The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) is Alabama’s first osteopathic medical school and the academic division of a regional facility, Southeast Health. It was founded in 2010 and is accredited by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA). The medical school has an acceptance rate of 3.2% according to DO school rankings and moderate MCAT and GPA requirements. It should be noted that osteopathic medicine programs are just as competitive as allopathic programs, but there are some key differences between DO vs MD in terms of curriculum and career outcomes.
Read this article for everything you need to know about the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine.
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“The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine will provide quality, learner-centered osteopathic education, research, and service, while promoting graduate medical education, with emphasis on patient-centered, team-based primary care to serve the medically underserved areas of Alabama, the Tri-State area, and the nation.”
ACOM values integrity, service, passion, innovation, respect, excellence, and diversity, so these are the qualities you should focus on in your application.
Want to learn how you can apply to med school and get in with a low GPA? Watch this video:
Average GPA accepted: 3.47
Average MCAT accepted: 505
In-state matriculants: 22
Out-of-state matriculants: 164
ACOM welcomes out-of-state applicants, but international applicants will have to find a different medical school at which to pursue their osteopathic medicine dreams. The medical school places an emphasis on students from Alabama and the surrounding regions.
MCAT and GPA
ACOM has an average GPA requirement of 3.47 and an average MCAT requirement of 505. In a recent year, the medical school received 4,896 applications and interviewed 879 applicants. It enrolled 208 students, of which 57% were female and 43% were male.
Tips to Improve Your GPA
Admission to ACOM is competitive, so if you are wondering how to get into medical school with a low GPA, you may need to consider ways to improve it. Depending on where you are in your medical school application, you can make use of the following tips and strategies to improve your GPA:
Alternatively, you might consider a gap year before medical school to take additional courses and improve your grades. However, if you have already graduated and working on improving your GPA is not an option anymore, you could apply to some of the easiest medical schools to get into.
If GPA remains a problem for you, you can also look into medical schools that accept low GPA.
Tips to Improve Your MCAT Score
Coursework and Undergrad
Students applying to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine will need to have the following coursework requirements:
- Biology with labs
- Physics with labs
- Inorganic (General) Chemistry with labs
- Organic Chemistry with labs
- English Composition and/or Literature
In addition to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program, ACOM offers a Master of Public Health (MPH) concurrent degree program and a Master of Science in Management (MSM) program: both require a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university for entry.
Prerequisites and Recommended Courses
To apply to ACOM, students must have the following science and non-science prerequisites:
The medical school also recommends that students take Biochemistry, Genetics, Anatomy, and Physiology as science courses and Behavioral Sciences, Math/Statistics as non-science courses.
AACOMAS Experiences, Employment, and Other Activities Sections
Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine is among those schools that use the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS) for their osteopathic medical school applications. AACOMAS allows students to apply to different osteopathic programs through a centralized application, which includes:
- GPA and transcripts
- MCAT score
- Personal statement
- Letters of reference
- Clinical experience and shadowing (not mandatory)
After submitting the AACOMAS application, the admissions committee will review which students meet the admissions criteria and invite them via email to submit a supplemental application. This supplemental application has a $50 non-refundable fee and includes two short answers and one essay as supporting documents.
AACOMAS Experience Section Example
Sample: Extracurricular Activities
Glenn High School – 20XX–20XX
- Represented the school in three inter-school debates
- Captain of school’s volleyball team
- Organized team meetings every month
Oceans Grocery Store – Cindy Schummer – May 20XX to June 20XX
- Worked at checkout counter
- Assisted floor manager with daily tasks
- Stocked shelves and maintained inventory
Non-Healthcare Volunteer or Community Enrichment
Volunteered at local community center
- Part of drives to clean up the town
- Assisted in organizing town hall meetings
- Assisted the staff with their daily duties
Internship at Alabama Free Clinic – Dr. Kumar – June 20XX to August 20XX (paid)
- Maintained patient records
- Cleaned patient rooms
- Maintained regularly used equipment
What Does ACOM Value?
ACOM’s vision is to become regionally and nationally recognized for significantly impacting physician workforce needs and access to quality medical services. To that end, it values integrity, service, passion, innovation, respect, excellence, and diversity in its applicants. Students should use their personal statements, secondary essays, letters of recommendation, and interviews to highlight these abilities to increase their chances of selection.
Personal Statement/Application Essays
An AACOMAS personal statement is part of your application. It will be a generic essay that talks about your background and tells the admissions committee about your motivation and passion for pursuing medicine, especially osteopathic medicine. An AACOMAS personal statement cannot exceed 5,300 characters, so make sure to stay within the limit. You should also use simple formatting and avoid tabs, italics, multiple spaces, etc. Lastly, make sure to proofread your personal statement.
As part of the supplemental application, you will be given prompts for the essay. These prompts change from time to time and can include questions like "What personal qualities of yours make you a successful osteopathic physician?"; "What life experiences/ people have inspired you to become an osteopathic physician?"; "Where do you see yourself in fifteen to twenty years from now?"; “Describe a fulfilling or challenging community service experience and how it helped you grow,” among others.
