An intro and a question

Hi everyone-I’ve peeked in here a few times over the last few months but this is my first post. I know I’m probably getting ahead of myself, but I’m hoping you all can help me out. I am 42 years old and applying for entrance to medical school in 2016, which, if they let me in, would make me 44 years old when I enter. Age isn’t even my biggest obstacle, it’s that I can really only apply to 1 M.D. school and 1 osteopathic school because I am divorced and have joint custody of my kids and can’t move. I am trying to figure out whether, on some level, it would even be worth it for me to go osteopathic medical school–the school in my area is a new one that doesn’t have much of a match history yet, and I am terrified that I won’t be able to match any residency in my area when it’s over. I live in a middle sized city surrounded by rural-ville and there just aren’t that many accredited residency programs period. I recognize I am asking questions about the far future, and perhaps I won’t even get in, but right now I am trying to figure out whether to gear my application very heavily towards the M.D. side of things because at my age and with my constraints, it may not even be worth the investment to attend an osteopathic program. What do you all think? How hard is it for graduates with D.O. degrees to match primary care residencies like IM and FM? And should I post this over on the med student forum?

  1. You should be prepare your applications for MD and DO to be the best no matter what.

  2. Residency match for DO and MD for FM and IM are readily done if the USMLE and/or COMLEX scores are solid. There are not many younger med students wanting to go into those areas as the money is not very lucrative.

    What would I do?

    Take it one step at a time. Focus on MCAT. Focus on each step. Let life work it’s way out for you. Otherwise, you get caught up in FUD and then fail to take one step, let alone finish this marathon.

Hi Bumblebee and welcome. I’m an associate program director for a mid-sized academic family medicine program. We (like most FM residencies) are dually-accredited and accept both DOs and MDs. Right now there are two separate governing bodies which have agreed to merge. By the time you apply for residency the merger will be complete, so there will be no discrepancies in the application process and everybody will go through the same Match. Don’t discount the osteopathic route. They are usually much more receptive to non-traditional students, and at least for now are doing a better job supplying the primary care pipeline.

To answer your question about how competitive you would be, last year around 96% of US students who applied to family medicine matched, statistically about the same for MDs and DOs. About half of international graduates who applied to FM matched.

Hope that helps.

Hello Adoc2be and jmdmd … thank you for the encouraging words. I guess I just have a lot of background uncertainty in my regular, not-applying-to-med-schoo l life right now, and that makes it hard to keep the uncertainty in this application process in perspective.

I can understand how only applying to two schools would be scary. I applied to 25 and it was still a nerve-wracking experience. You didn’t mention your background, how competitive you are, whether you’re still working, etc. Not to be negative, but since your options are so limited in terms of applying I would make sure you have in mind a “Plan B” just in case.

That said, here’s one way to think of it – if you apply, you have a chance of getting in. If you don’t apply, you have NO chance of getting in.

If this is your dream, and you don’t at least try, you’ll always wonder.

Best wishes to you!

Hi Lorien,

Thank you for your supportive words. That is exactly how I look at things-if I don’t try I’ll always wonder, so I might as well at least try. I do have a plan B but I admit I’m not terribly enthusiastic about it right now. I kind of think I need to come up with a better plan B. Suffice it to say that my application is pretty unusual and although my stats are probably fairly competitive, I know I have other obstacles. Right now I am just confronting so much uncertainty and I don’t want to make it worse.

I’ve been working on plan B all my life… I am hoping to start, once again, on plan A. I have 5 children and do understand the constraint one may have bc they depend on you. My outlook right now is, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Because just like previously mentioned, you can’t plan life too strictly.

i’m rooting for you.