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MD & DO What would you tell your premed self?

genessis42

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So this forum tends to be full of more undergrads than med students.

But would would you tell your past self in hindsight?

For me, I'd tell him to do activities outside the pre med realm. I'd also tell him to apply more broadly first time around
 
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ismyexistenceamemeyet

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There will be people who’ll tell you you can’t do it, and ironically, these people can be individuals also on the premed journey or professors who you expect to act professionally. Don’t take their crap, not now, not ever. Literally no one cares if you do a non-science major (and actually, can be a strength if you can manage prereqs on the side). Also, the most supportive people are often by your side; you just need to reach out and be willing to risk the unknown.

Also, yes, doing well academically can pay the bills, but please freaking have a life outside your academics. Volunteer more, be involved in campus stuff, take a hike, live life because you WILL not get these years back.
 
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Scrubs101

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Shadowing may not matter much for your on paper application for residency but being comfortable in the office/OR and having advocates in your chosen specialty will go a long way.
 
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CuriousMDStudent

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This is more of an observation but also has to do with my premed years: Don't be afraid to take a gap year to put yourself in the best situation in applying to medical school.

Going from Junior to Senior Year, I came to a major crossroad where I had to decide whether to apply during my senior year or take a year off. I decided to take the year off and it was the best decision I could've made. I gave myself the entire summer between Junior and Senior year to ensure I gave myself the most amount of time I needed to study for the MCAT and scored in the high 90th percentile. Got a 4.0 my senior year which helped my GPA immensely. Sent in my app as soon as AMCAS opened. Applied during my gap year while working (which gave me a ton of professional experience and taught me a lot about confidence and public speaking and honestly made me miss school) and I received 20+ interviews and will end up attending a T15 medical school. I've begun medical school (did an early program) and I'm loving school and doing really well and I no longer dread school but rather actually enjoy it as I've missed it for an entire year. I'm also so refreshed.

This is compared to if I didn't take a gap year. I was probably a DO-low MD applicant (maybe mid tier at best if I got lucky with my MCAT). If I didn't take the gap year I would've probably had to study for my MCAT during my junior year while juggling GPA and EC's and writing essays. Probably take my MCAT in June-July and give myself 1-1.5 months of "complete free time" to study. Apply a little later in July-August and probably get into a med school but not what I'd be super happy with but exhausted.

I've seen so many students rush the process and end up reapplying. They have tunnel vision and are like "I MUST APPLY THIS YEAR BECAUSE GOD FORBID I LOSE A YEAR OF MY LIFE!!!!" But they end up taking another 2 years to reapply after a failed cycle. I also hesitated cuz all my friends were applying straight through vs. taking a gap year. While I felt sad, that I was "behind" I ended up getting into a school with much better opportunities and a higher ranking and with a great scholarship so I felt it "equalized" at the end.

Anyways, I don't know if that helps any premeds. Best of luck!
 
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deleted688779

Be both a cookie cutter and non-cookie cutter premed. There are boxes you need to check, yes. But also I find T10-20s look for some “wow factor”, a project or cause you’re dedicated to and you excel at. I didn’t realize this until my gap year and I always wonder what would happen if I an additional 4 years to work on my own projects and initiatives.

Pubs in undergrad are not solely due to luck. Find professors who are willing to give responsibilities to undergrads, researchers who push out a lot of research, etc. I had friends who realized this, played the game, and swam in pubs.
 
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genessis42

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I would tell my younger self to apply broadly and not compare his progress to other students.

There's really no shame of having to take a year or more off to improve the app (research, raise gpa, etc..).

I do think I gained more wisdom after having to do 3 cycles.
 
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jurassicpark

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Exactly! This is a trick-time paradox! If you go back in time and warn your younger self you can greatly alter the timeline and result in you maybe getting a higher board score but possibly making a zombie-Hitler rise from the dead, and that is NOT something you want on your conscious! Nice try you anti-Einstein!
 
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drducky.

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If i had known step 1 was going p/f, i would tell myself to take undergrad and mcat and clubs and ec’s more seriously because that’s going to determine your future specialty more so than what you do in med school.
 
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Frogger27

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This is more of an observation but also has to do with my premed years: Don't be afraid to take a gap year to put yourself in the best situation in applying to medical school.

