Updated on April 5, 2021 for the 2021-2022 AACOMAS Application Cycle
Dear Future Applicant,
The unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted your path to medical school like no other class before you. Your perseverance in the face of such challenges is a testament to your commitment to your education. The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), our Board of Deans and our nation’s 37 osteopathic medical schools recognize and admire your dedication and want to ensure that the final steps on your path to becoming a medical student are as clear and smooth as possible. During this global crisis, osteopathic physicians have been on the front lines playing critical roles in our nation’s healthcare efforts, and osteopathic medical students have significantly contributed to the pandemic response. Last spring, qualified fourth-year students, particularly in areas of high patient need, graduated early to help enhance the healthcare workforce, while many current students are working to vaccinate patients at sites across the country. We are honored that you are ready to join the osteopathic profession in providing holistic, patient-centered care based on osteopathic principles that have improved the lives of millions.
The nation’s osteopathic medical schools and future medical students had to adapt and adjust to the impact of COVID on the health care system last March. Our schools continue to understand the impact to prospective students’ plans and continue to demonstrate flexibility in reviewing applications due to the conditions created by the pandemic. Examples of flexibility in admissions and application processes at some of our institutions are below:
- Accept “pass” and “satisfactory” coursework offered in a pass/fail system for Spring 2020, including pre-requisite coursework. Many undergraduate schools provided this as an option after Spring 2020. However, our colleges of osteopathic medicine highly encourage you to have grades after Spring 2020, where available.
- Accept online coursework, including laboratory credits (when schools were not able to offer in person options).
- Review your application without all required laboratory coursework, if you can demonstrate that your institution was unable to provide these courses due to COVID-19; proof of completion may later be required (Spring 2020 and forward).
- Relax requirements for in-person healthcare experiences and in-person extracurricular experiences (Spring 2020 to present).
- Schools will likely require applicants to demonstrate how they were able to obtain an understanding of what the clinical environment is like and show evidence of continued online health and extracurricular experience.
- About a third of our schools will not require a letter of recommendation from a physician (DO or MD); the remainder are likely to require such a letter.
- Most of our schools will offer an option for virtual interviews in place of in-person interviews.
For a detailed list of our schools’ individual COVID-19 specific policies please visit www.choosedo.org/explorer. If you plan to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), please ensure you are currently registered for an upcoming exam and indicate your planned MCAT date in your AACOMAS application. As in previous application cycles, AACOMAS does not delay the delivery of your application without MCAT scores. AACOM requires all applicants who have an MCAT score to provide those to AACOMAS when the scores become available.
Finally, we strongly encourage you to answer the COVID-19 essay question that will be presented on your AACOMAS application. Take advantage of the opportunity to add value to your application by highlighting how you have shown perseverance and dealt with challenges and struggles during the pandemic. We encourage you to submit your osteopathic medical school application early and when ready. We wish you the best of luck as you take this important step in your journey to enter the extremely fulfilling field of osteopathic medicine.
Robert A. Cain, DO, FACOI, FAODME
AACOM President & Chief Executive Officer