help/advice, whatever!

huh.gif Hi all.
Mary from GW, I wrote you quite awhile ago, right before my interview at GW. (too bad we didn't meet!)
I'm not exactly sure what it is I would like to ask you, so here goes:
I have just found out today that I am accepted into GW! I also hold an osteo acceptance at a school I really like. Not at all sure even now what I want to do. I believe I will go into PM&R eventually (athelete/dancer background), so in that case, osteo seems great. HOWEVER, I love the DC area, and think I might have more opportunities with MD, as well as more options to do international stuff, which has always been in the back of my mind. Huge dilemma for me is the thought of being an extra 60,000$ (maybe, if I get no grants) in debt by going GW. I think if I were 23 instead of 43, I would do the GW route and not worry about it, but at this rate, will I ever pay off the debt? I also worry about getting enough aid to live in the area, as I am sole supporting and single.
So what am I asking here? Again, not sure, but I figured I could maybe get some much needed feedback. I do realize I am the only one who can make this decision, and GW wants me to drop the other acceptance by 5/15.
Thanks in advance. I guess you could call me a "lurker" wink.gif but your posts have really helped in the past.

Unless your passionate about OMM with DO school, I think you'd be better served with the MD diploma, especially if your considering international. You'll be able to pay back the loans, they're just a part of the process IMHO.

The loans for GW are quite substantial - it is one of THE most expensive medical schools in the United States. Tuition and fees for this year’s freshman are close to $40,000, and there is no guarantee that the rates won’t go up during your tenure here. (my tuition has gone up each year) So do the math - that’s $160,000 in loans just for tuition. If you borrow just $10,000 per year on top of that for living expenses (and I honestly don’t know how you could live on that little in the Washington area), your loans - before you start compounding interest - amount to $200K. That is enough to give one pause, certainly.
Since you’ve been on this board for awhile, you should know that the D.O. degree is not by any means limiting in the United States. It’s a nice fit for PM&R, too. However, it is true that your ability to practice in other countries is limited with a D.O. in ways that aren’t a problem for an M.D. There are some old threads on this if you search. To be honest, since it isn’t an issue that affects me, I haven’t paid much attention.
I do NOT agree with the blanket statement that “you are better served” by the M.D. degree. The folks who matter - that is, insurance companies and the physicians who will refer patients to you - don’t care which degree you have.
So the bottom line is up to you. GWU is frightfully, frightfully expensive. The Washington area is one of the most expensive places in the United States to live. A very small one-bedroom apartment in Rosslyn (one Metro stop from GWU, but on the other side of the Potomac River) is $900-$1000 per month, not including electricity. Gas is, hmmm, about $1.69/gal for regular at the moment.
You don’t say where the D.O. school is - certainly there are a lot of positives to living in Washington, it is a great city. Only you can decide if it’s worth what it will cost.

Mary, DcK,
Thanks for the response.
The other school is DMU, which I think is great. The people are friendly, nice facilities, and I am sure that I would get a good education. I would still owe one heck of a price tag at the end, just not as much as GW. DcK, no, I am not “passionate” about OMM, but I don’t think that I know enough about the actual nuts and bolts to have much of an opinion yet. I do know that if I go MD I will try to do manip in CE at some point, because I have seen it’s value in physical therapy. I am torn for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that I love cities, so obviously DC appeals to me. I also have a family member in that area. I think I need to look up match lists for GW to see if there appears to be much of a difference.
Mary, I talked to financial aid today, and it sounds as if there is some kind of “needs based grant” money available. Do you know anything about this?
Thanks again for your responses!

  1. Don't make any decisions until you get a financial aid package estimate. It may well include some need-based grants, especially since you are single and have no other income in the family. Talk to these folks on the phone and see if you can get even a rough estimate.
    2. DC can be great. And not so expensive. You can share an apt. for much less than what Mary cites, if you're willing to go that route. And, I spent much more than I ordinarily would have because of a unique series of personal circumstances, but still had a really amazing studio apt. with a beautiful view for $925 in Adams-Morgan. If you love cities, live in the city. (That's my theory anyway.)
    3. I think if you want to do international work then the MD is going to be easier.
    4. Figure out the real difference in debt load from each school once your packages are estimated, and try to figure out what the difference in your monthly/annual payments would be. Then decide whether you can live with that much less income relative to the average salary of a physician. If you're doing something that presently pays much less than a doctor's salary (as I was), you may feel that the difference seems trivial (as I did) compared to your relative future possible affluence (should you choose to care about being affluent in the future).
    I'm biased–but I think DC is full of opportunities that might be worth paying a fairly good chunk of change for–research, policy, more variety in clinical exposure, etc, etc. Stuff that could change your life. But you have to actually use those opportunities to make it worthwhile, of course.
    I don't know–it kind of sounds like you want to go to GWU, and are worrying about the money. Not that I'm going to be paying your bills, so, take this for what it's worth, but I say, figure out what your heart says you should do, and then figure out how to pay for it.
    Either way, good luck and congrats on having choices–
    boston joe

Thanks Joe!
I would love to wait for the FA packages…but I am under the impression that I must make a decision by the 15th according to AAMC. I do plan on asking GW if I can wait to retract any other acceptance until I see the aid package. Do you know anything about this?
And, you're right, I am very happy about actually having a choice, especially after 5 years of pre-reqs, working several jobs, and not knowing if it would all work out.
You all have been awesome today, thank you!

You are not expected to make a decision without all of the facts you need. Schools understand that you are weighing financial stuff as you make your decision. It's always been my impression that the May 15 deadline is a strong suggestion but that you won't be kicked out of line while you are awaiting final info about your aid.
I'm afraid I don't have any info about the needs-based stuff at GWU - I wasn't eligible for any of it!
You need to be sure that both schools know that you are in the final stages of making a decision. Make sure you are talking to BOTH the FA office and the admissions office. Do NOT assume that FA will keep admissions posted on what's happening.
as Joe said, how nice that you have a choice!

I agree with Mary, as long as you're communicating very clearly with everyone you may be able to wait after the May 15 deadline–but make sure to be absolutely honest about why you need to wait. (This may not work if you've missed deadlines–ie, if the financial aid delay is your fault in their eyes–but even so, might still work then too.) Also, many financial aid officers are able to eyeball your info and guesstimate a rough ballpark figure (which will probably turn out to be right) about what your package will be, without promising it to you in writing. You may want to see if you can convince them to do that as an interim solution to help your process of decisionmaking along.

Congrats on getting into GW!!!
DC can be less expensive – I think the rents might be coming down a bit. Capitol Hill (one of my favorite areas) is pretty cheap and on the organe/blue lines that will take you right to GW. (And it's pretty safe).

This is VERY helpful…thank you all.
Mary, it sounds as if you are telling me to also notify the other school and let them know that I am not yet sure? I am working on the decision, but if I don’t “know” by the 15th, I believe that I will be calling their admissions office.
Again, thank you all for such great advice and support. I wish I could be at this year’s conference. Maybe next year. smile.gif

Hi all.
I want to thank you again for great advice and for listening. Difficult decision, but I am GWU bound!
Very happy and excited.
The financial aid stuff worked out, I was even able to wait for answers, and the end cost will be similar if not less than the other program.
If anyone hears of a household looking for a roomie in the DC area, let me know. I have had several promising leads.
Good luck to all, my thoughts are with you in DC. Wish I could be there for the conference!
I want to thank you again for great advice and for listening. Difficult decision, but I am GWU bound! Very happy and excited.

Congrats ! smile.gif

Congratulations! That's great that you were able to make the decision in an informed way, and great that it worked out in a way that it sounds like will work for you.