How to Prepare for Medical School

A pre-medical student's guide to a competitive application.


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Preparing for Medical School
Guide to a Competitive Application

The Office of Admissions has assembled this timeline to assist you in the admissions process to PCOM’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine programs. PCOM reserves the right to make all admission decisions based upon all information available to the DO Faculty Committee on Admissions. 

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Freshman and Sophomore Years

  • Maintain competitive academic standing in all coursework.
  • Make contact with your school’s pre-health advisor.
  • Carefully select extracurricular activities on campus and in your local community that are of interest to you. Choose a wide variety of activities; however, do not get so involved that you jeopardize your academic performance. Do what you enjoy. Do not join an activity because you think it will “look good."
  • Work/volunteer in a healthcare environment and/or shadow a physician, preferably an osteopathic physician.
  • Begin your required coursework for admission to PCOM. Most advisable: General/Inorganic Chemistry and General Biology in your freshman year and Organic Chemistry or Physics in your sophomore year. If your schedule permits, you should begin fulfilling your English requirement in your freshman year –preferably English Composition. Be sure to complete your school’s freshman/sophomore coursework requirements.
  • Apply early for any summer research/workshop positions if you are interested. Although not a PCOM requirement, a research background will aid you in any science field you may choose, including medicine.

Junior Year

  • Continue to maintain competitive academic standing.
  • Stay involved in your selected extracurricular activities. If you haven’t volunteered or experienced the healthcare field, now is a good time to do so. If you have already, keep up the good work.
  • Complete course requirements for PCOM. Ideally, these should be completed before taking the MCAT to enhance your performance.
  • In February, apply for a spring MCAT. Apply early to reserve your spot for the test. The MCAT exam dates and times are found on the AAMC website. Be sure to request your scores be sent to AACOM. You can also access your scores online through the Association of American Medical Colleges website.
  • Be sure to follow deadlines set by your advisor/committee regarding the request for a recommendation letter(s).

Senior Year

  • Beginning in May, you may apply to AACOMAS online at aacom.org.
  • Obtain a letter of recommendation from an osteopathic physician, this credential is strongly recommended.
  • Maintain competitive academic standing.
  • Be sure you complete your college’s graduation requirements.
  • Stay involved in your selected extracurricular activities. Seek leadership roles/responsibilities.
  • Send AACOMAS application ASAP – the PCOM AACOMAS deadline is February
    1, but don't wait for deadlines! PCOM has a rolling admission process and early applications are strongly recommended.
  • Be sure you check with AACOMAS to verify that all of your transcripts have been received so that the processing of your application is not delayed.
  • Complete and return the PCOM supplemental application in a timely manner. PCOM sends a supplemental application to all candidates once the AACOMAS information is received in the Office of Admissions. The PCOM supplemental deadline is March 1.

Post-Baccalaureate, Graduate and/or Gap Year(s)

  • Enhance your science GPA by choosing a curriculum that provides basic science coursework at the undergraduate or graduate level.
  • Post-bac and graduate programs offer the opportunity for growth and the strengthening of your academic foundation. Focus on your studies during this time period.
  • Consider repeating the MCAT exam. Remember that exam scores expire after three years.
  • Make the most of non-academic periods by expanding your experiences in clinical settings, research and/or community service.
  • Keep an open mind to career alternatives.

Next Steps

Visit our Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) application requirements page to learn about admissions requirements, the application process, interviews, affiliated programs and much more. We also encourage you to tour our locations or attend an open house to learn more about our programs.