AZCOM vs. SOMA vs. Western vs. Touro-NV

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Sep 7, 2015
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I'm a SoCal resident and was wondering if the pros and cons of these schools could be outlined by those who may have the inside scoop in terms of curriculum, clinical experiences the first 2 years, rotations, COMPLEX scores, facilities and location.

I'm leaning towards AZCOM and SOMA because I'd like to move out of the state, away from my sheltering family just a little bit, but I would like to weigh out the other variables objectively to make sure I'm going to a school that will facilitate my success, not hinder it.

Thank you so much ahead of time! I know there's a lot of bits and pieces of information scattered in other threads but much of it is very outdated.

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I think it depends on what your goals are (professionally and personally) and how you learn. I don't know much about AZCOM, but I can give you some insight as to what drew me to SOMA:

SOMA: smallest class size of all DO schools (100 students), opportunity to go and live in ANOTHER state/part of the country for years 2, 3, 4 with ten other students. Curriculum is clinical presentation model first year (large group lecture, small group, case learning is integrated with the traditional first year material) + podcasts/small group learning with 1-3 faculty/third years for second year (which I think is great if you enjoy learning things in context and at your own speed, respectively). SOMA is oriented towards putting you in a clinical setting early on through the CHC sites (only medical school in the country that does this) where you'll start seeing patients for 4 hours a week who are mainly from vulnerable populations with a variety of basic primary care problems. Given this, SOMA is great at still placing students into diverse and competitive specialties from surgery to EM to pediatrics/family medicine as shown by their match lists over the past year. In regards to rotation sites, I think it depends on the CHC you get placed in but from doing research most of the urban CHC sites have contracts with great hospitals that have GME programs so I would consider them to be good for a DO school. For COMLEX scores -- I too was concerned about this, however at the end of the day it's very much based on the individual's effort and less on the part of the school you attend. SOMA has a first time pass rate that is right around the national average. I personally am thinking with the second year curriculum, you can really use your extra time wisely of not being in class to study hard and well for the boards. SOMA I think has excellent facilities (virtual anatomy lab, brand new building, YMCA on campus) which makes it a very close-knit environment between students/faculty/staff (something I felt during my interview day).

In comparing it to AZOM (with the limited knowledge that I have): AZCOM has been around longer and I would say is "more established" in the region. From talking to some students who interviewed there, they are well known for putting a lot of students into more specialties than primary care. I have heard anecdotally that it is a bit more of a competitive environment whereas SOMA seems much more relaxed and has students that are very enthusiastic about community health/serving the underserved (as very clear in the mission of the school).

I think you have great options of schools and each will get you to where you want to go. Your gut feelings on interview day should be at the top of your list when comparing where you see yourself thriving the most because medical school is tough and its the people/environment that will get you through it more so than anything else. Good luck!
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