Oct 23, 2014
81
87
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Medical Student
Hey everyone -

This is going to be long, but I hope to tell you my story about applying and answer as many questions as possible to help ease your minds!

This time last year I was in most of your shoes, worrying about filling out applications, worrying about whether or not I was going to get an interview, and most of all, worrying about whether or not I was going to get into medical school.

I promised myself that I would come back on this year and help ease some of your minds - especially the "underdogs." I want to start off by saying that if you really want something in life, and you do everything to get it, you WILL get it. All of you will be physicians one day if you work hard enough and want it badly enough!

With that being said...I applied last year to 22 osteopathic schools. My GPA was 3.5S and 3.6C. I had an MCAT of 25, which I was sure was going to keep me from getting in, but I also had TONS of teaching experience, shadowing, and volunteering hours. Still, that 25 was lingering over my head and I was scared that I was going to waste my money applying to schools that wouldn't accept me.

Out of the 22 schools I was asked to interview at 5. I was accepted at 4 of them, and 2 of those four were actually some of the most competitive DO schools out there (numbers and applicant pool wise). In the end, I picked the one that was the best fit for me.

I had tons of questions during the application process, and here were a few of them that I can now answer for your guys:

GRADE REPLACEMENT
Yes, they replace your grades and they don't count towards your GPA. And no, it doesn't have to be the same course and course number to get it replaced. I took a 4 unit into biology course and became sick during the final and received an F. However, AACOMAS allowed me to replace that grade with another 5 unit intro biology course that I took afterwards because the courses were similar enough (one was for non-science majors, the other for science majors). Without that grade replacement, my SGPA would have been a 3.2. If you think something may count for a grade replacement...Replace it!

COST OF APPLYING
Expensive. I did, however, get the fee waiver from AACOMAS. It was very simple to complete, and they got back to me very quickly. If you think you qualify due to low income, then look into and apply for it ASAP. They may already be done awarding them though, I don't know. However, your first 3 primaries are covered and pretty much every secondary application fee is waived. Unlike AMCAS, if your over 24, only your income counts when you apply for it. All in all though, depending on how many schools you apply to, I think 3,000-7,000 is a good estimate for the cost of applying. Im sure you can do it cheaper if you tried hard enough.

INTERVIEWS
There's no "one size fits all" approach, and no single way to prepare. My best advice is to be yourself, and don't be a robot. DO schools really like looking at the PEOPLE who are applying, not just the numbers. Some schools I applied at only had a single 45 minute interview. Some schools were strictly MMI! Others were a hybrid of both! One had a small group interview as a part of the interview day. At the end of the day, my biggest advice is that you should know why you want to go into medicine. If you're doing it because mommy and daddy are bankrolling the whole thing and they want you to follow in their footsteps, you probably won't be too happy here and they may even pick up on that. If you're doing it because you want to dedicate your entire life to an incredibly selfless career - then go for it.

I'M AN UNDERDOG - WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Nobody can make this decision for you. I had a really low MCAT, but I decided to apply anyway because this is truly my life's calling. Med school is getting more and more competitive each year, but if you think you can stand out, then GO FOR IT! Apply broadly and diversify your application. Keep in mind, some of the schools I applied to have denied 4.0 GPA/ 37MCAT applicants because they just didn't fit. You might be a perfect fit for one of the schools out there! And if you don't get in this time around, if you want it badly enough you will keep applying and keep improving upon yourself. You WILL be a physician if you truly want it bad enough.

DO vs MD
Get over it - only premed students care about that. And that's the truth. I've worked with DO anesthesiologists, orthopedic surgeons, general surgeons, psychiatrists, ER doctors, the works. Ironically, the only type of DO I haven't actually worked with is a primary care physician. At the end of the day, people want to know if you can practice medicine. And how often have you heard of a physician being unemployed, or unemployed for long? As a physician, regardless of the letters after your name, you WILL have a bright future ahead of you. But hey, if it matter that much to you, you can always go to the Caribbean, no MCAT required ;)

TIMELINES
Time to Process AACOMAS: I want to say it was a solid month, maybe even a tad longer.
Secondary Submission to Interview Invite: My fastest was 2 weeks, my slowest was almost 1.5 months.
Time from interview to Acceptance: My fastest was the day after, my slowest was about 3 weeks I think.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN MEDICAL SCHOOL
Its challenging, but incredibly rewarding. Don't expect much of a life. I went to UC Berkeley, which I thought was time consuming, but medical school is worse. Your undergrad days are behind you, you won't be able to study the night before and get A's in all of your classes. Med school WILL eat up all of your time, and consume most of your life. So if you're not ready for that, don't tackle it. It you don't want it badly enough, don't waste your money applying. If you're not doing this SOLELY for yourself, then pursue another career path.



Well everyone, that's all that I can think of for now. I hope this was helpful and eased some of your minds. You guys are getting ready to embark on a wonderful journey, and although it is stressful now, it's all about the end goal. Like I've said a few times already - every single one of you will be a physician one day, so long as you want it bad enough and work hard enough.

Good luck applying, and may the odds be ever in your favor.
-Asclepius.
 
