The Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest (WU-COMP Northwest) is one of the newest medical schools in Oregon and is a branch of the Western University Health Sciences medical school located in Pomona, California. The WU-COMP-Northwest is also located in a more rural setting compared to the urban campus in Pomona. As such the school has a wide-ranging mission that aims to train both residents and non-residents of Oregon and emphasizes academic excellence above all else. This article will detail more about the university, its DO program and all the reasons why it ranks consistently high on DO school rankings.

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Article Contents
14 min read

Mission Statement Admissions Statistics Eligibility Selection Factors AACOMAS Experiences and Achievements Interview Format Acceptance and Waitlist Information Application Timeline Tuition and Debt Funding Opportunities Residency Match Rates Review of Available Programs Campus and Faculty Contact Information FAQs

Mission Statement

“The Mission of the College (COMP and COMP-Northwest): is to prepare students to become technically competent, culturally sensitive, professional and compassionate physicians who are prepared for graduate medical education, who are lifelong learners, and who will serve society by providing comprehensive, patient centered healthcare with the distinctive osteopathic philosophy. This is accomplished through excellence in curriculum, translational research, service, osteopathic clinical practice and the enhancement of osteopathic graduate medical education.”

The school emphasizes training and educating the best physicians in the Northwest and its main focus is the quality of its academic program and resources. But it also gives its students many opportunities to participate in community initiatives and stresses the importance of interprofessional education in its curriculum.

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Admissions Statistics

Overall Acceptance Rate: 5.7%

In-State Acceptance Rate: 5.1% 

Out-of-State Acceptance Rate: 0.5%

Average MCAT of Most Recent Graduating Class: 507

Average GPA of Most Recent Graduating Class: 3.6

Preference for Masters or PhD: No


The school does not have a stated preference for Oregon residents to apply, although its most recent class was composed of a majority of Oregon residents. The WU-COMP Northwest has no restrictions against foreign students from applying but it does not sponsor any visas, so students from other countries outside the US and Canada must either have permanent residency or US citizenship. At the moment, international students can apply only to the Pomona, CA campus, as the Lebanon, OR, campus does not accept international applicants. Applicants to the Pomona campus must have their transcripts verified or complete 90 credits of a bachelor’s degree at an accredited institution in the US or Canada to apply.

Selection Factors


The school does not have a stated MCAT or medical school GPA requirement but based on the stats of the last graduating class you should aim for those averages or higher when applying. The typical MCAT average is 500, but competitive scores will be higher than even that. The school accepts MCAT scores no older than three years and it will view all your old scores, no matter how many times you’ve taken the test.

COMP-Northwest is also one of the medical schools that require CASPer and students must submit their CASPer scores along with their primary application, so you should try out a CASPer test prep course if you are unfamiliar with the format. CASPer is required, but for the following application cycle, the school is also experimenting with Duet, although students are not required to take the test. If they do, their scores will not be considered in the admissions process, but judged in the context of how well the test profiled them compared to the rest of their application portfolio.

Coursework and Undergrad

The school requires that all applicants have a completed bachelor’s degree from a recognized and accredited institution in the US or Canada to apply to the COM. The degree may be in progress when an applicant applies, but they must receive the degree by the time they matriculate, if they are accepted into the program.

The school is also open to non-traditional medical school applicants, so your bachelor’s degree can be in any discipline and any field. COMP-Northwest does not require applicants to have a science-related degree, if you are thinking about how to get into medical school without a science background, but it does have a set of required medical school prerequisites that all applicants must complete to apply.

Prerequisites and Recommended Courses

The COMP-Northwest has a short list of prerequisite courses that all students must complete to apply to the DO program. The prerequisites must be completed by the time an applicant matriculates and must have been completed at an accredited institution in either the US or Canada. But the school does accept advanced placement courses and College Level Equivalency Program credit if they are similar to the prerequisite courses.

The list of required prerequisites is as follows:

  • 8 credit hours in biology, physics, organic and inorganic chemistry with lab work
  • 6 credit hours in English and Behavioral Sciences

The school’s lists the following courses as recommended courses:

  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Physiology

AACOMAS Experiences and Achievements

The WU-COMP Northwest uses the AACOMAS application service, just as every other osteopathic medical school in the US, except for DO schools in Texas. The application service is where students submit their primary application documents such as:

Upon receiving and reviewing your primary application, the WU-COMP Northwest will determine whether you meet the criteria to receive a secondary application, where you can expand further on your eligibility for the DO program. The AACOMAS application differs slightly from the AMCAS application service for allopathic schools, as the former does not have a specific section for students to list their previous work experiences and achievements or their most meaningful experiences similar to the AMCAS Work and Experiences and the AMCAS Most Meaningful Experiences sections. Osteopathic applicants can talk about these things in their personal statement or secondary essays, if they are invited to submit a secondary application.