Wondering why medical school secondary essays are crucially important, and what are the common types of secondary essays? Watch this video:
The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine requires that applicants submit three letters of recommendation (LOR). One of the letters must be from a physician (DO is preferred) and two from science faculty, such as college science professors who instructed the applicant in the required science courses or recommended upper-level science courses.
When applying to ACOM, your AACOMAS letter of recommendation should show that you are a well-rounded professional by focusing on your strong communication and interpersonal skills, community service, leadership skills, clinical experience, and extracurriculars for medical school. They should show that you are motivated and possess the necessary knowledge.
After reviewing student applications, the admissions committee sends out email invites for interviews to selected candidates. The committee looks at an applicant’s interpersonal skills and how they relate to others, along with their motivation for the profession. On the day of the interview, applicants are invited to visit the campus and interview with two faculty members. After the interview, the committee reviews the applicant’s file along with the interviewers’ comments.
Sample ACOM Interview Question and Answers
Question: Why did you choose our school?
Answer: I grew up in a small town called Tuscumbia and lived there for most of my life with my parents. My father ran a garage, which I one day hoped to run alongside him. As a young boy in a small, close-knit community, that was the height of my aspirations, and I was excited about it.
However, when I was 17, my father started to complain about shortness of breath and occasional chest pains while working. At first, we thought nothing of it, but one day he fainted, and we had to rush him to the hospital. He was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).
As a curious kid, I started researching PAH and found out that it is a rare condition with not much concrete information available concerning its cause. This situation with my father is what pushed me toward medicine, and while completing my undergrad, I began to research osteopathic medical schools that are studying PAH. The DO program at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine seemed tailor-made for me.
In addition to benefiting from the robust curriculum of the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program and its dedicated, brilliant faculty, ACOM will give me the opportunity to better understand PAH and allow me to contribute to research that could one day result in a cure or a more effective treatment plan. This will enable me to improve my knowledge of the illness while helping people like my father affected by PAH.
ACOM follows the AACOMAS application system which opens typically in May. However, students can start applying to ACOM on June 15. Interviews begin in August, and selected candidates have until December 14 to submit their first seat deposit. Note that March 1 is the deadline for the AACOMAS application, and April 15 is the deadline for the supplemental application and supporting documents.
ACOM strongly recommends that its applicants submit their applications as early as possible, as interviews start in August and decisions are made on a rolling basis.
Tuition and Debt
The annual tuition for a recent year at ACOM was $57,658 USD or $28,829 USD per term. Students also need to put down a $2,000 non-refundable deposit to hold their place in the class once they are accepted. In a recent year, the average graduate indebtedness was $292,107 USD.
The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine offers a myriad of scholarships and grants to eligible students. Most scholarships are awarded competitively unless it states that they are automatically awarded. The scholarships include:
Loan Repayment/Forgiveness and Scholarships
ACOFP Auxiliary Scholarship Programs: for students who are active members of the school’s American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP) student chapter and wish to enter an AOA-approved family medicine residency program. It offers osteopathic medical students $2,500 to use toward medical school and/or personal expenses.
Osteopathic Family Medicine Student Scholarships: the ACOFP and Auxiliary of the ACOFP annually give $1,000 awards to qualified medical students who have indicated an interest in family medicine and the ACOFP.
Alabama Board of Medical Scholarship Awards: recipients agree to return to a pre-approved underserved community to practice primary care medicine in exchange for loan repayment.
Alabama Osteopathic Medical Association (ALOMA): this includes one scholarship each year for up to $5,000. To be eligible, applicants must be from Alabama and must indicate in writing their intention to practice medicine in Alabama after completing their residency training. They need to have completed their first year of training.
Alliance Grassroots Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship – AMA: this scholarship distributes $10,000 in tuition assistance to medical students approaching their final year.
Casey Family Services Alumni Scholarship: eligible students must have been part of Casey Family Services Foster Care in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Vermont. It offers up to $10,000 over the course of a college career.
The other scholarships and grants offered by ACOM are:
- ACOM Fellows Program
- Alabama Area Health Education Centers
- AMA Underrepresented in Medicine Scholarship
- AMASA Medical Student Scholarship
- American Indian Graduate Center
- American Medical Association
- American Medical Women's Association
- American Osteopathic Foundation
- American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians Awards
- AOA Presidential Memorial Leadership Award
- Armed Forces Financial Assistance Programs – Air Force
- Armed Forces Financial Assistance Programs – Army
- Armed Forces Financial Assistance Programs – Navy
- Baptist Medical Dental Fellowship Students & Residents Grant
Residency Match Rates
In recent years, students at ACOM have been placed in more than 20 specialties, of which over 60% are in primary care disciplines. In a recent year, the medical school placed 150 students in 22 specialties throughout the country. These specialties include internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine, and physiatry, among others.
Graduates of ACOM can practice medicine in the US and Canada. All 10 Canadian provinces recognize the qualifications of osteopathic graduates from American medical schools as equal to those of US-trained MDs.
