The AACOMAS personal statement is required as part of your DO school application. Your personal statement gives admissions committees information about why you chose osteopathic medicine and why you want to be a doctor. Before you sit down to write your own statement, learn how to craft a perfect AACOMAS personal statement in our blog and take time read some outstanding AACOMAS personal statement examples to get inspiration for your own!
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AACOMAS Personal Statement Examples
A personal statement is a required component of a primary application for medical school, regardless of whether the application is submitted through TMDSAS, AMCAS or AACOMAS. The AACOMAS personal statement is unique to those applying to DO programs and gives admissions committees information about an applicant's motivation and passion for pursuing osteopathic medicine. While it may take days or weeks to craft an AACOMAS personal statement, it can take admissions committees less than five minutes to review, assess, and decide if they're interested in learning more about an applicant. For this reason, it's essential to make sure your AACOMAS personal statement attracts attention from the start and is captivating enough to maintain interest throughout. This blog will go over what you need to know about the AACOMAS personal statement, what to include, tips to write an effective statement aa well as AACOMAS personal statement examples that will illustrate key characteristics of successful AACOMAS essays.
AACOMAS and the Application Timeline
AACOMAS stands for the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service. It is an online system used by applicants applying to osteopathic programs in the US. Applicants submit one application that includes all necessary documents to AACOMAS, the documents are verified and are then transmitted to all selected programs. The AACOMAS application cycle normally opens in May and closes in April of the following year.
AACOMAS General Timeline
This section will go over a basic timeline for AACOMAS, for a more in-depth look into the DO school application process, check out our blog for more details. In addition, if you're wondering “when do medical school applications open” review our medical school application timelines blog.
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How does the AACOMAS personal statement differ from the TMDSAS and AMCAS personal statements?
While the AACOMAS personal statement is similar to the TMDSAS personal statement and the AMCAS personal statement, it's important to note that they are not the same. The first difference is the length, the AACOMAS personal statement is limited to 5300 characters including spaces, which is roughly 700 words. Both the TMDSAS and AMCAS personal statements are similar, at 5000 and 5300 characters, including spaces, respectively. Other than length, the next major difference to consider is the content. Check out our blog for TMDSAS personal statement examples. While there are similarities between allopathic and osteopathic medicine, there are also differences that you should understand. Our blog, DO vs MD, outlines some of these key differences and similarities to help you tailor your personal statement appropriately.
How to write an AACOMAS personal statement
An AACOMAS personal statement is a way of introducing the admissions committee to who you are as a person and as a candidate. The main purpose of the essay is to answer the question “why do you want to be a doctor?” and specifically, why do you want to be an osteopathic doctor? Be sure you understand what DO stands for and what it means to be a DO. Before you sit down to write your essay, check out quality medical school personal statement examples and residency personal statement examples to get some inspiration. It is of utmost importance that your personal statement demonstrates, through examples, your understanding and commitment to the principles of osteopathic medicine. Remember, do not simply list these principles and state that they are important to you, you need to ensure your statement shows instead of tells by supporting your discussion through experience-based evidence. Crafting an effective personal statement takes time and a lot of self-reflection. You'll need to ask yourself specific questions to help you gain insight into why you've chosen osteopathic medicine as your career path. When did you develop an interest in osteopathic medicine? What experiences led to your interest evolving into dedication and passion? What values and experiences allow you to put others first and dedicate yourself to helping others? What is your inspiration for working towards your short term and long term goals? What makes you unique as an applicant and how can your individual skills and experiences help you succeed as an osteopathic doctor?
An effective personal statement should always begin with something that is both unique and interesting. Not only will this help set you apart from other applicants, it's also a way to pique the interest of the admissions committee and give them a reason to continue reading your personal statement. Remember, the admissions committee will be reviewing hundreds if not thousands of applications, you need a personalized hook to draw them in and keep them. There is an endless possibility of unique opening paragraphs, if you're struggling to find yours, think about a significant accomplishment, an important hobby or even a challenging or moving experience that you may want to discuss.
The most successful medical school personal statements take the reader on a journey through their life. The admissions committee will be interested in where your interest in osteopathic medicine begin, how it developed over time and what experiences led you to choose this particular career path. Lastly, it's important to show how your experiences will prove useful in helping you reach your short term and long term goals and how your experiences and unique skill set will prepare you for a career as an osteopathic doctor.
