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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List of DO School Acceptance Rates
The following is a shortlist of DO school acceptance rates arranged alphabetically and divided into three categories – in-state, out-of-state, and international – along with a brief description of the school and its academic offerings. 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.
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1. A.T. Still University-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine
The A.T. Still University-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine is a rural university in Missouri that offers in-person and online courses for its osteopath physician program and its two dual-degree programs. You can apply to either the DO/Master of Health Administration or the DO/Master of Public Health to add another degree to your four-year doctor of osteopathic medicine program.
Acceptance Rates: 24.6% overall, 8.38% in-state, 16.27% out-of-state, international
In-State/Out-of-state Tuition - $58,854 USD
2. A.T. Still University-School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona
The A.T. Still University-School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona is a sister university to the campus in Missouri and also offers a standard four-year degree, along with one combined degree, a DO/Master of Public Health. Applicants must submit their application via the AACOMAS electronic application service with at least three letters of recommendation and an AACOMAS personal statement.
Acceptance Rates: 26.9% overall, 3.2% in-state, 23.7% out-of-state
In-State/Out-of-State Tuition - $60,412
3. Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine is a suburban-based university with a 110,000 square foot campus in Dohan, Alabama, and is one of the many medical schools in Alabama that offer osteopathic medicine degrees. The ACOM offers several combined degrees with specialties, such as the MBA/DO, MPH/DO, and MSM/DO, while providing two fellowship programs to solidify osteopathic principles and practice.
Acceptance Rates: 26% overall, 3% in-state, 22.9% out-of-state
In-State/Out-of-state - $55,440
4. Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine
The Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine is a private institution in Glendale, Arizona, that is also one of the oldest osteopathic schools in the US. The school offers a four-year track, along with combined programs in public health and medical sciences and a Bridges program aimed at helping underrepresented groups enter osteopathic schools and graduate as osteopaths.
Acceptance Rates: 24.7% overall, 8% in-state, 16.7% out-of-state
In-State/Out-of-state Tuition - $74,516
5. Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine
The Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine is one of the newest osteopathic schools, as it was founded in 2014. The college is housed on a 100,000 square-foot campus and offers matriculated students housing options if they demonstrate a need. The school employs a rolling admissions process, so there is no set date when invitations for interviews are sent out. The College encourages all applicants to complete medical school prerequisites like biology, anatomy, and physics courses before they apply.
Acceptance Rates: 26.3% overall, 4.2% in-state, 22.1% out-of-state
In-state/Out-of-State Tuition: $43,000
6. Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine
The Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine offers a hands-on learning experience for its osteopathic medical students and has many options for students wondering how to get into medical school with a low GPA. The school requires that applicants submit MCAT scores and at least three medical school letters of recommendation via AACOMAS. It also recommends that students complete coursework in several science-based subjects, like anatomy and biochemistry, before applying.
Acceptance Rates: 25.3% overall, 1.41% in-state, 23.9%, out-of-state
In-State/Out-of-State Tuition: $60,668
7. California Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine
The California Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine is a good option for non-traditional medical school applicants since it takes a holistic approach to reviewing all applications. The College of Osteopathic Medicine requires MCAT scores and makes students complete their prerequisite courses with a C or higher to qualify for an interview. It also asks for two letters of recommendation. Applicants must also have a degree from any accredited university or from any one of the best post bacc programs for medical school.
Acceptance Rates: 61.7% overall, 52.5% in-state, 9.1% out-of-state
In-state/Out-of-state Tuition: $57,500
8. Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine
The Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine is a private, Christian-centered school that offers a four-year program for osteopathic students who have an interest in learning and eventually practicing in rural, medically underserved settings. The school also offers a single, combined degree track for anyone interested in pursuing a JD/DO.
The school requires that all applicants complete required coursework in subjects like biology, organic chemistry, and physics.
Acceptance Rates: 26% overall, 9.5% in-state, 16.5% out-of-state
In-state/Out-of-state Tuition: $55,150
9. Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine at Midwestern University
The Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine at Midwestern University is an accredited osteopathic medical college located in a suburban setting 25 miles west of Chicago. The college offers a four-year program that gives students access to a wide network of residency and fellowship opportunities after graduation. It also offers three distinct dual-degree programs in Public Health, Medical Sciences, and Biomedical Sciences. Applicants need to complete a required set of coursework in subjects like zoology and biology.
Acceptance Rates: 24.6% overall, 12.6% in-state, 12% out-of-state
10. Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine
The Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine gives students the opportunity to pursue an international health education through partnerships with other schools, while offering four different dual-degree programs at its suburban campus. The College provides various elective courses for students to round out their education and has two preparatory courses in anatomy and biomedical sciences for anyone who wants to know how to find premed research opportunities.
Acceptance Rates: 25.1% overall, 3.5% in-state, 21.6% out-of-state
11. Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine Auburn Campus
The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine Auburn Campus has an extensive network of affiliate schools that lets students avail themselves of important residency and training pathways. These partnerships with surrounding schools and health care institutions serve both the students, who gain hands-on, clinical experience, and patients from medically underserved areas in Appalachia. Admissions are based on regional factors, and students from Appalachian or Delta states are given preference over out-of-state applicants.
Acceptance Rates: 23.7% overall, 10.2% in-state, 13.5% out-of-state
In-state/Out-of-state Tuition: $47,800
12. Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine
The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine is another school that seeks to train and graduate osteopathic doctors to serve communities in Midwestern states like Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. The school offers students strong foundational courses in anatomy, biochemistry, immunology, and physiology in the first year of its four-year program, and it also offers dual-degree programs in Public Health and Health Administration.
Acceptance Rates: 26.7% overall, 3.01% in-state, 23.7% out-of-state
In-state/Out-of-state Tuition: $54,300
13. Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine
The Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine has two campuses where it offers students a blend of clinical work and classroom instruction to give them a fully rounded education as osteopaths. The school emphasizes the importance of the patient-physician relationship and employs in-person training through patient simulations to help students learn how to interact. All applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree and take the MCAT to apply.
Acceptance Rates: 24.4% overall, 2.7% in-state, 21.7% out-of-state
In-state/Out-of-state Tuition: $49,888
14. Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine
The Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine is an accredited college of osteopathic medicine that offers a four-year DO degree, with all graduates being eligible to enroll in the ERAS application service to find residency matches post-graduation. Selection factors include a geographic preference for candidates from rural Kentucky and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 or higher. MCAT scores higher than 498 or 123 for each sub-section are given preference, with high-performing candidates being more likely to be invited for an osteopathic medical school interview.
Acceptance Rates: 24% overall, 23.3% in-state, 0.7% out-of-state
In-state/Out-of-state Tuition: $50,000
15. Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine
The Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine is a faith-based institution that emphasizes small class sizes and laboratory experiences for all successful applicants to the four-year osteopath track. The College takes a holistic approach to reviewing all applications and requires MCAT and GPA scores to be considered. If applicants are invited to a secondary interview, they might be asked to answer the “why this osteopathic school” secondary essay question.
Acceptance Rates: 25.1% overall, 4.2% in-state, 20% out-of-state
In-state/Out-of-state Tuition: $48,000
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 3.56.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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