Its coming down to the wire and I have to decide what school to attend? I am very interested in CCOM and have some questions about its program. Right now I am deciding between AZCOM, CCOM, DMU-COM, and KCUMB. I am from the suburbs of Chicago and have heard nothing but great things about CCOM. How is the curriculum there? I heard it is pretty hard with tests almost every week? Is this better for those that can memorize, then to take big tests sporadically throughout the semester? Are classes mandatory? How are the rotations? I am interested in General Surgery at the moment, but know that everything can change once I am in medical school. Is it going to hinder my chances if I can only rotate once during 3rd and once during 4th year? How do all the rotations work, like how much time can I spend in the fields I want, and is it going to be enough time for me to secure my residency? What are the most important factors into getting the residency of ones choice? Overall, is the high tuition worth the price for CCOM?
I have read several answers to these questions in older posts, but am looking for updated responses. I know it is a lot of questions but thanks for any help, I really apprecaite it.
Ok my friend I am going to answer what I know in the limited amount of time I have. If you are from the area CCOM would suit you great, of the students who seem to have transitioned with the least amount of problems quite a few are from the area. This is something you should consider as it can be incredibly helpful to have someone do a load of laundry or cook you a nice meal from time to time or even just to listen to you bitch about how different your life is now compared to when you started. I think a lot of people on SDN get caught up in the prestige of a school and the facts that can be seen on paper and overlook this aspect.
Our curriculum is traditional and places VERY heavy emphasis on subjects taught by our anatomy department (anatomy, histology, neuro are the ones I know thus far). My class is just getting our first dose of the physiology department and from looking at our notes I think it will be a strong class as well and so will pharm (taught in second year). As for the other subjects we have the typical Intro to Clinical Medicine (ICM) which in my opinion has been more than adequate thus far though some people have their objections because it requires a little intuition. I know that Micro is taught very heavily second year which supposedly helps prepare you for boards. Aside from this the only other class I can comment on in Biochem. Personally I have my objections to how the class is formatted but it is a work in progress. The department reformatted it for the class of 2012 to include group quizes, clinical correlations as now for our class we have comprehensive exams at the end of each quarter which cover ALL the material since the beginning of the year. These comprehensive exams are suppose to simulate the boards in that we must pass them to pass the class and we get 3 attempts to pass before failing. Some may like this innovative approach but I feel I would have been better served to have it be a traditional class.
We do have a test almost every week. Now the difficulty of the test is what varies. Since starting on monday we actually only have two tests before we leave for xmas break. A normal biochem test is not all that difficult since we have about 5 a quarter so they don't cover that much material. Compare this to anatomy where we have 4 tests to cover all the material between August to the end of Feb and the amount of material for each test is absurd. Personally I can't imagine having all our classes be like this, it would lead me to procrastinate more than I already do and that would just be bad news.
Some classes are mandatory and others are not. Your tour guides should have talked about this but if not then I'll try to help you out. I would say you only HAVE to go to about 40% of class (not including labs, those are mandatory). Some students take this route and can do so because are notes are so in depth there is no need to use a book and all the exam material is based on the notes. That being said the majority of students attend classes (~80%) simply because it helps to go to lecture.
I believe I have already commented to you before on the rotations as well as provided a list of rotation sites. As far as your rotations go in the same specialty say general surgery, you can do 2 rotations in it third year and another 2 elective rotations in it 4th year (I believe this is the case). This is because it is a "required" rotation, thus you do your normal "required" rotations in it and then you also get the 8 weeks you can do during your 4th year electives. The rule is you can do 12
weeks of electives in the same specialty. This 12week rule
does not include the "required" rotations you may have already done in that specialty.
As far as hurting your chances for residency, some of the competitive fields such as ortho and derm in the DO world essentially require you to rotate at the program to be considered for an interview. General surgery is not as competitive and you would probably be fine doing your 8 weeks of it during your 4th year. I'm basing this off of my knowledge gained on SDN and not first hand knowledge so take it for what it is worth.
The most important factors in getting the residency of your choice are going to be your board scores, LOR's, clinical grades, followed by and in no particular order at this point class rank, EC's, research, pre-clincal grades, personality etc. Thus it is mostly on you to ensure you get a good residency.
Is the high tuition worth it? That is entirely a personal question and depends on your background as well as alternative situations. When I was selecting a school all my options were within about $5k/year of each other so I essentially didn't use tuition as a deciding factor. If you can save $10k/year or more then ya you may want to consider it but as far as how much weight you give to it vs location, curriculum, rotations, proximity to family is a personal decision.
Best of luck and I hope this helps!