Personal Statement

A medical school personal statement is a suitable place for applicants to talk about personal details and other information that has helped shape their decision to attend medical school. Many applicants take the opportunity to answer the question, “why do you want to be a doctor?”, which is one strategy, and an effective one.

Admissions committee members want to hear why you want to be a doctor, but you can also talk about other aspects of your background such as where you come from, where you went to school, and what motivated you to become a doctor. Another way to approach the personal statement is by thinking of it as an interview, so you can write about things you would say if you were asked the “tell me about yourself” medical school interview question but adapt it to a written response.

Secondary Essays

Medical school secondary essays are an essential part of every DO school application and they are another way for admissions committees to get know what you value, how you see yourself contributing to the school and DO profession and what your future goals are beyond medical school. Every school uses a set of medical school secondary essay prompts based around the school’s particular mission and values. When you send your primary application and if it is approved, the school will email you instructions on how to complete your secondary application.

The following prompts will also be included in your secondary application (500-word limit for each):

  1. What experience observing a DO solidified your desire/ambition to become an osteopathic physician? (This could be a formal shadowing experience (one-on-one with a physician), scribing, observing your own physician, friend, or family member who is a DO).
  2. If you have not had the opportunity to shadow/observe a DO why is it important to you to become an osteopathic physician?
  3. If you have not had an opportunity shadow/observe a physician, please explain the extenuating circumstances that prevented you from doing so.
  4. Are you providing a letter of recommendation from a physician (Yes/No)?
  5. What was your most memorable community service activity and how did your activity benefit the community?

Sample Answer #5

I think my most memorable community service activity was when I volunteered to spend time with the elderly at an assisted living center. It was well beyond the pandemic by then, and since folks living in these centers were hit hardest by the COVID-19, in so many ways, I thought I needed to do something that would help people feel welcome and wanted and seen, most of all. It was hard to get them to warm up to me at first, being the son of immigrants from Pakistan, but after a few weeks, I started bringing traditional Pakistani sweets and pastries and giving them out to people. One lady, Irma, was not interested in my sweets nor in me. But I thought one way we could bond would be to see which sweets and pastries taste the best.

I would bring a dozen donuts and a box of Gulab Jamun, which are very similar to donuts. I set the two boxes in front of her and told her if she wanted, she could try the Gulab and then the donut to see how they compared. It was a way to bring down her defenses and it worked. We spent the afternoons eating sweets and talking about our lives. When I learned that she was Italian, then I started bringing Italian desserts instead, which ingratiated me with Irma even more. I remember her most of all because she told me many stories about her life, how she had immigrated to Canada when she was very young, like me. We had a lot of other things in common, such as chess and classical music, and we would spend many days doing those things. The experience stands out to me because it made me realize that even though we were from two different worlds, two different eras, we had more in common than we realized and that was a reassuring feeling.

Recommendation Letters

The WU-COMP Northwest has specific medical school recommendation letter requirements but it allows students to submit up to five letters in their application packet. The minimum number of letters you must submit is two, but you can submit more from personal or professional references, such as former employers or community leaders. All applicants must submit at least two letters from:

  • One from a physician (MD or DO; DO preferred)
  • One from a former science instructor

Interview Format

The school has been and will continue holding medical school interviews in a virtual format, as a safety precaution. Normally, the interview would be on-campus, in-person and buffeted by other events such as a Q & A with current students, a campus tour and having lunch with students and administrators.

Students who are invited to an interview have to schedule their own time so they must know how to schedule medical school interview. They will be sent an electronic invitation to choose an interview day that is appropriate for them, but all suggested dates are scheduled at least two weeks in advance so you can make travel and accommodation arrangements.

The interview itself consists of two sections. One is a typical panel interview that lasts for up to thirty minutes. The panel members will often include a combination of current medical students, faculty members, medical doctors, and graduates. The panel interview is followed by a MMI, comprising two, 5-minute stations.

Sample Interview Questions

  1. “Why WesternU?”
  2. “What qualities would you hope your future patient would use to describe you?”
  3. “What do you think you'll have a difficult time with in medical school?”

Sample Answer #2

I hope all my future patients describe me as someone compassionate, attentive, but also someone with a sense of humor. I remember one doctor who was hilarious, to me, at the moment and it made a lasting impression on me. One of my friends has a peanut allergy. One day we went out and he forget to bring his EpiPen. We thought nothing of it until he took a sip of my latte that we didn’t know had nuts in it. It was distressing to see him react and struggle to breathe in such a short while, and all we could was call an ambulance and wait.

