Which school?

  • AZCOM

    Votes: 4 12.5%
  • KCOM

    Votes: 16 50.0%
  • NSU-COM

    Votes: 12 37.5%

  • Total voters
    32

davis749

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Hello!

I'm struggling with a decision for medical school as well... I hate to clutter the boards, but I am hoping to gain the perspective of current students beyond that within the PRO's and CON's topic.

I recently received acceptances from AZCOM, KCOM, ATSU-SOMA, and NSU-COM. I was really drawn to ATSU-SOMA initially, but have since decided it might just be a little too new of a school for me (as it is not old enough to offer test scores or sample residency placements). As for the other three...


  • AZCOM
    • Seems to offer very new facilities and has had high board pass rates in previous years
    • Residency placements seem to be in a diverse number of professions and locations
    • I like the campus and the location a lot, especially because it offers some recreational options when time affords
    • I'm a little concerned because it is fairly new and does not have quite the reputation of KCOM or NSU-COM
  • NSU-COM
    • the facilities were very impressive; who wouldn't expect this of the sixth largest university in the nation?
    • After speaking to students, it seemed as though the university might be focused on money to the extent of charging for study sessions, but I am convinced that they still care about the preparedness of their students more than gaining extra funding
    • I like Ft. Lauderdale; I have lived in Florida, so I feel at home
    • I am concerned that I might become a number (I graduated from a small highschool class of 29 and will graduate from a small private university class of ~250)
    • I am also concerned that the focus on the program may be less than at other schools because they have so many other programs
    • I have heard bad things about some of their classes (biochem, A&P)
  • KCOM
    • The facilities were nice
    • The university is more or less exclusive to osteopathic medicine, supporting that it is their primary focus
    • It is the Mecca; it was the start of osteopathic medicine, and has the tradition and reputation to support the claim
    • Residency matches are good, especially due to reputation. I know a graduate (an alum from my undergrad) who was told in a residency interview that the only reason he was interviewed was because he was a graduate of KCOM, CCOM, or PCOM
    • The focus on OMT seems to be higher than at other universities
    • I am concerned about the location. I'm from a metropolitan area, and I am used to having things to do and a faster paced life. Kirksville is... small. Very small. And inconveniently out of reach from civilization (further than a Walmart, which I don't shop at, and a Home Depot).
Does anybody have any input? I would really appreciate any comments, even if it's general advice on choosing schools. I think KCOM and NSU-COM are my two higher choices.
 

psy

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What is the projected cost of attendance + living expenses? Oh and the comment about the student being allowed to interview because of his school shows that he either did not have the stats needed to be competitive for that residency (and being from KCOM somehow negates this) or the program restricted some of their slots to certain schools.
 
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davis749

davis749

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I really haven't been holding cost into the equation... I am looking more at the school than the monetary set back. Debt is debt when the number is that big :laugh:

Also, it was more of the second scenario. He was very well qualified; the position was extremely competitive.
 

TerraMedicX

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As a point of clarification...NSU doens't charge for study sessions...the upper level students do. There are students who go through a Masters in Biomedical Science program that effectively take two years to complete the first year classes, so the students who took the classes last year tutor...for a fee...usually a ridiculously outrageous fee. Personally, I think its appaling..and the school shouldn't allow it...but there are PLENTY of students who take advantage of it.

Yes, Nova is a relatively big school, but our class is still less than 250, and really once you get started it doesn't feel NEARLY that big! The bulk of the faculty are good about helping you if you take the time to goto their office (which many people don't do!).

Also...there ARE many programs at Nova's Health Professions Division...but the DO school is BY FAR AND AWAY the favorite child!! Don't worry about that!

As for biochem and physio...yea, there are some problems with the classes...then again, if anyone tells you that there are NOT problems with any of their classes...they're straight up lying to you! The nice thing about it with Nova is that we have students on the curriculum committee who bring our complaints up and things DO get changed. I expect that things will be improved next year (and you'll get to find all NEW problems! :p )


Nate.
 

HarveyCushing

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[*]Residency matches are good, especially due to reputation. I know a graduate (an alum from my undergrad) who was told in a residency interview that the only reason he was interviewed was because he was a graduate of KCOM, CCOM, or PCOM
You are also forgetting KCUMB and DMU, as well as other fine DO schools. The original 5 do have a slight advantage due to 100+yrs of training physicians. However any school will provide you with the means to get into whatever residency you want to. Just look at the residency match lists to get an idea.

