DO school acceptance rates are crucial medical school acceptance rates to know for someone deciding which path to take to become a doctor. Knowing the two different types of acceptance rates lets you weigh your options and helps you decide which pathway is right for you – DO vs. MD and which schools you should apply to. Osteopathic schools have the same competitive medical school requirements as allopathic schools. DO schools ask applicants for MCAT and CASPer scores, and many also have medical school GPA requirements, so read this article to know which schools you should apply to and how to improve your application.


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4 min read

List of DO School Acceptance Rates How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into a DO School Conclusion FAQs

List of DO School Acceptance Rates

The following is a shortlist of DO school acceptance rates. This list was compiled using data from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.

We’ll then go through the ways you can apply to osteopathic schools and how to improve your osteopathic medical school application and whether you need medical school application help.

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into a DO School

1. Complete Required Course Work Early

Like medical schools in Canada and medical schools in the US, DO schools look at various aspects of a candidate’s background, including their academic history, professional and work experience, grades and test scores, and written statements. One requirement that all the 40 DO schools in the US impose is that students complete prerequisite coursework in biology, zoology, biochemistry, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and physics. The coursework can be done online, and a majority of schools do not require a number grade but accept a pass/fail grade.

Among a recent class of DO school matriculants, 81% listed a life science major as their undergraduate degree, but successful applicants also listed non-science majors like social sciences (8.6%), physical sciences (5.2%), and the humanities (3.2%). These statistics should make it clear that you can get into medical school without a science background and encourage you to apply, regardless of your bachelor’s degree.

2. Prepare for the MCAT and Improve Your Grades

MCAT test prep is vital for any successful DO school application. All DO schools require that applicants take all sections of the MCAT and submit their score. The average mean MCAT scores for students entering a DO school is 504, so your overall MCAT score plays an important role in whether your application is reviewed. The mean GPA average of the same class was 3.6.

Preparing for the MCAT alone is labor and time-intensive, so you should know when to start studying for the MCAT and create the ideal MCAT study schedule so that you can time your study sessions to align with particular MCAT test dates and release dates. You can submit your scores, along with the other parts of your application, though the centralized AACOMAS application service that streamlines all DO applications.

3. Gain Experience with Extracurriculars

As DO schools examine the totality of an applicant’s application, including your AACOMAS activities section, rather than looking specifically at MCAT scores or GPA, they encourage students who have demonstrated a commitment to non-academic pursuits like community service, volunteer work, and leisure interests to mention them in their application. Extracurriculars for medical school are good for many reasons; they indicate a “well-rounded” candidate who has passions and interests outside of medicine, the first item that the AACOM lists on its website for personal qualities all potential osteopathic doctors must have.

But extracurriculars also help you develop other skills like interpersonal, organizational, and communication skills, depending on the extracurricular activity you are involved in. Volunteer work in a clinical or non-clinical setting is always good for a medical school application, but medicine or science-related work as a lab or research assistant is also worth putting on your medical school resume.

4. Get Ready for Your Written Essays and Interviews

All successful applicants have to pass through interviews as part of the entrance requirements to any osteopathic medical school. During these interviews, you’ll be asked several types of medical school interview questions like “tell me about yourself”, and “why do you want to be a doctor?”, which is why you should first ask yourself these questions and craft an answer that is authentic and personable.

Practicing in advance for your interview calms your nerves and helps you formulate a concise answer so that you don’t start rambling during your interview. This and many other reasons are why you must prepare for your interviews well in advance, since they are a crucial component of the admissions process.

Your written statements are also an opportunity to humanize your application and let admissions officers understand your motivations to become an osteopath, instead of an MD, nurse, or PA. Many schools want to know why students have chosen osteopathic medicine over a traditional allopathic medical degree since, while they share some similarities, they are unique professions.

Most osteopathic schools accept personal statements and letters of recommendation via the AACOMAS application program. Each school has specific letter requirements for who the author of the letters should be (academic, medical professional, personal reference) and asks for a combination of all three to provide the most accurate portrait of the applicant.

