MD + retake or apply DO only?

I have a 3.5 post bacc GPA from a top school.

I did 7 practice MCATs and A TON of individual problems (Kaplan and AAMC) and never got below a 31 with a 34 as a high. I took the real thing and got a 28, I’m not a URM.

I am wondering about just applying to DO or retaking and applying to MD and I am not sure what to do. I want to apply for matriculation in 2013. I’m not sure how to go about retaking at this point.

Here are a few things to consider:

I tried my hardest during my post bacc.

I studied for the MCAT pretty intensely for 5 months.

I took the MCAT without entirely finishing my bio sequence, I did finish almost all of it though and independently studied the things I did not cover.

The real MCAT seemed SOMEHOW to almost exclusively cover stuff I was weak on. The practice tests did not do this. I’m not sure if this is luck of the draw or more difficult tests. I took AAMC 9 and 10 and did fine. Other than that I’m not really sure why I did so poorly on the real MCAT, maybe, maybe maybe because the resolution was different and I somehow didn’t see questions but I don’t think that is it. I walked out of the test feeling good.

I really don’t know how DO vs MD change your options. I know DO’s can technically do anything but I am not sure what the market looks like when match time comes. I don’t know why high MCAT/GPA people really tend towards MD. I don’t want to be a big time researcher but I also don’t want to unnecessarily limit my jobs this early.

I’m not sure what specialty I want to do. I’ve shadowed a ton of different specialists and I like a few of them and only dislike surgery (I want more patient contact). I’ve been told you don’t know until your rotations. I’m nervous about going DO and being forced to doing primary care in a rural area (which I may actually chose to do but I don’t want to commit to it this early.)

I prefer being in the top 1/3 of a class or at least top 1/2. I feel I learn better. I’ve been in the bottom half and I felt always 1/2 a step behind which I did not like.

Thanks for advice.

I think you should do more research on DO schools… they don’t all send you out to a farm town to practice family medicine. It’s not “DO’s can technically do anything”… they CAN, no technically about it.

With your research you may find a program that really fits you, and nothing’s stopping you from still applying to MD programs with that score, especially if you apply early.

My .02

I agree with Captain Mark, one of my letter writers for my application is a D.O. Orthopaedic surgeon on faculty at an allopathic medical school. He is EXTREMELY well respected by patients and colleagues alike.

You also mentioned you prefer being in the “top 1/3 or at least the top 1/2” of the class. While an excellent goal, almost every medical student was the “smart kid” in their premed classes only to arrive at medical school and now find themselves average. At that point, only the “smart kids” are left! Just do your best to learn as much as possible about medicine!

Good luck to you!


Thanks for the responses. I know a lot of DOs that have done very well and I don’t want to post in a disrespectful way because that is not how I feel at all.

I guess what I am curious about is that it seems rare for people to get into MD and DO both and go DO and I don’t know why. I want to go somewhere I fit in more than “the best school possible” but at the same time don’t want to not get a residency I want in the future because of a choice I make now.

The class rank thing is I just don’t like feeling like the professor is teaching above or below me. If that doesn’t apply in medical school that’s fine. I want to say its not but I’ll say its only slightly an ego thing, it is much more about getting the most out of lecture though.

Hmm - I applied and could have gone MD or DO but went DO. Liked the school better and wanted the “hand skills” of OMT.

Regarding residencies, I published in another post the breakdown of residencies people matched into from my school this year. And that is at a school that DOES emphasize rural primary care (which is what I am looking for - but with my long experience in the field I entered knowing what I wanted). Can’t find it off the top of my head but included psych, general surgery, anesthesia, IM, ER, radiology, orthopedics, OB-GYN, peds, opthalmology… You really aren’t limited in the residencies. You can pick a more urban school (like PCOM) if rural primary care is not your thing. Just so you know…


Honestly, there are lots of people who apply to both MD and DO school and are accepted by both. As Kate and others said, DO or MD offer you the same options in terms of residencies and career. Going “where you fit in” is really a great goal. Are you at all interested in OMM? Also, do you have a lot of experience (work, volunteer, and/or research) to back up your application?

You could always apply to both for this cycle, especially if you have strengths in other areas, and consider re-taking your MCAT in August or Sept so you could update with that score before the end of the cyle (not sure when you took the MCAT and how much additional time you’d anticipate taking to study for a second attempt).

I chose DO for a lot of reasons, but also applied MD. A 28 MCAT is not an instant death ray for MD schools - if you apply to schools that include the 28 in that range. Do your research (MSAR for MD) and apply to a few golden reaches, but be sure to apply to those schools who actually accept lower scores. (PS: Don’t take that info from SDN, seriously use the MSAR)

Finally, DO gets more options. You can take both the COMLEX and the USMLE, allowing you to go into either allopathic and osteopathic residencies. MANY of the DO’s I’ve met did MD residency, because the programs they were most interested in happened to be in MD-heavy cities.

At the end of the four years, both get called “Doctor,” and you can find DOs and MDs teaching at each other’s schools.

Post bacc gpa and an mcat score are far from the whole story.

What is your cGPA? What is your sGPA? What are your EC’s like? How do you feel about your LOR’s (I know that’s a tough one)?