I completed the first year biomedical sciences program at PCOM Philadelphia campus and came out with a very positive experience. I will be matriculating into PCOM's DO program this fall and biomed played a very significant role to get me there. Going through this program was incredibly tough...this shouldn't be understated. I've been told that our first year biomed courses cover 60% of what the first year DOs study. Loads of PCOM DO students who were once biomeds strongly attest to that and have said repeatedly how much of a leg up it's given them. Many of the lectures are the same and they've been through the steep learning curve to know what study habits work best for them. Not only that, but many of their non-biomed peers have noticed as well. I remember overhearing a current 2nd year talk about how proud he was of his B on one of their exams, only to find out that many of his classmates who did biomed aced that exam. This is quite common, especially in the first year of medical school. If you're accepted to PCOM's DO program from our biomed program, it means admissions think you're good enough to excel in medical school. The academic struggle through this program felt like boot camp; it really pushed me to my limits. Other than the occasional professor who notices, NO ONE is going to call you out individually and hold your hand. Because of that, students who struggle and don't reach out tend to feel deep, strong resentment towards the program, knowing full well that doing poorly in the biomed program will make them look worse to med school admissions than if they had not joined the program to begin with. That being said, PCOM's resources ARE there. Student Life sends out emails all the time to make sure students are aware of the support available for them if they need mental or academic support. A tiny relaxation room filled with aromatherapy, free tea, a massage chair, yoga mat, etc was just started last year because they WANT to help students. We also have 30 minute Meditation and Mindlessness sessions open to anyone every Monday. Fitness classes every week. You name it. Academic support: I've been graciously helped by career services a lot, from the time I was struggling so badly with academics that I almost changed career paths...all the way to interview prep for our DO program months later! During that time of academic struggles, I distinctly remember also meeting frequently with our Biomed program director, Dr. Bell, who was always willing to drop anything he was doing if you needed to speak with him. He was very empathic, encouraging, and always helped me brainstorm new strategies I could take to do better. In addition to career services and our program director, most professors are very responsive to emails and sincerely want to help students. For instance, Dr. Montie really enjoys advising students and is always willing to reach out to other faculty for you, if you ever need that extra push (cough like with Dr. Bell & our committee letters cough). Dr. Greene gets adorably happy when you have a lightbulb moment meeting with her one-on-one to over her lectures. Dr. Young loves to call us "my friends!" and yips real loud when most of us get the practice question correct through our clickers. Furthermore, for those pursuing medical school, us biomeds have the fortunate opportunity of speaking with Marsha Williams, who plays a huge part in our DO admissions committee. With at least 13 years of that position under her belt, she offers invaluable advice and guidance on your profile, timeline, and ultimately your chances. She doesn't beat around the bush and tells it like it is, so for some, it's the brutal hard truth while for others it's very positive validation that you're on the right track. Finally, with student loans piling up, who wants to spend more money on textbooks or online resources? But sometimes, they are the biggest help to do well and actually get the material. Therefore, our library spends thousands of dollars to make sure we have up-to-date study resources from NetAnatomy to the latest ebook right off your class textbook list. Extracurriculars: PCOM has loads of clubs that welcome biomeds to join! They hold activities very often and Student Life sends out a weekly email to let everyone know. Many of the clubs are geared towards the medical students, but they always open the events to us such as their journal club, speaker sessions (free food!), volunteer events, etc. In addition, there's the occasional school-wide event that's fun for everyone, such as male faculty vs female students basketball game or our dodgeball tournament. Social: I absolutely love Philadelphia. Check out VisitPhilly.com or uwishunu.com for events happening all over the city! There's something for everyone. Philly's weather can be brutal though. (On the one hand, Californians don't seem too comfortable with it. On the other, those from Chicago feel like it's summer here all year round.) Finally, the med students and biomeds always host Post Exam Parties (PEPs)! What I got out of this program: Did way better on my MCAT retake that summer after first year. Studying long hours for biomed translated very well to studying for long hours with the MCAT. It helped that a number of our courses were directly applicable, such as MBM for biochem & neuro for psych. Got a committee letter from our program, interview prep where a couple of the exact questions turned up in my real thing, and ultimately, made it into medical school! But to make the most of this program, you have to take the initiative. PCOM has tons of resources from research to academic support to campus life and they'll let you know about it, but rarely will you find anyone personally reaching out to you to see how you're doing. Because, unfortunately, that's the way things are here. We don't have advisors specifically assigned to us (sometimes I wish we did). That can be really tough for a lot of people, and these people end up feeling that the school is cold. However, in my personal experience, that's really not the case. Everyone's genuinely nice here, including upperclassmen, program director, professors, counselor, all the way up to the school president. But you have to reach out. For many, this may be a deal-breaker. Most premeds of the Biomed Class of 2018 have been accepted into medical school. Around 20 have been accepted this year (most have decided to matriculate into PCOM's DO program), a handful are still on hold, and a couple have been rejected. At the very least, 10 were accepted during our first year. This is all based on word of mouth. If you are curious, Dr. Bell includes the exact numbers in his biomed presentation every open house. In summary, I've had an overall positive experience at PCOM's Biomedical Sciences program in Philadelphia. There were definitely hard times where I questioned my ability often or felt lonely because of my struggles; however, whenever I reached out, without fail PCOM was there to lift me up. I do not think I could have made it into medical school without this program. It was the push I needed to demonstrate to medical school admissions and myself that I am capable of doing well in medical school to become the doctor I've wanted to be for so long. But you will feel left out here if you don't actively reach out. It's all about stepping beyond your comfort zone to advocate for your needs. Do so, and the resources are there for you to excel and have a great time.