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Issues specific to osteopathic medical education and practice as a DO.

Two questions

Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:52 pm

First, is the obvious, and typical, "what are my chances"

MCAT of 28 O, 8 ps, 10 bs, 10 vr. This was done with the only studying being a 2 week, 3-5 hour a day cramfest, I kind of want to retake it after I graduate and make an actual attempt at studying to see if I can break the 30's, opinions?
GPA is 3.1, unsure of my science GPA (I've been a professional student for too long to remember), but since going pre-med and declaring cell and molecular biology in Fall 2007, I've maintained a 3.49/4.0
Upon graduating will have a BS in cell and molecular biology, and respiratory therapy, with a minor in chemistry, and an associate's in respiratory therapy (respiratory school netted me 5 days of shadowing pulmonologists and cardiologists, 2 days of performing intubations, 2 days of surgery rotations, and an additional 70 hours of required physician interaction time. Score.).
Currently working as a registered respiratory therapist at an institution that has been voted as the #1 integrated health system multiple times, in a protocol driven department that allows therapists to function independently of physicians, allowing us to think critically and for ourselves. Have worked part time throughout the completion of my pre-med studies.
Lots of volunteer duties including Planned Parenthood, a Korean Sunday school assistant, after school caretaker for Korean children, and planned children's medical missions trip through FIMRC to Peru in the Spring of 2010.

So that's the generic question, second question, what schools are considered the top DO schools. Obviously this list won't be that large due to there only being 25 (or is it 26 now?) DO schools in the country, but what are some of the best ones in this board's opinion. I'll be graduating in MO so obviously AT Still and KCUMB are going to be on my applications, but would really love to get out of state (MO is a hole). Also, though I'm fairly certain on going DO, through my experiences as a patient and in the clinical environment I have developed a preference for DOs, but I have some friends currently in med school trying to get me to go MD. If that were to be the case, how would this application look for an MD school, and what are the benefits between the two.

This turned out to be way more than 2 questions.

Re: Two questions

Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:51 am

OK you need to get two things

MSAR and a copy of your trancripts
click on the link below and download the GPA stuff from AMCAS

DO schools, with a 3.1 and 28 MCAT your chances are not great for any.
You have a shot but understand the average DO student has a 3.4 or better now.

MCAT, yes retaking if you can get better then 28 is fine, just what if you cannot? If you get lower then you are the lower MCAT, schools do not take the "Best MCAT" they take the latest MCAT.

I see these options:

Apply to many DO schools as is and see what happens, you may get interviews and you may get accepted but be prepared for anywhere. Your chances of residency are equal with all schools, just understand this.

Retake the MCAT if you can ensure better then 28 and then apply to DO schools, a higher MCAT may improve your chances just slightly, but understand the GPA is equal important.

Do a Post bac and do well, MD may be in reach in the USA too.

Caribbean Schools AUC,SGU and Ross.

OK grades, DO schools do consider retakes differntly then MD schools and will look at the GPA with the retakes but understand if you retook classes AMCAS will ignore the GPA on the transcripts and come up with a new GPA, they average every grade on the transcript for both science and overall. Many times your GPA falls. A 3.1 is very weak to begin with, any less is too low for US schools.

So look at these things and let us know we will try to give you honest opinions

this is doable just know where you stand, I think all the volunteering and shadowing and other clinical is fine.

Let us know


Re: Two questions

Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:19 am

Your GPA is low, your MCAT is a few points above average, and your EC's sound good. Assuming that you have a good letter, you seem like you have a good shot. If you can retake the MCAT for a better score, that would only help.

As far as "Top DO schools", this is a hard one to answer. The older, more established schools are usually the favorites. ATSU-KCOM is the best in my mind, but I am biased. PCOM, CCOM, DMUCOM, KCUMB, WVUCOM, Western, and MSUCOM seem to be at the top of most people's lists. TCOM is up there too, but they are not that OOS friendly, from what I hear.

Your application is low for US MD schools, based on the AAMC data regarding matriculants. If you are part of an underserved population and get a better MCAT score, you may have a shot.

I grew up and did undergrad in Seattle, and moved to MO for grad/medical school. KCOM is in a really small town, but it is the perfect environment for the basic science years. After the first two years, you get to choose from many clinical rotation sites that are out of state. I will most likely be heading to Detroit next year, which has amazing residency programs (especially exciting for surgery guys like me). Visit the MO schools to see what they are like. I chose KCOM based upon the school itself, not location. The first 4 quarters have gone by extremely fast, and I couldn't be happier with my decision. You should go to a school that fits you, regardless of location.

When I was a sophomore pre-med, I was extremely wary about going DO. Once I visited my current school, that all changed. I am extremely impressed with the education that I have received thus far. I have a friend that goes to a top allopathic school, and the quality of my education is at the same level as his. I have the additional knowledge of OMM, and many people appreciate that. There are DO's in every specialty of medicine, including ophthalmology, plastics, transplant, hand surgery, interventional radiology, and spine surgery (to name some of the highly competitive specialties). A doc I know said it best: if you want to practice in a certain field, either route can get you there. You might have to take a different route than you planned, but you will get there if you want it bad enough.

One big plus of going DO is the hands-on experience you get early on. OMM lab makes you very comfortable with palpatory diagnostics, and with being hands-on with patients. You would be surprised how comforting a pat on the shoulder can be for concerned patients.

Many MD schools have the advantage of being affiliated with large academic hospitals, so it is easier to make yourself known in a residency program early on. There are also more research opportunities available at MD programs than DO programs. Groundbreaking research is being performed at DO schools, but the amount of research is less.

People who don't know much about osteopathic schools, or who still hold on to the idea of DO inferiority, will definitely tell you to go MD. The truth is that osteopathic medicine is exploding right now. Within a few years, the GPA/MCAT differences between MD and DO will be negligible. If you have developed a preference for DO, I think you should go DO. Your allopathic friends will be jealous when you give them a "Kirksville Crunch" for a sore back!

I know that this is a lot of info, and hopefully it helps. My best advice is to pick a school that fits you best, whether it be DO or MD.

Re: Two questions

Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:52 pm

The MD average GPA is now 3.6
the DO is around 3.4

these are the middle grounds with a +/- of 0.1 to 0.2

so the low sides are DO 3.2 and MD 3.4 pretty mush what I try to give out as advice to gauge what to do.

Its not cheap to apply to all these schools I would think you would want a fighting chance! 8)