Give up on MD?

So I’m beginning to realize that I might have to give up on MD and focus on DO only. I’m taking OChem II and Philosophy this semester and will have all pre-reqs completed (except Biochem and Bio III for those schools that require it). Although I wanted to take Ochem at another place, I had to take it at this CC because of timing. Problem is that this CC is one of those real “Harvard on the hill” types. Science classes and labs are loaded up with busy work and homework. I’m starting to realize that the bulk of my MCAT prep will have to happen after the semester ends. Which means June and July and MCAT July 28.

That would push my application into mid-Sep and my understanding from that other site is that mid-Sep is quite late for MD but on time for DO. So what to do? Give up hopes of MD? Stick with the DO cycle only? Apply MD and hope for a miracle? I don’t have a problem with DO per se as my ultimate goal is FM or IM. The only issue I have with DO is that most schools have you move after 2nd year and then again after 3rd year. There are a few schools that allow both clinical years to be completed in the same town and those would be the ones I would target. I would not want to apply to schools such as PNWU for example - I don’t want to be moving between AK, OR, WA, MT, ID every 3 months for rotations.

My #1 choice is UCSD, but that’s going to be a tough one unless my MCAT score rocks. My estimated sGPA is 3.63, I’m an ORM, will have mediocre ECs and LORs and don’t have any kind of amazing life story.

As with everything, if you don’t try, you have absolutely no chance at it happening… If you can afford the fees, what’s the harm in trying?

I did a June MCAT, application completed in like September timeframe (did not realize I could submit without my MCAT score), and am now finishing up my 2nd year at an MD school. I applied to a DO school in december and got in, but I think for both systems, the earlier the better because many schools start filling their classes early. I got in MD off a waitlist (April/May timeframe) but was outright accepted at DO (Feb/Mar).

I totally get your frustration with having to move around at schools without dedicated teaching hospitals. There are some schools that will put you in a “region” so you could theoretically only move once, if ever. Case in point, Campbell (private DO school) does their first 2 years on site, then for rotations can go to different regions of North Carolina. I talked to 2 students there who moved to Charlotte for years 3 and 4 because all of their stuff will be done within like 30 minutes of the main city. Downside is they have to actually drive to campus every 4-8 weeks for shelf exams (end of rotation tests). Other students were regionally closer to the school (Raleigh or Fayetteville) and could theoretically stay put all 4 years. Definitely something to ask about during interviews or while researching where you apply.

True. I will put in an application at UCSD no matter what, and perhaps some mid to low tier MDs. I think I can get the verification process started without the MCAT score and hopefully that will help. Like you mentioned, there are some DO schools that make it possible to move only once. I think Western has all rotations within a 50 mile radius around Los Angeles, DMU has full-year sites for 3rd year (not sure about 4th), ACOM has the possibility of all 4 years in Dothan or 2+2, and a few others - OK state, OU, KCU Joplin. Strangely, this information is extremely difficult to come by just looking at websites and for all the info on SDN, there’s only one thread on this topic.

The reason for me wanting this might seem stupid, but I have 2 cats and it would be impossible to find accommodations every 3-6 months that also allow pets. I don’t have parents living in this country that I could ship them off to, and dumping them at a shelter because I can’t find a way is not an option.

A lot of DO schools will have multiple sites in the same area as the school. My school required all our sites to be 40 miles or so in the radius of where school was. If they weren’t, they were classified as “out of area rotations”. I did almost all my 3rd year at the same hospital, and 4th year with auditions I moved some, but that’s because I wasn’t limited applying to programs regionally. I have classmates that applied to and rotated at hospitals again in the same region as school. So it’s very doable to not have to move, particularly for something like IM, FM where there are many programs. This would be an excellent question to ask at interviews. Or you can just call the schools and ask. I wouldn’t write off DO schools due to rotations. Good Luck to you on your journey!

Thanks Sync. I’m not writing off DO at all. In fact, given my MCAT timeline, I was thinking of going DO and skipping MD altogether with the exception of UCSD (it would be nice to continue living here as I have friends etc from my nearly two decades living here). There definitely are DO schools where rotations can be completed with only one move after 2nd year, or all 4 years in one location. Will definitely ask about this at interviews. I need to focus on the MCAT and get a score good enough that gives me options such that I can pick and choose from a list of DO schools instead of being stuck with only one acceptance.


