2021-2022 A.T. Still University (Mesa, Arizona) ATSU-SOMA

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⚠️UPDATE: 4/28/2021⚠️

From the ATSU-SOMA Student Government Association (SGA):

Dear Students,

As you may know, SGA's three primary goals for this year have been to increase transparency, improve communication, and maintain strong advocacy on behalf of the students.

Thus, we would like to share with you recently discussed updates for the upcoming academic year (2021-2022). Please bear in mind that most of these changes pertain specifically to the incoming class (2025) and should not impact any of the current students.

On Friday, April 23, ATSU Admissions hosted a Zoom Meeting with the Class of 2025 in which Dr. Coty and Dr. Heath described upcoming curriculum changes and answered the students' questions. The recording from this meeting was provided by Dr. Coty and Admissions to the student body president and vice president and has been transcribed by [redacted] so that students may be up-to-date. The summary/transcript from the meeting is attached.

TL;DR: the school is transitioning to a PBL style curriculum.

Click here to download the transcript - it is in your best interest to read this
See original post: 2020-2021 A.T. Still University (Mesa, Arizona) ATSU-SOMA



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1.
Secondary prompts from the previous (2019-2020) cycle:
  • Describe your activities during any gaps longer than 3 months in your college or postgraduate record. (500 word limit)
  • Describe your experiences with osteopathic physicians. Have you ever shadowed a DO, if not explain why? Do you have a letter of recommendation from a DO, if not explain why? (500 word limit)
  • Describe your understanding of SOMA by answering one of the following questions: (500 word limit)
    • What unique feature of SOMA appeals to you? What specific feature of SOMA concerns you?
    • What would be your strongest attribute as a SOMA student? What would be your weakest?
    • How do you plan to be involved with medically underserved populations in your medical career? How have your past volunteer experiences influenced your plans?
  • Please list any changes or updates to your AACOMAS application. This section may be left blank if your AACOMAS application is complete and accurate:
2. What is the current curriculum?
  • The class of 2025 and beyond are expected to complete a PBL style curriculum (although the school refuses to call it PBL).
  • Please read "Update: 4/28/2021" above for more information on the school's transition to PBL.
3. What are the stats for this school?
  • As of 5/19/20
    • Avg cGPA: 3.52
    • Avg sGPA: not reported
    • Avg MCAT: 504
4. Any cutoffs for this school?
  • As of 5/19/20
    • Min cGPA: 2.8
    • Min sGPA: 2.8
    • Min MCAT: not reported
5. Do you need a DO letter to apply?
  • No, but they prefer that you have one.
6. Where do students typically get placed for residency?
7. COMLEX pass rates
8. What is the interview format?
  • There are 4 different formats you'll encounter during interview day: (This was during the pre-COVID days).
    • "Speed-dating" MMR
    • Traditional 1-on-1 (open file)
    • MMR scenarios
    • Group activities
  • Expect your interview day to start at 7am and last until 2pm. (This was in pre-COVID days).
  • The interview format is now a traditional open-file 1-on-1 (according to other prospective applicants in this thread). It will be conducted over video conference.
9. Tell us about the interview topics.
  • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.
  • Everyone signs an NDA on interview day, so I can't tell you. I encourage others to do the same to keep it fair.
10. Any tips for preparing for the interview?
  • It's not mandatory but I highly recommend going to the Dean's Welcome before your interview day. You'll meet the faculty, current OMS-1s, and get a tour of the whole campus. (This was in pre-COVID days).
  • This applies to all interviews:
    • Practice your typical questions (why medicine? etc.) and record yourself
    • Go to interview prep workshops
    • Watch videos on MMR questions
    • Become an expert on the history of osteopathy.
    • Know the school's mission statement by heart.
    • There's no shortage of interview advice on SDN, use it to your advantage. The search tool can be a wonderful thing.
11. Will ATSU hold our luggage while interviewing?
  • Yes, they will offer to hold your luggage in a secure room while you interview.
12. How easy is it to get to campus on interview day?
  • Uber/Lyft is viable, and there are lots of hotels that are less than 15 minutes away.
  • Public transportation is definitely not an option.
  • Walking in the Arizona heat is suicide.
13. How long is the interview cycle?
  • It starts in late August/early September and lasts until April/May.
14. How long does it take to hear back after the interview?
  • About a month.
15. How do you get notified of an acceptance?
  • Typically phone call first, followed by an email.
16. What is the difference between "accepted pending open seat" and "alternative list?"
  • Accepted pending open seat = "wait list"
  • Alternative list = it's your turn after they finish accepting those on the wait list
17. Should I send thank-you letters?
  • It doesn't hurt, unless you write something egregious.
18. Do they take update letters?
  • Yes.
19. What's the grading system?
  • Honors/Pass/Fail
20. Is attendance mandatory?
  • The vast majority of lectures are not mandatory.
  • Anatomy, OPP, med skills, and "small groups" are mandatory.
21. What's the dress code?
  • On-campus: scrubs (carribean blue + ATSU logo) or business casual.
  • Med skills: business casual with white coat.
  • Anatomy lab: scrubs (any color).
22. What do they mean by "1+3 curriculum?"
  • All OMS-1s will complete their first year at the Mesa campus before moving to one of the 15 community health centers (CHCs) across the US.
  • You begin clinical rotations in your 2nd year at your CHC, as opposed to traditional med schools with 2+2 curriculum.
  • You'll stay at your CHC location for the last 3 years.
23. What are the CHC locations?
24. Do I get a choice of which CHC I attend?
  • Yes. You get to rank your preferences after submitting your first $1000 deposit (non-refundable and non-binding) and get placed according to availability.
  • You pay another $1000 deposit (non-refundable and binding) to hold your spot in your selected CHC.
  • Students who are accepted early in the interview cycle get first dibs.
25. How many spots per CHC?
  • 10. The only exception is Brooklyn, NY which has 2 groups for a total of 20.
26. Which CHC locations fill up the fastest?
  • Based off my own experiences:
    • San Ysidro, Visalia, Phoenix/Mesa, Brooklyn, Tuscon, Flagstaff, Tulare County, Chicago, Seattle
27. What if I'm not happy with my CHC placement? Can I switch?
  • Yes, you can swap with students as long as it is approved by the adminstration.
28. Why is the cost of attendance (CoA) so high?
  • My theory is that the calculated CoA takes into account the high cost-of-living that comes with certain CHC locations such as Seattle or Brooklyn. A 1 bedroom apartment in Brooklyn can cost upwards of $1500, versus $600 in Mt. Orab, OH.