Going from Junior to Senior Year, I came to a major crossroad where I had to decide whether to apply during my senior year or take a year off. I decided to take the year off and it was the best decision I could've made. I gave myself the entire summer between Junior and Senior year to ensure I gave myself the most amount of time I needed to study for the MCAT and scored in the high 90th percentile. Got a 4.0 my senior year which helped my GPA immensely. Sent in my app as soon as AMCAS opened. Applied during my gap year while working (which gave me a ton of professional experience and taught me a lot about confidence and public speaking and honestly made me miss school) and I received 20+ interviews and will end up attending a T15 medical school. I've begun medical school (did an early program) and I'm loving school and doing really well and I no longer dread school but rather actually enjoy it as I've missed it for an entire year. I'm also so refreshed.

This is compared to if I didn't take a gap year. I was probably a DO-low MD applicant (maybe mid tier at best if I got lucky with my MCAT). If I didn't take the gap year I would've probably had to study for my MCAT during my junior year while juggling GPA and EC's and writing essays. Probably take my MCAT in June-July and give myself 1-1.5 months of "complete free time" to study. Apply a little later in July-August and probably get into a med school but not what I'd be super happy with but exhausted.

I've seen so many students rush the process and end up reapplying. They have tunnel vision and are like "I MUST APPLY THIS YEAR BECAUSE GOD FORBID I LOSE A YEAR OF MY LIFE!!!!" But they end up taking another 2 years to reapply after a failed cycle. I also hesitated cuz all my friends were applying straight through vs. taking a gap year. While I felt sad, that I was "behind" I ended up getting into a school with much better opportunities and a higher ranking and with a great scholarship so I felt it "equalized" at the end.

Anyways, I don't know if that helps any premeds. Best of luck!

I second this. Similar situation as me. I probably would have gone to a DO school or low-tier MD, but took a gap year prior to applying to get everything in order and matched at a much better school than I thought. 100000x happier too
 
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Neopolymath

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Even though I'm older, I would have made myself take a year to repair freshman GPA and leave family to go to a distant MD school instead of local DO school because being a DO is a terrible ankle weight on even the best students and continually/constantly causes problems. Every time I think that I just jumped the last DO/bad school hurdle another one appears to remind me how terrible of a decision it was. The only regret or real mistake in my entire life is falling into the "I need to get on with it" trap and settling for this bull**** despite killing the MCAT/rest of school.

I would gladly pay the opportunity cost to take that extra year now. I figured it just meant I couldn't be a neurosurgeon and had to learn some bull**** OMM. It's so many more problems than that and the knowledge that no matter how much your app or skills are better than MD students you will match much worse than them is honestly tough to accept especially when rotating with some of these clowns. Ultimately, as an attending hopefully it won't matter but the stigma is absolutely still out there in private practice despite what people on SDN say as I've seen it in multiple specialties.

Basically, I would have made myself go to the doc and take an ssri lol.
 
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deleted480308

So this forum tends to be full of more undergrads than med students.

But would would you tell your past self in hindsight?

For me, I'd tell him to do activities outside the pre med realm. I'd also tell him to apply more broadly first time around
Go home and study around your kids more, you don’t get that time back
 
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Hopeful101

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Even though I'm older, I would have made myself take a year to repair freshman GPA and leave family to go to a distant MD school instead of local DO school because being a DO is a terrible ankle weight on even the best students and continually/constantly causes problems. Every time I think that I just jumped the last DO/bad school hurdle another one appears to remind me how terrible of a decision it was. The only regret or real mistake in my entire life is falling into the "I need to get on with it" trap and settling for this bull**** despite killing the MCAT/rest of school.

I would gladly pay the opportunity cost to take that extra year now. I figured it just meant I couldn't be a neurosurgeon and had to learn some bull**** OMM. It's so many more problems than that and the knowledge that no matter how much your app or skills are better than MD students you will match much worse than them is honestly tough to accept especially when rotating with some of these clowns. Ultimately, as an attending hopefully it won't matter but the stigma is absolutely still out there in private practice despite what people on SDN say as I've seen it in multiple specialties.

Basically, I would have made myself go to the doc and take an ssri lol.

What year are you? It's not that bad...
 

catnip12

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I’d explain the Dunning Krueger effect to myself and caution against being a know it all when there’s much more to be learned. As a premed medical scribe I thought I understood the hospital. I didn’t... not even close.
 
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AnatomyGrey12

Never go to a DO school. If you can't get into an MD school then don't go. As bad as medical education is as a whole regarding taking advantage of students, the DO organizations are on a whole other level. Doing an SMP or taking another 3 more months to study for, and retake the MCAT is easily worth it.