Just go with both. Do the best you can on the MCAT and I am pretty sure that MD can be a real possibility. Now I know that California is where your heart is, but in truth it is super competitive. You should expand your area of interest and if you apply broadly enough with a good MCAT, you can land an acceptance. Now MD in California is a bit harder but not impossible, DO very doable (I have a friend who did with a relatively low MCAT).

The bottom line is focus on what you can control. You have the ability to apply to DO and MD, so you should do that (even if it is time consuming and costly etc…). But in the end, it is all worth it.

Good luck buddy (and check your email).

What would be the consequences of pushing your MCAT out even farther and waiting one more cycle?

@englishprofessor wrote:

What would be the consequences of pushing your MCAT out even farther and waiting one more cycle?

It’s all in the head, but pushing out one more cycle would cause increased frustration (started pre-reqs in 2010) and age (already in my 40s). Would rather get into a DO school now than have to wait another year. I have absolutely no problem with DO with the exception of having to move around for rotations.

I hear you. I’ll turn 40 (gulp) in September, so I can understand going the D.O. route. What I will say, however, is that competitive D.O. schools (KCU-COM, Midwestern U, DMU-COM, etc.) have not been friendly to me while applying late in this cycle. That said, my MCAT wasn’t killer this go round. I would look into the newer state schools and newer privates in CA that are MD as well. Good luck!

Ah, the big 40. Don’t worry, it’ll pass. That’s too bad you did not get interest from the older established schools. I won’t be applying to MWU, both IL and AZ. I think their tuition is outrageous compared to all other DO schools. I do have KCU Joplin and DMU on my list. KCU-KC will depend on my MCAT score. My other targets are the newer schools - ACOM in particular because a current 4th year student tells me that most of their sites are 2-year sites and it might even be possible to do all 4 years in Dothan if one wanted. I think KCU Joplin is this way as well. Western Pomona also makes it possible to have 4 years in the same location but I think they don’t accept less than a full BS degree (I have a foreign degree with 60 credits US postbacc).

PNWU would be the worst for me. Moving between Alaska, Washington, Oregon and other states every 3-6 months for 2 full years.

I guess I should update. I’ve grudgingly accepted the fact that I don’t have enough EC hours as of now, so pushing this one more cycle would be the best, despite my age. So I’m going to focus on checkboxing, as cynical as that sounds, take the MCAT next Jan, and put together a strong MD+DO app next June. What’s one more year, right?

Who says that? An admin or SDN?

I literally had 0 hours of anything “EC” after high school outside of a military career. Point being is don’t eliminate yourself because you think they will, make them make a decision…

Mostly SDN. Seen too many threads in the “Reapplicant” forum where folks with a 4.0 and 520 MCAT did not make it. Feedback hinted at “not enough clinical experience.” In your case, perhaps the mil background helped? As of now, I’m also constrained by the fact that I will not have OChem II completed, nor Bio III, nor Biochem. With the pre-reqs that I have completed, and claiming Biochem and OChem II as pending, I can maybe apply to 7-8 DO schools. I’ve not looked at the MD side. If I do next year, I can have many boxes checked, more pre-reqs completed, and put together a good MD+DO app, so perhaps best to do that. It’s just 1 more year out of my life…

Don’t write off schools without contacting them and speaking to someone there. There’s a lot of requirements that are posted but if you meet some internal checkbox they have wiggle room. Like my 3rd year surgical clerkship Attending always said, “set yourself up for success”. He was talking about Port placement, but really that saying has become my mantra regarding any action :wink: . So gather information, and when the time to apply comes apply broadly but strategically, and you’ll give yourself the most opportunities.

I agree, and that’s why I think targeting the 2018 cycle is the better thing to do, and that’s what I’ve decided. I only want to do this once and not be a reapplicant, and this seems to be the best way.

you have to do your due diligence in research of the schools. Not every school will require you to move for rotations. Some of the schools have their own hospital systems.

I just need to take a moment to vent.

I wanted to apply 3 months ago, but decided to postpone to the 2018 cycle because I wanted to make sure I have the minimum hours required in clinical and non-clinical volunteering. The non-clinical part is going fine. Have 70 hours at the food bank and will easily have 120 hours by next June. Will also have 40-60 beach cleanups and such.

