What is Osteopathic Medicine?
According to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), osteopathic physicians "consider the whole person, including physical, emotional and spiritual components. They also use a hands-on system of diagnosis and treatment known as osteopathic manipulative medicine. They work in partnership with their patients to help each individual maintain their health. And they can specialize in any medical field, practice the full scope of modern medicine, complete important medical research, advise policymakers, and contribute to societal health and well-being in many ways."
Graduates from osteopathic medical schools earn the D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy) degree. It takes 4 years of osteopathic school to earn the doctoral degree.
There are 29 colleges of osteopathic medicine offering instruction in 37 locations in 28 states.
Choosing a Major
There is no preferred or required premedical major. Medical schools are interested in students from different educational backgrounds. Universally, medical schools know the importance of a broad liberal arts education that includes a solid foundation in the sciences (biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics) as well as coursework in the social sciences and humanities. Students interested in the health professions should choose a major based on their academic interests and abilities. High grades in a well-rounded curriculum are more important than a student's major.
Pre-requisites at Wheaton
Most health professions schools require the same pre-requisite courses as listed below. Keep in mind that specific schools may have additional requirements.
All courses should be completed by the end of the junior year for students planning to apply to medical school in the senior year. All students need to complete these pre-requisites before taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
Advanced Placement (AP)
AP credit may on some occasions be used to satisfy the English writing (Eng 101) and/or mathematics requirements. It is highly recommended that AP science courses not be used to satisfy any of the science pre-requisites since health professions schools expect you to have the classroom experience of taking science lab classes at the college level. If you do accept credit for an AP class in a required science course, the expectation is that you will take an upper-level science courses/labs in the science department to satisfy the health school requirement. AP credit equivalent to Wheaton's English 101 will waive writing requirement, but students still have to take a 200-level English course.
Though there is nothing that says a student cannot take pre-requisite science courses in summer school, students should remember that many of the health professions schools prefer that science classes be done during the semester to demonstrate the ability to take laboratory courses while registered for a full course load. Students considering taking a pre-requisite science course over the summer should consult with Dean Trayford.
Required pre-medical courses can never be taken pass/fail. Students should also think carefully when considering taking any other classes under this option. Health profession schools want to see if you are successful in many different areas of study, not just in the pre-requisite courses. Therefore, students are discouraged from taking any classes under the pass/grade/fail option. If there is a good reason for using this option, consult with Dean Trayford. Remember, take all science courses for a grade.
Health professions schools consider a student who studied abroad in a very positive light, particularly if the experience can be combined with health-care-related experiences. Students interested in studying abroad should definitely do so. It is important to plan ahead when thinking about studying abroad. Discuss your plans with Dean Trayford. Keep in mind though that pre-requisite courses should not be taken during study abroad. Most schools will not accept pre-requisite requirements taken at a foreign institution.
Grade Point Average and Standardized Test Scores
The mean MCAT scores for applicants admitted to osteopathic schools tends is a 27.5 combined score out of a possible 45. The grade point average for admitted entering students to osteopathic schools had a cumulative of 3.51. The AACOM publishes these statistics.