Do I have a shot at getting into DO school?

Alright, I’ve seen a few topics on here that contain parts of my situation, but not one of them really fits my life story so here we go:

My parents separated in 2002 and my mom was a control freak with anger issues growing up. When she moved out, I spiraled out of control. I was expelled from my traditional high school so ended up getting my HS Diploma through a reputable homeschool, I was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor of marijuana in 2004, and when I started at a community college in 2006 I was a wreck. I skated by with Bs, Cs Fs and WFs for 4 years. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and the only reason I even started college in 2006 was because my parents really wanted me to.

In 2010 I began to take school seriously when I finally found a direction to go. I had read about Chiropractic and had went to one for back issues and thought that was what I wanted to do. I did pretty well in community college up until attending Life University to get my bachelors faster (they are on a quarterly system) and right after the bachelors do the Doctorate of Chiropractic program. After a lot more exposure to Chiropractic I decided it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I ended up deciding not to attend the Doctorate of Chiropractic program 9 months before I was to start. Due to the undergraduate Biology department being so small, I actually ended up taking a majority of my upper-level Biology classes with the DC students (same professor, same lectures, same test, but graded slightly different) and did really well with them. Classes included Histology, Embryology, Biochemistry, Neurophysiology, Immunology, Parasitology, etc. by all accounts I completely turned my academic career around: I founded and served as President for an Environmental Sciences club, served as VP for a Students Team Up To Fight Hunger club, volunteered for orientations, in the community at a nature center, and as a dental assistant for a low-income health clinic (about 70 hours of volunteer work). I explored other medical professions like Dentistry and Nursing, but always came back to medicine and while doing research discovered Osteopathy and was very intrigued. I shadowed a DO at the low income health clinic I volunteered at and fell in love with the philosophy and holistic approach to medicine. It reminded me of what got me interested in Chiropractic, but it came with many more tools and opportunities to help patients.

Unfortunately I found DO after graduating college and beginning a career in IT in 2016 and I wanted to give IT a chance as I’ve always had an interest in computers and technology. I have done some MS coursework in Data Analytics and halfway through the program In 2018 I decided to stop. It was interesting, but it wasn’t medicine. Well, life happened and I now have 2 kids, 1 born when I started the MS program and my 2nd born 2 weeks ago. While on parental leave I have gotten the chance to really take a break and spend a lot of time reflecting on my life and where I want it to go. Right now I do IT Consulting which consist of a lot of client interactions, solving problems and constant learning, all of which are aspects I really enjoy. But its not fulfilling and I am not passionate about it. Through this whole journey to self-discovery, my yearning to practice medicine has grown to an almost unbearable desire. I have to try.

Having mouths to feed, working 50 hour weeks, and having to make time to be there for my kids and wife leaves little free time, so I want to use it wisely. I have 1 DO that has agreed to let me shadow him if his admin approves and hope to find more if I can during covid19. Other than this and maybe trying to squeeze in a few hours a week volunteering at a hospital or low income clinic, what else can I do to improve my odds? Given the red flags peppered throughout my story, do I stand a chance? I will be applying next year.

Dual Bachelors of Science in Biology and Biopsychology
Graduating Cumulative GPA 3.779 (grade replacement included in their calculation - I retook some classes)
Science GPA: Guessing around a 3.50 (again, grade replacement)

Boston University, approximately 4 courses completed in MS in CIS Data Analytics
B+ (3.3)

~75 hours of volunteering as a Dental Assistant at a low income health clinic
-Several leadership roles in school clubs
-2x Organized a school-wide Saturday of Service doing garden work where the produce goes to low income families and the homeless
School volunteering (probably another 25 hours)

Hi there! I applaud you for turning your life around and working hard towards your goal. I just finished my 1st year of DO school and also have two kids. Being a non-traditional student definitely takes extra effort and perseverance to navigate through so many bumps on the road.

I think you already have enough volunteering and shadowing hours while juggling responsibilities at home. The main question is whether you gained the sense of what it’s like to be in medicine and what you took home from your experience, not how many more hours of shadowing and volunteering you may feel like you need for the application purposes. Having said that, it’s still good to continue any volunteering activities you may have even once a month if you can. I used to take my older child to volunteer to pack food for the needy. You can teach your child important lessons and also engage in community service.

I know you have to provide your family but you will have to find time to study for MCAT. I know people who have studied for MCAT working for 40-50 hours a week and still did an outstanding job but they are all single people. Find what works for you and your family and be consistent about studying.

I used to listen to Dr. Gray all the time during my postbacc days between my commutes. Stories I heard on his podcast really helped me get to where I am so I’m here to help if you have more questions.

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Thank you! The volunteering I did back in 2015-2016, so I’d imagine I might need to bring it up to current. Shadowing happened in 2016 but the DO did not write LORs so I couldn’t get 1. She only allowed me to shadow for a day, but nevertheless it was an incredible experience. I will definitely need more shadowing experience which will be challenging with covid19 and having a FT job right now, but I will get it by the time I apply next year for 2022 entry. I was thinking volunteering in emergency on the weekend and hope to shadow an ER DO in a few months when I can take a few days off of work. Love your feedback on taking my oldest with me to volunteer. Thank you for the reply and encouragement! Would love to speak with you more on your experiences given you are in the same life stage.

No Problem! I didn’t get to shadow a DO doc because there wasn’t one around here at the time. So it is not absolutely necessary to shadow a DO. I would imagine everyone is affected by COVID in terms of their plans to shadow, research, and etc. But do what you can and start getting your LOR and personal statement ready. Some of my classmates are even volunteering online. I think we can all be creative. You can find me with the same name on here on instagram and send me a direct message if you would like. I’ve been there so I understand the struggles. Good luck!