Our staff looks forward to guiding you through the admissions process. Become a part of ATSU’s rich legacy and the future of healthcare by joining us today!
KCOM only accepts students who are US citizens or permanent residents.
Preparing for DO Program Admission
To be considered for admission to one of the many osteopathic medical schools, applicants typically complete four years of undergraduate work culminating in a bachelor’s degree. Osteopathic medical schools require one year lecture and lab each of biological sciences, physics, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and six semester hours of English.
Applicants are required to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). The MCAT examines knowledge and skill in areas such as biology, math, reading, and problem-solving. A pre-medical advisor can assist applicants in scheduling and preparing for this examination.
Most applicants major in the sciences, such as biology or chemistry, in their undergraduate studies. However, applicants may major in any area as long as they meet the minimum course and grade requirements and demonstrate their potential for successfully completing an osteopathic medical curriculum.
Prospective KCOM students will be evaluated in three major areas: academic accomplishment, personal characteristics of a healer, and propensity to serve the underserved. Prospective students must exhibit a genuine concern for people. Osteopathic medicine is a people-oriented profession that demands dedicated and empathetic individuals. Osteopathic colleges require a personal interview during the application procedure. The applicant is strongly encouraged to have clinical exposure in a healthcare environment.
Pre-Requisites and Application Requirements
KCOM can only accept students who are US citizens or permanent residents.
Applicants must have completed the following courses prior to matriculation:
- General Biology – one year with laboratory or 8 semester hours/12 quarter hours
- Physics – one year with laboratory or 8 semester hours/12 quarter hours
- General or Inorganic Chemistry – one year with laboratory or 8 semester hours/12 quarter hours
- Organic Chemistry – one year with laboratory or 8 semester hours/12 quarter hours
- English – 6 semester hours/8 quarter hours
The applicant must have achieved a minimum 2.8 cumulative grade point average overall and a 2.8 minimum science grade point average on a 4.0 scale. ATSU-KCOM follows the GPA calculation from AACOMAS, whereby all course grades are averaged, with no grade replacement for repeated classes. Applicants are required to submit scores from the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The College requires MCAT test scores taken within three years of application.
Applicants must have completed 90 semester hours or three-fourths of the required credit for a degree from a college or university (30 hours of which must be at a four-year, degree-granting institution) accredited by a regional educational association. Most of the candidates who are accepted for admission have earned a baccalaureate degree prior to matriculation.
It is recommended that applicants complete a bachelor’s of art or science degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association.
Applicants are also required to have the following when applying to ATSU-KCOM:
- Primary AACOMAS application submitted by February 1; Secondary ATSU-KCOM application submitted by March 1
- Two letters of recommendation from professionals unrelated to applicant (one from a science faculty member or health professions advisor; one from a licensed physician – DO or MD)
- Significant clinical shadowing or experience (100 hours strongly recommended)
- Significant leadership and service to the underserved (100 hours strongly recommended)
Applicants seeking admission with the intention of not having a degree prior to matriculation are required to have a minimum of 90 credit hours and all pre-requisite courses taken at a regionally accredited college or university in the US, a 3.50 cumulative and a 3.50 science grade-point average on a 4.0 scale, and a composite MCAT score of at least a 504.
Still Scholars Early Acceptance Program
The Still Scholars Early Acceptance Program is designed to provide admission opportunities to outstanding students who aspire to become osteopathic physicians at A.T. Still University’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM). ATSU-KCOM prides itself on developing physicians who focus on whole person healthcare and community service, and looks for students who also hold these values.
ATSU-KCOM’s Still Scholars Early Acceptance program rewards highly capable students who are dedicated to the osteopathic philosophy with admittance into our institution’s founding osteopathic medical program without traditional MCAT requirements. This program encourages students to focus on developing strong academic and leadership skills, yet allows them to focus on their undergraduate experience without the additional pressures of preparing for the MCAT. In addition, Still Scholars are awarded an academic scholarship for medical school upon entry to A.T. Still University’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Students from any four-year regionally accredited undergraduate institution in the United States may apply for this program, provided they meet the application requirements.
Learn more about the Still Scholars Program
Top Ten Application Mistakes
- Not contacting AACOMAS or the Office of Admissions to verify that all items of the application have been received.
- Waiting too long to write the personal statement (maybe even writing it in a day) and not seeking feedback from valuable resources, such as advisors, friends, professors, and parents.
- Under-explaining or over-explaining discrepancies (such as gaps in time or a series of poor grades) in the application. Seek guidance from an advisor.
- Starting the process too late. The “process” includes everything from clinical exposure to actually filing the application. Start early and devote time and energy to every step.
- Sharing too little of personal drive and desire. We see many personal statements that reflect what students consider to be “ideal” steps in the application process (clinical experience, work history details, and so on). We would like to hear more about the specific examples that accompany such experiences.
- Not typing the application. If at all possible, typewritten applications are preferred.
- Getting letters of evaluation from individuals who have only known the applicant for a short period of time. Build relationships!
- Acting inappropriately when contacting our office or coming for an interview. Every part of the application process is a part of our decision.
- Not taking the opportunity to practice interview skills.
- Demonstrating only a cursory understanding of osteopathic medicine (best seen in statements that repeat our brochures to us). Take the time to read and reflect on what osteopathic medicine is and what it means personally.
Personal Statement Tips
- Make every word count - communicate an impression and take an innovative approach.
- Brainstorm for ideas.
- Revise and rework your initial essay and all secondary essays.
- Type (rather than handwrite) your personal statements.
- Always consider the tone of the essay - you want to highlight your positive attributes.
- Mention your clinical exposure and personal experiences and how they have directly influenced your decision to be a physician - most importantly, share your feelings.
- Use active language, complex sentences, simple sentences, and correct terminology.
- Know your audience and have an understanding of the institution to which you are applying.
- Be proud of your accomplishments.
- Convey your research, leadership, service, and life experiences.
- Demonstrate your integrity, common sense, and your ability to inspire confidence in your colleagues.
- Demonstrate compassion for human beings, overall commitment, and enthusiasm for your future medical pursuits.
- Contextualize your accomplishments.
- Relate your professional goals and your personal goals.
- Talk from your heart.
What to avoid:
- Don’t speak in generalities - always answer the “how” and the “why” and use evidence to support your statements.
- Don’t cut and paste your first statement for use in your secondary application.
- Don’t use bad grammar, incorrect punctuation, or make spelling errors - proofread instead!
- Don’t ramble on.
- Don’t make excuses or beg for an interview.
- Don’t harp on the less than stellar qualities of your application - explain any apparent contradictions and move on.
- Don’t forget to do the essay - incompleteness is undesirable.
- Don’t list qualities - illustrate and elucidate specific aspects.
- Don’t swear.
- Don’t employ gimmicks, try to create a great literary piece, or be overly flamboyant - be yourself.
- Don’t restate the scores already listed elsewhere in your application, such as GPA or MCAT results.
- Don’t speak of actions only - speak of feelings too as they are unique to you.
- Don’t overlook the power of the introduction and conclusion.
- Don’t take a non-stop approach to the statement - step away once in a while and come back.
- Don’t forget to have others read your statement and provide you with feedback.
- Don’t blame others or put down other professions.
Please visit our Student and Alumni Ambassador Program page for information.