AACOMAS Will Be Your BFF When Applying to Osteopathic Medical Schools

Think of AACOMAS in two ways:

Common Application when applying to college

AMCAS application when applying to M.D. medical schools

Before jumping ahead let me first explain what AACOMAS stands for: American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service.

AACOMAS is a centralized application service with a goal of making it a lot easier for you when applying to medical school. You submit one primary application to all of the osteopathic medical schools you choose.

Believe me having a centralized application service will streamline the already long and expensive process of getting into medical school. 

Big Change to Your Osteopathic Application

Some people would say you go to a D.O. medical school if you can't get into a M.D. medical school.

I don't believe this one bit.

Everyone chooses schools for various reasons.

I bet you'd be shocked to know that I got into both M.D. and D.O. schools and I choose the D.O. route because it aligned with my goals and perspective on what I thought medicine should be.

But I digress, that's a story for another time.

Let's talk about the huge change to AACOMAS... Grades and your transcript!

Grade replacement is OUT.

In the past AACOMAS would accept your most recent/highest grade and drop the first grade if you repeated a course. Now this is no longer the case and all attempts will be calculated into your GPA while applying to osteopathic medical schools.

If you were banking on D.O. schools to be more lenient with your academics that's just not going to happen.

My Sunday School benediction had a line which I still remember to this day which goes, "study to show thyself approved," and it would be wise for you to do the same as a premed who has dreams of getting into med school. 

Getting Started With Your D.O. Application

The application cycle for admission to osteopathic medical school begins in May and ends the first week of April.

The key to getting into medical school is applying early and this includes osteopathic medical schools.

Many schools use a rolling admissions process so if you're one of the first to apply you have a better chance at admission. Processing of your application begins only after payment has been received.

There are to very important parts to your AACOMAS:

  1. MCAT score
  2. Transcript aka GPA

Make sure you request official copies of your transcript be sent directly to AACOMAS and also keep a copy for yourself. Transcripts are necessary so you can complete the Academic Record portion of your med school application.

MCAT scores are required for admission into a college of osteopathic medicine and they are not automatically forwarded.

It is your responsibility to designate American Association College of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service as a recipient (Social Security Number is needed for this transaction to occur, electronically).

Your D.O. application will not be processed without a MCAT score. If you decide to take another MCAT at a later date your application will be automatically updated. 


Making Payment 

There's a $195 fee associated with applying to osteopathic medical colleges and this fee can only be paid via credit card or money order made payable to:

AACOMAS

1900 L Street, NW, Suite 603

Washington, DC 20036

301-968-4190

For each subsequent school it will cost you $45 or as positive thinkers would say, "it's not a cost, think of it as an investment..." right, LOL.

Fee waivers are available and are currently worth $195. But what's not cool is that if you're granted the fee waiver and want to apply to more than one osteopathic school you will still be responsible for the $45 fee due to each school you apply to.

Not sure the Fee Assistance Program (FAP) is beneficial if it only gets you one application especially considering you need to apply to roughly 15 medical schools to be a competitive applicant. 

My LOR Tragedy... Almost

Letters of evaluation (recommendation) must be sent directly to your designated colleges of osteopathic medicine. Do not send to AACOMAS, otherwise they will be returned to you.

Be sure to verify all your application materials are received by the medical school too. I actually had a situation where it seemed to be taking forever to hear back from my medical school.

After calling in and having one of the admissions staff review my application it became clear my LORs were missing.

I'm not sure how that was possible considering they were sent electronically and I had a verification/receipt code too.

If anything can or could go wrong with my journey to medical school it has so I'm actually not surprised by this development in hindsight. But at the moment I was not a happy camper because this was my top choice osteopathic school. 


Your AACOMAS Application Profile

AACOMAS processing generally takes from three to six weeks.

There will be an applicant profile generated and provided to all the osteopathic medical schools you designate. Your profile will include the following:

  • Colleges You Designated (applicant copy only)
  • Name and Social Security Number
  • Sex and Date of Birth
  • Preferred Mailing Address
  • Permanent and/or Legal Residence (County/State)
  • Citizenship and (if applicable) Visa Type (blank if US)
  • Disadvantaged Response
  • Self-Description
  • Year of Most Recent Application to a D.O. Institution (Year of Most Recent Application to This College: specify individual college)
  • Misdemeanor or Felony Conviction
  • Family Member a D.O. or M.D.
  • Advisor Release Statement
  • How you first learned of osteopathic medicine
  • Degree, Date, Major and Institution
  • GPA and Hours by Subject
  • Course Record GPA and Hours by Subject
  • Deficiencies in required course hours based on the specific requirements of each college
  • Hours less than a grade of C or 2.0
  • Date to take or retake the MCAT
  • Number of times the MCAT was taken
  • MCAT Scores (upto three sets)
  • Quality Points: Science, Non Science, and Total
  • Date Applicant Profile was printed

Hedging Your Bets with D.O. Schools

I'm not from a different planet and I know there are many students who are absolutely biased against osteopathic medical schools.

I may have been the same way myself so I hear you.

But at the end of the day medicine is medicine although your D.O. counterparts will have an extra 200 hours of training in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM). Plus while in the hospital no one has ever stopped me or questioned my validity because all they see is the white coat and doctor.

To paraphrase Michelle Obama, "life has a funny way of working itself out." I never thought I would be a D.O. but here I am and I have no complaints about it whatsoever.

Now I did get into M.D. programs too so I know about applying to each program type.

Here's my advice to those who want the M.D. but are also willing or unsure about the D.O. route.

Apply to M.D. if your heart is set on that path. But if things are not going well such as limited interviews or flat out rejections from these schools then you have to realize you just may not get in.

If all that matters is being a doctor then you need a plan B.

You can start applying to osteopathic programs in January since their application cycle runs much longer than M.D. programs. 

This way no matter what happens you've given yourself additional options in your goal of becoming a doctor. I have to warn you D.O. programs are very competitive too but they do take a more holistic approach in reviewing your application. 

And regardless of what route you go you're still going to need to pass your standardized boards aka medical licensing exams and compete against everyone else for a residency position.

Go Ahead and Apply

Well now that I've given you the rundown on osteopathic centralized application you might as well go ahead and submit your application

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