For me, the most important thing would be my clinical education during 3rd/4th year. Where would it take place? Are there strong rotation sites available? Can I stay put if I don't want to move out of state? How much elective time do I get? I have heard AZCOM is having problems with their rotation sites due to doubling of their class size and UA Med-school taking up a lot of the rotation sites. If I was you I would look closely into what takes place in your 3rd/4th year as a med-student.
 
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davis749

davis749

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Yes, Nova is a relatively big school, but our class is still less than 250, and really once you get started it doesn't feel NEARLY that big! The bulk of the faculty are good about helping you if you take the time to goto their office (which many people don't do!).

Also...there ARE many programs at Nova's Health Professions Division...but the DO school is BY FAR AND AWAY the favorite child!! Don't worry about that!
Thank you so much for this input; getting lost as a number was probably my biggest worry about the program.

As for biochem and physio...yea, there are some problems with the classes...then again, if anyone tells you that there are NOT problems with any of their classes...they're straight up lying to you! The nice thing about it with Nova is that we have students on the curriculum committee who bring our complaints up and things DO get changed. I expect that things will be improved next year (and you'll get to find all NEW problems! :p )
I agree with every program having a strength and a weakness. The major strength I have heard from NSU students is that their school does listen to the complaints they bring forward.... too bad chemistry is my weakness :scared:

You are also forgetting KCUMB and DMU, as well as other fine DO schools. The original 5 do have a slight advantage due to 100+yrs of training physicians. However any school will provide you with the means to get into whatever residency you want to. Just look at the residency match lists to get an idea.
Ah... these were just the four schools I have been accepted at. I don't know what residency I would like to do yet :( I'm kind of torn as I haven't had a ton of exposure yet... I expect this is normal for an incoming student, though. By volunteering in an ER for a few years, I am definitely considering: emergency medicine, resp, general and non-general surgeries, and peds. I'd consider family practice, as well. Any advice on how to weed out choices based upon match lists if you don't have any idea where you want to go?

For me, the most important thing would be my clinical education during 3rd/4th year. Where would it take place? Are there strong rotation sites available? Can I stay put if I don't want to move out of state? How much elective time do I get? I have heard AZCOM is having problems with their rotation sites due to doubling of their class size and UA Med-school taking up a lot of the rotation sites. If I was you I would look closely into what takes place in your 3rd/4th year as a med-student.
These are great points - how do you find out more about the years beyond individual curriculums? More importantly, what should I be looking for?

Thank you so much for your help so far! Any additional voices of reason are welcome as well!!
 

HarveyCushing

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These are great points - how do you find out more about the years beyond individual curriculums? More importantly, what should I be looking for?
Most of the schools websites should have info regarding 3rd/4th year. Sites, rotation curriculums, electives...etc. Try taking a look there first. If it doesn't answer your questions, I'm sure you could post a thread and current students could try and help you out. Or you might be able to call the school to get the answer from them.

One other thing worth thinking about is how you would prefer to learn the first two years. Many schools have different approaches, i.e. PBL, SBL, the old method of going by subjects. You might want to think about this as well.
 
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davis749

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Ah... well, just got accepted to Chicago too. I guess that makes it between NSU-COM, CCOM, and KCOM. Thanks again Harvey!
 

USArmyDoc

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I would go by location and cirruculum....I think thats the most important. It goes without saying that tuition is important, but I believe the former are the most important.
 

TerraMedicX

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Thank you so much for this input; getting lost as a number was probably my biggest worry about the program.

I agree with every program having a strength and a weakness. The major strength I have heard from NSU students is that their school does listen to the complaints they bring forward.... too bad chemistry is my weakness :scared:
Actually, chemistry was never a strong point for me either. I actually had to substitute a semester of biochemistry (C) for a semester of organic (C-) because they wouldn't accept the C- grade for prereqs. Biochemistry, thus far, has not be a lot of "chemistry" mostly its biology actually. Lots of genetics, lots of receptors and such. I don't know how next semester is going to go, but I don't see this changing too much.

Honestly...the hardest part for me has been not having those BEAUTIFUL Colorado mountains everyday! (I lived my entire life in Colorado 'till I came here for med school)...and not seeing my family also is hard!

Nate.
 
