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School Considerations

Note before I start this discussion:
Many students are very passionate about school choice and why they chose a specific school or school type. These overviews and comparisons of different schools are very brief and much more could be said about each school type. Moreover, many people differ widely in opinion about which school type is most preferable for their very own reasons.

Read how people chose their school to attend.

Some of your decision about school choice may depend on how competitive your overall application is, but other factors such as location or prestige of a school may also weigh in.

Quick overview (MD, DO, DPM, Caribbean, International)

For most applicants, allopathic (MD) schools are the most desirable option if they can gain admission. Generally speaking, people consider schools to be in the following order from most desirable, prestigious, and competitive to less desirable, prestigious and competitive.

1. Allopathic (MD) schools in the US and Canada.
  - Hardest to get in to, considered "most desirable"
  - Competitive atmosphere, most prestigious.
  - Highest MCAT and GPA requirements (see comparison and school stats)
  - USMLE1 pass rate: 91%, USMLE2: 92%, USMLE3: 94% - for 2004 (from NBME Annual Report)

2. Osteopathic (DO) schools in the US.
  - You learn some unique skills beyond those taught at MD schools
  - Equal to MD for all practical purposes
  - Slightly easier admissions due to lower MCAT and GPA requirements (comparison and school stats)
  - USMLE1 pass rate: 69%, USMLE2: 76%, USMLE3: 93% - for 2004 (from NBME Annual Report)
  - Most students take the COMLEX board exams instead of the USMLE exams

3. Caribbean and other international schools (non-US)
  - Easiest admissions, harder to get US residency of your choice
  - Least prestigious, some not accredited, some practice limitations
  - Low (or no) MCAT and GPA requirements
  - USMLE1 pass rate: 58%, USMLE2: 68%, USMLE3: 68% - for 2004 (from NBME Annual Report)

** Podiatry schools in the US are another path worth mentioning.
  - Easy admissions in comparison to MD and DO schools
  - Practice is more limited to treatment of the foot and ankle
  - Low (or no) MCAT and GPA requirements
  - Residencies and surgical careers available

Pros and cons of the different school types and more detailed discussion of each school type can be found under each school type heading.

Also, be sure to check out info about all kinds of medical schools in our Med School Statistics section.
You can find details about the medical school experience itself in the Taste of Med School section.
Finally, for residency specific considerations, read in the Residency Thoughts section.

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