Fortunately, the paramedics had an EpiPen, but they took my friend to the hospital anyway. I was sitting with him in his room, when the doctor came in and after a few basic questions, the doctor came out and said, “Do you want to die? Because anyone with a peanut allergy who doesn’t leave the house with an EpiPen is playing Russian Roulette.” The doctor was incredulous, but he made my friend and I laugh with his bluntness and directness. I know every patient is different and that professionalism should always reign, but I hope that I can develop my own bedside manner that involves as much humor, as it does attentiveness and compassion.

Check out more tips for your osteopathic medical school interview:

Acceptance and Waitlist Information

All applicants are notified of their application status anywhere between 10 and 15 days after their interview. The status is posted to their online application portal and they are notified by email of their change in status. After they complete their interview, applicant’s scores are added to their application, which is then forwarded to the Dean who makes all final admittance decisions.

Accepted students are notified by both phone and email. The WU-COMP Northwest does use a medical school waitlist if accepted students deny their offers or if the admissions committee recommends admittance but the class is full. Waitlisted students can remain there until that year’s application cycle closes, but afterward they must reapply.

Applicants who are denied admittance to the WU-COMP Northwest may contact the admissions committee for detailed feedback on their application and ask what steps they should take to make their application more competitive. Reapplication is encouraged and the admissions committee is more than willing to give advice to from how to ask to shadow a doctor to what are the best extracurriculars for medical school, as the school uses a holistic approach to review all applications.

Application Timeline

Primary Application Deadline: March 1

Secondary Application Deadline: March 15

All applicants are given two weeks to submit their secondary application, but the school recommends that you submit your secondary application ten days before receiving the invitation. The school uses a rolling admissions policy, so applicants who submit early are notified first, while those who apply late or closer to the deadline will be notified last.

Tuition and Debt

Tuition Fee: $62,916

Average Cost-of-Living Expenses for First Year Students: $20,709

Average Yearly Cost-of-Attendance: $85,825

Average Student Debt of Graduating Students: n/a

Funding Opportunities

The WU-COMP Northwest has an online database of different external and internal medical school scholarships that are open to all students, regardless of their school or field. The eligibility requirements, funder of the scholarship, duration and award money are all different, so you have to search through the database for which ones apply to you most.

1. AOA Presidential Memorial Leadership Scholarship

This scholarship is funded in part by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and aims to recognize and reward the leadership qualities and faithfulness to osteopathic medicine of one student in their second, third or fourth year. Applicants must submit a personal statement no longer than 750 words outlining their contributions so far to osteopathic medicine, their academic achievements and examples of their community service.

They must also submit two letters of recommendation from someone associated with the osteopathic profession, which can include physicians, faculty members or alumni who are members of the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA). Applicants must also be members of SOMA in good standing to be eligible. The scholarship awards a one-time prize of $10,000 to a successful student.

2. Arthur O. Rott, DO, Scholarship

This scholarship was created to honor the legacy of Dr. Rott, an osteopathic physician who embodied professionalism in medicine, excellence in teaching, and humanity in health care. Awards of $20,000 are given to three students in their third-year, with the possibility of the prize being renewed for the fourth and final year.

However, there are a few eligibility requirements. The scholarships are open only to Oregon residents who demonstrate an interest in practicing medicine in the Pacific Northwest. Applicants must submit an application package containing your medical school CV, personal statement on how you plan on contributing to the profession, helping educate others, and serving the residents of the Pacific Northwest.

3. J. Scott Heatherington, DO Scholarship

A similar scholarship as the Arthur R. Rott Scholarship, this award, also named in honor of prominent osteopathic physician, has a similar scope and purpose as the Rott award. But applicants can only apply for one or the other, they cannot apply for both scholarships. The eligibility and application requirements are the same; students must be from Oregon and show interest in practicing in the Pacific Northwest.

4. Rodney P. Wineberg Scholarship

This scholarship honors are unsung hero of the WU-COMP Northwest, Rodney P. Wineberg, who was one of the builders of the WU-COMP Northwest campus. The award is given to any first-year medical student who is either a veteran or active-duty member of the United States Armed Forces. They must indicate which branch of the military they served or are serving in, along with submitting a personal essay detailing instances of community service.

5. Richard Eby Leadership Award

This scholarship is based on a current medical school student (third or fourth year) who actively participates in activities and events organized by the Osteopathic Medicine Education Conference and House of Delegates. The successful applicant will have attended at least one or more meetings during the year where they represented the COMP-Northwest. They must also submit a personal essay detailing what leadership roles they took at these meetings and how they summarized the meetings to their colleagues.

Residency Match Rates

The WU-COMP Northwest has comparable residency match rates to other osteopathic schools, as over 99% of graduates from the most recent class matched with their preferred program. Close to 50% of specialities were in primary care, as half of all graduates opted to enter primary care specialities either a family medicine residency (23%) or an internal medicine residency (27%). The choice between going to medical schools in California or Oregon is what split most students, as 18% chose to stay in Oregon, while 16% chose to go to California, with the remaining graduates spread out all over the country.

