Making a career choice is an important and difficult decision. Making the decision to become an osteopathic doctor requires a commitment of time and money. It is important that you evaluate what the career entails.
You should answer the following and other questions on becoming and being a physician:
What is it like to be a physician?
What are your plans for your family life and how will being a physician affect it?
Do you have the perseverance to complete 4 years of undergraduate training, 4 years medical school, and then several years of residency before becoming an independent physician?
Are you confident that you can handle emotionally-straining situations, such as the death of a patient?
One thing to keep in mind is that the decision to become a doctor of osteopathic medicine must be YOUR choice. You must want it, and you should know why you want it. It is not easy to become a physician, and once you become one, the job is a demanding one with lots of pressure.
Once you decide you want to go to osteopathic medical school, you have more decisions to make on how to get there. You will enroll in an undergraduate program (which can be any major, it does not have to be a science). In addition to satisfying your degree requirements, you will also have to take the required pre-osteopathic medicine curriculum. You must decide to take your coursework seriously, from the first semester of your freshman year. You must participate in other activities that make you a better candidate for osteopathic medical school, such as shadowing a physician (preferably a D.O., or both a D.O. and M.D. so that you can make comparisons), philanthropic activities, holding office in clubs/organizations, or working in health-related areas. You will be competing with many outstanding students, and you must stand out among the crowd to be accepted.
If and when you decide to go to osteopathic medical school, find a good resource for information on the requirements and deadlines. Be organized! Start thinking about how you can finance your education. Decide to which osteopathic medical schools you will apply. Decision-making factors include geographical location, tuition, requirements for admission, curriculum, and faculty.
Are you interested in going into osteopathic medicine only because you have not been accepted by an allopathic medical school? If this is your reason for applying to an osteopathic medical school, then investigate osteopathic medicine. Will you be satisfied with a D.O.?
There is help available. Speak with your pre-health advisor and other faculty members. Speak with doctors of osteopathic medicine.
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