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davis749

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Hahaha! I hear that! The second I got off the plane in Chicago, I was missing Denver. I'm a CO native as well; undergrad has been at Regis University in Denver.

I really wish I had waited to post this thread until I had heard back from Chicago. CCOM is definitely something to consider.
 

thanecyan

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I am holding an acceptance to both KCOM and SOMA but I believe I am ultimately deciding on SOMA because of the curriculum. The thought of replacing traditional lectures in biochem and what not with clinical presentations seems like a no-brainer in training physicians. I am definitely weary of future board scores and residency placements but hey, what's easier to talk about in an interview, your grades at X school or your commitment to the underserved (at CHCs).

Am I wrong? :p
 

Old_Mil

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Find out the school that has the most heavy OMT requirements, mandatory class attendance, and a dress code...

...then cross it off your list.
 
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davis749

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Lol if that's the case, there goes KCOM and NSU. I kinda like the idea of learning OTM, though... not necessarily the most useful in all specialties, but it's one of the things that sets a DO apart.
 

hooperg

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Lol if that's the case, there goes KCOM and NSU. I kinda like the idea of learning OTM, though... not necessarily the most useful in all specialties, but it's one of the things that sets a DO apart.

You may be optimistic about that now, but when they start asking you to "sense the radiant energy life force" above another student's body or "become one with the CRI," etc... you will unquestionably feel the urge right afterwards to charge into a biochemistry/physiology book to redeem your medical education. :laugh:

In all seriousness, I suggest that you go to a school with the least amount of OMT stressed, unless you are near-certain that you want to specialize in manual medicine. Admissions committees and Osteopathic die hards romanticize OMT in an almost Orwellian fashion, but the cold, hard truth is that reputable residencies (namely Allopathic) care about boards, grades, and other accomplishments in mainstream medicine. Therefore, really take a look at each school's curriculum.

Let the stercobilin storm begin :).

-Gray, OMS-3: WVSOM
 

theraball

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You may be optimistic about that now, but when they start asking you to "sense the radiant energy life force" above another student's body or "become one with the CRI," etc... you will unquestionably feel the urge right afterwards to charge into a biochemistry/physiology book to redeem your medical education. :laugh:

In all seriousness, I suggest that you go to a school with the least amount of OMT stressed, unless you are near-certain that you want to specialize in manual medicine. Admissions committees and Osteopathic die hards romanticize OMT in an almost Orwellian fashion, but the cold, hard truth is that reputable residencies (namely Allopathic) care about boards, grades, and other accomplishments in mainstream medicine. Therefore, really take a look at each school's curriculum.

Let the stercobilin storm begin :).

-Gray, OMS-3: WVSOM
what horrible advice. the op actually expressed interest in learning OMT, so why do you feel the need to squash it like that?

The fact is, osteopathic residencies are also reputable, and OMT is reputable. I would argue that a school that has an excellent OMM dept. is a good school, and a school with a crappy OMM dept. is a bad school. We should strive to be excellent in every endeavor and not slack off on any particular subject. OMM is tested heavily on the COMLEX so unless someone is planning on not taking that exam, which I don't see how it's possible to avoid, it's better to be taught it right.

As for school uniforms, that's merely a detail of the first four semesters (or six trimesters). Just wear scrubs. They're cheaper and more comfortable than clothes, and you will look more "medical" to the other bus riders.

The really important thing is what someone else pointed out--PBL versus SBL versus traditional curriculum. Do some research on these, and try to sit in on each type of class if you can, and you will get some idea of the differences.

The bottom line is, wherever you get in, you will need to study, study, study, pass your exams and boards to get through years one and two, and then you are off to rotations for two more years. Every school in the U.S. teaches good medicine and every school will make a great doctor of you, if you are motivated to become one. Best of luck!
 
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davis749

davis749

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Thanks very much for the advice, both theraball and hooperg... every input counts and has a perspective a little different from what I might see.

I've been messing around a lot with the different options tonight and I think each school has its pros and cons. It seems like the classroom and clinical rotation schedules at CCOM and NSU are a little more flexible, offering more rotations in more diverse areas. CCOM offers a few more weeks of Internal Medicine, but the electives at NSU can make up for that, and KCOM seems to have other opportunities to cancel it out as well (I've put together a spreadsheet that compares all three schools' curriculums, electives, and rotation schedules. If anybody would like to see it, let me know and I'll send it your way!)

