the opportunity to experience different specialties before choosing a path. I know at least a dozen nontraditional students in DO schools, I know 1 in MD. More desirable locations for my family(strange but true). They will look at my application as a whole.
Cons- No guarantee that you will match into the specialty you want. The majority of DOs match into primary care(this may be not be a con for you or me, I haven't decided yet). Very expensive compared to the other two options.

Allopathic Medical School:
Pros-
Gives you the opportunity to experience different specialties before choosing a path. I have a cheap in-state school. The best opportunity to pursue a competitive specialty.
Cons- I would need to retake two of the classes that I took online. No guarantee that I will match into the specialty I want. I am going to have to kill the MCAT. I have heard that the MDs schools will be more critical of my W's. It will take longer than the other 2 options.

I have honestly enjoyed every healthcare experience I have ever had. It all seems so awesome. I am more interested in being good at what I do, than what initials are behind my name. They all appear to be great options, but I would really like to hear from those in my situation or those that were. Feel free to share any advice. If you don't want to write a giant post just use the poll. Thanks.
 
Last edited:

ulikedaggers

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Jul 3, 2013
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The majority of MDs match into primary care as well.
 

cabinbuilder

Urgent Care Physician
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Nov 21, 2005
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No one is EVER guaranteed any specialty. Many times getting into the residency of your choice in the location of your choice is just as difficult as getting into medical school MD or DO.
 

jayoh

turning mountains into molehills
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Aug 18, 2011
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I feel like there are plenty of specialties as an MD/DO that will have the same exact appeal as podiatry, only you will have more options. With your GPA and EC's you probably won't really need to kill the MCAT to get in to your state school. That's probably what I would shoot for if I were you, if for no other reason than cheaper tuition. Also, I would imagine that you'd need to retake the online courses for most (if not all?) DO schools.

You can apply MD/DO concurrently, so why not just take the MCAT, apply and interview, then choose the school based on your visits to the school and where you get accepted?
 
Jun 30, 2013
634
254
West Lafayette, Indiana
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
The deadline is fast approaching and I need to make a decision. When I started, I was very interested in podiatry, but after speaking with several MDs, DOs, and DPMs, I am starting to second guess myself.
I have a 3.88 cGPA, 3.95 sGPA, research, many hours of shadowing , +850 volunteer hours including two medical missions to Africa, I am a Medical Laboratory Scientist certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathology with 2000+ clinical hours, I have good LORs, and I teach an undergraduate course at the university I graduated from. I am in my late 20's with a family, I have NO MCAT score(scheduled for Jan 2014), and I am finishing up my physics courses. I had a 3.3 my first year and then two semesters of W's due to contractual obligations with my work. I have attended 5 different schools and have 4.0 at 3 of them, including the university that actually granted me degree.

Podiatry:
Pros
- Seems like an excellent career that allows a great mix of clinical and surgical procedures. I can enter podiatry school in the Fall of 2014(I feel like I am getting older and the earlier time is really attractive to me). Podiatrists treat people from all age groups and do some pretty awesome procedures. The foot is actually pretty sweet.
Cons- There is current residency shortage that may or may not be a problem in 4 years. No flexibility(you go to podiatry school, you can't switch when you decide you want fix hips instead of feet). There is a lot of disparity in the profession(I haven't personally seen this, but the DPMs I have shadowed tell me its true).

Osteopathic Medical School:
Pros
- Gives you the opportunity to experience different specialties before choosing a path. I know at least a dozen nontraditional students in DO schools, I know 1 in MD. More desirable locations for my family(strange but true). They will look at my application as a whole.
Cons- No guarantee that you will match into the specialty you want. The majority of DOs match into primary care(this may be not be a con for you or me, I haven't decided yet). Very expensive compared to the other two options.

Allopathic Medical School:
Pros-
Gives you the opportunity to experience different specialties before choosing a path. I have a cheap in-state school. The best opportunity to pursue a competitive specialty.
Cons- I would need to retake two of the classes that I took online. No guarantee that I will match into the specialty I want. I am going to have to kill the MCAT. I have heard that the MDs schools will be more critical of my W's. It will take longer than the other 2 options.