I am honestly ashamed I will forever be affiliated with the institution of osteopathy and these organizations. I just hope I can put as much distance between them and me as possible.

What year are you? It's not that bad...
Once you become privy to what happens behind the scenes you realize just how bad it is. Most people are just blissfully unaware of how bad they are being intentionally taken advantage of by the system.
 
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Neopolymath

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What year are you? It's not that bad...
I'm an M4. Perhaps I should be asking you the same thing given you clearly don't see all the extra hurdles that exist even for people cruising to FM in rural America compared to our MD counterparts. Regardless, no one asked you to validate my experience as an ambitious and pragmatic person who doesn't like dealing with a lot of extra headaches for no reason.

Students should apply MD only their first cycle no matter what. Then apply MD and DO the second cycle if at all. Don't get forced into taking a DO acceptance the first year unless you are a completely lost cause (at which point you shouldn't even pursue medicine anyways, IMO).

Also, I say this as someone who LOVES medicine and still feel made for it.
 
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Hopeful101

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I'm an M4. Perhaps I should be asking you the same thing given you clearly don't see all the extra hurdles that exist even for people cruising to FM in rural America compared to our MD counterparts. Regardless, no one asked you to validate my experience as an ambitious and pragmatic person who doesn't like dealing with a lot of extra headaches for no reason.

Students should apply MD only their first cycle no matter what. Then apply MD and DO the second cycle if at all. Don't get forced into taking a DO acceptance the first year unless you are a completely lost cause (at which point you shouldn't even pursue medicine anyways, IMO).

Also, I say this as someone who LOVES medicine and still feel made for it.
Maybe you could elaborate on some of the hurdles? I'm a third year, so IK your further along. Taking both the USMLE and COMLEX sucked, and OMM was a pain. What's the worst of it for you?
 
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Neopolymath

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Maybe you could elaborate on some of the hurdles? I'm a third year, so IK your further along. Taking both the USMLE and COMLEX sucked, and OMM was a pain. What's the worst of it for you?
I'm not going to turn OP's thread into a MD vs DO garbage fire. Readers can look at the DO section for 5 minutes to see that taking two extra stupid COMLEX exams that you don't even need to study for is the least of their worries as DO student and honestly a joke compared to issues like no advising/mentorship, no home programs, no interview season flexibility, no research, subpar rotations overall, no infrastructure 4th year, regressive policies like mandatory attendance, even worse/malignant admin than average, blah blah blah. I could literally go on for hours explaining how this affects students' day to day lives in tangible ways. You cannot get that time, energy, or extra tuition costs back.

This will be my last comment about DO schools in this thread as it's not the intent of the thread and takes away from some good insight from other users that could benefit some lurking premeds or even M1s.
 
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MedicineZ0Z

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Never go to a DO school. If you can't get into an MD school then don't go. As bad as medical education is as a whole regarding taking advantage of students, the DO organizations are on a whole other level. Doing an SMP or taking another 3 more months to study for, and retake the MCAT is easily worth it.

I am honestly ashamed I will forever be affiliated with the institution of osteopathy and these organizations. I just hope I can put as much distance between them and me as possible.


Once you become privy to what happens behind the scenes you realize just how bad it is. Most people are just blissfully unaware of how bad they are being intentionally taken advantage of by the system.
Wait till you graduate and see how being a DO vs MD is literally the least important thing in the world.
 

Hopeful101

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I'm not going to turn OP's thread into a MD vs DO garbage fire. Readers can look at the DO section for 5 minutes to see that taking two extra stupid COMLEX exams that you don't even need to study for is the least of their worries as DO student and honestly a joke compared to issues like no advising/mentorship, no home programs, no interview flexibility, no research, subpar rotations overall, no infrastructure 4th year, regressive policies like mandatory attendance, even worse/malignant admin than average, blah blah blah. I could literally go on for hours explaining how this affects students' day to day lives in tangible ways. You cannot get that time, energy, or extra tuition costs back.

This will be my last comment about DO schools in this thread as it's not the intent of the thread and takes away from some good insight from other users that could benefit some lurking premeds or even M1s.
Fair enough. We can leave It at that. My general advice to my past self would be just walk away. MD/DO is not worth the cost.
 
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BTR41

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I wish I applied to more MD schools. I applied to 21 MD and 11 DO. I was told by my pre-med advisor that I would not get into MD but ended up getting 3 MD interviews and two acceptances. I wish I applied to more reach schools (since it was my first cycle).

I also second that if it is your first time apply mostly to MD and dream alittle bit.
 
