Spread out over three different states, the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) offers prospective medical students several locations to pursue a degree in osteopathic medicine. LECOM consistently ranks high on DO school rankings and is one of the most applied to medical schools (allopathic and osteopathic) in the US, receiving 17,133 osteopathic medical school applications in one year. The school is also known for its reasonable tuition fees and the five different pathways it offers students to become osteopathic doctors.
This article will look at the school’s admissions and eligibility requirements, its academic curriculum, and whether it is one of the easiest medical schools to get into or not.
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“The mission of the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine is to prepare students to become osteopathic physicians, pharmacy practitioners, and dentists through programs of excellence in education, research, clinical care, and community service to enhance the quality of life through improved health for all humanity. Serving as a guiding light and cornerstone in medical education and true to the core principles of its founders, the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine has expanded its reach to include exceptional programs in graduate studies designed to provide scholars superlative education in the respective areas of study. The professional programs are dedicated to serve all students through innovative curriculum and the development of postdoctoral education and interprofessional experiences.”
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Overall Admissions Rate: 12.5%
In-State Admissions Rate: 2.5%
Out-of-State Admissions Rate: 10%
The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine is one of the few osteopathic medical schools that offers an alternative to the MCAT. The school deploys a unique grading system called the AIS (Academic Index Score), which is calculated using your GPA, SAT, and ACT scores in a combination you decide (GPA + SAT/ACT + GPA/GPA + SAT + ACT).
However, you can choose to submit MCAT scores that are not older than five years. To be clear, you can choose to submit your AIS or MCAT scores. You do not have to submit both, but you must submit at least one. The no-MCAT medical school requirement is an accommodation given to non-traditional medical school applicants who would prefer to have a faster path to becoming a doctor. The medical school GPA requirements and minimum MCAT grade, if applicable, for LECOM are:
- Minimum AIS (academic index score): 110 or higher
- Minimum GPA average to apply: 2.7
- Average GPA of matriculants: 3.2 (science and overall)
- Minimum MCAT Score: 497 or better
A majority of first year matriculants to LECOM were from science backgrounds, with 82% having a bachelor’s degree in sciences. But anyone wondering how to get into medical school without a science background should be buoyed by the fact that almost 15% of first year matriculants at LECOM came from non-science backgrounds. Another revealing statistic, if you have asked yourself, “do you need a master’s or PhD to apply to medical school” is the fact that 17% of first-year students had a graduate degree, even though the school only requires a bachelor’s degree to be accepted.
LECOM accepts applications from in-state, out-of-state, and international applicants, with the latter needing only to meet income requirements and have their transcripts verified by World Education Services for any coursework done outside of the US. Non-US citizens and non-permanent residents are allowed to apply, but cases are considered on an individual basis, and only four international students were admitted in a recent year. Applications are considered on a variety of factors, such as the ones already mentioned (MCAT, AIS, letters of recommendation), but the school makes no explicit mention of qualities they look for in candidates (racial, gendered, socioeconomic, or professional background).
Coursework and Undergrad
LECOM is one of the few medical schools that don't require the MCAT, as it uses its own proprietary grading system – Academic Index Score (AIS) – to judge your DO school application. As discussed, the AIS is calculated by combining your GPA, ACT, and SAT scores in three different ways, which you can decide, so you can choose not to include your GPA, if you are worried about how to get into medical school with a low GPA.
Prerequisites and Recommended Courses
However, there are several medical school prerequisites that applicants need to complete and receive at least a C grade in. Any coursework completed with a C- or lower must be taken again. The school also encourages all applicants to take advanced premed courses, although it is not an official requirement.
The required coursework to apply to LECOM includes:
- Minimum of eight hours (two hours of lab work) in Biology, Zoology, or Botany
- Minimum of eight hours (two hours of lab work) in Inorganic Chemistry
- Minimum of eight hours (two hours of lab work) in Organic Chemistry
- Minimum of four hours (one hour of lab work) in Physics
- Minimum of six hours of English composition and literature
- Minimum of six hours in Behavioral Sciences (psychology, sociology, philosophy, etc.)
AACOMAS Experiences and Achievements
You should read medical school personal statement examples to prepare for your application to LECOM, since the AACOMAS application service requires all applicants to submit one.
The school does require at least two medical school recommendation letters, either from a single source (science faculty member or someone similar), and an osteopathic physician, or two letters from an undergraduate or graduate school science professor. Letters from an osteopathic physician is recommended but not required.
The LECOM does not require students to submit supplementary essays for their secondary application, which goes directly to the admissions committee. Instead, students are encouraged to submit recommendation letters from the above-mentioned sources However, transfer students who wish to enroll into the DO program must submit, among other things, a letter of intent stating why they want to transfer into the school.
In-person and virtual interviews are conducted with successful applicants after they have completed the first two stages of the application process. But in-person interviews have been postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, even though they were usually conducted with applicants to the main campus in Erie, Pennsylvania, while virtual interviews were done for applicants to the Greensburg, PA; Elmira, NY; and Bradenton, FL, campuses.