Review of Available Programs
The programs offered at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine are as follows:
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)
The four-year DO program offered at ACOM includes clinic-, hospital-, and office-based training for students. It uses a hybrid model for the first two years, which includes discipline- and system-based delivery. During the third and fourth years, students get to train throughout the region at community-based hospitals and clinics.
ACOM has partnered with regional institutions like Troy University and Samford University to provide three concurrent degree programs. These programs are:
Master of Business Administration (MBA), Troy University, Dothan Campus
This program is designed to produce leaders and builders of enterprises who are interested in starting their own professional medical practice. It involves education in accounting, economics, finance, and marketing. A strong emphasis is put on ethics, leadership, managing people, processes, and systems.
Master of Public Health (MPH), Samford University Online
This program is designed for students who wish to get into practice-related careers, including primary care or working as public health physicians in government agencies, rural health centers, or international health organizations.
Master of Science in Management (MSM) — Leadership Concentration, Troy University
The MSM program is for students who want to start their career in a hospital or clinical setting. It offers the leadership skills necessary for motivating teams and managing people, as well as processes in businesses and non-profit organizations.
ACOM also offers two one-year medical student Fellows Scholars Programs that lead to a Master of Science in Adult Education (MSADE) degree. These programs are:
Anatomy/OPP Fellows Scholars Program
This program offers guided learning experiences in areas of medical education, anatomy, research, and osteopathic principles and practices. The students assist in all phases of the departments’ operations.
Clinical Simulation Fellows Scholars Program
This program offers guided learning experiences in the areas of medical education, research, and clinical simulation. Students assist in all phases of the ACOM Division of Clinical Sciences’ operation.
Detailed Academic Curriculum of DO Program
The DO program at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine aims to impart seven skill-, knowledge-, and competency-based outcomes. These align with the seven core competencies set by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), as follows:
- Osteopathic Principles, Practice, and Manipulative Treatment
- Osteopathic Patient Care and Procedural Skills
- Application of Knowledge for Osteopathic Medical Practice
- Practice-Based Learning and Improvement in Osteopathic Medical Practice
- Interpersonal and Communication Skills in the Practice of Osteopathic Medicine
- Professionalism in the Practice of Osteopathic Medicine
- Systems-Based Practice in Osteopathic Medicine
The first two years of the program use a hybrid model of discipline- and system-based delivery. Courses like Foundations of Modern Health Care teach students about ethics and professionalism. Primary Clinical Skills (PCS) and Osteopathic Principles & Practice (OPP) provide hands-on experience with osteopathic manipulative treatment, clinical reasoning, and physical and structural examination.
Campus and Faculty
The ACOM campus is located at 445 Health Sciences Boulevard, Dothan, AL 36303. It is a 110,000-square-foot facility equipped with the latest technology to create a productive learning environment for students. The design of the auditoriums and laboratories is such that it provides increased visibility to students during lectures and sessions. There is a primarily electronic library, and the Clinical Competency Center is designed to resemble the testing environment of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) exam. Faculty offices are on the second floor, close to student classrooms. In terms of labs, there is an Anatomy Lab, OPP Lab, Performance Exam Suite, Research Lab, Simulation Center, and various study spaces.
Students can get administrative help by contacting the following services:
College phone: (334) 699-2266
Email: mailto:[email protected]
Kim Chosie, Director of Academic Support Services: (334) 305-1010 or [email protected].
ACOM has a 4,000-square-foot Center for Research that offers dynamic facilities for bench research and collaborative endeavors. The current research interests of ACOM faculty include the following:
Official admissions office email: [email protected]
Address: 445 Health Sciences Boulevard, Dothan, AL 36303
Phone number: (334) 699-2266
1. What are the programs offered at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine?
ACOM offers a DO program, along with concurrent degree programs, including a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Science in Management (MSM), and two Fellows Scholars Programs: Anatomy/OPP Fellows Scholars Program and Clinical Simulation Fellows Scholars Program.
2. What application system does ACOM use?
To apply to the DO program at ACOM, students must use the AACOMAS application system.
3. Does ACOM ask for a supplemental application?
After submitting the AACOMAS application, the admissions committee reviews them and asks selected candidates to submit a supplemental application. This supplemental application has a $50 non-refundable fee and includes two short answers and one essay as supporting documents.
4. When should I apply to ACOM?
The medical school strongly recommends that its applicants submit their applications as early as they can, as interviews start in August, and decisions are made on a rolling basis.
5. Does ACOM have any scholarships?
Yes, ACOM offers a wide range of scholarships. Unless a scholarship states that it is automatically awarded, most scholarships are awarded competitively. The complete list is available on ACOM’s scholarship page.
6. How many letters of recommendation are required to apply to ACOM?
Three letters of recommendation are required to apply to ACOM. One of the letters must be from a physician (DO is preferred) and two from science faculty, such as college science professors.
7. What kind of facilities/buildings does ACOM have?
Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine has a primarily electronic library, an Anatomy Lab, OPP Lab, Performance Exam Suite, Research Lab, Simulation Center, and various study spaces.
8. Are there any non-science courses ACOM recommends?
The medical school recommends taking Behavioral Sciences and Math/Statistics as non-science courses.
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