Unsure about the DO school application process for osteopathic medical schools? The AACOMAS application process is somewhat similar to that of the AMCAS application for allopathic medical schools, but if you are deciding between applying DO vs MD you should know that there are some very important differences. In this blog, we’ll explain the basics of the AACOMAS application, what the DO school application requirements are, and a step-by-step guide to osteopathic med school applications. We’ve also included some samples to help you write your own application!

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Article Contents
19 min read

DO School Application: Admission Requirements How to Apply to Osteopathic Medical Schools DO School Application: AACOMAS Timeline Step-by-Step AACOMAS Application Guide What Comes After Submitting Your AACOMAS Application List of Osteopathic Medical Schools (DO) That Use AACOMAS Conclusion & FAQs

DO School Application: Admission Requirements

The DO school requirements are quite similar to the medical school requirements for allopathic schools. The requirements for applying to DO programs includes the following:

  1. Undergraduate degree
  2. Medical school GPA requirements
  3. Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)
  4. Medical school prerequisites
  5. Medical school personal statement
  6. Medical school extracurriculars
  7. Medical school recommendation letters
  8. Medical school secondary essays
  9. Acuity Insights assessment
  10. Medical school interviews

While the requirements are nearly identical for both osteopathic and allopathic medical schools, the process of completing your DO school application and meeting these requirements will be slightly different than applying to MD schools. We’ll explore how to complete your AACOMAS application in the next section, but first we’ll look at how hard it is to get into DO schools and what these programs are looking for in applicants.

How Hard is it to Get Into DO Schools?

While the mean scores fluctuate from year-to-year, the average GPA of accepted DO applicants tends to be around 3.6 and total MCAT score of accepted applicants is around 504. These stats are lower overall than they are for MD schools, so premeds may think that based on medical school acceptance rates, osteopathic medical school admissions are the easier option. However, it’s important to note that DO schools look beyond your GPA and MCAT score! Although some osteopathic medical schools are among the easiest medical schools to get into, based on admissions stats, the process is nonetheless competitive.

It is crucial that you look into DO school acceptance rates yourself and check the minimum requirements of the schools of your choice. Your GPA and MCAT scores do still matter to your DO school application, even if the minimum cut-offs and accepted averages tend to be lower.

That said, while medical school GPA requirements and standardized test scores are important, most DO schools utilize a "holistic review" of candidates. This means that applicants are evaluated based on a wealth of qualities and competencies that are demonstrated through the qualitative aspects of your DO school application, such as your essays, extracurriculars and interview. DO programs often put a good deal of weight on the non-numerical aspects of each applicant's file, including community involvement, motivations for studying medicine, and medical school recommendation letters.

One of our admissions experts and a graduate of the Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Tony Huynh, DO, says one of his biggest challenges in applying to DO schools was gaining experience with osteopathic medicine:

“When applying I had little information regarding the major difference between DO and MD educations. I would say the most challenging part was learning about osteopathy [and] securing a DO letter for applications … I would encourage students to do proper research if DO schools are right for them. Speaking to DO physicians, learning about osteopathy, and even getting shadowing experiences (especially for letters) would be useful.” – Dr. Tony Huynh, DO, Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine (TUN-COM)


As well, some knowledge of osteopathic medicine, a specific motivation to pursue osteopathic medicine, and experience shadowing a DO are all looked on favorably. As well, many DO programs actively recruit traditionally under-represented minority students and non-traditional applicants, and many schools have a proven record of acknowledging the potential of such candidates and fostering their development.

Because osteopathic medicine is not just a mode of practice, but a philosophical principle, it is critical that you are able to demonstrate that you are a "good fit" for such programs, on both an academic and personal level. If you’re unsure exactly what does DO stands for, explore the tenets of osteopathic medicine and how they align with your values and motivations for studying medicine.

Why choose DO? There are many reasons why premeds will apply to osteopathic medical schools, or both MD and DO schools. Two of our students, Nicole and Sarah, both applied to DO schools because they had a personal connection to the values of osteopathic medicine.

“I wanted to be able to advance the field of medicine and patient care through a practice that combined research and advocacy for patients historically overlooked in medicine with chronic illness” – Nicole, BeMo student


“I decided to become a doctor sometime in college after having experienced my own health issues that I felt initially weren't well taken care of by the conventional medical system. After a wide variety of experiences, I began to recognize what conventional medicine was lacking, despite its merits. At the same time, I discovered a niche area of need that I could help fill to make the practice of medicine more holistic, root-cause-oriented, and preventative.” Sarah, BeMo student

DO School Application: How to Apply to Osteopathic Medical Schools

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) utilizes its centralized application service (AACOMAS) for DO schools much like the AAMC’s AMCAS service for MD programs.