AACOMAS Personal Statement Examples: #1
There are three main elements to a free-skating routine: the jumps, the spins, and the footwork. Each has its own set of rules requiring precision in body placement and timing. I grew to appreciate the attention to detail in each element to avoid finding myself on the floor yet again, which allowed me to represent the southern region at the national championships for 8 years. In that perspective, it seems only natural I would bring that appreciation into my academic life and gravitate towards medicine, a highly methodical career path.
At university, I sought opportunities in biology, business, and dance. Rather than shying away from difficult, non required courses, I took classes such as “Determinative Bacteriology” and “Histology” that exposed me to detailed biochemical processes. My business courses taught me the success of a marketing campaign hinges on the compatibility of a service with its target audience, a lesson that could be applied when designing treatment plans to encourage patient compliance. Alternatively, ballet and dance emphasized total body control from fingertip to toe point in the execution of each movement, similar to the precision surgery demands. In each discipline, the classes I found most interesting were those that focused on breaking down large concepts into their constitutive parts. While each of these components cultivated my curiosity for medicine, it was my internship that confirmed my passion for medicine.
At St Joseph's Hospital, I shadowed an osteopathic physician who demonstrated both technical precision and compassion that drew me to the profession. I witnessed how in spite of the chaotic patient waiting room, Dr Jean maintained a smile greeting each patient. When a young woman came in complaining of migraines, Dr Jean was able to ask specific questions that concluded the patient’s lifestyle attributed to the pain she was enduring. She felt at ease and comfortable to share sensitive information. These qualities spoke volumes about the type of physician Dr Jean was. He was able to provide not only the care but compassion this patient required. Observing the interactions with the medical field ignited a passion I had seen only once before: when I decided I wanted to skate.
Originally I could not verbalize why I wanted to be a doctor. However, I have found a way to say it. When the people I loved were terminally ill, they just wanted time to reach one more milestone. My best friend’s mother wanted to watch her daughter graduate high school. My godfather wanted to reach his 65th birthday. Cancer and Parkinson’s disease will not let you set your own timetable, but sometimes medicine can help you reach just a little bit further. As a doctor, I’d like to be part of a team that gives my patient and their family just a little bit more time. With that time, my patient might walk their daughter down the aisle or celebrate one more birthday. Regardless of the situation, the time is priceless.
My road to medicine was not easy, but each trial has made me more resilient. In the midst of re-writing my medical school application in 2017, my engagement ended weeks before my wedding date. I was not prepared to finish my application, so I dove into a research project and began my graduate studies in medical sciences. I pushed my limits until I crashed, resulting in my worst academic semester. I was devastated, but this challenge enabled me to seek help to understand my experience and overcome it. I developed a healthier routine by reducing my caffeine consumption, exercising regularly, and learning to manage stress. I took a proactive role in academics by collaborating more and studying efficiently, resulting in better grades. Taking a more assertive stance in time-management and self-care has better equipped me for a career in medicine.
Throughout my life, I gravitated towards highly technical activities, from skating to academics. I broadened my education beyond what was integrated into my program and found these experiences strengthened my conviction to be a physician. While shadowing, I found that a set of rules requiring precision in both body placement and timing, governed healthcare too, inspiring my pursuit to delve deeper into medicine. In skating, years of hard work culminating into a single performance led me to stand proudly on the national podium with a bronze medal hanging around my neck. This time, I hope my years of hard work will permit me to stand on stage with a white coat.
AACOMAS Personal Statement Examples: #2
It was the summer of 2009 during our annual trip to India to visit my grandma. I had just woken up when I noticed my barely conscious grandma suffering a stroke. As a young 13-year-old, I had many scary questions running through my head. "What happened?", “Was I about to lose her?” Throughout childhood, I looked up to my grandma. Seeing her helpless scared me, and exposed our fragility as humans. From taking vitals to performing surgery, I realized the physicians did everything they could to fight for my grandma’s health. Thankfully, my grandma had surgery and was eventually discharged. Inspired by their dedication, I decided that I too wanted to pursue medicine.
I continued to think of my grandmother's health scare. I kept wondering, could something be done to avoid these types of medical emergencies and alleviate patients’ suffering? One day, my mom persuaded me to attend a yoga retreat, and I quickly fell in love with the philosophy behind the practice of yoga. The idea that yoga can improve fitness and overall well-being intrigued me and made me aware of how closely linked the mind and body are to each other in the first place. My regular practice of yoga led me to attend a yoga certification course and I eventually became a certified yoga instructor with the desire to spread awareness of healthy living.