The clinical part has been incredibly frustrating. Signed up at one hospital and 90% of the time, I am assigned to the front desk, where there’s already a person assigned. I just sit there for 4 hours doing nothing, with occasional escorting of visitors to the cashier, outpatient pavilion, etc. 9% of the remaining time when I am lucky to escape the front desk, it’s shuttling documents from billing, coding, case management, etc. Then 1% of time is actually face time with patients (book cart, dropping off food at nurse station and therefore get to peek into the rooms - I’ll take that as “clinical” because I saw a patient.)

This hospital does not allow volunteers to transport patients, so that is not available. Signed up for a 100-hr commitment and although no one’s going to arrest me if I walk away, I’ll feel like a douche. I hate the front desk stuff so much that I’ve only been going once a month. Will take me forever to honor that 100-hr commitment. Contacted yet another hospital that is part of the same network as my front-desk hospital and they do have evening and weekend slots, but they have waiting lists for specific areas, so I might end up at the front desk again or the gift shop.

Contacted another local hospital that is part of a larger group of hospitals in this town and they only have “a few” slots in the evenings and almost none on weekends. There are about 7-8 hospitals in this group and I can’t imagine that the others have different policies. Filled out an application at a hospice, never heard from them. Spent an hour on a scribe application, did the typing test, etc. Nothing.

Got a physician contact from a co-worker, and emailed her. Physician replied within a day and suggested to contact such and such person in HR. I did, was told to send TB test and complete application online. Did so, then nothing. Called and left voicemails 3 times. Emailed 2 times. Nothing. Physician replies in a day, and this HR chick is nonresponsive. I could rat her out to the physician or let it go. I let it go. This was supposed to be both a volunteering and shadowing opportunity. It’s been a few months, but I’m now considering ratting out the HR chick.

Looked at free clinics and county clinics - not many around and they all have waiting lists. Looked for per diem or PRN patient transporter gigs on Indeed and other employment sites. No positions available, even if I were ready to quit my job and do this full time. Thought about a CNA course, but I’ll have to take an additional 25 days off from work on top of my 30 day vacation. And I’m light on workload as it is, and in a precarious position. So that could be fatal to my employment and I’d have to deal with an engineering job search on top of everything else. EMT is not even a possibility given the length of the course.

If I do find something, background checks, interviews, orientations, etc take months. I am on vacation all of November. Basically I have to find a gig NOW, so I can go through the background check and then have Dec-Jul to get 80 hrs clinical and be a barely “qualified” applicant. And I’ve not even figured out how to deal with the shadowing component yet. I have 4 hours with one physician. I had sent a thank you note after, with a comment that if he would allow, I would like to return for more. Never heard back.

Joined this site with many others. They are entering residency or getting very close and here I am, still grinding away. I’m starting to get bitter about the process. Venting, not asking, but I will take any and all suggestions or ideas.

@ Dullhead, I know how you feel about where others are compared to you because I sometimes feel the same. But you should NEVER compare your life to others. What is supposed to happen in theirs is ONLY theirs, and what’s supposed to happen to you, is yours. Now that I’m over 50, I’ve decided not to discuss my plans with ANYONE else outside of my PhD advisors because the lack of support or encouragement is just too much. And quite frankly, I wanna hear that bullsh*t. I’m working my plan one semester at a time, and things are going great, I’ll get there (med school) when I get there.

You just need to stay focused and steadfast working toward your goals.

Also, did yo think about volunteering at a nursing home? I can’t imagine them turning you down since they’re typically short staffed.

@Doc201X wrote:

Also, did yo think about volunteering at a nursing home? I can’t imagine them turning you down since they’re typically short staffed.

Thanks. I agree we just need to stay focused. Frustrated that the process of getting there seems interminable. I’m 90% of the way there and the last 10% seems very difficult. But I agree, need to stay focused. I’ve not tried nursing homes, but the second hospital in the same network as currently volunteering hospital is looking promising. Now that I know the pitfalls, I made it absolutely clear what I’m looking for and that I’m applying next year and need the hours to be “clinical”. They said they always have openings in the ER, and this hospital allows volunteers to transport patients. Most other hospitals here specifically employ patient transporters, so that’s not available to volunteers. Anyway, looks like this gig might work out. Then on to tackling the shadowing problem.