The AACOMAS system verifies your undergraduate coursework and collects all your DO school application materials to send to your designated osteopathic medical schools.

It's a good first step to review the AACOMAS application guide and instructions to get started. And, pay attention to the AACOMAS important deadlines, so you can start planning your own medical school application timeline.

The AACOM also provides profiles on participating schools through the Choose DO Explorer, including application requirements and additional info. However, it’s best to check with each individual school for the most up-to-date information.

Want help with your DO school applications? Here's how we helped our students succeed:

DO School Application: AACOMAS Timeline

Just like MD programs, DO schools utilize rolling admissions meaning that DO schools conduct application review and medical school interviews throughout the admissions cycle. This means premeds hoping to get into osteopathic schools should complete and submit their applications as early as possible, so they can be among the first to have their application reviewed and potentially receive their interview invitations first. As the application season continues, spots in osteopathic programs will start to fill up, so your chances of admissions will decrease if you are submitting later in the cycle.

Be sure to double check your application cycle’s AACOMAS important dates and deadlines!

Step-by-Step AACOMAS Application Guide

The AACOMAS application consists of 4 different sections but will require some additional steps before you can complete it and submit it. The 4 key AACOMAS application sections are:

  • Personal Information
  • Academic History
  • Supporting Information
  • Program Materials

Next, let’s go over the steps to the DO school application process through AACOMAS. Keep in mind you’ll complete most of these steps well before application seasons opens!

1. Research DO Programs and Complete the Requirements

Before the AACOMAS application cycle opens, there are some important steps to take. First, research the DO schools you’re interested in applying to and check out the DO school rankings. Dr. Tony Huynh, DO, one of our admissions experts, says to consider both the admission requirements, such as GPA cut-offs and your own preferences when it comes to choosing an osteopathic school. For example, he selected one of the DO schools with the best match rates and a curriculum that appealed to him:

“I applied to both types of school because I wanted a diverse range of different programs. I applied to a number of schools that were in range of my stats … Of the acceptance offers I received, I believed that the DO school I went to offered the most comprehensive education. It was the best in terms of match rate, 1st-time board pass rate, and had a good reputation in securing students the rotations they wanted.” – Dr. Tony Huynh, DO, TUN-COM

When making your medical school list, write down the program-specific requirements, deadlines and any supplemental information they require. Keep track of what requirements you still need to complete.

During this time, you should also make sure you’ve completed any of the prerequisites for medical school, scheduled your MCAT test date, reached out to potential references and started drafting your personal statement. If your chosen programs require additional checkboxes, such as clinical experience, volunteering or research, dedicate some of your time to completing these, too.

In general, you’ll start this process 1-2 years before the AACOMAS app even opens for your desired medical school application cycle. This ensures you have time to complete requirements and check everything off the list.

2. Create Your AACOMAS Account and Start Filling Out Your Application

Your medical school application for DO schools will be comprehensive, but you can create an account and start filling it out well before application season even opens. This is strongly recommended so that you can complete and submit your application as early as possible and space out the many tasks on your list. Aim to start filling out your application around 3 months before the application season opens in the spring.

Once you’ve created an AACOMAS account through the online service, you can begin by filling out the first two sections of the application, as well as send your MCAT score to AACOMAS once you’ve taken the exam:

Many DO schools also require the CASPer test! Here are some CASPer question samples and expert responses to practice with:

3. Complete the AACOMAS Supporting Information Section

The AACOMAS Supporting Information section includes the core of your qualitative DO school application. Here are the core sections:


Evaluations, or AACOMAS letters of recommendation, are the first part of this section. These evaluations must be submitted directly to AACOMAS by your chosen referees. Each applicant can enter contact information for up to 6 evaluators or referees. Note that some programs are very specific about the kinds of evaluator who can submit letters of recommendation, including their role and/or their relationship with the student for whom they are writing the letter.

