Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What is the secret to getting into a DO school?

I am a graduating osteopathic physician. Tomorrow is my last day! Yeah! It hasn't been that hard, really - especially in the fourth year. I've basically been on cruise control since September. He He. I'm on Allergy right now and I'm loving it! The hours are hard to beat. So, anyways, I figured you guys were missing me so I thought I was write a piece on getting into a DO school. Of course, good grades and MCATs are pre-reqs for getting an interview. Once you get an interview, your chances for admission go from 1-in-10 to 1-in-3, roughly. So, getting the interview is the hardest part. And, let's extrapolate from my ratios and say comfortably that if you get 3-4 interviews (especially at DO schools), your chances of getting into one of them is pretty good. I'd say the intangibles to getting into medical school rest in your interview and your experiences. Obviously, if you get an interview, you've done well up to this point! Congratulations! That usually means that your "numbers" are competitive enough for admission. Now, they want to get to know you better. Here is where you have to step it up because now the competition gets fierce. You and the other interviewees are basically on an even playing field at this point. The interview is clutch. You must nail it. Dress appropriately and clean and bathe yourself! he he. Next, make sure you think about those Oh-so-important questions such as "Why do you want to go to an osteopathic medical school?", "Where do you see yourself in ten years?", etc. Be prepared to answer why you didn't shadow a DO if you haven't done so. This leads me to my other recommendation. Your experiences are important as well. They lend for good conversation pieces in the interview. Most DO school interviews are laid back, so you'll end up talking about yourself and all the amazing golf outings, camping trips, and ballroom dancing classes you've taken, etc. You get the idea. But, I'd highly recommend you get to know a DO. Get to know them well. They can easily make a call to their Alma mater, which can get you that interview! That is SO HUGE! Plus, you need to see for yourself what a DO looks like. Yeah, we all have three heads and a magnetic force around us that glows! Just kidding. You can say that you've been looking into osteopathy and agree with their principles. You can honestly tell your interviewer that you know what the field is about and more importantly that you know what you are getting into as a physician. A lot of people want to be doctors without ever realizing what it takes to do this job. That is separate from getting in or actually going to medical school. I'm talking about life after school. Do you REALLY want to do this? It's not really a "job" per se. You can't screw up. A plumber can screw up. An accountant can screw up. All they have to say is "I'm sorry. I'll make it right for you." We don't have that luxury. Remember that. It can be difficult on your life and relationships. So be prepared for a shock if you do get in. Medical school, especially the first year, is hard. No doubt. It's meant to be difficult. It's meant to scare the heebie-jeebies outta ya! That's how you learn and grow as a physician. So, keep these thoughts in mind as you go about your days contemplating medical school. Find a DO to shadow or work for in a clinic setting. And finally, make sure your interview skills are polished and up-to-date. Good luck.


Ben said...

That was extremely helpful, thanks!

Justin said...

Would you recommend me which school to go to for med school?

Occidental College (Liberal Art College)
UC Irvine
UC Davis
New York University

I'm a high school senior right now who still can't decide where to go. I'm a CA resident so UC schools are definitely cheaper and closer. NYU and Brandeis are on the other hand..very far but I don't mind living away from my parents for four years. Basically it doesn't really matter whether it is close or not. However, NYU is VERY expensive...they only gave me $8500 in scholarship and since I'm OOS student it makes the matter only worse. I have to cough up about $80,000 at the end of my college year. Is it worth it? Brandeis on the other hand..offers $30,000 in scholarship so it is the cheapest of the bunch. However, I have a friend who is a sophomore there right now and he doesn't recommend it for med school because it is literally hard as hell to earn grades. That leaves either UCI,UCD, or Occidental but none of these colleges have the "prestige" factor. Occidental is LAC and I think LACs don't have the college feels too much like a community college. Not to mention no one knowns what Occidental is. Good thing is that they also offer scholarship of $20,000 and it is in CA. I don't know the difficulty of the school but my friend who goes there right now says it isn't TOO competitive.

Of all things concerned, I'm leaning towards UCI right now due to $$, proximity (20min from home), name(not prestigeous or anything but at least it is known), easiness(relatively speaking) to get good GPA compared to Brandeis.

The other side of me is telling me that prestige factor is all BS because I currently go to US top 20 high school with 3.69 unweighted GPA 2040 SAT and look where it got me. Not very far...But the other side of me is telling me to take the most well known school of them all..NYU despite its insane cost. My parents are willing to pay but I don't feel comfortable leaving them with so much debt...

So..what should I do. Please advise me. Thanks you

PS:Is it true that med schools look favorably upon liberal art college students?

DOClass2007 said...


At this point, I'd recommend that you choose a school that you like and that is reasonably priced. Reputation can help (i.e. NYU) but it is not critical. In fact, many of my classmates went to liberal arts colleges. I think a good, reputable state school would do just fine. I went to a community college for two years and now I'm done. It all really matters most on if you enjoy the school (atmosphere is important) because you will do well wherever you are most comfortable. Plus, keep in mind, I'm already pushing $180,000 in med school loans. Tack on another $80G's...YIKES! If you parents are willing to fit the bill, go where you feel that you will learn the most and get the best education. Why? God forbid you don't get in to medical school! Now what?! You'll have a degree from a great university. Check. You can work for a year and reapply. This is a tough call because it's more of a "gut" decision. Just like a physician, sometimes you don't know all the facts and you must act on your gut instinct. That is what I would do here too. That's the best advice I can give you at this point. Good Luck!

Ben said...

How do you decide what schools are best for pre-med?

DOClass2007 said...

I'd ask schools what their record of getting students into medical schools is.

Forrow Blogginum said...

This is quite old and I don't even know if you still have this ID, but I'd like to know a little more about DOs. To begin with, if I can contact you by email or any other means, please let me know.

Other than that, for a question that I think you can answer here: What's the basic difference between an MD and a DO? Can DOs end up as surgeons? (Just as the MDs)?