I guess I'll have to keep digging....:diebanana:
 

Cp22kjer

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Find out the school that has the most heavy OMT requirements, mandatory class attendance, and a dress code...

...then cross it off your list.
Says the KING OF PESSIMISM. I've never read a productive post from bitter Old Mil. He simply has a vendetta against osteopathic medicine and he's made it his job to talk it down on these forums.
 

MossPoh

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When interviewing at KCOM, I loved the school. There were some things I didn't love though. The location was one. I know it isn't THAT bad and it is similar in size to my hometown, but I just like a few more options. Also, weather was a pretty big thing for me. My mood can be dictated by the weather pretty heavily, so that put NSU a little higher on my list.

You can't argue about the reputation of KCOM and CCOM and their matchlists. THey are great. I find the tuition at CCOM ridiculous. I know its not on your list of things to think about, but it will be in 20 years.

Rotations at NSU are pretty good I think. There aren't too many affiliated residency programs with NSU, but I've heard from a couple of unverified sources that they are trying to improve that. I think the patient population you get to see in Florida, especially in south florida, is unique. There are just so many migrant workers and immigrants bringing in things at all times, especially random tropical diseases.

I'm not sure what I think about the large class at NSU yet. Part of me hates it with a passion but then the other half likes it since it offers a better chance to find my own group and if I clash with someone I can simply break it off and move on. Also allows for a bit more networking, which can always be helpful later on.
 

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OP, base your decision on where you felt most comfortable. All the details won't matter once you're in the middle of it. Being at a program that is a good fit for you will matter most. Trust me - I stressed over these teeny things so much when deciding, as did my friends.

If you like a place like CO, maybe AZ will be a better place for you. If you say you're comfortable in FL, that is probably going to be a good choice, too. To some degree you'll be 'a number' most places - unless the class size is seriously small. Wherever you go, you'll get what you need.

Hang out in some of the Class of 2010, 2011, 2012 forums for these schools. Ask questions or just read posts and get a sense.
 

GreenShirt

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KCOM has the best reputation of those three. The location isn't optimal but at least you'll have some options to go to bigger cities on rotations. AZCOM has a good location but they're getting ready to double the size of their class and this may reduce the quality of education.
 

rddoms

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I did my undergrad (and grew up) in the Seattle area. I Learned of DO's, and KCOM, as a sophomore (resident I worked with in the UW main OR). She said that she loved her time at KCOM, though the town is small.

I chickened out in applying to KCOM 2010, but realized I didn't want a year off of school, so applied and matriculated to their MS program. Though I am from a large city, Kirksville is a lot better than people think (interviews, horror stories from past students). Most students at KCOM aren't Kirksville natives, so they are all in the same boat (no friends for hundreds of miles). Students here make friends very fast, and have plenty to do in their free time. Once you get into the swing of medical school, the fact that Kirksville is so small means nothing to you.

I am just starting my 2nd quarter in the DO program at KCOM, and love it! OTM is done mostly in the lab (Maybe 3 lectures in the classroom last quarter), and the class is a lot of fun. The first couple of days are interesting, but from then on it is great. I was unaware that most schools don't do near the amount of OTM that KCOM does, but it fits in the curriculum really well. I am interested in surgery, but still enjoy the OTM course here.

REMEMBER that only a few of the 172 students per year do their clinical years in Kirksville, and KCOM has rotation sites all over, and at great osteopathic GME sites. So years 3 and 4 can be spent in a metropolitan area, and possibly at the place where you want to do your residency.

We don't have a dress code, except for practicals and such. It is nice rolling out of bed 20 minutes before class, eating some cereal, and going to class in sweats.

Obviously, I really enjoy my school. It is going to take a little getting used to no matter where you go (assuming you are moving away from home), but you can easily make the 'ville your home for 2 years.

I'll put it simply: If you come to KCOM, you won't be disappointed.

Good luck in deciding, and sorry for running on.:sleep:
 
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theraball

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KCOM has the best reputation of those three. The location isn't optimal but at least you'll have some options to go to bigger cities on rotations. AZCOM has a good location but they're getting ready to double the size of their class and this may reduce the quality of education.
AZCOM has already increased the class size and it has not reduced the quality of education.
 
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davis749

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Thanks again to all who helped on this board; I limited the choices to KCOM and CCOM, and I think I'll probably be attending KCOM in August. Best of regards and luck to all!