Some schools also ask for a letter of recommendation from a DO physician, so a DO you have conducted research with, shadowed or otherwise worked for or volunteered with is an excellent candidate for evaluator. For many students, though, securing a letter of recommendation from a DO can be a challenge,

Dr. Shaughnelene Smith, DO, a graduate from the Kansas City University Osteopathic Medical School and one of our admissions experts, shares how she found a solution to this common problem:

“I remember stressing about this because I grew up in a rural town in Northern British Columbia, Canada … there is still little to no exposure to DO physicians in rural environments; therefore, all my letters of recommendation came from MD physicians. When going through the application process, I remember feeling worried that this would reflect negatively on my application … I subsequently made sure to ask my [referees] to highlight some of the DO qualities and principles in my letter (i.e., such as taking on a more holistic approach to care), to ensure that admissions committees could still see I fit the osteopathic focus.” – Dr. Shaughnelene Smith, DO, Kansas City University Osteopathic Medical School


Requests for evaluation are sent through the AACOMAS application system; you simply fill in the necessary information (including an email address for each evaluator), and they will receive a prompt requesting that they submit their evaluation.

Approach your letter writers at least 6 weeks before the letter is due. Even if you know your evaluator well, they will usually still want to go back through the work you've submitted in the past, have a meeting with you to understand what aspects of your work and personality you think they can speak to most effectively, spend some time mulling all this over, write at least two drafts of the letter before submitting it, and so on.

To help them get a deeper understanding of why you want to pursue osteopathic medicine, provide them with your list of extracurriculars, a draft of your personal statement, and any other document that highlights the qualities and experiences especially valued by osteopathic schools. Help them write you a stellar recommendation letter by providing all this additional information!

Experiences and Achievements

Next is the AACOMAS activities section, where you can include experiences that demonstrate that you are the right candidate for medical school, and osteopathy in particular.

Your experiences for the AACOMAS application will fall into 4 categories:

  1. Extracurricular Activities
  2. Non-healthcare Employment
  3. Non-healthcare volunteer or community enrichment
  4. Healthcare experience

You can also enter awards, honors, presentations, publications and scholarships in the AACOMAS Achievements section.

DO schools want to see that you are an engaged member of your community! Go beyond your academic achievements and scores to prove that you will be an exceptional addition to the incoming class. Medical schools want to see your versatility and interests outside of academia – they have no set expectations when it comes to your extracurriculars. No preference is given to any of the categories.

Dr. Shaughnelene Smith, DO, shares her experience with how extracurriculars are viewed by med school admissions:

“Having gone through medical school [applications] and residency interviews, most of the conversations I had with admissions committees came from my extracurricular activities that were non-traditional. That is not to say that having typical premed extracurriculars is bad (i.e., working as a scribe, volunteering in a hospital, etc.), but so many applicants will have this same experience; therefore, don't be scared to share other hobbies [or] interests and add some humor with it. I remember sharing experiences such as when a rhino charged me on a photographic safari—one of my biggest passions is conservation and wildlife photography—and when I moved home and worked random jobs like transcribing witness testimonies for court cases with the local police station. In the end, committees care more about your growth [and] maturity developed from an experience rather than 'what' the experience is specifically, and they want to see that this will make you a stronger candidate for their institution and the profession as a whole.” – Dr. Shaughnelene Smith, DO, Kansas City University Osteopathic Medical School


Your experiences are an important aspect of providing qualitative context for your more quantitative AACOMAS application elements like your GPA and MCAT score, so take your time and make sure you select high-quality experiences that reflect positively on your character and sense of commitment.

Remember, the activities you participate in outside of school reveal your personality and character. And while you can choose to only highlight serious extracurricular endeavors like volunteering in a clinic or working with the elderly, you can also share your personal passions and quirky interests. So, whether you tap dance, volunteer with the humane society, play tennis, or organize book clubs in your neighborhood, show the admissions committee that you are a dedicated, passionate, and well-rounded candidate for medical school! The activities you choose should reflect the values of osteopathic medicine whenever possible.

There is no limit to the number of entries you can include on your AACOMAS application, but each entry description is limited to 600 characters.

Personal Statement

The AACOMAS personal statement is a maximum of 5,300 characters (including spaces), and the aim of this essay is to effectively communicate why you are an exceptional candidate for osteopathic medicine.

Dr. Shaughnelene Smith, DO, one of our admissions experts, advises DO applicants to:

“Share your experiences and relate [your personal statement] to the institution's mission statement. Most DO medical programs will incorporate some underlying theme relating to the osteopathic principles; therefore, I would advise applicants-not just for the personal statement, but so they also understand the philosophy of what it means to be an osteopathic physician-to look into what these principles are.” – Dr. Shaughnelene Smith, DO, Kansas City University Osteopathic Medical School


This does NOT mean simply feeding these principles back to the admissions committee – they know what the principles are, so they don’t need you to repeat them back. You need to draw on your own experiences and life narrative to show how you have lived, and how you will continue to abide by, these values and principles. For instance, if your family doctor was a DO, if you participated in osteopathic research or shadowed a DO physician to learn more about the practice, use these examples to explain what about osteopathic medicine interests you and why it is the path you have chosen.

