Will you go MD or DO or Whichever you get into?

I have made a concious decision to only apply to DO schools. Not because of the slightly lower mcat/gpa entrance scores, but because i believe in the philosophy of holistic medicine.
Are there others doing the same? Why or Why not?
If you chose MD only, why?

Unlike studentdoctor.net or the old Princeton Review forums, you won’t find much in the way of “MD vs. DO” here. I think for the most part OPMs will go wherever they get in, within whatever constraints they’ve got in terms of location, etc.
I have to tell you as an MD graduate that the “holistic” stuff touted by DO schools is, IMHO, a PR stunt and I am pretty sure that my DO colleagues will agree with me. We allopaths want just as much to treat the whole person and hear their concerns as the next doc. We are going to follow a “biopsychosocial” model just like our osteopathic colleagues. And actually if you look at the allopathic schools’ PR materials, they emphasize “treating the whole person” too.
I’m not knocking your choice, but I would urge you not to eliminate any school, MD or DO, based on this particular criterion. You can be as holistic as you want, wherever you go.
Mary

Hey Mary
I read your Bio stuff, Congratz! Actually the MD / DO issue for me has to do a bit with my practice. Possibly I have been isolated but I have noticed that my favorite Doc’s were always DO’s. Moreover, I have had numerous bad interactions with admissions people from MD schools, most noteably here in AZ.
When i entered the admission office and talked with the admit guy from Tuscon State Med school (MD) I had specific questions. Mostly how my age and experience as an RN would help/hinder me in the admissions process. He proceeded to tell me that it would be a great help in 3rd and 4th year as well as residency. Then he finished by telling me that it would have absolutely no berring on my admission and if i wanted to get in i needed to have highly competitive MCAT/GPA and they chose people for interviews 100% based upon that. Creme of the crop is what he said as i remember.
In direct contrast, when i went to the DO school and told them my experience as an RN and publishing in journals etc, he was visibly excited. He stated directly to me that they actively looked for people like me and if i got average scores on the MCAT and GPA i was guarenteed an excellent chance.
I may have had a bad experience, however, I have heard a similar one from many others. Maybe it jaded me, but along with my personal experiences it had pushed me towards DO school.
As an aside. The fact that DO schools have slightly lower GPA and MCAT requirements is probably attractive to many non-trads. I think this is due to the difficulty that can come with getting high GPA and MCAT scores when dealing with real life.

I have NEVER even considered DO…until today. One of the drawbacks for me in embarking on another 4 year course of education was the geographical barrier. I live in central Washington where there is only 1 medical school in the entire NW region. I just found out that they are opening a new DO school in Yakima (1 hour away from me!!!) starting in 2007. Has anyone else heard anything about this school (Pacific Northwest School of Health Sciences)?

I had not heard of that one. However, I will say I believe you would be just as happy as a DO

Hi Ixchel,
I am also from the state of Washington.
Yes there is a private group attempting to build a D.O. school in Yakima Washington. However, the private organization is still attempting to secure twenty million dollars in financing. This is not the first time a group has contemplated building a D.O. school in Washington so I guess time will tell if it actually happens. It would be wonderful if the project does go through. If the group actually does build the facility it will be interesting to see what the 3rd and 4th year clerkship setup will be. With the University of Washington School Of Medicine pretty much controlling the majority of possible sites in the state, this new school may have to set up many of their third and fourth year rotations out of the area or set up sites in rural areas of the state.

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When i entered the admission office and talked with the admit guy from Tuscon State Med school (MD) I had specific questions. Mostly how my age and experience as an RN would help/hinder me in the admissions process. He proceeded to tell me that it would be a great help in 3rd and 4th year as well as residency. Then he finished by telling me that it would have absolutely no berring on my admission and if i wanted to get in i needed to have highly competitive MCAT/GPA and they chose people for interviews 100% based upon that. Creme of the crop is what he said as i remember.





In direct contrast, when i went to the DO school and told them my experience as an RN and publishing in journals etc, he was visibly excited. He stated directly to me that they actively looked for people like me and if i got average scores on the MCAT and GPA i was guarenteed an excellent chance.







