Nov 23, 2020
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Hey SDN Community,

I've been fortunate enough to be accepted into Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM-CO) as well as AT Still in Arizona in early November, and I am having a hard time picking a medical school. A deposit is due on Dec 14 and I need to make a decision soon. I'd appreciate advice on which is the better school. I'll share why I liked each program. My spouse is also in the military. So he will me moving in with me in my second year once he gets mil. Transfer. So I guess I want a medical school who is a little more flexible or has airports nearby, as I will be doing a long distance relationship for my first year.

I applied to ATSU SOMA because the 1+3 curriculum. I'd go to Mesa, Arizona and the last three years, I got approved to go to Brooklyn, NYC where you basically complete clinical at a community health center. I am from the NYC area, so this means I am 40 mins from home... which can be good or bad. I can have a support system but also don't want distractions. Now that I've been accepted my concern is academics. The classes are all online, you don't attend class like a traditional medical student. If you have issues, you need to email your professor, which I am not too fond of. You only get Wednesday off (designated class time) and most of the time are filled with case studies, OPP and med skills. Exam every 2 weeks. CHC only has 10 medical students at that site. I want to make sure I am attending a school where I will be successful and have the time to do well in the USMLE/COMLEX. SOMA doesn't have USMLE stats. I can't find much info on comlex either.

I applied to Rocky Vista University and I really like RVU because the school has a great USMLE pass score (220 mean, which is good for a DO School). The school requires students to take the USMLE and comlex. Organ systems are covered twice and classes are mandatory except wet labs and osteopathic principles. Optional is good for me as I study better on my own, but some classes I would like to attend in person.

Tuition for both SOMA and RVU are pretty similar. RVU is maybe 2,000 to 3,000 cheaper. I also qualify for scholarships for both programs. SOMA advised me to apply for a scholarship coming up. But I am sure RVU will do the same... I'm missing a pre-req for rvu but I have time to take it online. Let me know what you think. Please no sharky comments.
 
Aug 15, 2020
71
165
Austin, TX by way of Chandler, AZ
phdtodo.blogspot.com
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  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
Hey SDN Community,

I've been fortunate enough to be accepted into Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM-CO) as well as AT Still in Arizona in early November, and I am having a hard time picking a medical school. A deposit is due on Dec 14 and I need to make a decision soon. I'd appreciate advice on which is the better school. I'll share why I liked each program. My spouse is also in the military. So he will me moving in with me in my second year once he gets mil. Transfer. So I guess I want a medical school who is a little more flexible or has airports nearby, as I will be doing a long distance relationship for my first year.

I applied to ATSU SOMA because the 1+3 curriculum. I'd go to Mesa, Arizona and the last three years, I got approved to go to Brooklyn, NYC where you basically complete clinical at a community health center. I am from the NYC area, so this means I am 40 mins from home... which can be good or bad. I can have a support system but also don't want distractions. Now that I've been accepted my concern is academics. The classes are all online, you don't attend class like a traditional medical student. If you have issues, you need to email your professor, which I am not too fond of. You only get Wednesday off (designated class time) and most of the time are filled with case studies, OPP and med skills. Exam every 2 weeks. CHC only has 10 medical students at that site. I want to make sure I am attending a school where I will be successful and have the time to do well in the USMLE/COMLEX. SOMA doesn't have USMLE stats. I can't find much info on comlex either.

I applied to Rocky Vista University and I really like RVU because the school has a great USMLE pass score (220 mean, which is good for a DO School). The school requires students to take the USMLE and comlex. Organ systems are covered twice and classes are mandatory except wet labs and osteopathic principles. Optional is good for me as I study better on my own, but some classes I would like to attend in person.

Tuition for both SOMA and RVU are pretty similar. RVU is maybe 2,000 to 3,000 cheaper. I also qualify for scholarships for both programs. SOMA advised me to apply for a scholarship coming up. But I am sure RVU will do the same... I'm missing a pre-req for rvu but I have time to take it online. Let me know what you think. Please no sharky comments.

My wife is faculty at ATSU-SOMA and teaches in the DO/MPH program so I've had the chance to meet a lot of faculty and students in SOMA. I also teach in the ATSU-CGHS MPH program and have a few DO students in my classes so I've gotten the chance to talk to them as well (I'm interviewing at SOMA on 12/9; accepted at RVUCOM on 11/23).

