Physician FAQ's

What is the difference between a DO and a MD?
Individuals who earn a DO or MD degree are both fully licensed patient-centered medical doctors. They have identical rights and responsibilities and complete conventional residencies in hospitals and training programs in the United States. DO training does include osteopathic manipulative medicine, but otherwise their training is indistinguishable.

What is the difference between a DO and an osteopath?
A DO is a physician while an osteopath is not. Osteopaths work to improve function, relieve pain, and help patients with moving and stretching exercises, targeted deep tissue massage, and manipulation of muscles and joints. Osteopaths can work alongside a physician, or independently. They do not prescribe medications.

What medical schools should I apply to?
Look for medical schools that align with your goals, which may range from staying in a particular state or region to ultimately serving a particular population (ie, underserved, rural, minority).

Many state-funded medical schools preferentially accept in-state residents, so apply to medical schools in the state you call home.

If you choose to disclose your GPA and practice MCAT scores to Dr. Kring and/or Dr. Heckman, they can provide you with individualized advice based on the MSAR (Medical School Admissions Requirements) published by the AAMC (American Association of Medical Colleges). You can also purchase the MSAR yourself to research medical schools.

How should I make comparisons between medical schools?
Two major factors to compare among medical schools are their USMLE pass rates and their match rates.

The USMLE Step 1 & 2 are tests taken after the 2nd and during the 4th year of medical school, respectively. They are a measure of how well the medical school prepares its students for medical licensure. USMLE Step 1 tests the information you should learn in the pre-clinical or first 2 years of medical school. USMLE Step 2 tests the information you should learn on your clinical rotations during the 3rd and 4th years of medical school.

The match happens during your 4th year of medical school. High match rates indicate that the medical students were accepted to the residency programs that they were interested in and applied to. It is also meaningful to look at where medical students matched, and if medical students matched in your subspecialty of interest (ie. OB/GYN, ENT, ORTHO).

Should I apply to medical school early assurance?
Early assurance programs take into consideration your SAT scores and your performance during high school and your first 2 years of college when they are deciding whether to admit you early assurance. There are upsides and downsides to applying to medical school via the early assurance route.

One upside is that you are accepted earlier, and therefore save yourself a lot of time and financial resources by not having as many applications, interviews and travel expenses.

One of the downsides of early assurance programs is that if you fail to achieve the target MCAT score, you will lose your acceptance at a point when it will be too late to apply to other medical schools. This will ultimately delay your medical school application for a year. In addition, it is important to note that the required MCAT score for early assurance acceptance is often the same score that you would need to achieve to be accepted regular decision.

What are some schools with early assurance programs?

SUNY Medical Schools
The SUNY medical schools’ early assurance application opens in early March and closes July 1st. You should complete your Health Careers Committee interview during the spring semester of your sophomore year, and complete your application shortly after the system opens. Following the Pre-med course plan will ensure that you meet the course requirements for this application.

  • SUNY Upstate
  • SUNY Buffalo
  • SUNY Stony Brook
  • SUNY Downstate

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
The Flexmed program for the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has an earlier application deadline of January 15th of your sophomore year. Be sure to complete your Health Careers Committee interview in the fall of your sophomore year. This NYC program does not require or permit students to take the MCAT. Instead, admitted students are encouraged to gain proficiency in Spanish or Mandarin.

How can I prepare for Medical School interviews (including Early Assurance interviews)?

  • Practice interviewing with friends, family, and Career Services. Be sure that you can clearly articulate why you want to go to medical school.
  • Research the specific medical schools as part of your secondary application and interview preparation, and decide why you’d like to go to that particular school. Also, in case you have the opportunity to ask, generate some good questions that can’t be answered from looking at the schools’ websites.
  • Prepare for the style of interview that the medical school uses – traditional or multiple mini interviews require very different skills.
  • Write thank you notes to the individual people who interviewed you, or the admissions committee.

Medical School Interview Tips

What resources are recommended to prepare for the MCAT exam?
SLU has a unique course, Foundations of Medicine I, that you should take the fall before you plan to tackle the MCAT. This course, taught by Jane Kring MD, will equip you with content review and instruction on test-taking strategies and will also provide support via a group of fellow students preparing for the test. This class utilizes MCAT 2015 Kaplan 7 subject review books for content review.

Khan Academy videos are an excellent free online content review tool. It is also extremely valuable to take practice subject and full-length MCAT exams. These are available directly from the AAMC, in addition to Princeton Review and Kaplan.

What are some things I can do to enhance my medical school application?
It can be really challenging to put together a competitive and compelling application for medical school in 4 years of undergraduate work. Many students choose to enhance their application by taking a gap year to gain volunteer experience, show success with graduate level science coursework, or work in the health care field.

What is the application process for medical school like?
Students apply to medical school in June the year before they would like to attend (after your junior year if you’d like to go to medical school directly after graduating from SLU). The primary application opens in May, and it takes students significant amounts of time to enter their demographic information, courses, experiences with descriptions and personal statement. Once your application is complete, it takes approximately 3 weeks to be verified by AMCAS (the centralized application service for MD medical schools) or AACOMAS (the centralized application service for DO medical schools). Take a look at applications from the previous cycle if you’re curious about the details you’ll need to provide to complete your application. Once schools receive your completed primary application, they send out secondary applications which typically involve 2-3 essays, some shorter questions and an additional fee of $80-$100.

What are some questions that medical schools ask on their secondary applications?

Is fee assistance available?
Yes! The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has a fee assistance program that decreases the cost of the MCAT, provides MCAT preparation materials at no cost, and funds your primary and secondary application to 16 schools!

What are some additional considerations for international students?
While applying to medical school is a competitive process for every student, it is extremely competitive for international students. Only approximately 100 medical school seats in the United States are currently open to international students. In addition, federal loans and financial aid are not available to international students. For these reasons, if you’re an international student who would like to pursue residency training in the United States, you should consider applying to foreign medical schools that prepare you for the USMLE Step 1 and 2 exams and have clinical rotations in the United States.

Where can I find more information about medical school?

  • AACOM – American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
  • AAMC – Association of American Medical Colleges
  • AMCAS - American Medical College Application Service
  • AACOMAS – American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service
  • MCAT - Medical College Admission Test (section of the AAMC website)