I ran free yoga workshops for children with autism spectrum disorder at a local sensory gym. I vividly remember working with a young five-year-old named Joe, who struggled to follow directions. Joe would get distracted by the surrounding toys every five minutes due to his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and it would be a challenge to convince him to remain seated each time. I felt disheartened to see his frustration with tasks and his mother Tracy’s agony over whether his situation would ever improve. I felt fortunate to mentor them and make an impact through teaching yoga. At the end of every session, his mom came up to me to thank me for taking the time to help these children and providing their families with hope that their children could lead healthy and meaningful lives. The fact that Joe still remembers what I had taught him even after several years reaffirms my desire to become a primary care physician who seeks to relentlessly advocate for her patients and provide holistic, preventive care alongside medical treatment.
I took this philosophy with me as a college student when I shadowed a primary care physician in my hometown. I remember observing Dr. Lake as she treated a patient suffering from obesity. After reviewing the patient’s chart, Dr. Lake diagnosed the teenager as pre-diabetic. After asking about her symptoms, Dr. Lake also asked her about her family situation, lifestyle, and mental health. As an osteopathic physician herself, Dr. Lake wanted to prevent the worsening of symptoms by identifying the major stressors contributing to the disease and directing the patient to the most effective interventions. I watched as Dr. Lake addressed the patient’s concerns and held her hand while explaining the treatment plan. I soon discovered that the role of a primary care physician extends beyond using scientific knowledge to treat symptoms; it also involves a commitment to understanding the people behind the symptoms.
While working as a tutor on campus, I encountered a senior who suffered from a brain injury and struggled with physics. I realized that I had to be mindful of her condition and tailor my tutoring strategies to fit her needs. I simplified the concepts and I encouraged her. Fortunately, the student gained confidence and felt comfortable returning to me for guidance. In every session, my role as a tutor encompassed providing both academic and emotional support customized to each student. Similarly, medicine also involves a tailored approach to each patient.
Watching my grandma suffer a stroke created a desire to become a physician who relentlessly advocates for her patients. My exposure to healthcare abroad has increased my cross-cultural awareness, thereby motivating me to engage with patients more effectively. Whether it be for a struggling elderly student, a child with a developmental disorder, or a pre-diabetic teenager, social support must be integrated with the treatment of physical health. As a future physician, I will strive to not only provide medical treatment to my patients but also compassion and empathy. I look forward to embracing this challenging, but rewarding career.
AACOMAS personal statement tips
1. Don't recycle your AMCAS personal statement
While some students simply shorten their AMCAS personal statement to use as their AACOMAS personal statement, we highly recommend you don't. Allopathic medicine and osteopathic medicine are not the same, the principles and perspectives of these two types of medicine differ greatly. The simple fact that you cannot apply to osteopathic programs through AMCAS is indicative of these differences, so simply shortening your AMCAS personal statement isn't going to show the admissions committee that you want to pursue osteopathic medicine, rather they will be able to tell that you simply shortened a different essay meant for a different school of medicine. What you write to convince an MD admissions committee of your suitability for the profession may not convince a DO admission committee.
2. Follow a specific journey
As previously mentioned, statements that take the reader through an applicant's journey, in chronological order are the most effective. Keep your journey focused and stick with a theme that reoccurs throughout your essay and is easily identified. Don't jump around to unrelated areas and don't discuss every single experience that you've had. Pick experiences that highlight your theme and strengthen your suitability for the profession.
3. Don't use cliches
You are an original person with individual thoughts, experiences, and skills. Don't rely on using tired expressions and cliches that don't allow your story to shine through. Stay away from terms that everyone uses and phrases that are commonly overused. Don't simply state that you love medicine and want to be a doctor, dive deeper into your true motivations and passions to craft a statement that is totally original and unique to you.
4. Allow for multiple revisions
Your personal statement is one of the most important documents you will write in your medical career, after all, it acts as a first impression of who you are and what you can bring to the profession. A poorly written personal statement that is difficult to follow, with poor sentence structure, grammatical errors, and spelling mistakes is not going to showcase the best version of you, and the reality is, the admissions committee won't be interested in getting to know you further. If you're thinking of just throwing together something quickly and submitting it, don't bother. An effective, successful personal statement takes time and many revisions in order to get it just right. It's a good idea to enlist professional help in order to create a phenomenal statement that stands out.
5. Hook the reader instantly
The opening paragraph of your AACOMAS personal statement is one of the most important factors for a successful essay. If the reader isn't interested, they likely won't continue reading your statement. The introduction is your opportunity to stand out and show the admissions committee what makes you original.
To your success,
Your friends at BeMo
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