There are two tiers to the interview process. The first tier is virtual. Students interview with LECOM faculty and administrators, but the school refers to them as “information sessions,” where students are briefed on the school’s academics, financial aid opportunities, and residency programs.
Following this information session, students are then asked to record a video of themselves answering a variety of medical school interview questions and submit it along with their letters. This stage is the final step of the application process, upon which admissions committee members begin considering all your application elements (AIS, MCAT, letters, and interviews) holistically.
Still choosing between DO and MD? Check this out:
Acceptance and Waitlist Information
The school schedules “information sessions” for successful applicants throughout the application year from July to April. It also uses a rolling admissions schedule to notify students of the success or failure of their application, in case you were wondering when do you hear back from med school interviews. The school does not make any mention of waitlists or whether they accept applications from re-applicants were denied the first time. You should contact the Office of Admissions directly to find out what the policy is.
AACOMAS Application Deadline: April 1st of application year
LECOM Secondary Application Deadline: April 14th of application year
The school has a two-step application process, meaning you first need to apply via the online osteopathic medical school application portal managed by AACOMAS (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service). If you are successful, LECOM will email you a secondary online application, so you may need to study up on medical school secondary essays prompts or read AACOMAS personal statement examples to prepare.
All applicants are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible, but it is recommended they submit their documentation four weeks before the deadline to receive an early answer.
Tuition and Debt
Annual Resident Tuition: USD $37,000
Annual Non-Resident Tuition: USD $37,000
Annual Resident and Non-Resident Fees: USD $900 (fees include student activities, technology costs, curricular fee, board prep)
Annual Health Insurance Costs: $4,178
Extra Non-Academic Costs (room, board, books, and living costs): USD $24,929
Average Debt Level of Graduates: USD $221,471
Nearly 83% of LECOM students receive some sort of federal loan aid to help pay for medical school. Even though LECOM tuition fees are some of the lowest medical school tuitions in the US and Canada, it is not one of the cheapest medical schools to attend. To apply to federal loans, students must have the following:
- US citizen or qualifying non-US citizen
- Enrolled in a degree or certificate program
- Maintain good academic standing
- Not be indebted to any other federal aid service
Residency Match Rates
According to official LECOM data, the College of Osteopathic Medicine matched 99% of its graduates in the last year. Its match rate has been consistently near or at 100% for the last four recorded years. The specialization that most graduates enter is family medicine, which, again, is a consistent feature over at least the last four years for graduates of LECOM – they typically enter family medicine residencies. Other popular specialties for graduates include internal medicine, emergency medicine, and psychiatry.
LECOM Match Rate:
The physical breadth of the LECOM – three states, four campuses – is reflected and matched by the wealth of its academic offerings, which stretch across six different specialty schools, including the school of medicine and school of pharmacy, and the five different DO pathways. Along with the DO pathways, the school of medicine also offers six combined degree programs, all of which can be taken via distance education:
Academic Curriculum of the DO Program
The LECOM DO program gives students five distinct pathways to obtain their DO degree based on different teaching methods and styles. The duration of each of the programs is four years. Note that the Accelerated Physician Assistant Pathway takes three years but leads to a different degree and requires that students answer PA school interview questions.
There are also specific programs within the six different schools under the LECOM umbrella. For example, the School of Pharmacy (based on the Bradenton, Florida campus) also offers five pathways to becoming a pharmacist that combine programs like pharmacology and nursing, while also offering post-doctoral programs.
The School of Health Services Administration is also based solely in Florida and offers four different degree programs in health services, including the Doctor of Healthcare Administration and Master in Public Health. LECOM also has a School of Podiatry, also based on the Bradenton campus, that offers a four-year osteopathic degree with two additional years of residency training.
1. Lecture Discussion Pathway
If you prefer a lecture-based instruction method similar to those found in traditional undergraduate programs, the Lecture Discussion Pathway is the option for you. This pathway combines lectures, laboratory work, tutorials, and independent study time divided over two phases. The first phase is instruction and lecture-heavy and covers courses ranging from Gross Anatomy, and Biochemistry to Physiology and Pathology. The second phase adopts a systems-based learning method whereby students are presented with more in-depth knowledge about patient care by practicing physicians.
2. Problem-Based Learning (PBL)
This teaching modality promotes a problem-solving approach to student’s education, rather than the traditional lecture/seminar-based method. The first 40% of the curriculum is based on lectures and conventional teaching methods, though, with the PBL model being slowly introduced to students in their second year. The rest of the 60% of the pre-clinical period is made up of PBL investigation and learning.
Students gather in small groups, headed by a faculty facilitator, to work through detailed medical problems to sharpen their investigative and research skills while also learning how to work as a team. Students use texts based in subjects like Anatomy and Histology in their formal study group, and then investigate specific “learning issues” to deepen their knowledge of this area.