Thinking through the common question, "Why do you want to be a doctor?" through the lens of osteopathic medicine, is a great way to brainstorm toward this essay. Check out our blog for some medical school personal statement examples to get an idea of how to structure this essay.

Because of all this, it is not advisable to try to simply rehash an AMCAS personal statement, if you’re applying to both allopathic and osteopathic programs. While many of the values and characteristics desired in successful applicants are similar, the perspectives of these two types of medical care are different enough that what works for one will likely not work for the other.

4. Complete the AACOMAS Program Materials Section

The Program Materials Section is an additional section that is specific to each DO school you apply to. Some programs may ask you to fill out additional short-answer or essay questions in this section, or upload supporting documents.

Read the instructions carefully, as they will be unique to each school. If your chosen programs have additional requirements you need to complete, they will be listed here.

Some programs will ask you to self-identify any courses you’ve taken that fulfill their prerequisites. You must complete your transcript entry first, and then select which courses you’ve completed fulfill the listed prerequisites for a specific DO program.

5. Submit and Monitor Your DO School Application

Once the core of your DO school application is complete through AACOMAS, you can submit it. Note that you won’t be able to edit all sections of your application once it’s submitted, so do a careful review of all materials before hitting submit!

You can submit your AACOMAS application before your final transcripts and evaluations are received, however your application won’t be submitted to schools until it is marked as complete and verified. It’s up to you to monitor your application, make any necessary changes and verify that your evaluators submitted your letters of recommendation and that AACOMAS has received your official transcripts.

To be marked as complete and ready for next steps, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • All official transcripts have been received and posted to your application.
  • If you used the Professional Transcript Entry (PTE) service, you have approved the work completed.
  • Your application fee payment was submitted and marked as received.
  • You submitted your application and received an email confirming it was successfully submitted.
  • Your application Program Status is "Complete."

Once you’ve submitted your application, use your AACOMAS account to verify that all the required steps have been completed and that no crucial information is missing.

DO School Application: What Comes After Submitting Your AACOMAS Application

After you’ve completed all the sections and pressed “Submit”, most of the sections will be locked and you will no longer be able to edit your submission. However, if there are sections that need updating because the information was not available at the time of submission, some changes are possible. These include:

  • Adding programs with deadlines that haven’t passed (note that various schools and programs have different deadlines, so you must check and double-check to ensure everything will be submitted on time to all of your chosen schools and programs)
  • Adding new test scores, experiences, achievements (though you are not allowed to edit or delete existing entries)
  • Updating courses you’d previously listed as “in progress” or planned, or courses added for the next term of your current enrollment.

You cannot go back and add anything to previous years, even if you just made a mistake or forgot to add a course or experience, so be very careful and thorough in your initial application submission. As well, note that this is just a general overview, and is in no way a substitute for carefully reviewing the application guidelines through AACOMAS.

Once your AACOMAS application is submitted, there are some additional steps to take:

1. AACOMAS Application Verification

Once AACOMAS receives your completed application, it is placed in line to be verified. This can take up to 10 business days.

The verification process is to ensure all your coursework has been entered correctly, and to calculate your AACOMAS GPAs. AACOMAS does this to standardize all your coursework and awarded grades so DO schools can compare you fairly to all applicants. This is why entering your coursework in the Academic History section carefully is so vital, since any errors or missing information can slow down the verification process and potentially delay your application being sent to DO schools.

Once AACOMAS verifies all your coursework and converts your grades to its GPA system, your application will be marked as verified and sent to your chosen DO schools.

2. DO School Secondary Applications

Once you've completed all of this, you just sit back and wait (and hope) for the medical school secondary essays invites! Secondaries are typically much shorter than primary application essays, but they are more difficult to execute since you will usually have less time to plan them. If your school of choice does not set a deadline to submit secondaries, you should try to submit them within two weeks of receiving them.

Each school will have specific prompts for its secondary essays, such as “why osteopathic medicine” or “why did you choose to apply to X school?” It’s a good idea to research these prompts ahead of time and start preparing your answers. You’ll need to introduce new experiences and stories in your secondary essays, that aren’t repeated from your personal statement or elsewhere in your application. You should also read the mission statements of the schools you’ve applied to and any information on the school’s core values or vision statement. Your secondary essays should tell the admissions committee something they have not yet learned about you AND demonstrate how you are a fit with their values and mission.