More info: School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona | ATSU-SOMA Home
 

Attachments

  • ATSU-SOMA Curriculum Discussion with the Class of 2025.pdf
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"Examinations will “not be written by you. It’s not your responsibility to take care of examinations. You tell us what you learned. You say this is what I’ve had to learn and apply to the case and we will make you a personalized examination per group. Not every group gets the same exam because the exam is based on what you learned already and applied to the case. So, cramming for an exam is a thing of the past.” -Dr. Coty"

this jumped out at me
 
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Members don't see this ad :)
"Examinations will “not be written by you. It’s not your responsibility to take care of examinations. You tell us what you learned. You say this is what I’ve had to learn and apply to the case and we will make you a personalized examination per group. Not every group gets the same exam because the exam is based on what you learned already and applied to the case. So, cramming for an exam is a thing of the past.” -Dr. Coty"

this jumped out at me

Professors: we don't know how we're going to write multiple exams when we can barely get our **** together to write one exam

^ true story
 
This is a general DO concern but a $1000 non-refundable deposit? Ouch.
 
I've heard that ATSU wants 20 hours of shadowing a DO who writes you a letter of rec. How hard is that requirement? For context, I am an Arizona resident with an MD LoR who I worked under but did not shadow.
 
I've heard that ATSU wants 20 hours of shadowing a DO who writes you a letter of rec. How hard is that requirement? For context, I am an Arizona resident with an MD LoR who I worked under but did not shadow.
From: SOMA - Admission Requirements

Candidates for admission to ATSU-SOMA are strongly encouraged to spend time shadowing an osteopathic physician and obtain a letter of support from that physician.

Not a hard requirement.
 
