Guide To Applying To US Osteopathic Medical Schools

The Free Guide To Medical School Admissions is a collaboration between numerous DO and MD medical students and graduates to provide a FREE resource for navigating the complexities of applying to medical school. Read below for additional information pertaining to Canadian citizens:

  1. Timeline
  2. Research Canadian-Friendly Schools
  3. Calculating GPA
  4. References
  5. Personal Statement
  6. Order Transcripts
  7. Extracurricular Activities

1. TIMELINE

  • Applications start in May of every year and close in April of the upcoming year

  • Rolling Admissions- first come, first serve! It is very important to try to apply as early as possible

  • Look up deadlines for supplemental applications as they vary by each school. This is found on the AACOM website.

2. RESEARCH CANADIAN-FRIENDLY SCHOOLS

Applying to medical schools can be an expensive process. Therefore, it is important to do research on which schools accept Canadian students and their GPA, MCAT, and course requirements.

Below is a list of historically Canadian-friendly schools:

  • Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University

  • Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University

  • Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Liberty College of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Lincoln Memorial University- DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine- Georgia Campus

  • Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C Patel College Osteopathic Medicine

  • Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine

  • University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine

  • William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine

3. CALCULATING GPA 

1. Convert Canadian GPA using AACOMAS conversion scale

2. sGPA (science GPA) calculated based on the following course subjects:

  • Biochemistry

  • Biology/Zoology

  • Inorganic Chemistry

  • Organic Chemistry

  • Physics

  • Other Science

3. Non-science GPA calculated based on the following course subjects:

  • Behavioural Science

  • English

  • Math

  • Other Non-Science

4. cGPA (cumulative GPA) calculated based on ALL course subjects

AACOMAS has provided a guide to calculating your GPA as well as an Excel spreadsheet tool

For more information regarding specific courses and subject categories, refer to the AACOMAS FAQ section

4. REFERENCES

Each school has specific requirements for the type of reference letters they require. Please refer to the specific school’s website for more information.

The general consensus is that you should have letters from the following to meet requirements for all of the schools:

  • 2 science faculty letters

  • 1 letter from non-science faculty

  • 1 letter from a DO/MD*

Tips for Reference Letters:

  • Choose letter writers who know you well personally and academically and will be able to comment on both of these aspects

  • Ensure that your letter writers understand that you are applying to osteopathic medical schools

  • Provide your letter writers a CV that highlights your work, volunteer and research experience

  • Ask for letters at least 4 weeks in advance  

 

*Some schools specifically require a letter from a DO whereas others will accept letters from an MD. While it won't prevent you from applying to most schools, a letter from a DO will be regarded positively by osteopathic medical school admissions committees as it shows your willingness to learn more about osteopathic medicine.

5. PERSONAL STATEMENT

Your personal statement is one of the most important aspects of your initial application. It is read by the admissions committee when making decisions regarding interview invites and acceptances. Your personal statement should be reflective of your past, present, and future aspirations. It should highlight your strengths and acknowledge any application weaknesses.

 

Tips for writing a personal statement:

  • Allocate at LEAST 4 weeks to write and edit a personal statement

    • WEEK 1: Make an outline of your personal statement

      • Read a few personal statements from students who applied in the past; use these statements as a GUIDE

      • Know what you will be roughly writing in each paragraph

      • Include brief stories that highlight personality traits (see below)

      • Discuss your motivation for pursuing a career in osteopathic medicine

      • If there are any weaknesses or concerns in your application, briefly discuss them in a positive manner. Aim to show how you dealt with these concerns and what you learned

      • DO NOT PLAGIARIZE

    • WEEK 2: Start writing your rough draft

      • Maximum character length is 4500 characters

      • Aim to write a paragraph each day, so you have time to work on other aspects of your application at the same time

    • WEEK 3: Editing process

      • Send the rough draft to people who willing to edit and provide constructive criticism

      • Send your personal statement to individuals with different personalities, as there are different types of people who are part of admissions committees

      • Do not read your personal statement this week, take a week off and let others do the work!

    • WEEK 4: Making the final draft

      • Now its time for you to go back to your personal statement with a fresh mind

      • Take the editing and advice you received from your editors to make any changes

      • Read your personal statement out loud, this will help you with determining if your personal statement flows

  • Discuss your personality strengths through brief stories and examples. Avoid saying “I am this, this and this”. You should "show, not tell". Use a story to highlight your traits instead of simply stating them.

    • Some important personality traits to discuss are:

      • Leadership

      • Responsibility

      • Persistence

      • Determination

      • Perseverance

      • Love for life-long learning

      • Goal setting

      • Hardworking

      • Willing to take initiative

      • Compassionate

      • Emphatic

  • Start off your personal statement with an intriguing catch to make the reader want to continue reading. However, avoid making your statement cliché

  • Talk about how you learned about osteopathic medicine and what aspects made you want to pursue a career as an osteopathic physician

6. ORDER TRANSCRIPTS

You will need to order a transcript from EVERY institution that you have taken a course at during your undergraduate and post-undergraduate studies. Transcripts can be sent electronically (recommended). If your school does not have such a service, you must ask your registrar to mail your transcript to AACOMAS. You may need to have your transcript evaluated by an external service if you attended a French-Canadian school or school not located in Canada or the United States. Allow ample time for your transcript to be sent and verified by AACOMAS.

Further instructions can be found here

 

7. EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Try to get involved in the community and at school! When it comes to extra-curricular activities it is about quality, not quantity. Being involved in a few organizations over a few years shows your commitment more than being involved in multiple organizations for only a few months. In addition, holding executive positions in organizations allows schools to see your leadership abilities. Try to involve yourself in both medical and non-medical extracurricular activities. This helps you present yourself as a well-rounded applicant.

Below is a sample list of different extracurricular activities you may want to look into and include in your applications. Please keep in mind there are many other extracurricular activities that are not listed:

  • University clubs

  • Student government

  • Community organizations:

    • Big Brothers & Big Sisters

    • Red Cross

    • St. John’s Ambulance

    • Humane Society

    • Habitat for Humanity

    • Alzheimer’s Society

    • Ronald McDonald House

    • Canadian Cancer Society

    • Autism Speaks Canada

  • Sport teams