Most students find that answering secondary essay prompts is difficult because of the character limit – remember, you must still provide quality answers even if you are limited to 250 words. If you are struggling with writing, check out medical school secondary essay examples that will inspire you.

DO School Interviews

After DO school secondary applications, interview invitations begin being sent out. If you get invitations to osteopathic medical school interviews, be sure to review common medical school interview questions like "tell me about yourself” and "what is your greatest weakness?"

Of course, it’s not enough to know what kinds of questions to expect from an osteopathic medical school interview. Just like with allopathic medical schools, the interview can clinch your acceptance to a program. It’s the final test of whether you’re a good applicant, so it’s important to be prepared and learn how to present yourself in the best way possible. Our student Megana knew that acing her interview at the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine was especially crucial to offset a less competitive GPA and MCAT score. With BeMo’s help, she aced her interview and was accepted!

“My MCAT score and GPA were not as competitive as I needed them to be, so the interview was really important for me to practice and get right! … I learned how to adapt to the interview structure and questions. BeMo really helped with that! I reframed a lot of interview questions from BeMo's advice.” – Megana, BeMo student, DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine


Don't forget that DO programs want to see that you are truly committed to osteopathic medicine. During your DO school interview, you must demonstrate that you are familiar with osteopathic philosophical and practical tenets, including OMM. Remember, if you are applying to both MD and DO programs, your medical school interview questions and answers might differ slightly. In your DO answers, make sure to put emphasis on your interest in osteopathic medicine.

One of our successful osteopathic med school applicants, Sam, knew the importance of acing the med school interview at DO schools, especially as a non-traditional reapplicant:

“My preparation for interviews had consisted of watching YouTube videos, figuring out what questions to expect, reading books, really making sure I expressed myself and my story in a clear and coherent manner.” – Sam, BeMo student

After struggling with some cold feet and nerves, Sam decided to reach out to us at BeMo for some personalized med school interview prep.

“A big game changer for me during the second application cycle compared to the first was how personally prepared I felt for my interviews and one of the biggest factors that I think contributes to that is the fact that … I could get a very personalized mock interview experience and I think what sets apart from any of the other ways that I've been practicing was the fact that I could actually get feedback and the feedback was what truly changed how I approached interviews.” – Sam, BeMo student

List of Osteopathic Medical Schools (DO) That Use AACOMAS

AACOMAS is the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine’s central application service. Almost every DO school application in the US is submitted through this service, as the majority of DO schools use it. The complete list of schools that use AACOMAS is below:


The AACOMAS process for DO schools is thorough and demanding of your time and attention. However, this complexity also affords you numerous opportunities to make yourself and your experience stand out, contextualizing your years of hard work as a student.

Start early, be patient and double and even triple check your work. Attention to detail is a vital characteristic of both medical students and seasoned physicians alike, and admissions committees will be looking for it in each section of your application. However, once you’re through the AACOMAS application, you can take a breath and contemplate how far you’ve come, and how exciting and transformative DO school will be. 


1. What is Osteopathic Medical School?

Osteopathic medical schools focus on a holistic approach to medicine, emphasizing preventive care and the body's musculoskeletal system. Graduates earn a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree.

2. How Do I Apply to Osteopathic Medical School?

Prospective students apply through the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS). The process involves submitting transcripts, MCAT scores, letters of recommendation, and personal statements.

3. What are the Prerequisites for Osteopathic Medical School?

Applicants typically need a bachelor's degree with coursework in biology, chemistry, physics, and math. Some schools also require courses in English and social sciences.

4. How Competitive is Osteopathic Medical School Admission?

Admission is competitive, with emphasis on academic performance, MCAT scores, healthcare experience, and extracurricular activities. Each school has its own specific requirements and selection criteria.

5. What is the Difference Between MD and DO Programs?

While both MD and DO are fully qualified physicians, DO programs have a unique focus on holistic care, preventive medicine, and the musculoskeletal system. DOs are trained in Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT).

6. How Important is the MCAT for Osteopathic Medical School Applications?

The MCAT is a crucial component of the application. Scores provide a standardized measure of academic ability in science and critical thinking. However, holistic review processes also consider other factors.

7. Can I Apply to Both MD and DO Programs?

Yes, applicants can apply to both MD and DO programs. It's advisable to understand the distinct philosophies and approaches of each to tailor personal statements and application materials accordingly.

8. What Type of Clinical Experience is Needed for Osteopathic Medical School?

Clinical experience, whether through volunteering, shadowing, or employment in healthcare settings, is highly recommended. It provides insight into the medical field and demonstrates commitment to a healthcare career.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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