Saturday, December 14, 2013

The big DO decision

We just added a guide for the osteopathic student interested in training in an allopathic EM residency.  The advice is a little late for anyone applying on this application cycle.  However, there is a dilemma facing many of the DO students who have interviews at both allopathic and osteopathic residencies.  What do you do about the DO match?

EM is competitive, very competitive.  Goal number one is to match into a training spot, even if it is not the perfect location.  You need to make rationale decisions based on what is going to give you the best chance to match.  That being said, you can predict whether you have drawn enough interest from the allopathic programs to safely withdraw from the osteopathic match in January.

Most students are going to fall into one of three groups.  For two of these, the decision is easy:

  1. Has only 1 or 2 allopathic interviews.  If you find yourself in this group, you should stay in the osteopathic match.  The chances of being left without a spot are too great.
  2. Has 10 or more allopathic interviews.  This group can withdraw from the osteopathic match, if their top programs are allopathic.  These programs are going to rank you on their list.  The odds are excellent (>95%) that if you rank 8 or more programs, one of them is going to rank you high enough that you match there.  
  3. Has 3 - 9 allopathic interviews.  This group has the toughest decisions to make.  You are going to have to decide on whether to gamble on the allopathic match.  The safe play is to rank several DO programs and stay in that match, moving only to the allopathic match if you do not get one of those.  If you have greater risk tolerance, you can take a chance and withdraw from the DO match.  All it takes is one program ranking you high enough to match there.  There is no one size fits all answer.  The best way to figure out what is right for you is to look at your individual situation with a trusted advisor.

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