I would avoid trying to draw conclusions about your admissions prospects at a particular school (or type of school–whether it’s MD or DO) based on conversations you have with individuals from that school. Yeah, it’s good to take the advice that admissions people give you along the way. But those same people can surprise you when you actually get to the application stage, in both good and bad ways. Don’t assume that a school is going to treat you more favorably because you had a positive conversation with someone there, or that they’ll be less open to you just because you got what seemed like a cooler reception somewhere else. Just do your best and apply to the schools that interest you.





It sounds like both these people told you the truth as seen from their perspective. Some people get gooey when it comes to life/work experience; others focus more on quantifiable factors. But it is quite likely that the admissions committees at BOTH schools are balanced out by people who come from all parts of that spectrum. Also, I have noticed that people who seem more “enthusiastic” on the surface can sometimes be the ones who let you down when the time comes for an official review of your application. They still have to do the same job as the ones who might seem a little colder at first. I’m not making any general statement here; I’m just trying to say that you should apply to schools based on the curriculum, location, etc.–not based on the response you get from any particular person.

Hi,
I chose osteopathy for the holistic pitch too. It depends on which do school you are speaking to. Some schools they happen to be allo schools in osteo skin. Others steep thier students in what osteo was origonally intended as, and how omm is utilized, and will, in all areas of medicine. Other schools the osteo philosophy and omm are mentioned and covered to pass boards. Beyond that students forget and loos touch with much of theh info…
On the flip side, most doc’s practice evidence based medicine and do so with care and compassion of the individual sitting infront of them…Hey good luck!
shenry

I just heard that there was a 15 acre land donation given to the group last week, so they at least have a home for the school assuming they get the rest of the 20 million needed. As of now I think they only have 3 million raised. If nothing else, it has opened my eyes to DO school, which I had never considered before mainly due to ignorance on my part. I may have to go talk to a few DOs around town

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Don’t assume that a school is going to treat you more favorably because you had a positive conversation with someone there, or that they’ll be less open to you just because you got what seemed like a cooler reception somewhere else.







I’ve had some of the same experience with adcoms as the OP. That is, whatever “attitude” I saw of a school prematriculation came to fruition. I’ve learned the hard way to follow my hunches. If a school just doesn’t seem like a good fit at this stage of the game, submitting an application would be a complete waste of time, IMHO.





Back to the original question, my pediatrician growing up was a DO so I’ve always been familiar with the philosophy. If there were a DO school in the state I’m relocting to next week, it would very likely be my first choice. Like you when, I’ve spoken to DO schools, they seem very excited to speak to me and I’m sure being a competitive minority applicant helps this too. My impressions from MD’s school depends on where on the US News ranking list the school is located. I’ve always received “love” (translated these schools have been very positive and helpful in discussing my application) from schools like Howard, Meharry, and Morehouse and other med schools too. But the top 10 privates schools? Without the coveted 30 MCAT many of these schools have yet to returned a phone call or email. A noticeable exception I have to mention to this is Harvard. The staff there is very positive even in light of weakness in the application.





I really do not see what what so “wrong” about what the allopathic school told you versus the osteopathic school…both were honest. The allopathic did state that your RN experience will be an asset during third/fourth year but will have no bearing into medical school admission meaning you “still” need the numbers (gpa/mcat) to get in. I see nothing wrong with this response.

PathDr2B, I’m glad to hear that Harvard is treating you right–that warms my heart.
In re: the original start of this thread:
1. “Holistic” is in the heart. Harvard has a Mind-Body Institute, is one of many medical schools that offers a version of “The Healer’s Art”, has a group devoted to the study of complementary and alternative medicines, and so on. Also a lot of people who think all of that is nonsense. Most medical schools are full of all sorts of people, with all sorts of perspectives. You choose your camp for your emotional allies and your mentors, and try to learn from people outside of your camp for other perspectives. I had a friend who went to an acupuncturist for “holistic treatment” and found that although his recommendations were different than an MD would make, they were made with as little information about her whole life, and with as much paternalistic certainty, as any MD. I’m sure there are many DOs who fit the same bill.
2. You’re assuming that your MCAT and GPA will be low. Although you may have all the information you need about GPA, have you actually taken the MCAT? And have you ruled out taking some more classes and getting As? I think you are likely selling yourself short and already developing a chip on your shoulder about the guy who said you should aim high, and indeed the whole profession (allopathic medicine) that he stood for. Would you feel the same if you got a 40 on your MCAT?
Either way, good luck with whatever you choose.
Best regards
Joe

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PathDr2B, I’m glad to hear that Harvard is treating you right–that warms my heart.


