I am 33 years old and applying to medical school for the second time. Last year I was waitlisted at MCW. This year I am waitlisted at GWU which is my favorite school and I have acceptances at CCOM and SGU in the Caribbean.
Can anyone offer advice on whether or not I should go the DO route or the Caribbean route if GWU does not work out? My original goal was to get accepted into an American MD program. My stats are 3.33-3.40 ugrad gpa; 3.7 postbac and grad gpa and I have taken the mcat several times but my last score was a 29P (10PS, 10VR and 09BS). Any insight from those that have been there would be great.
Tough call, Aza. The best advice I can give you is to do some research in several areas.
First, check out the financial aid situation. Are either of the options going to require private loans? If so, is your credit good enough that private loans won’t be an issue?
Second, start thinking about specialties. Match rates are highest for US students at US allo schools, followed by US Students from DO schools, then US students from foreign schools, and then foreign students from foreign schools. It can be very difficult to match for residency from a Carib school. If you are fairly certain you are interested in a specialty that usually doesn’t fill all of it’s positions in the match (IM and FP in particular), this is less of a concern.
Perhaps some of our DO/carib people can add some additional things to think of.
Thanks for the feedback Emergency.
I have looked into the questions you posted and it looks like I will have to take out a PEL or some other private loan but I have good credit so that’s less of an issue.
In regards to the match rate you are exactly right in that US Allo matches higher than US Osteo, US Osteo matches higher than US Caribb, etc. I am thinking of three specialties right now but that might change once I rotate: anesthesiology, psychiatry and internal medicine. Do you know if these are hard to match into as a DO?
Also keep in mind that I want to do clinical research at some point in the future although I am not sure if I want a FT role or a PT role depending on time and interest. Would this be more of an avenue for an MD?
Right now I am leaning more towards the DO over the Caribbean, unless GW pulls me off the waitlist.
I’ve got to think that research is going to be easier at any US school affiliated with an academic institution, DO or MD, than it will be in the carib.
As far as residency competitiveness, take a look at http://www.nrmp.org/data/advancedatatable s2008.pdf . This is advance data from this year’s match. 78.7% of anesthesia positions were filled by US grads, 54.8 of IM (categorical) positions, and 55.7 for psych (categorical). Anesthesia is competitive no matter what, perhaps OMD can give his two cents on matching into anesthesia as a DO or any issues that DO grads face.
Also of note in the link above: 94.2% of US allo grads matched this year, 71.6% of DO grads, and 51.9% of US Citizen-International medical school grads.
Aza, I spent all year on the GWU alternate list after interviewing in September, 1999. The internet forums for pre-meds weren’t nearly as well-developed then, but I did spend the entire year watching anxiously on SDN and trading stories with other wait-list folks. It was my impression at that time that the GWU list didn’t move all that much until May 15.
I got called on May 18, 2000 (not that I remember or anything!!!) and offered a spot in the class. A LOT of my classmates got in off the waitlist.
So hang in there, I know my experience is ancient but I suspect things aren’t that different. Be sure they know that you’re really interested in them.
And I agree with what Emergency! said, if you do have to make your best second choice, I would definitely favor US DO over Carib.
Thanks Emergency and thanks Mary for your feedback and encouragement.
The more I think about it the more DO school outweighs the Caribbean school. CCOM offers a fully-loaded curriculum as well, so if I end up there with hard work and dedication, I am sure I will be well prepared for one of my residency picks above.
Mary, how did you show interest to GW without sounding repetitive or desperate? I have already told them that they are my first choice medical school. Way before I was invited for interview and even after interview, I expressed the same sentiment. I also sent them an update about an abstract publication that I am co-author on. Other that that I might send another LOI before May 15th. What do you think Mary is that overkill?
Thanks for taking the time guys, I really appreciate it!
First - congrats on your acceptance & your waitlist. Now you have the luxury of being selective. You know you can attend med school with your acceptance…it is a luxury many would do anything to have.
Regarding matching into specialties as a DO vs a US-trained MD. With very few exceptions, I did not & have not encountered many DOs who perceived themselves to be a legit disadvantage. However, I have known many DO-students & DO-grads who conveniently use the excuse, “I am a DO; so they would never consider me” as an excuse for failure or not even having attempted to succeed. Carib graduate are at a decided disadvantage in fields that are competitive or in specific programs which are competitive.
Regarding the individual specialties you have mentioned: psych & IM are generally considered not competitive. Within the long list of IM & psych programs, there will be individual programs that are tough, but as a general rule, it is not hard to land a slot in either discipline. Anesthesiology is a whole nuther animal. It is very tough to land a slot for any US-grad, be they MD or DO.
The critical aspects of your residency apps are, for most disciplines, Letters of Rec, clinical grades, the content of your ERAS app & board scores - in no particular order. Some specialties will add in other elements, but as a general rule, these are the deal breakers that determine interview vs. reject. For most programs, if you get invited to interview, you have surmounted the academic hurdles. The interview is to establish three critically important things:
1: CAN you do the work?
2: WILL you do the work?
3: Are you someone who can fit in here & play well in the sandbox with everyone already here?
Please note the complete ABSENCE of any DO or MD qualification in that decision matrix. At the level of residency, no one gives a rat’s ass where you went to med school or the nature of your degree. If a Harvard-MD is total pain in the ass, slacks off & causes his/her colleagues grief because he/she does not carry her load, is completely arrogant or other such qualities (we have a Harvard-MD here who fits this perfectly) - they will not succeed.
Thanks for the information Old Man Dave!
I know I am not there yet but my experience as a clinical research coordinator in psychiatry left me with the feeling that DO or MD, the patients and staff responded more to how the doctor’s attitude, work ethic, and professionalism was rather than where he or she went to school or what title degree they had.
It also helps to know that I will be judged on performance rather than on where I went to med school.
Thanks again for everyone’s feedback!