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Applications for Osteopathic Medicine in Medical Schools up more than 18 Percent

Demonstrating the continuing growth and appeal of osteopathic medicine, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) today reported that a record number of applications have been received during this current cycle. With several months still to go until the deadline, AACOM has received more than 24,000 applications, which represents an 18.2% increase over this time last year and already eclipses the entire number of applicants from last cycle.

“We have seen steady growth in osteopathic medicine over the years and this cycle’s record application pool confirms that prospective medical students are recognizing the appeal and value of osteopathic medical education,” said Robert A. Cain, DO, FACOI, FAODME, President and CEO of AACOM.  “Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) are ‘physicians with a philosophy.’ We focus on overall health and wellness, making sure we look at the whole person – mind, body and spirit – and not just focused on treating the disease. In these complicated and stressful times, that philosophy is resonating with more and more students. We are also very proud of the varied ways our colleges are engaging with prospective applicants this cycle, during an especially difficult time.”

Currently, 25 percent of all US medical students are enrolled in osteopathic medical schools.  There are 37 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine, educating nearly 31,000 future physicians, at 58 teaching locations in 33 US states. The 2020-2021 application cycle for osteopathic medical school opened this past May and closes April 2021. AACOM’s Application Service (AACOMAS), is the centralized application service for all US osteopathic medical schools and provides a very user friendly, streamlined process for applicants.

Over the last several years, AACOM has developed some innovative new programs to increase awareness and outreach to prospective students. In 2018, the first virtual medical school fair was held, and the numbers of participants has grown steadily ever since. This current cycle featured four virtual fairs to date, including one partnering with Tour4Diversity in Medicine aimed at increasing diversity in the application pool. Another major innovation was the ChooseDO Explorer, launched in 2019. This fully searchable database allows students to explore all accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the US, and easily navigate application deadlines, tuition rates, and other important stats with just a few clicks.

“In such an uncertain time it is moving to see how many young individuals are willing to join the fight against COVID-19 and medical crises of the future,” said Jayme Bograd, AACOM Director of Application Services, Recruitment and Student Affairs. “We are honored that the osteopathic philosophy has resonated with so many as they search for the path to medicine.”

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) leads and advocates for the full continuum of osteopathic medical education to improve the health of the public. Founded in 1898 to support and assist the nation’s osteopathic medical schools, AACOM provides leadership for the osteopathic medical education community by promoting excellence in medical education, research, and service, and by fostering innovation and quality across the continuum of osteopathic medical education to improve the health of the American public. For more information on AACOM and the application process, please visit


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