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Do MDs really have more success than DOs in residency applications?

Do MDs really have more success than DOs in residency applications?

By: Ryan Kelly

This week we want to go deeper with our numbers and compare statistics of MD and DO schools. These statistics can be hard to find, since a) only some med schools release their match information, and b) even those that do release it differently. To try to sort out the spectrum of different schools, we chose four schools that release their match information on their website ...

5 Reasons You Should Apply to DO Schools

5 Reasons You Should Apply to DO Schools

By: Ryan Kelly

Thinking about applying to a DO school? You’re not alone.  Each year, more and more pre-meds are considering DO schools as a viable option. Most pre-meds start their journey to medical school by focusing on allopathic (MD) schools. Part of the reason is that MD schools are more prominent. For example, of the top 50 medical schools ranked in primary care, only one  - Michigan State - is a DO school (and 0 of the top 50 ranked for research are DO schools). The other reason is ignorance - most pre-meds just don’t know that DO schools exist, or if they do know, they don’t know what makes these schools distinct.

Is There a Stigma Against Osteopathic Physicians?

Is There a Stigma Against Osteopathic Physicians?

By: Lyn Jutronich

When I was 24, my primary care provider was a D.O., but I didn’t choose her on purpose. I had simply picked a clinic near my apartment that took my insurance, and she was the first doctor available to see me. I saw the letters D.O. after her name and noticed they were different from the others that had M.D., but I didn’t have any idea what that meant.

Kickstart Your AACOMAS Secondaries: A Guide to Touro Medical School Essay Prompts

Kickstart Your AACOMAS Secondaries: A Guide to Touro Medical School Essay Prompts

By: Ryan Kelly

Half the battle with secondaries is generating reusable content, and Touro Medical School (California) is the perfect place to start for hopeful osteopaths. By completing Touro’s longer prompts, you can prepare yourself with most of the needed material for other DO secondaries.

In terms of generating content, Touro is comparable to UCLA’s MD secondaries:

The Hardest Secondary? How to Conquer the 10 Secondary Essays for UCLA (Geffen) School of Medicine

 

Pre-Med News Roundup August 7, 2014

Pre-Med News Roundup August 7, 2014

We present the very first installment of our weekly news roundup: the best articles from around the web about medical school admissions.

1. Should you apply to DO schools?

An excellent article from the New York Times describing the history of osteopathic medicine, what it's like to attend a DO school, and the growing prevalence of DO physicians in today's workforce.

2. Should you consider applying to Caribbean schools?

Another excellent article this week from The New York Times about those seeking a second chance at St. George's University, probably the most reputable of all non-US medical schools (at least as it relates to getting students back to the US to practice medicine).

3. Why you should demonstrate integrity in your med school application.

Honesty and trustworthiness are two of the top qualities we expect to see in our doctors. US News & World report hosts a blog from Case Western's dean of admissions. She explains how to demonstrate integrity in your essays, letters of recommendation, and interviews. 

Are DO schools harder to get into than MD schools?

If you look up acceptance data on AAMC and AACOM, you get the following numbers:

On its face, it looks like DO schools are harder to get into than MD schools (their overall acceptance rate is 7 points lower).  So what's happening in the data?The numbers above are not the actual acceptance rates, because they include people who got into med school but who chose (for various reasons) not to attend.  In other words, the "true" acceptance rates should be higher (and in DO's case much higher).

Let's start by examining the overlap between MD and DO applicants.  According to AACOM, 52.40% of DO applicants also applied to MD schools. That means that over half of applicants applying to DO schools are already included in the numbers of total applicants for MD schools.

Using data from AACOM, we can tease out how many students ONLY apply to DO school and how many apply to both.  According to AACOM, 52.40% of students who apply to DO schools (14,945 applicants) also apply to MD programs.  Using our good old group formula (G1 + G2 - Both = Total), we get the following chart:

So what happens when you get into both an MD school and a DO school?  According to data from AACOM, of applicants who applied to both DO and MD schools in 2010 who were admitted to at least one MD school, 89% chose to enroll in that MD school (only 9% of that group chose to enroll at a DO school).  In other words, when you have the choice of both, most pre-meds choose the MD school.

As a result, about 20% of students who apply to DO schools end up matriculating at an MD school, thus distorting our data.  In reality, MD schools are harder to get into.  Indeed, their average GPA's and MCAT scores suggest as much:average MCAT   average GPA

MD

     31.3                    3.69

DO

     25.7                     3.41

According to that same report, of all applicants who applied to DO schools, 55% received an offer of admission.  Though we don't have the corresponding number for MD applicants, we can compare the 55% acceptance rate to DO schools to a "true" acceptance rate to MD schools of a hair over the 43% national number.

So what does this all mean to your application?

1.  It shows why DO schools are concerned with losing applicants to MD schools.  They're concerned, because it happens quite a bit.  Roughly half of applicants to DO schools are applying to MD schools, and when they get into both, they mostly choose the MD school.  As a result, I believe a successful application to DO schools will include a specific reason you prefer getting a DO over getting an MD degree. 

Be sure to include this argument in your personal statement to DO schools, and be prepared to answer the same question "why DO?" when you go into your interview at a DO school.

2. If your numbers aren't great, apply to DO schools as well as MD schools. 

 DO's end up in all kinds of specialties (not just primary care), so you will have plenty of options open to you at both schools.

3.  The market seems to have spoken, however, and students still prefer MD over DO schools.  There may be many reasons for this choice.  To name a few: MD schools are better known, have better research opportunities, and have better options of getting students into the more competitive specialties.  Whatever the reasons for the choice, the preference exists, and when figuring out where to apply, decided whether what you want from your career is a good fit for MD, DO, or both.