I should add that while dealing with Harvard has been great I won’t be applying there at least not until I’m ready to do an away 4th year elective in pathology!

efex has a good point. In fact I’ve said similar things myself - your life experience, your past work, are all things that’ll come in useful at some point. But don’t expect them to buy you consideration if you don’t have the numbers to back them up.
By this I mean that I have encountered a few OPMs over the years who really aren’t as mature as I’d like because they’ve expected their past experience to make up for deficiencies in their application. To paraphrase, they’ve said things like, "So what if I have an 18 on the MCAT? I have raised three kids by myself while working as a janitor and nurse’s aide and being the sole care provider of my disabled grandmother, and I could teach them a thing or two!"
Now, I’m using a bit of hyperbole in this example, obviously, but my point is that you’ve got to be at least in the same ballpark, grade and MCAT wise, to be considered. Your past experience is not going to get you a pass when they’re considering applicants, because it isn’t going to help you in the first two years of medical school.
Sorry if I rattle any cages with these statements; that’s not my intention, but another thing folks have heard me say ad nauseum on this board is “It’s their game, their ball, their rules.” And I’m sure that goes for DO schools just as much as MD schools.
Mary

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Then he finished by telling me that it would have absolutely no berring on my admission and if i wanted to get in i needed to have highly competitive MCAT/GPA and they chose people for interviews 100% based upon that. Creme of the crop is what he said as i remember.







I think some of what Mike said may have been misconstrued here unl;ess of course, I misunderstood his point. I think most people no matter how old they are when they apply to med school want the turth about their chances and don’t expect to slide in with other than solid credentials. The inherent problem with this of course is how schools define “solid credentials” or “creme of the crop”. My own personal experience is that the definition of “good credentials” is a person with a completely unblemished academic record, 30+MCAT, solid rest of package. However, as a few of us nontrads know, we don’t have “unblemished academic records”. This alone makes applying DO a great option since they seem are more likely to “forgive” past academic indescretions without requiring a 35MCAT as proof. As a matter of fact, I had one top 3 school tell me directly that there’s was NOT a school for people with other than perfect academic records. Cool, I’ll send my application elsewhere and just like schools have the “right” to accept whomever they want, we as nontrads can also place our applications with schools known to be willing to look “beyond the numbers”. In the end, everyone ends up happy, Number 3 school can continue to boast of their highGPA/MCAT matirculants, and Mr.Nontrad with the weak undergradute GPA can look forward to being called “doctor”.





Nice post and an excellent summary of how I felt! Thanks!

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Then he finished by telling me that it would have absolutely no berring on my admission and if i wanted to get in i needed to have highly competitive MCAT/GPA and they chose people for interviews 100% based upon that. Creme of the crop is what he said as i remember.


I think some of what Mike said may have been misconstrued here unl;ess of course, I misunderstood his point. I think most people no matter how old they are when they apply to med school want the turth about their chances and don’t expect to slide in with other than solid credentials. The inherent problem with this of course is how schools define “solid credentials” or “creme of the crop”. My own personal experience is that the definition of “good credentials” is a person with a completely unblemished academic record, 30+MCAT, solid rest of package. However, as a few of us nontrads know, we don’t have “unblemished academic records”. This alone makes applying DO a great option since they seem are more likely to “forgive” past academic indescretions without requiring a 35MCAT as proof. As a matter of fact, I had one top 3 school tell me directly that there’s was NOT a school for people with other than perfect academic records. Cool, I’ll send my application elsewhere and just like schools have the “right” to accept whomever they want, we as nontrads can also place our applications with schools known to be willing to look “beyond the numbers”. In the end, everyone ends up happy, Number 3 school can continue to boast of their highGPA/MCAT matirculants, and Mr.Nontrad with the weak undergradute GPA can look forward to being called “doctor”.