Its tough to say which school is 'better' and I think that probably is true for most medical schools. RVUCOM (Board Scores and Pass Rates - Rocky Vista University) probably has slightly better board score pass rates than does ATSU-SOMA (SOMA - Postgraduate Placement) but its not significant. That said, RVUCOM students are required to write USMLE Step 1 in addition to the COMLEX and starting this year, they will have to pass Step 1 in addition to COMLEX Level 1, as a graduation requirement. This, I think, has led to RVUCOM students doing well in the match and their match list looks to be more competitive than SOMAs if you are not interested in primary care.

I like the curricula at both schools and since my wife and I are from Arizona, it would be nice to be assigned to one of the AZ or California community health centers. RVUCOMs curriculum prepares students better for the boards and based on information that my wife has shared with me regarding SOMA student preparation for the boards, there is a growing concern within SOMA regarding COMLEX performance. One of the physicians that my wife has introduced me to told me that she and a colleague are setting up a COMLEX prep program that will start during the OMS 1 year. I'm not sure what components will be included nor do I know if it will be mandatory or voluntary but its good that SOMA is addressing the issues. My understanding is that this COMLEX prep program is to be in place at the start of the fall 2021 term and its envisioned that it will be a couple of days per week. SOMA students have complained that they would like access to more practice questions to help them prepare for exams and boards and it appears that the school is addressing this issue.

In terms of student services (for example, there is not a dedicated career services office at SOMA to help prepare students for residency as there is at RVUCOM. There is one physician who does this for the SOMA students and unfortunately SOMA students can't use the services of the ATSU-KCOM office), because SOMA is decentralized under the 1+3 model, the students don't get the same level of services that students in a traditional 2+2 curriculum get. If you are a very independent student, this may not be an issue but if you need more hand holding, this may be an issue for you.

SOMA students are well prepared, clinically and I would imagine that RVUCOM students are just as prepared; the difference is do you want to get into clinic earlier or wait until 3rd year. SOMA students don't have many opportunities for electives (my wife teaches a research elective for OMS 3 and 4s and one of my colleagues teaches a Health Systems Science elective. There are a couple of medical Spanish electives as well...) and research is limited to mostly clinical and public health-related research, though some students have been able to do biomedical sciences work at Arizona State University, U of A, and Mayo. RVUCOM has different tracks that you can pursue and there are more elective choices. One of the tracks is in research so if that is important to you, you'll have ample opportunities to engage in that aspect of your medical education.

SOMA has mandatory classes and a dress code, not sure about RVUCOM. There was an RVUCOM student in another thread who said that labs and OMM are mandatory as are a few other things but he said as a rule, you don't have to attend most lectures and this student said that they were on campus 2 to 3 days weekly.

Not sure if you are a URM but neither school is a melting pot for URMs, particularly African American students. That said, the environments at both are friendly enough and both are making active moves to create more diverse classes. My wife is involved with an initiative that is looking to get more URM students into the pipeline and before the admissions committee (in addition to her faculty duties, she's sat on the admissions committee for the last two cycles) and RVUCOM seems to be making some purposeful moves as well.

Both schools are expensive. RVUCOM is $58,330 per year and SOMA is at $58,652 per year. SOMA has increased tution by about 1.5% a year since its founding. Not sure about RVUCOM. Both have some scholarships available but not many; RVUCOM edges SOMA in this category however. The scholarships don't pay a huge amount and both schools average scholarship awarded is just over $3,000.

RVUCOM is VERY military and veteran friendly and that is a HUGE draw to me. This doesn't mean that SOMA isn't military friendly but because it is heavily focused on primary care and its CHC model, it may not be the best fit for a student who seeks to enter the military. This is not to say that there are not SOMA students who are not on HPSP with plans to be military physicians but RVUCOM has military and veteran support services embedded into its DNA and may be a better fit for you if you are a veteran or are considering going to school on the HPSP.

Parker, CO isn't far from the Denver airport and SOMA isn't far from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport either. Your travel needs will be met in both places.

