Hi. It's getting close to the end of the cycle and I was wondering if I could get some advice. I have currently been accepted to 4 DO schools. One DO I have been accepted to is an original 5 and 2 are pretty established branches. I have had 3 MD interviews and heard nothing yet except one waitlist. I applied thinking DO was very similar to MD, the only difference was ENT, urology, derm, and ortho were off the table. This didn't really upset me since I am not a surgery or bust person. But as I have been looking at this forum it seems like opportunities for DOs are starting to look pretty grim with the merger and it seems like only primary care is available now. Also with all of the new DO schools opening it seems like the degree is getting saturated. I want to go into OBGYN as of now. But I have seen from these threads how even a solid DO applicant can have problems trying to get into good OBGYN programs.
I have been talking to my friends in PA school and it seems like PA programs give you more freedom to specialize. I don't care about not being top dog or the salary. My GPA is a 3.9 and my MCAT is a 506 (127/126/127/126). I was wondering since my GPA is high and I took a practice GRE (without studying) and got a 85 percentile if going the PA route would be better suited for me since I have more control over what I can specialize in. I just don't want to spend 4 years in DO school and end up in a specialty I don't like. I'm not very interested in FM or Peds after shadowing those doctors. I already have my CNA certification so I was thinking I could either get my clinical hours up and apply for PA school or get my MCAT up and apply again MD.
If any DOs could please let me know what the outlook for DO seems like it will be in the future, I would really appreciate the input. I have just talked to a couple of DO students who feel like their chances of matching into anything other than primary care are pretty slim. They told me since my GPA is high I should just try for an MCAT retake. Any recommendations would be great.
Re: "But as I have been looking at this forum it seems like opportunities for DOs are starting to look pretty grim with the merger and it seems like only primary care is available now."
This is false. Nearly half of DOs specialize, and keep in mind internal medicine is considered primary care, but required for anyone who wants to be a cardiologist, GI doc, heme/onc, etc. There is also some self-selection for DO with wanting to be primary care from the get-go. There are numerous MD schools that have higher output of primary care doctors than plenty of DO schools as well. What you can do will be almost entirely up to your boards (though this just changed for EVERYONE today in that Step 1 will be pass/fail in 2022).
Re: "I have just talked to a couple of DO students who feel like their chances of matching into anything other than primary care are pretty slim."
They must not have performed well. I did not feel this way and have been quite successful. A lot of my friends have matched into ACGME surgery, academic IM, anesthesia, EM, etc including Johns Hopkins, Jefferson, Penn, and numerous other "big names" as well as plenty of solid programs that might just not have the "name" which isn't everything to begin with.
PA school is very different than med school, and it's a GREAT option if you want the flexibility, and I understand completely where you're coming from on this topic. The depth of your education will be greatly different though, and while you don't mind not being top dog so-to-speak, if you go OBGYN as a PA, you won't be doing any surgeries yourself - you'd be assisting as if you were a permanent resident in a way. The more complicated cases will go to the physician 9/10 times. What you get in flexibility, you lose in depth of knowledge/skill/foundation/decision making. Your hours will be roughly the same, your call may be similar or lighter but not significantly in many cases, but overall work-life will be no different otherwise.
Some of my PA friends regret doing PA just as some of my DO and MD friends regret going to med school. I have also had a handful of PAs in my medical school class and know others who did the same but are practicing now, as well as others looking to enter med school.
I would not go off the notion that the flexibility is always worth it because even as a PA, there will be things you hate, things you love, things you suck at, and things you're great at. At some point, you're likely going to want to be in 1 field and stay there. As a DO, or MD, we just have to decide sooner. If we want another field, that's when we usually have to do a fellowship or another residency, or work in something that overlaps heavily (and usually not in a city or academic center in these cases). Also keep in mind that what you observed as a pre-med is very different than how you may feel doing the work. There were rotations I hated that I thought I'd want to go into, and vice versa.
If I were you, I'd create a detailed pros/cons, and put weight on the most important aspects. Consider your long term goals, current age/situation, etc, and then go from there.
There is way too much that goes into this decision than we can help with regarding the info provided. We'd need more info if we're going to help.
One thing of note, though... you are currently accepted to med school to start this summer. If you give up those spots, you're less likely to get into those places again if you choose to reapply later. And by starting this summer, you'll graduate 2024. Pre-reqs for PA school are different, and you stated you need more hours. You're looking at 1+ year to complete the hours and additional coursework, plus an app year, +2.5-3 years of school, graduating slightly later than you'd graduate medical school at this point. The only difference is going to be residency.