OP
AsclepiusDO
Oct 23, 2014
81
87
Status
Medical Student
I'll try and check in here occasionally to answer any questions you guys have - but time isn't something I have in excess these days!
 

petyr_baelish

5+ Year Member
Nov 15, 2009
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What's your typical day like in med school, from when you wake up to when you go to bed? I'd like to know how many breaks/downtime one can expect.
How does this typical day change before an exam? Is your 'exam day' a weekly occurrence? Monthly? I'd like to see a rough schedule. I'm really curious about the actual day-to-day of med school :)
 
OP
AsclepiusDO
Oct 23, 2014
81
87
Status
Medical Student
MMI Experience: Generally you get a question, and have 7-10 mins to respond to that question. It can be about anything - ethical, personal opinion, that sort of thing. Generally no medical experience is required - they just want to get to know you, how you think, and how you approach challenging topics/issues. Everyone signs a waiver saying they won't talk about the questions they ask, so you'll have to look up practice ones on your own =]

Med School Life: An 18 hour day isn't unreasonable. I came to medical school to work hard, so I do work hard. I know there are people with families, I know some people who work more, and I know some people who work less. In those 18 hours, its basically being in class from 8 or 9am-5pm. There is generally one hour for lunch, which I take off, and I usually eat dinner while studying or just have a snack. Then I allow one hour at night to help unwind and get ready for bed. All the other time, I spend studying. Test weeks are similar, you just generally have a little less class and more time to study. Tests are generally once every 2 weeks, and med school knows how to fit about one semester of undergrad material into about 4-6 weeks of classes.
Class schedules vary based on your institution.
 

Endorphins98

2+ Year Member
Mar 31, 2015
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I have VERY similar stats!! I've gotten 3 II so far and I couldn't be more excited! Now to make sure I don't screw up my interviews... Good luck all!
 

Roxas

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I'm all for being optimistic, but let's also be honest. There are plenty of ACGME program directors who care about DO vs MD when they decide who to interview and rank.
Those PDs are also not as common as they once were, and chances are a mediocre MD student wouldn't have a shot at those programs either. Top programs want top students from top schools. Barely making it into an allopathic school isn't going to give you the same shot as the AOA students from Ivy med schools.
 

yanks26dmb

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Nov 7, 2008
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Those PDs are also not as common as they once were, and chances are a mediocre MD student wouldn't have a shot at those programs either. Top programs want top students from top schools. Barely making it into an allopathic school isn't going to give you the same shot as the AOA students from Ivy med schools.
Not as common doesn't mean uncommon.

I never said anything about mediocre do students either. Sinply, do students.

I'm also not comparing "low tier " MD students to ivy MD students. I'm comparing do to md.
 

IslandStyle808

Akuma residency or bust!
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Aug 5, 2012
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I'm all for being optimistic, but let's also be honest. There are plenty of ACGME program directors who care about DO vs MD when they decide who to interview and rank.
Those PDs are also not as common as they once were, and chances are a mediocre MD student wouldn't have a shot at those programs either. Top programs want top students from top schools. Barely making it into an allopathic school isn't going to give you the same shot as the AOA students from Ivy med schools.
Actually both your posts have valid points. We have to remember that DOs are slowing breaking into some of these places and match rates have been increasing. In 2006, the match rate was 67% and now in 2015 it is 79%. So one can say the DO bias is slowly fading. However, in top places they will be looking at where one went. This is more of a weeder tool than anything else really, because when you have people with all honors, average USMLE scores of 240, and multiple publications, they have to find ways to filter the applicants when ranking them. So they will look more into class rank, where you went to school, MD or DO, whether you were AOA etc. Thus the ivy league student will most likely be picked when standing on even ground academically to either a DO student or MD student from a low-tier school. This is something that won't change so easily unless you have less medical students competing for those programs.
 
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Roxas

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Not as common doesn't mean uncommon.

I never said anything about mediocre do students either. Sinply, do students.

I'm also not comparing "low tier " MD students to ivy MD students. I'm comparing do to md.
You're right, I'm not denying the existence of PD discrimination or the fact that MD has better chances in the match vs a DO. I only wrote what I did to contrast your statement and awaken any disillusioned students that think acceptance to any MD school equals a free ticket to any program and any specialty. I realize that's not what you were saying.

That being said, I would warn anyone interested in an osteopathic school who is vehemently opposed to doing FM, IM, or Peds to reconsider, given the statistical likelihood of ending up in one of these specialties
 

yanks26dmb

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Nov 7, 2008
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You're right, I'm not denying the existence of PD discrimination or the fact that MD has better chances in the match vs a DO. I only wrote what I did to contrast your statement and awaken any disillusioned students that think acceptance to any MD school equals a free ticket to any program and any specialty. I realize that's not what you were saying.

That being said, I would warn anyone interested in an osteopathic school who is vehemently opposed to doing FM, IM, or Peds to reconsider, given the statistical likelihood of ending up in one of these specialties
I think as long as a person works hard while they're in school, getting into something other than those fields you named is doable. Now...I don't know if that means ortho or opth is likely for even the hardest working student...but em, pmr, surgery, gas, rads, and of course psych all seem attainable. At least that's what I'm telling myself :)
 
Oct 27, 2013
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You're right, I'm not denying the existence of PD discrimination or the fact that MD has better chances in the match vs a DO. I only wrote what I did to contrast your statement and awaken any disillusioned students that think acceptance to any MD school equals a free ticket to any program and any specialty. I realize that's not what you were saying.

That being said, I would warn anyone interested in an osteopathic school who is vehemently opposed to doing FM, IM, or Peds to reconsider, given the statistical likelihood of ending up in one of these specialties
A lot of schools keep harping that their students "self select" for primary care when in reality they wind up in those fields because they could not get anything else as DOs. Its "Doable" to specialize as a DO but its not easy. Many hard working DO students wind up settling for FM and primary care residencies because they cannot get anything else.

PDs see you like they see a KIA, they see the MDs like they see a range well known vehicles from Toyota to Mercedes Benz to the upper echelon Ferrari and Aston Martin.