I think that the decision would probably come down to whether or not you have a strong preference for primary care vs. attending a school that may give you better options to match into a specialty/competitive residency. SOMA students def. match into competitive specialties but the emphasis is really on primary care and the match list reflects that. The faculty and staff at SOMA are very good; I've worked with several over the years (I was a student at Arizona State University and later, managed the undergraduate science lab at ASU-Downtown. I was taught by and worked closely with Dr. John Olson when he taught at ASU. He is now one of the Anatomy faculty at ATSU-SOMA & the one who set up the current Anatomy program). My wife frequently will wake up when her email goes off at 2am to respond to a student concern. Not many places have faculty who will do this. I can't speak on the RVUCOM faculty since I've only just been accepted and don't know any but I would imagine that they have top notch faculty as well. As I said, I've been accepted to RVUCOM and will be interviewing at SOMA next week; if I were to get an acceptance at SOMA, I would probably take the offer at RVUCOM because while I think that primary care is my interest right now, that may change. I would like the opportunity to be able to match into something more competitive if that is what I choose. And being that I am a 20 year veteran of the military, the vibe that I got from RVUCOM appealed to me. That said, my wife's colleagues on the admissions committee have said that there may be a 25% faculty discount for spouses and that would lower my tuition by about $14,000; significant. Plus it would be cheaper for us to live in AZ as opposed to Parker, CO assuming that I got selected for an AZ CHC. None of that may help a great deal but perhaps it will give you a bit more info to make a decision on. You have a good problem on your hands; best of luck to you!
 
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Nov 23, 2020
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My wife is faculty at ATSU-SOMA and teaches in the DO/MPH program so I've had the chance to meet a lot of faculty and students in SOMA. I also teach in the ATSU-CGHS MPH program and have a few DO students in my classes so I've gotten the chance to talk to them as well (I'm interviewing at SOMA on 12/9; accepted at RVUCOM on 11/23).

Its tough to say which school is 'better' and I think that probably is true for most medical schools. RVUCOM (Board Scores and Pass Rates - Rocky Vista University) probably has slightly better board score pass rates than does ATSU-SOMA (SOMA - Postgraduate Placement) but its not significant. That said, RVUCOM students are required to write USMLE Step 1 in addition to the COMLEX and starting this year, they will have to pass Step 1 in addition to COMLEX Level 1, as a graduation requirement. This, I think, has led to RVUCOM students doing well in the match and their match list looks to be more competitive than SOMAs if you are not interested in primary care.

I like the curricula at both schools and since my wife and I are from Arizona, it would be nice to be assigned to one of the AZ or California community health centers. RVUCOMs curriculum prepares students better for the boards and based on information that my wife has shared with me regarding SOMA student preparation for the boards, there is a growing concern within SOMA regarding COMLEX performance. One of the physicians that my wife has introduced me to told me that she and a colleague are setting up a COMLEX prep program that will start during the OMS 1 year. I'm not sure what components will be included nor do I know if it will be mandatory or voluntary but its good that SOMA is addressing the issues. My understanding is that this COMLEX prep program is to be in place at the start of the fall 2021 term and its envisioned that it will be a couple of days per week. SOMA students have complained that they would like access to more practice questions to help them prepare for exams and boards and it appears that the school is addressing this issue.

In terms of student services (for example, there is not a dedicated career services office at SOMA to help prepare students for residency as there is at RVUCOM. There is one physician who does this for the SOMA students and unfortunately SOMA students can't use the services of the ATSU-KCOM office), because SOMA is decentralized under the 1+3 model, the students don't get the same level of services that students in a traditional 2+2 curriculum get. If you are a very independent student, this may not be an issue but if you need more hand holding, this may be an issue for you.

SOMA students are well prepared, clinically and I would imagine that RVUCOM students are just as prepared; the difference is do you want to get into clinic earlier or wait until 3rd year. SOMA students don't have many opportunities for electives (my wife teaches a research elective for OMS 3 and 4s and one of my colleagues teaches a Health Systems Science elective. There are a couple of medical Spanish electives as well...) and research is limited to mostly clinical and public health-related research, though some students have been able to do biomedical sciences work at Arizona State University, U of A, and Mayo. RVUCOM has different tracks that you can pursue and there are more elective choices. One of the tracks is in research so if that is important to you, you'll have ample opportunities to engage in that aspect of your medical education.

SOMA has mandatory classes and a dress code, not sure about RVUCOM. There was an RVUCOM student in another thread who said that labs and OMM are mandatory as are a few other things but he said as a rule, you don't have to attend most lectures and this student said that they were on campus 2 to 3 days weekly.