I have honestly enjoyed every healthcare experience I have ever had. It all seems so awesome. I am more interested in being good at what I do, than what initials are behind my name. They all appear to be great options, but I would really like to hear from those in my situation or those that were. Feel free to share any advice. If you don't want to write a giant post just use the poll. Thanks.
I see you have put some thought into it, but the thing is its really hard to decide until you have a score from MCAT. Just get a good score, apply early and do a lotsa prayers. Do will be fine.
 

solitarius

7+ Year Member
May 20, 2010
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Really sounds like you should go into podiatry school. Like you said, you have a family and have a need to start earning sooner.

Do most podiatrists open their own practice? How do you feel about having to operate a practice vs. being employed by a medical center or physicians group?
 

Law2Doc

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Dec 20, 2004
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If you have the numbers for allo, the specialty opportunities are greater with allo. You my not need those opportunities if your goals are primary care but people change their minds in med school all the time. So your MCAT score will probably guide your decision here.

With podiatry you are limiting yourself to single body part, which is why most people with the better stats opt for medicine instead. If down the road you still think "the foot is pretty sweet" you can still try for ortho and do a Foot and ankle fellowship, but you will have gotten to see other things before making that decision and have more flexibility to change your mind.
 

QofQuimica

Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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Agree with the others who have said that our ability to give advice is limited without an MCAT score. Also agree that if you do decide to go to med school, whether MD or DO, you should do so with the expectation that you will end up going into primary care (internal med, family med, or peds). These are the specialties that have the most residency training slots, and our government is looking to create more PCPs, not more orthopods. So if you're not ok with the significant possibility of ending up as a PCP, med school is probably not a good option.

I don't know much about podiatry training, but do they have to do residencies, or is it optional like it is for pharmacy? Because if residency is optional and you'd be happy as a podiatrist, that would be the shortest and most direct route to finish training. If you do have to do a residency for podiatry, how long are they? Even to be a PCP, you're talking minimum three years of training after med school. Just throwing that out there, because it sounds like length of training is a concern for you.
 
OP
H
Sep 20, 2013
81
30
The Final Frontier
Status
Pre-Medical
Agree with the others who have said that our ability to give advice is limited without an MCAT score. Also agree that if you do decide to go to med school, whether MD or DO, you should do so with the expectation that you will end up going into primary care (internal med, family med, or peds). These are the specialties that have the most residency training slots, and our government is looking to create more PCPs, not more orthopods. So if you're not ok with the significant possibility of ending up as a PCP, med school is probably not a good option.

I don't know much about podiatry training, but do they have to do residencies, or is it optional like it is for pharmacy? Because if residency is optional and you'd be happy as a podiatrist, that would be the shortest and most direct route to finish training. If you do have to do a residency for podiatry, how long are they? Even to be a PCP, you're talking minimum three years of training after med school. Just throwing that out there, because it sounds like length of training is a concern for you.
My wife and I both grew up in rural areas and would like to go back. I am thinking that primary care might be the best way for me to go based on that fact alone.

Residency is now a required part of podiatry training. In the past, podiatry residencies ranged from 1 to 3 years. Now they are all 3 years long. Many of the good residencies talk about exposure to reconstructive rearfoot/ankle surgery and some people even do a fellowship after residency. Definitely not any shorter.
 

theseeker4

PGY 3
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Apr 20, 2011
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Suburban Detroit, MI
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My wife and I both grew up in rural areas and would like to go back. I am thinking that primary care might be the best way for me to go based on that fact alone.

Residency is now a required part of podiatry training. In the past, podiatry residencies ranged from 1 to 3 years. Now they are all 3 years long. Many of the good residencies talk about exposure to reconstructive rearfoot/ankle surgery and some people even do a fellowship after residency. Definitely not any shorter.
Most of what you are saying makes it sound like you want to be a MD/DO, not a podiatrist. Between the two, you will be a physician either way, so it is entirely based on where you want to go and how much you want to spend from the schools that (hopefully) accept you. Prepare well for the MCAT, take it, and go from there. Good luck!
 
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Jan 18, 2011
186
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Pre-Medical
Will DO schools be more accepting of multiple W's, multiple schools, and community college credits? What MCAT score do I need to be competitive for DO?
As a general rule, yes. You have a good gpa to work with, so mid 20s would give you a shot, and high 20s to 30 would make you very competative.
 

pietachok

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Dec 19, 2008
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I don't see a reason to make this decision DPM vs DO vs MD. The path you take for MD and DO is essentially the same, so you're question is really DPM vs Physician. Obviously, as someone in medical school, I chose to become a physician, and I cannot imagine restricting my practice to feet . . . but I don't have any experience working as a podiatrist.