3. Directed Study Pathway
Highly motivated and self-disciplined students can take the Directed Study Pathway if they feel they can pursue their studies independently, with little direction. Students is the DSP receive the same lecture-based instruction in foundational courses like Basic Neuroanatomy and Osteopathic Principles, and then transition to pursuing an independent course with agreed-upon knowledge benchmarks.
Divided between several learning modules, students are given specific goals by professors that they must meet by studying a particular text or subject. Students direct their own study plan and must pass the multiple-choice exams and evaluations created by faculty at the end to test whether they have fulfilled the educational requirements of that module.
4. Primary Care Scholars Pathway
The Primary Care Scholars Pathway is the LECOM’s accelerated three-year program for DO students who want to specialize in family or internal medicine. The shortened program was created as a way to relieve doctor shortages in critical, primary care specialties like family and internal medicine. Students still receive an accredited medical school education but start clinical rotations during their second year, while also agreeing to pursue residency training in either family or internal medicine.
5. Accelerated Physician Assistant Pathway
Physician assistants work alongside medical doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals to create an integrated medical care delivery team, but they cannot practice medicine independently of their supervising physician. This three-year pathway is for existing PAs to become DOs and is open to anyone who meets the eligibility requirements:
- Being a registered PA
- Minimum GPA of 2.7
- 4 credits in both Physics and Organic Chemistry
- MCAT score in the 40th percentile or higher
The LECOM has four different campuses spread out over three states. Four of the five DO pathways offered by the school are available only at the Erie, Pennsylvania, campus, which is also the school’s main campus. Only the Problem-Based Learning pathway is available at satellite campuses in Bradenton, Florida; Elmira, New York; and Greensburg, Pennsylvania; as well as the main Erie campus.
Affiliated Teaching Hospitals
Along with running and administrating the osteopathic school, LECOM also runs several health care delivery centers around the country under the rubric of LECOM Health. There are five associated medical centers that range from traditional primary care hospitals (Millcreek Community Hospital, Corry Memorial Hospital, Medical Associates of Erie) to assisted senior living centers (LECOM Senior Living) and a Medical Fitness and Wellness Center.
The LECOM School of Pharmacy recently opened the CDIR (Center for Drug and Information Research) that aims to investigate issues surrounding pharmacology, medical research, and the effectiveness of new, experimental, or traditional drug therapies. The CDIR is an independent body and publishes peer-reviewed evidence in its newsletter, LECOM Point.
Mark Kauffman, DO – Dr. Kauffman was recently accepted into the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians Conclave of Fellows for his exceptional work in promoting osteopathic medicine, leadership and dedication to his patients. Dr. Kauffman graduated from St. Francis University, and obtained his DO degree from the LECOM Bradenton campus. Dr. Kauffman has published over 20 articles in peer-reviewed journals and has also written a study guide for the COMLEX 2 PE test.
1858 W. Grandview Blvd.
Erie, PA 16509
Main Phone: (814) 866-6641
LECOM at Seton Hill
20 Seton Hill Drive
Greensburg, PA 15601
Main Phone: (724) 552-2880
LECOM at Elmira
1 LECOM Place
Elmira, NY 14901
Main Phone: (607) 795-8037
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (814) 866-6641
1. Do I need to take the MCAT to get into LECOM?
You do not need to take the MCAT to get into LECOM, but you can submit MCAT scores (no older than three years) if you so choose. You can also choose to calculate your AIS, which devises a score based on your SAT, GAT, and GPA in the following combinations (GPA + SAT/ACT + GPA/GPA + SAT + ACT).
2. Does LECOM accept international students?
Yes, LECOM does accept international students who meet eligibility criteria like English language proficiency and have financial resources to support themselves while they complete their degree.
3. Do I need to apply for financial aid every year?
Yes, you need to apply for financial aid every year. It is the responsibility of each individual student to know financial aid application deadlines and submit the required paperwork to qualify for aid.
4. Do I have to have a bachelor’s degree to apply?
Yes, LECOM does require that all applicants have a bachelor’s degree (no specific major) from an accredited American or Canadian university or college.
5. Are there minimum GPA or MCAT cut-offs?
Yes, all applicants to LECOM must have a GPA of at least 2.7 and a minimum MCAT score (if applicable) of 497. If you choose to submit an AIS score in lieu of an MCAT, the minimum score must be 110 or higher.
6. Do I need to submit recommendation letters?
Yes, you need to submit at least three letters of recommendation, either from an MD or a DO physician, two academic references, or one letter from a pre-professional selection committee.
7. How long is the DO program at LECOM?
The standard DO program lasts four years, but there is a three-year accelerated pathway (Directed Study Pathway) for students to obtain their DO degree faster.
8. Will I be matched to a residency program after graduation?
The LECOM has a match rate of a near-perfect 99%. The LECOM offers various supports to its students to help them match, but you should look for a residency application consultant if you are worried about your chances of matching.
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