I am a non-traditional osteopathic medical school applicant, a husband, and a parent. I began my academic career as a part-time student working towards my degree off and on from 2006-2014. As I began my undergraduate education, all I really knew for sure was I wanted a degree but didn’t know what career I wished to pursue. My first 90 credits were a nightmare, receiving many C’s a couple D’s and one F in addition to many many W’s. While working on my degree I also worked full time in a hospital, as an EMT in addition to working in a research lab. During the fall semester of 2014 I’m not exactly sure what happened, but the best way I could explain it is as if “brain fog” had disappeared. I could think clearly and focus, which was good timing as I experienced a life-changing event while working that would instill in me my desire to be a physician. I don’t want to say exactly what happened because people will know immediately who I am. My academic history was horrible but I still decided to go for it. I would estimate that my ACCOMAS cGPA in 2014 was probably a 2.5-2.6. Fortunately, I had only taken 3 courses that ended up contributing to my science GPA but were not science pre-requisites per se (some courses contribute to AACOMAS science GPA that are not pre-requisites such as environmental health). Unfortunately, the grades in those three courses were an F, a D, and a C-. I started on my science pre-requisites in 2014 earning A’s in all except one B. I applied for admission my first and only time to DO schools only this 2018-2019 cycle, interviewed two, waitlisted at both but recieved a call offering admission just this past week.
SUMMARY OF MY APPLICATION:
Total credits: more than 200
cGPA: 3.00 (cGPA of last 120 credits 3.5)
sGPA: 3.25 (sGPA of last 120 credits 3.7)
MCAT: 500 126/124/125/125 (taken once)
Clinical experience: more than 13,000 hrs
volunteering: ~ 300
Research: ~800 hrs over two projects, one as lead author
Shadowing: 32 hrs
EC/Leadership: Pre-SOMA, TA for physiology and Ochem I/II (as well as tutoring Ochem I/II), leadership positions at work etc
What worked for me
First this all together was a process that has taken more than a decade, so obviously, patience is key if you are in any position similar to mine. In addition, I simply don’t know or when to quit but in reality, this can be as a much a flaw as it can be a virtue. What I believe made the difference in my application is I know exactly why I want to be an osteopathic physician and conveyed this very well in my personal statement, in addition to speaking about the event that catalyzed my pursuit of medicine. One of my interviewers told me my personal statement is one of the best he has ever read (I mention this to emphasize its importance). If you were to ask me whats the difference between MD and DO I would say it really depends, but if you are asking about the difference between a DO and MD who both hold a belief in integrative and preventative medicine (which can really be applied to any specialty), not a damn thing.
I really wanted to write this because I see so many questions stating “my GPA is xxx, and MCAT is xxx what are my chances?”. The reality is much more nuanced than that and it is important to really hold a belief that what you are doing is possible, otherwise, motivation is quickly lost (at least for me anyway). So hopefully this story motivates someone as so many of the other success stories motivated me.
THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!