Review of Available Programs

1. Four-Year DO Program/Detailed Academic Curriculum of DO Program 

The WU-COMP Northwest recently revamped its medical school curriculum that is learner-focused and introduces a competency-based system to assessing and teaching. For example, clinical experiences are introduced in the first two years through Patient Centered Cases I and II, which put students in the role of a practicing physician trying to diagnose their patient correctly.

The first two years are focused around osteopathic principles and the foundations of osteopathic medicine, but within these modules students are also exposed to foundational courses in medical science and various systems of the body. Students can also apply to Longitudinal-Experiential Programs. These programs are specialized tracks that seeks to integrate other aspects of medicine and health care into the conventional medical school education.

Students can apply to ten different tracks that expose them to different perspectives of health care. They can either learn more about public policy, equality and justice in the Health, Justice & Equity track, or opt to engage with rural and remote communities through the Rural Health Track. There are tracks for students who want a longitudinal exposure to human anatomy and the principles of scientific research, which are offered by the Applied Anatomy, and Biomedical and Clinical Research tracks, respectively.

In the lead up to their clinical years where they learn how to prepare for clinical rotations, students prepare for the seven core rotations required by the school, which span primary care specialties such as family medicine, pediatrics and psychiatry. The third and fourth year are also where students complete their longitudinal tracks, if they were enrolled in one, and must complete the four remaining modules of Integrated Skills for the Study of Medicine.

Campus and Faculty

The Lebanon, Oregon campus is far removed from the Southern California campus that is more urban and centralized. The Lebanon campus promises escape and solitude, as it is nestled within the Willamette Valley in Southern Oregon and has an unmistakeable small-town feel. The medical school takes up 55,000 square feet and is located directly across the town’s biggest hospital, the Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital. Given the newness of the building (new buildings are being constructed) many classes and lectures are broadcast to the COMP Northwest from the main campus building in Pomona, and vice-versa.

Affiliated Teaching Sites

  • Portland, Oregon
  • Astoria, Oregon
  • Salem, Oregon
  • Eugene, Oregon
  • Corvalis, Oregon
  • Bend, Oregon
  • Roseberg, Oregon
  • Medford, Oregon
  • Tacoma, Washington
  • Humboldt, California

Research Fields and Notable Faculty

Some of the research interests that faculty and other school researchers participate in include the following areas:

Contact Information

College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest (WesternU/COMP-Northwest)

200 Mullins Drive

Lebanon, OR 97355


Admissions Office

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (541) 259-0200

Fax: (541) 259-0201, ATTN: Admissions


1. What is the mission of the WCOMP-Northwest

The WU-COMP Northwest has a mission to train the next generation of osteopathic physicians to serve in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The school achieves these goals by offering an updated curriculum and many different concentrations to help students develop an interest and curiosity when serving others.

2. Do I need to take the MCAT and submit my scores?

The WU-COMP Northwest does require all applicants to submit their latest MCAT score that is no older than three years. The school does not have a minimum, but all medical school applicants should strive to have a score of 500 or more to be competitive.

3. What is the minimum GPA requirement?

The WU-COMP Northwest does not have a minimum GPA requirement, but, as with your MCAT, you should aim to have a GPA of at least 3.0 or higher to be considered a worthwhile applicant. 

4. What kind of degree do I need to get into WU-COMP Northwest?

You only need to have completed 90 credits toward a bachelor’s degree to apply to the WU-COMP Northwest.

5. Are there prerequisite courses I have to take?

Applicants to the WU-COMP Northwest are expected to complete a series of prerequisite courses that biology, physics, organic and inorganic chemistry, all with lab work. Students are also expected to earn 6 credits each in English and behavioral sciences.

6. How can I apply to WU-COMP Northwest?

You can apply to WU-COMP Northwest by submitting all your relevant and required application materials to the AACOMAS online application portal, which receives and distributes all DO school medical applications. The school will then invite you to submit a secondary application, if you meet the requirements, which is also what determines whether they send you an invitation for an interview, or not.

7. How much does one year at WU-COMP Northwest cost?

Based on the school’s own estimates and student surveys, one-year of medical school costs approximately $85,825.00.

8. Is it hard to get into WU-COMP Northwest

The school is not as hard to get into as other schools, as it does not show a preference for students from Oregon, although it might help if you are from either the state or the surrounding area, since a large part of the school’s mission is to serve residents of the Northwest. If you have the requisite MCAT, GPA, CASPer scores, and medical school prerequisites, getting in should not be that hard.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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Disclaimer: BeMo does not endorse or affiliate with any universities, colleges, or official test administrators. The content has been developed based on the most recent publicly available data provided from the official university website. However, you should always check the statistics/requirements with the official school website for the most up to date information. You are responsible for your own results.

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