Hey there!
I agree, they wernt wrong per se. What i got from the MD program is that (from my perception) they dont care how good of a Doc you may be, as long as your scores are the highest. What I got from the DO program guy was “Your backround is taken into account on your app here”. This is not unusual for DO programs neither is the above experience I had with MD schools. Just traditional perspective. Also, the DO program seems to follow their philosophy with their admissions as well “whole person” not just the MCAT and GPA.

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I really do not see what what so “wrong” about what the allopathic school told you versus the osteopathic school…both were honest. The allopathic did state that your RN experience will be an asset during third/fourth year but will have no bearing into medical school admission meaning you “still” need the numbers (gpa/mcat) to get in. I see nothing wrong with this response.

Hey there.
No actually i will have a competitive GPA (non science ~3.6 science ~3.4). I dont expect to do less than a 30 on the MCAT either as i plan to devote the time nessairy to do well ( as i totally believe its only a function of effort put in).
I simply did not like the fact that a history of medical work has absolutely no impact on your admission at all at this MD school (which has been suggested to me is typical by this admission fellow). I guess what it really did was reinforce my attachment to the holistic ideas of osteopathy and how (this school at least) appears to include that in their admissions process as well.

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PathDr2B, I’m glad to hear that Harvard is treating you right–that warms my heart.
In re: the original start of this thread:
1. “Holistic” is in the heart. Harvard has a Mind-Body Institute, is one of many medical schools that offers a version of “The Healer’s Art”, has a group devoted to the study of complementary and alternative medicines, and so on. Also a lot of people who think all of that is nonsense. Most medical schools are full of all sorts of people, with all sorts of perspectives. You choose your camp for your emotional allies and your mentors, and try to learn from people outside of your camp for other perspectives. I had a friend who went to an acupuncturist for “holistic treatment” and found that although his recommendations were different than an MD would make, they were made with as little information about her whole life, and with as much paternalistic certainty, as any MD. I’m sure there are many DOs who fit the same bill.
2. You’re assuming that your MCAT and GPA will be low. Although you may have all the information you need about GPA, have you actually taken the MCAT? And have you ruled out taking some more classes and getting As? I think you are likely selling yourself short and already developing a chip on your shoulder about the guy who said you should aim high, and indeed the whole profession (allopathic medicine) that he stood for. Would you feel the same if you got a 40 on your MCAT?
Either way, good luck with whatever you choose.
Best regards
Joe

Well said Mary!
I agree!

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efex has a good point. In fact I’ve said similar things myself - your life experience, your past work, are all things that’ll come in useful at some point. But don’t expect them to buy you consideration if you don’t have the numbers to back them up.
By this I mean that I have encountered a few OPMs over the years who really aren’t as mature as I’d like because they’ve expected their past experience to make up for deficiencies in their application. To paraphrase, they’ve said things like, "So what if I have an 18 on the MCAT? I have raised three kids by myself while working as a janitor and nurse’s aide and being the sole care provider of my disabled grandmother, and I could teach them a thing or two!"
Now, I’m using a bit of hyperbole in this example, obviously, but my point is that you’ve got to be at least in the same ballpark, grade and MCAT wise, to be considered. Your past experience is not going to get you a pass when they’re considering applicants, because it isn’t going to help you in the first two years of medical school.
Sorry if I rattle any cages with these statements; that’s not my intention, but another thing folks have heard me say ad nauseum on this board is “It’s their game, their ball, their rules.” And I’m sure that goes for DO schools just as much as MD schools.
Mary

I’m really interested in hearing more about the MD schools in DO skins. Which schools do you think those are because I am someone who doesn’t want to go to one of those schools. I don’t like the midwest all that much but am probably headed there for a few years to do my training and residency because I not only want to go to a D.O. school I want at least some time in an osteopathic hospital. We do have a few osteopathic hospitals in the west but they seem to be for acute kinds of things, and they really don’t have a very full specialty base. I want to be somewhere that has that, or a good working relationship with an allopathic facility for specialty care not available in the osteopathic facility.