Intro/Deciding when to apply

Hello everyone,


I have checked out the site more than a few times and have been hesitant to post, but everyone here seems very helpful and welcoming. This site is a great resource for info and it’s nice to finally find a community of people to relate to.


Anyway, here’s the story. I’m 27 and pretty well on my way back to school. Graduated with a BS in Psych (2006) + pre-reqs and have been working in the mental health field for about three years. Took the MCAT for the 2nd time in March and got a 28O. I am planning to apply to osteopathic schools for entry in the fall of 2011, however most of my volunteer experience is 3+ years old and I have not yet spent time shadowing a physician.


I’m currently having a hard time deciding whether I should apply for this cycle or wait until the next one. I have a friend, an MD, who has agreed to let me shadow him, but he lives quite far from me (6hrs), and this would require me to spend a significant amount of $ on travel/board and request time off from work. I would only probably be able to take a week, which I worry is not significant enough. By the time I get everything together (letters of rec, personal statement, ect.) it will probably be late Nov/early Dec. I have been told that the time you submit your application is often a major determinant in whether you will get an interview or not. I personally do not mind waiting another year (considering I put it to good use), although I worry that I am delaying and missing an opportunity.


If anyone has any thoughts on the matter, or has gone through something similar, I would love to hear from them. I am glad to join the ranks of the OPM crew and wish everyone the best in their journey

I’m years away from applying, but one message that has sunk in for me is that early applications, meaning July, are your best bet. Another message that I’ve absorbed is that it’s best to apply once, do it well, and not be a re-applicant. If you look at the 2010-2011 interviews and acceptances thread on this site, you will see that people receive interview notices and acceptances as early as August. This would put Nov applicants at a significant disadvantage. I’m sure others will weigh in with their comments…

Thanks for the reply. That’s the direction I’m leaning toward, but I’m also eager to get started!

I concur. If you haven’t even submitted your AMCAS (or osteo equivalent) application yet, you are well behind in the game. It seems to me that it would be a better path to spend the next year shoring up the rest of your application - volunteer experience, shadowing, LOR’s etc, and then being ready to submit as soon as they open the application next year.


The lack of volunteering over the past couple of years isn’t in and of itself a big deal if you had considerable volunteering prior to that. I didn’t do any volunteering while taking my pre-reqs and it was never an issue (I had significant volunteering experience prior to that, though). However, the combo of the lack of shadowing, recent volunteering AND a late app is a big deal.


As above - plan to apply once with the best possible application you can.

Welcome Itski. I agree with all the above. Take this next year to get some volunteer and/or shadowing experience, and you will be much more competitive. Early decision candidates have already been accepted and regular interviews are well underway. The best you could hope for this year is a place on a waiting list.

  • ltski29 Said:
I am planning to apply to osteopathic schools for entry in the fall of 2011, however most of my volunteer experience is 3+ years old and I have not yet spent time shadowing a physician.

I'm currently having a hard time deciding whether I should apply for this cycle or wait until the next one. I have a friend, an MD...



If your are applying to osteopathic school, it should be considered a requirement to shadow a DO! Shadowing an MD is NOT a substitute that will be looked on favorably by the adcoms. It is kind of like going to apply for job at pepsi while drinking a bottle of coca-cola!

  • ltski29 Said:
By the time I get everything together (letters of rec, personal statement, ect.) it will probably be late Nov/early Dec. I have been told that the time you submit your application is often a major determinant in whether you will get an interview or not. I personally do not mind waiting another year (considering I put it to good use), although I worry that I am delaying and missing an opportunity.



Applying now would not only be a waste of time, money, and effort, you may be looked upon as a non-serious/uncommitted applicant who didn't research the application process and that could be a seriously bad mark in any future applications. Adcoms will almost always pull an old file on a reapplicant.

As for timing, you should have all your ducks in a row by JUNE 1st of the cycle.

I strongly emphasize this for several cascading reasons.

1. often you have missing pieces, delays, followups on application LOR, transcripts, etc, So you need to leave the month of June free to fix the inevitable issues.

2. Once you submit an application to AACOMAS, you will then get secondary applications from the schools that are long, essay-filled, things that need to returned quickly with compelling and concise narratives convincing adcoms that you would make an outstanding doctor

3. Admissions is on a rolling basis; seats are filled as COMPLETED applications are reviewed. If a letter is missing, , if you are waiting on an MCAT, or if a transcript from that school you took a single summer course in hasn't shown up, you don't get reviewed.

4. And don't get me started on people who take MCATs late in the cycle!

Maybe I need to switch to decaf!


Haha thanks for the tough love; it was very helpful. Any suggestions on how to set up shadowing a D.O.? Have tried iLearn and haven’t been successful with the few docs that I have contacted.

I’d go two routes. Most State Osteopathic Medical Associations have a web site listing D.O.'s in the state. That would give you some to approach.


Second - research the closest D.O. schools to where you are and see if you might be able to shadow with some of the D.O.'s associated with that school. Of course, they will probably have their own students working with them, so they may not be available, but a school holiday might be a window of opportunity.


Kate