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Secondary received. OOS with ties. Verified on AACOMAS 5/13/21

Prompts:
  • Indicate the time you have spent in the follow clinical activites (gives a bunch of options like scribe, volunteer, etc, and you just input the number of hours)
  • List any other activities in a clinical setting
  • Indicate the time you have spent in the following service activities (same thing with volunteer positions)
  • At SOMA, you will spend three of your four years at a Community Health Center. Describe your experience with Community Health Centers or free clinics. Explain how well you will learn in this environment. (500 words)
  • The SOMA curriculum strives to create self-directed learners. Describe your activities during any gaps longer than 3 months in your college or postgraduate program. Do you feel you are ready to excel in the SOMA curriculum? (500 words)
  • Describe any hrs/week of employment that may have coincided/impacted your academic work during each semester. (500 words)
  • Describe your method of preparation for the MCAT exam (500 words)
  • Describe what you have learned from your experiences with osteopathic physicians. If you do not have any of the above, please explain why you are applying to an osteopathic medical school. (500 words)
  • Describe your understanding of SOMA by answering ONE of the following questions:
    • What unique feature of SOMA appeals to you? What specific feature of SOMA concerns you?
    • What would be your strongest attribute as a SOMA student? What would be your weakest?
    • How do you plan to be involved with medically underserved populations in your medical career? How have your past volunteer experiences influenced your plans?
  • Please list any changes or updates to your AACOMAS application. This section may be left blank if your AACOMAS application is complete and accurate:
 
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secondary rec'd. OOS, URM

do they prescreen secondaries?
 
Members don't see this ad :)
Does anyone know if it is ok to copy and paste activity descriptions from aacomas for the clinical/community experience sections?
 
Secondary received. OOS. Verified on AACOMAS 5/30/21
 
Does anyone know if it is ok to copy and paste activity descriptions from aacomas for the clinical/community experience sections?
I did the last cycle! It was fine, I think. Was on interview hold the entire cycle so reapplying again! Secondary also received today.
 
Hi everyone, I got my secondary and I am little confused. What if we do not have 3 clinical activities and 3 community service activities? If shadowing counts as "clinical activity" then I am good to go but I do not have 3 community volunteer services, only 2 (good amount of hours overall though). Also for the essay about the Community Health Center, what should I put if I haven't done anything at a Community Health Center.... I am debating if I should have even applied here
 
Does gaps include if I am taking a gap year. I technically graduated in May 2021 and am applying now in June 2021, so really no gaps in my education. If you look at it as graduating May 2021 and attending August 2022 then yes there is a huge gap between undergrad and med school. So are you taking this to apply if you are doing a gap year?
 
should I put in my ACT score if it is above a 28?
 
Do you apply to just one ATSU and we get both secondary or apply to both to get both secondary? Any inputs are appreciated.
 
I've heard that ATSU wants 20 hours of shadowing a DO who writes you a letter of rec. How hard is that requirement? For context, I am an Arizona resident with an MD LoR who I worked under but did not shadow.

I've emailed their admissions office before and they've said they're being more flexible during COVID.
 
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I've emailed their admissions office before and they've said they're being more flexible during COVID.
When I saw this my mind was racing to figure out what to do. Honestly thought I just wasted money on the primary. Thank you for posting!
 
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Does gaps include if I am taking a gap year. I technically graduated in May 2021 and am applying now in June 2021, so really no gaps in my education. If you look at it as graduating May 2021 and attending August 2022 then yes there is a huge gap between undergrad and med school. So are you taking this to apply if you are doing a gap year?
You are taking a gap year. No gap year would be you apply when you're a junior in college and then matriculate the summer after you graduate. They want to know what you're doing in this year in between
 
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"Examinations will “not be written by you. It’s not your responsibility to take care of examinations. You tell us what you learned. You say this is what I’ve had to learn and apply to the case and we will make you a personalized examination per group. Not every group gets the same exam because the exam is based on what you learned already and applied to the case. So, cramming for an exam is a thing of the past.” -Dr. Coty"

this jumped out at me
What does it mean not be "written" by you? Is anyone else kind of turned-off by the new changes?
 
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How are you guys answering the community health center one?
 
Couple of questions about secondaries

1. Describe any hrs/week of employment that may have coincided/impacted your academic work during each semester.

Is this necessary to complete if I can't think of hrs/week that impacted my work each semester?