When I have worked in facilities with podiatrists, we often write consults for them just to come clip people's toenails or exfoliate the foot & make sure there's no fungal infection (it's hard to tell on a homeless person who's been wearing 8 pairs of socks for 6 months w/out taking them off). Bless the people that do this, b/c I cannot imagine doing it, b/c the smells are second to none -- depending on where you train/work homeless, mentally ill, and otherwise incapacitated individuals who cannot take care of themselves can constitute a huge portion of the patients you see and I would image dictate the types of things you see. What I don't know but recommend you investigate is how readily you can dictate what type of work you're doing -- are some DPMs stuck with jobs like those at the hospitals where I've worked? or are they voluntarily doing this toenail clipping and exfoliation b/c there's something else they do at the hospital that is so great it makes it worth it? Maybe you can go through podiatry school treating more benign conditions than those seen at my safety net hospital, but given what I know about the difficulty w/ getting residencies, I have to wonder if some podiatrists w/ decent grades get stuck in the roles I'm describing.

Also, look into the process by which they get rotations. I worked with someone whose bf was a podiatry student, and there's some sort of bizarre match for getting your away rotations. And then I'm under the impression that your away rotations end up dictating where you have a realistic chance of residency (way more than they do in medicine). If location is a big issue for you and your family, I'd be concerned that this complicated process plus mismatch of applicants to residency spots could screw you out of staying in the region where you want to live.

At least in medicine, whether DO or MD, I think you have a pretty good possibility of staying in any region if you are going into primary care.

Another question I'd wonder: if you like to be intellectually stimulated and excited, is that really a long-term option in podiatry? I once spoke to my vet about DVM vs MD, and he said the worst part was that when treating pets it's rare for someone to pay for an "academic" work-up or get the pricey imaging that would satisfy his scientific curiosity. There was a missing pay off. Whenever something gets interesting in podiatry, does it end up referred to ortho or infectious disease or derm, etc.? If so, are you ok with that?
 
OP
H
Sep 20, 2013
81
30
The Final Frontier
Status
Pre-Medical
I have decided to give the DO route a shot. I took my first MCAT practice test and only scored a 25.:( I have until March to study and I plan on raising that score several points, but just for fun, lets say that a 25 is the best I can do. Where would I stand as a DO applicant with a 3.88 cGPA, 3.95 sGPA, and a 25 MCAT?

After thought: I wish the DO schools had a GPA/MCAT grid like the AAMC.
 
Last edited:

Beandog

5+ Year Member
Mar 10, 2011
221
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Pre-Medical
I have decided to give the DO route a shot. I took my first MCAT practice test and only scored a 25.:( I have until March to study and I plan on raising that score several points, but just for fun, lets say that a 25 is the best I can do. Where would I stand as a DO applicant with a 3.88 cGPA, 3.95 sGPA, and a 25 MCAT?

After though: I wish the DO schools had a GPA/MCAT grid like the AAMC.
You're still a great candidate with a 25 and those numbers.
However, I would bet those three months of study yield you another 3 points minimum.
 

BlackBox

7+ Year Member
Mar 16, 2010
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I have decided to give the DO route a shot. I took my first MCAT practice test and only scored a 25.:( I have until March to study and I plan on raising that score several points, but just for fun, lets say that a 25 is the best I can do. Where would I stand as a DO applicant with a 3.88 cGPA, 3.95 sGPA, and a 25 MCAT?

After thought: I wish the DO schools had a GPA/MCAT grid like the AAMC.

That's just the first one- chin up. You can easily pull that up if you've only just begun to study.

I think 25-27 is fine for DPM, 27-30 for DO, and 30+ for MD. DO schools are getting increasingly competitive, and I think the average score will only increase (just like MD!).

Other things-
Shadow a DO as some schools require it.
Please apply early- like the day you can submit. According to AMCAS, applications are up 8% this year, at this time.
Apply broadly- I applied to like 25 MD and 2 DO schools this cycle with decent results.

GL!!


Here's some 2013 stats from MSUCOM (they are sending them to update the candidates):

Applicant summary, as of 12/9/13

All AACOMAS Applicants: 4982
Admission Offers: 247
Seat Deposits Paid: 165
Canadian Offers: 24
Canadian Deposits Paid: 19
Average MCAT: 28.68
Average Science GPA: 3.62