5. Research the Schools Well

The overall acceptance rate for all DO schools in the US was 31.22%, since there was a total of 27,277 applicants and 8,516 matriculants. This acceptance rate may not seem as competitive as those of Ivy League medical schools, which often range between 1.0% and 2.4%, but aside from the acceptance rates, you should research whether the osteopathic school you are interested in has other admission requirements that can affect your application.

We’ve mentioned schools here that show various preferences: they may favor in-state applicants, be faith-based and centered on Christianity, or require graduating students to perform their residency and eventually practice in the region where they studied. These requirements may appeal to you or they may not, which is why it is important to understand what the school’s mission revolves around and whether its values, culture, and academic offerings are amenable to you.

Conclusion

DO school acceptance rates are important to consider when deciding whether or not to pursue a degree in osteopathic medicine, but they are not the only consideration. AACOMAS begins accepting applications May 4th every year, and schools begin reviewing applications June 15th. These dates should provide you with the medical school application timeline you need to prepare your application, and because many DO schools use rolling admissions, submitting your application early helps your chances. 

FAQs

1. Is it easier to get into a DO school than an MD school?

While osteopathic school admission requirements are more inclusive and not as competitive as conventional MD programs, it is not easier to get into a DO school over an MD school. DO schools have inflexible standards like GPA cut-offs and minimum MCAT scores while also requiring their students to have completed courses in several science-based subjects before applying. 

2. Is it cheaper to pursue a DO degree over an MD?

No, tuition fees for one year of a DO program are similar or even higher than one year of a medical school program. For example, the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine charges $50,000 USD, while the average medical school tuition in the US sits at $53,185. Many students wonder how much does medical school cost before applying, and for good reason. Aside from the tuition, there are all the other costs associated with pursuing a medical degree, like housing, food, textbooks, and application fees. 

3. Why should I pursue a DO degree instead of an MD?

There is no one reason why you should pursue a DO degree over an MD, but the decision should be tied to your beliefs and philosophy about medicine and medical care. If you are a believer in the principles of osteopathic medicine (treating the whole body, emphasizing preventative medicine, promoting self-healing), then you should follow your beliefs. But if you are drawn more to the allopathic approach to medicine (treating specific illnesses and diseases, focusing on specific organs and internal systems), which is what MDs practice, you should follow that path. 

4. Will I be matched in a residency program as a DO graduate?

Yes, DO graduates must complete residency training like their MD counterparts, and many DO schools offer students residency match services to help them complete their education. Schools do this not only to assure their applicants will not have to hire a residency application consultant but also ensure that graduates decide to stay and practice in the community where they were trained.

5. Do DOs make less money than MDs?

Yes, medical doctors with MDs typically make more money than their DO counterparts, based on income earning statistics. MDs often spend more time training and becoming specialists in specific areas of medicine, which makes them more valuable to hospitals, clinics, and private practices.

6. Do I need to take the MCAT to get into a DO school?

Yes, a majority of osteopathic schools require that applicants take the MCAT. Successful applicants have an average score of 504 or higher, but each school has its own cut-offs and MCAT criteria.

7. Is an MD better than a DO degree?

No, an MD is not better than a DO degree. Both approaches to medicine – osteopathic and allopathic - have the ultimate goal of helping people live better, healthier lives, and they achieve that in different ways. MDs go further into specializations that treat individual parts of the body, while DOs offer primary care to treat the everyday maladies of underserved populations. However, these approaches are not mutually exclusive, and there is a lot of overlap between the two, like an emphasis on foundational science courses, research and innovation, and patient-centered care.

8. Should I shadow a doctor to help my chances?

Shadowing is when you follow a practicing doctor during the day to see how they execute their duties and what challenges they face. Many medical schools recommend that applicants shadow a doctor and even provide guidance on how to ask to shadow a doctor. DO schools do not explicitly recommend that their students shadow a doctor, although they do recommend it as a way to boost your application’s profile.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting


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