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efle

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Never go to a DO school. If you can't get into an MD school then don't go. As bad as medical education is as a whole regarding taking advantage of students, the DO organizations are on a whole other level. Doing an SMP or taking another 3 more months to study for, and retake the MCAT is easily worth it.

I am honestly ashamed I will forever be affiliated with the institution of osteopathy and these organizations. I just hope I can put as much distance between them and me as possible.


Once you become privy to what happens behind the scenes you realize just how bad it is. Most people are just blissfully unaware of how bad they are being intentionally taken advantage of by the system.
But, if you find success, won't you be glad to have saved a year? I've worked with DOs at big ivory towers who were everywhere from fellows in competitive fields, to advising deans, to major department leadership. No doubt the match is a bigger obstacle than otherwise, but if you end up in a great training program, you'll be one year closer to your first attending gig, to reaching financial independence, etc.
 

Neopolymath

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But, if you find success, won't you be glad to have saved a year? I've worked with DOs at big ivory towers who were everywhere from fellows in competitive fields, to advising deans, to major department leadership. No doubt the match is a bigger obstacle than otherwise, but if you end up in a great training program, you'll be one year closer to your first attending gig, to reaching financial independence, etc.
I can't speak for AG, but we do have a lot of similarities. I can tell you with 100% certainty that even as a non-trad DO, even if I match into a great program, I would have gone back and spent the extra year of time and opportunity cost to go to even a bad MD school without hesitation. The trouble over the 4 years is not worth the year of time saved at all.

My hot take for this thread is that I think everyone should work in the hospital for at least a year before applying to med school. Not only does it help solidify your choice but it also makes better medical students. I think a gap year should be encouraged to help change the type of people coming into med school these days.
 
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AnatomyGrey12

But, if you find success, won't you be glad to have saved a year? I've worked with DOs at big ivory towers who were everywhere from fellows in competitive fields, to advising deans, to major department leadership. No doubt the match is a bigger obstacle than otherwise, but if you end up in a great training program, you'll be one year closer to your first attending gig, to reaching financial independence, etc.

It's not about any of that. I will end up where I want to go, although the match impact is much bigger than the majority of people will admit. It's more of a moral thing. It's more the things @Neopolymath mentions above. It's the fact that DO residency programs are pretty much the only programs in my field of choice that are completely ignoring the Coalition's recommendations, and understanding why they are that way. The fact the NBOME is insisting on Level 2 PE despite the pleas of not only students, but entire schools and state osteopathic organizations.

There are a lot of reasons I would never go to a DO school again, and none of them actually involve medicine or the impact on my match.


I can't speak for AG, but we do have a lot of similarities. I can tell you with 100% certainty that even as a non-trad DO, even if I match into a great program, I would have gone back and spent the extra year of time and opportunity cost to go to even a bad MD school without hesitation. The trouble over the 4 years is not worth the year of time saved at all.
This.

If people want to have a philosophical discussion on the failings of osteopathic medicine then feel free to PM me, I don't want to derail the thread any further.
 
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efle

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DO schools gave you an opportunity to make a 250-500k+ income whereas your biology degree would have given you the opportunity to make a 20-50k income.
I think he's saying that because the DO experience is such a nightmare, and because fifth years are becoming so normal, it's better to invest that extra time upfront and go MD.

Not like giving up on medicine altogether!
 
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Lawpy

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Again, that has absolutely nothing to do with it.

A little sad that COCA and NBOME continue to be selfish and malignant. I'm hoping for COCA to be dissolved and having a lot of DO schools be converted to MD schools (very sure the established and reputed schools will be very solid mid tiers). The shameless shafting of DO students and continued DO expansion are tragic. Also the continued incompetence and delusions of DO admins get annoying.
 
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efle

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Statistically, 5th years are not the norm. Vast majority do just fine.
I mean...it depends. There are almost twice as many gap year matriculants to med school as traditional ones now, per the most recent matriculating student surveys. And while people applying to typical specialties like IM usually don't need to take another (sixth?) year off for research during med school, people applying to fields like Derm and surgical subspecialties are doing so left and right.
 
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Lawpy

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Statistically, 5th years are not the norm. Vast majority do just fine.
I mean...it depends. There are almost twice as many gap year matriculants to med school as traditional ones now, per the most recent matriculating student surveys. And while people applying to typical specialties like IM usually don't need to take another (sixth?) year off for research during med school, people applying to fields like Derm and surgical subspecialties are doing so left and right.

I thought we're talking research years and now i'm confused
 
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