Doctor of Osteopathy
MCAT Score DO program
Before venturing off into what MCAT score is needed to get into a D.O. program, let’s take a look at what the D.O. program entails, and some of the details of the program itself. Through learning what consists of the D.O. program, we’ll get into what MCAT scores are necessary to getting into a D.O. program.
The D.O. program is for those medical students out there that want to become a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Through the program, you’ll earn a doctoral degree for physicians, and you can earn the degree in various medical schools throughout the United States. Those that have a D.O. degree are known in the medical field as osteopathic physicians. These osteopathic physicians have the same privileges, rights, as well as responsibilities as physicians that have earned a Doctor of Medicine degree, more commonly known as an M.D. Those that have gone through the D.O. program and earn a degree are fully licensed to practice the full array of medicine and surgery in all 50 states. Overall, osteopathic physicians make up about 7 percent of the total physician population in the United States. In the United States, there are over 75,000 D.O. physicians, in which about 69,000 of them are actively in practice.
As of right now, there are exactly 29 medical schools in 37 locations throughout the United States that offer programs to earn the D.O. degree. In comparison, there are 141 medical schools that offer programs to earn the M.D. degree. In the year 2011, one out of every five medical students in the United States were medical students looking to become osteopathic physicians.
There are very similar curricula at D.O. programs, in comparison to programs offering an M.D. with small details that make the two differ. For both the M.D. and the D.O. program, the total length to complete and earn a degree is four years in length. The first two years of medical school for both programs will focus on biomedical and clinical sciences. That is then followed up by two years of core clinical training in the clinical specialties of each respective program. There is one notable difference in the medical programs approach to education: at D.O. medical schools, granting medical schools is the inclusion of 300 to 500 more hours in the study of hands-on manual medicine, as well as study of the body’s muscoskeletal system. This part of the D.O. program is not part of any M.D. curricula, as it is known as osteopathic manipulative medicine training.
Once the medical students in a D.O. program graduate from medical school, they immediately enter an internship or residency training programs. This may also be followed by fellowship training, depending on the medical student’s plans and goals. There are many D.O. physicians that attend the same graduate medical education programs as their fellow M.D. counterparts in the world of medicine. These D.O. graduates will sometimes even take the M.D. specialty board exams. In addition, some D.O. graduates will enter osteopathic programs, and go on to take D.O. specialty board exams. Starting in June of 2015, all the post-graduate training for both D.O. and M.D. physicians will be accredited solely by the ACGME or Accredited Council for Graduate Medical Education.
So, how does one apply to an osteopathic medical school? Well, many osteopathic medical schools will used a centralized application service most commonly known as AACOMAS, or American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. This is very similar to the service that is used by allopathic schools, as they’re assisted by the AMCAS.
In order to apply through AACOMAS, you will need to submit your transcript, MCAT scores, and also a half-page personal statement that explains in the best way possible why you want to be an osteopathic physician. In addition, you will also need to acquire a recommendation from a D.O., therefore; it’s a solid idea to scope out a mentor as early as you possibly can. There is a fee to apply for the D.O. program; however, there are some scholarships available.
Okay, so what about the MCAT? The MCAT examination is a big factor in your application form. Along with your GPA, your MCAT scores are the two most critical parts of your application, and both become determining factors on whether you make it in to a D.O. program or not. Of course, there are many other different factors that are taken into consideration, but your MCAT score and your GPA are arguably the parts with the most weight.
The MCAT examination must be taken no more than three years before the date of matriculation, or when the student enters medical school. For example, if an applicant wanted to matriculate on August of 2015, they must take the MCAT no later than August 2012. The MCAT examination will assess the applicant’s knowledge in general chemistry, biology, organic chemistry, and quantitative reasoning. It is highly recommended that one take the MCAT exam in the spring of the junior year. This is because if the applicant believes his/her MCAT scores are unsatisfactory, they can retake the MCAT exam in the fall of their senior year, giving them enough time to rethink their game plan.
So, what exactly is a good MCAT score to enter the D.O. program? In all honesty, it really varies and there is no exact cut-off point to what a good MCAT score is to enter a D.O. program. On average, the MCAT scores for students in 2010 who were matriculating into osteopathic medical schools was a 26.48. The highest that one can get on the MCAT is a score of 45. If you want to compare that average score to students matriculating into allopathic medical schools, their average was 31.1. So, based on those numbers, you may say that the D.O. program will accept slightly lower MCAT scores, but there’s nothing solid about that statement. In addition to your MCAT scores, your GPA will be considered greatly as well; in fact, your entire application will be looked at carefully as a whole.
A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine is specifically trained to handle 90% of a person’s health care problems, in addition to prescribing medicine. Although D.O.s can become surgeons, they have fewer options of specialties than an M.D. On average, a osteopathic medical school will want an MCAT score of 24, which is getting an 8 on all three sections of the exam, or more. Your GPA should also be at least a 3.5 or higher. Your MCAT score can compensate for a lower GPA, and vice versa. As a D.O. you can be a family doctor, pediatrician, obstetrician and so on.
There is some data that does show that medical students that enroll at osteopathic medical colleges have lower grades in comparison to student that enroll in M.D. programs. However, there is no solid proof of this. This just suggests that it may be easier to get into a D.O. program with a lower MCAT score than getting into a M.D. program. That being said, D.O.s are undoubtedly fantastic doctors, they do get standard medical training, extra pseudoscientific practices and earn their right to be appreciated in the field of health and medicine.
To obtain a satisfactory MCAT score, you want to aim past the average of 24 to 26. This means you have to study hard and study early, as well as evenly between the three sections that are in the MCAT exam.