So I am working on my secondaries, in TX (TMDAS) and one school is a DO school, to which I am applying of course.
Now they encourage to submit a letter from a DO and that’s an issue for me, because I didn’t shadow a DO, and do not know any. It is unlikely I will shadow one, just for the sake of getting a letter for this specific school
I have submitted 3 LORs, which in my opinion are excellent (2 of them are LORs are 4 and 5 pages, and one includes opinions from 3 science teachers). Although I haven’t read them, I believe these letters are very good. My point is that if my application as it stands doesn’t get me in the school, I doubt a letter would change things a lot. But in truth I do not know.
So is not having this letter going to simply kill my chances? The school is TCOM,#2 on the list. I know it is quite selective, and after meeting with the director of admission (or something like that) about 2 years ago, I almost got told that my chances would remain low, no matter what. My impression was that I shouldn’t even try, but I am thinking, if I don’t, then they won’t say yes.
I would give it a shot. Do you have an MD that you shadowed? Some DO schools are ok with an MD letter. You’d have to check and have a pretty good reason why you didn’t shadow a DO and why you still want to be a DO (you have to show an appreciation for osteopathic medicine / philosophy).
If at all possible, try to shadow a DO for a day over the next couple of months. I managed to find one in Ontario to shadow and there are only about 25 in all of Canada at the moment. You are pretty early in the application cycle so that if you got that letter in a bit later, I don’t think it would kill the app. There is a lot of verification that gets done upfront which slows the process down.
My thoughts anyway. Good luck.
Generally if they say they do not require a letter from a DO then that is the case. Do a bit of reading and be able to discuss osteopathic medicine if you get an interview (nothing too deep but at a minimum memorizing the AOA definition of osteopathic medicine and the basic tenets of osteopathy).
I second the idea of trying to shadow a DO --at least to have that to talk about during an interview. None near you is an acceptable excuse, I think. I know several students accepted to WVSOM who brought a letter from a DO to their interview. They didn’t have it prior to that, it is supposed to be required, but being able to shadow a DO before the interview was good enough.
OK girls, thanks a lot.
I guess I have some time to figure things out. For now, I will just apply with what I have and try to shadow a DO, but I won’t have much time.
I guess, I will do the best I can given the circumstances.
Thanks a lot for your input.
Thanks for the link gab. Much appreciate.
This thread kind of makes me wonder-what exactly is the purpose of an LOR from someone you shadowed? Which is to say, I know some people have put in an exorbitant number of shadowing hours and have gotten to know a physician somewhat well, but the idea is that we get actual patient interaction from volunteering, and experiences from shadowing that we can speak of in our PS’s. So, I agree that shadowing is an excellent experience, but I can’t say that I believe I contributed a lot during the experience!
If a Dr. can’t speak of your professional ethic, work/academic quality, etc., what exactly should be coming across in one of these letters? I can more understand it for DO shadowers (like the info in the link above), but I don’t really see showing up dressed professionally and being inquisitive as LOR worthy. What am I missing?!
That’s an excellent question. The D.O. I shadowed said after 3 afternoons that he could write me a letter. Part of it is that I have been a “provider” …as a CNM haven’t been in full-scope practice for years but have been doing prenatals. He said he could see how I listened, occasionally asked a question in the room when appropriate, lots of questions outside the room. He uses the questions students ask to see how interested they are in learning, whether they do something about it if they don’t understand, if they are thinking critically about the encournter. He had 2 patients where I actually was able to contribute something - a breastfeeding mom - his advice was good but I had a few additional suggestions which he let me give the patient. Other was a couple who were planning a home birth with a direct-entry midwife (who can’t write perscriptions) with a paper from the midwife asking if he could write a perscription for some meds to have on hand to manage postpartum bleeding. He asked me to review it and see if what they were requesting looked appropriate for handling post partum bleeding at home and we discussed what is typically used and guidelines for transfer and then he wrote a prescription for the meds. So my experience wasn’t typical, but in general they are probably sizing up your interest in the patients and the medical issues/challenges. Could they see you being a successful learner. Simply talking with someone is often enough to gauge their intelligence roughly, so they might be able to say “yeah, I can see this student succeeding in med school”.
Those are my thoughts, anyway.
I agree with Kate. They are looking to see how you interact with patients (and staff) and what sorts of questions you ask (or just sit there like a bump on a log). They don’t need more than a couple of sessions to figure that out. Also for DO, they are probably looking to see if you have a clue about what it is and why you are drawn to osteopathic medicine.
Since your comments seem to be about shadowing/volunteering LORs as a whole, and not just D.O. apps, here is the information that was passed on to me through my school’s pre-med committee. We were advised not to secure LORs from those we’ve shadowed or from places we volunteered (unless the volunteering was over a very extended period of time and included significant leadership roles). Our advisor said this advice comes from years of interacting with adcoms and finding out what they see as helpful when making their decisions. Typically students will try to get LORs from the volunteer coordinator, with whom they’ve had very little interaction, or from a physician they shadowed a few times. Under these circumstances, it’s not that the LORs would negatively impact an app, but they wouldn’t add anything in the eyes of adcoms. Obviously this is not the case for D.O. applicants since a D.O. LOR is required. Obviously just one committee’s opinion.
That’s kinda what I thought.
Kate and LJ-I didn’t mean anything rude at all, was just wondering . It is just my impression that of all the things we do and prove how “valuable” we are, so to speak, just being interactive and polite (and prepared, when it comes to DO shadowing) seems like, for lack of a better phrase, such a low standard!
Again, I was mostly kinda curious to see what might be expected from adcoms in these letters, since the typical experience would make it hard to stand out. But, Kate’s experience is clearly one to strive for! You’re an outstanding example Kate.
- RHouston Said:
If a Dr. can't speak of your professional ethic, work/academic quality, etc., what exactly should be coming across in one of these letters? I can more understand it for DO shadowers (like the info in the link above), but I don't really see showing up dressed professionally and being inquisitive as LOR worthy. What am I missing?!
My pre-med advisor really drilled into me that volunteering was not about patient interaction or medical exposure - it was about showing dedication to your community. This was the reason I did not spend a lot of time volunteering in the hospital, but instead pursued more personally meaningful opportunities.
He also drilled into me that shadowing was about proving you were capable of not being full of yourself long enough for someone to want to write you a LOR.