2. The SOMA curriculum strives to create self-directed learners. Describe your activities during any gaps longer than 3 months in your college or postgraduate program. Do you feel you are ready to excel in the SOMA curriculum? (500 words)

Would this include summers between college years? They are around 3 months but I am not sure if this question is just asking about people taking gap years.
with #2, I think you answered your own question :)
 
Please feel free to tag a pre-medical moderator when the secondary prompt is posted.

Good luck to everyone applying!

Interview Feedback:

Question for other applicants----
In totality, I have ~5 letters of recommendation: a physician, 2 science professors, and 2 extracurricular/premed advisors. I understand that on the secondary application form, the physician letter is mandatory, as is 1 letter from a science professor/premed advisor. I also understand that at least these 2 letters are required to be submitted for an applicant to be marked as "completed" for post-secondary review and consideration, however, my question is: if I have additional letters available on AACOMAS, will the school consider reviewing these as well? Or will only the 2 letters I report on the secondary be reviewed?
 
Anyone on here who attends SOMA or been accepted that has /had any concerns about the school. Anyone want to list any pros or cons for ATstills-SOMA?
 
Anyone on here who attends SOMA or been accepted that has /had any concerns about the school. Anyone want to list any pros or cons for ATstills-SOMA?

Make sure you check out the new PBL-based curriculum changes!
 
I know this may be a dumb question but are we supposed to list hours worked per week for each semester of our undergrad? What do they mean by describe?
Is that what they are looking for?

Describe any hrs/week of employment that may have coincided/impacted your academic work during each semester.
 
I know this may be a dumb question but are we supposed to list hours worked per week for each semester of our undergrad? What do they mean by describe?
Is that what they are looking for?

Describe any hrs/week of employment that may have coincided/impacted your academic work during each semester.
This is new from the secondary last cycle. I think its bc they changed to PBL type learning and want to see how well you time manage. I would talk about previous work experience while going to school and you have a chance to discuss how you thrived/explain what went wrong and what you learned. I wouldn't necessarily list out hours but what you learned about time management/balance.
 
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When they ask to "indicate the time" in specific activities, does it solely require that we list the tittle of activity & the hours spent? or do they need descriptions of each activity?
 
"Describe any hrs/week of employment that may have coincided/impacted your academic work during each semester. (500 words)"

Anyone know if this is required? I can't think of specific times from each semester and was wondering how others might be approaching this question.
 
Is anyone else's portal not showing their LORs/test scores being in, even though they've been received by AACOMAS and are in for other schools?
 
Question for other applicants----
In totality, I have ~5 letters of recommendation: a physician, 2 science professors, and 2 extracurricular/premed advisors. I understand that on the secondary application form, the physician letter is mandatory, as is 1 letter from a science professor/premed advisor. I also understand that at least these 2 letters are required to be submitted for an applicant to be marked as "completed" for post-secondary review and consideration, however, my question is: if I have additional letters available on AACOMAS, will the school consider reviewing these as well? Or will only the 2 letters I report on the secondary be reviewed?
did anyone answer this?
 
For the question about time spent in a free clinic and how you know you will be comfortable in this environment, can I talk about my time spent in one?
 
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For the question about time spent in a free clinic and how you know you will be comfortable in this environment, can I talk about my time spent in one? I come from a financially disadvantaged background but Idk if this would be weird. I am also an EMT who works in and out of hospitals so I could tie that into community health centers perhaps?
I don't think that would be weird at all. From my understanding, schools like it when you back your answers with personal experiences because it adds weight to your opinions.
 
Just got the email that my application is complete
3.2/509/OOS/IA/White
 
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6 essay prompts later, secondary submitted last night, marked complete today!
 
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Non-traditional student applying here, currently working on the secondary. Will this be the thread for the current application cycle? Good luck to all!
 
Non-traditional student applying here, currently working on the secondary. Will this be the thread for the current application cycle? Good luck to all!
Yes. All school specific discussions that start with 2021-2022 means that the thread is for this application cycle. :thumbup:
 
Deferred admit for Class of 2026 here, feel free to pm me if you have questions about the application / interview process, etc.
 
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