You’ve made the decision to apply to osteopathic medical school. Just what are the admissions committees and interviewers looking for in a prospective student?
Admission to osteopathic medical school is competitive. Of those applying for 2013 admission, the average (mean) MCAT scores were 8.72 verbal, 8.74 physical sciences and 9.41 biological sciences. The average (mean) overall undergraduate grade point average was 3.50 and the average science grade point average was 3.38. Generally, MCAT scores and grade point averages are slightly higher for matriculating students than those reported for the overall applicant pool (see tables at right).
Of those applying for 2014 admission, the average(mean) MCAT scores were 8.90 verbal, 9.51 biological science, and 8.80 physical sciences. The average (mean) overall undergraduate grade point average was 3.51 and the average science grade point average was 3.39. Just as important are personal qualities. Osteopathic medical schools are looking for students who:
- Have good communication and interpersonal skills
- Have a record of community service
- Have a record of leadership
- Have some clinical experience
- Have participated in a variety of extracurricular activities
- Come from diverse backgrounds
- Are motivated to pursue a career in osteopathic medicine
- Have knowledge of osteopathic medicine
- Have shadowed an osteopathic physician
Osteopathic medical schools also have a long tradition of accepting older students who maybe looking at osteopathic medicine as a new career later in life.
Nearly all students who apply to osteopathic medical school have a bachelor’s degree. There are a few exceptions for students in special programs that have prior arrangements with osteopathic medical schools. Many applicants have earned a master’s degree or doctorate before applying to osteopathic medical school.
Many public osteopathic medical schools are mandated by state regulation to admit a certain percentage of in-state residents to each entering class. Contact the colleges in which you are interested for more information.
Criminal Background Checks
Some states require criminal background checks for all medical students. Additionally, affiliated hospitals and clinical institutions of many medical schools have policies requiring criminal background checks for medical students completing clinical rotations at their facilities. Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs mandates that all medical students involved in patient care at its hospitals undergo criminal background checks.
In large part, the movement toward criminal background checks across the health professions is based on strengthening the public’s trust in the medical profession. In addition, criminal background checks enhance the safety and well-being of patients, aid in the applicants’ and enrolled medical students’ ability to eventually become licensed as physicians and minimize the liability of medical schools, and their affiliated clinical facilities.
Although a criminal background check is not part of the AACOMAS application for the 2017 cycle, all osteopathic medical schools require criminal background checks for all matriculating students and prior to the start of clinical rotations, or at some other specified time. It is your responsibility to become aware and informed of what will be required of you during the application process. Many colleges and clinical rotation sites require drug testing, either as a condition of matriculation or at some other specified time.
When an individual applies through AACOMAS, the applicant will be asked to disclose information regarding prior criminal offenses. Failure to accurately and truthfully disclose such offenses on the AACOMAS application may result in an offer of admission being rescinded or, if the omission is discovered after enrollment in medical school, in dismissal.