Not sure if you are a URM but neither school is a melting pot for URMs, particularly African American students. That said, the environments at both are friendly enough and both are making active moves to create more diverse classes. My wife is involved with an initiative that is looking to get more URM students into the pipeline and before the admissions committee (in addition to her faculty duties, she's sat on the admissions committee for the last two cycles) and RVUCOM seems to be making some purposeful moves as well.

Both schools are expensive. RVUCOM is $58,330 per year and SOMA is at $58,652 per year. SOMA has increased tution by about 1.5% a year since its founding. Not sure about RVUCOM. Both have some scholarships available but not many; RVUCOM edges SOMA in this category however. The scholarships don't pay a huge amount and both schools average scholarship awarded is just over $3,000.

RVUCOM is VERY military and veteran friendly and that is a HUGE draw to me. This doesn't mean that SOMA isn't military friendly but because it is heavily focused on primary care and its CHC model, it may not be the best fit for a student who seeks to enter the military. This is not to say that there are not SOMA students who are not on HPSP with plans to be military physicians but RVUCOM has military and veteran support services embedded into its DNA and may be a better fit for you if you are a veteran or are considering going to school on the HPSP.

Parker, CO isn't far from the Denver airport and SOMA isn't far from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport either. Your travel needs will be met in both places.

I think that the decision would probably come down to whether or not you have a strong preference for primary care vs. attending a school that may give you better options to match into a specialty/competitive residency. SOMA students def. match into competitive specialties but the emphasis is really on primary care and the match list reflects that. The faculty and staff at SOMA are very good; I've worked with several over the years (I was a student at Arizona State University and later, managed the undergraduate science lab at ASU-Downtown. I was taught by and worked closely with Dr. John Olson when he taught at ASU. He is now one of the Anatomy faculty at ATSU-SOMA & the one who set up the current Anatomy program). My wife frequently will wake up when her email goes off at 2am to respond to a student concern. Not many places have faculty who will do this. I can't speak on the RVUCOM faculty since I've only just been accepted and don't know any but I would imagine that they have top notch faculty as well. As I said, I've been accepted to RVUCOM and will be interviewing at SOMA next week; if I were to get an acceptance at SOMA, I would probably take the offer at RVUCOM because while I think that primary care is my interest right now, that may change. I would like the opportunity to be able to match into something more competitive if that is what I choose. And being that I am a 20 year veteran of the military, the vibe that I got from RVUCOM appealed to me. That said, my wife's colleagues on the admissions committee have said that there may be a 25% faculty discount for spouses and that would lower my tuition by about $14,000; significant. Plus it would be cheaper for us to live in AZ as opposed to Parker, CO assuming that I got selected for an AZ CHC. None of that may help a great deal but perhaps it will give you a bit more info to make a decision on. You have a good problem on your hands; best of luck to you!
Thanks so much for your informative response PhD_to_DO. I am going to attend RVUCOM most likely. I am interested in Internal Medicine. I worked in emergency med for over 3 years and heme/onco for 1 year. While I like ATSU SOMA because I would be able to go to NYC for the CHC, I do feel that I need a stable academic environment. I like attending lectures sometimes, if I'm taking a more difficult class. I would also like to watch lectures 2x speed, if the material is easier. I also like how Rocky Vista has already offered me financial aid. I am underrepresented, Latina first gen college grad. I've been in touch for their department of diversity. I am curious to who your wife is lol I also connected with the diversity department at ATSU soma. They have been super helpful and kind.

Also, the military friendly environment is a pro. I did Army ROTC in college and have given HPSP some thought. My partner is in the Navy and my decision to go HPSP depends on if he wants to stay in and for how long. I am likely going to apply for VA assistance and see if I get it. RVU also has a military medicine track and underserved track. Let me know where you go! Thanks for reaching out and for your feedback! You will definitely get accepted into SOMA.
 
Aug 15, 2020
71
165
Austin, TX by way of Chandler, AZ
phdtodo.blogspot.com
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  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
Thanks so much for your informative response PhD_to_DO. I am going to attend RVUCOM most likely. I am interested in Internal Medicine. I worked in emergency med for over 3 years and heme/onco for 1 year. While I like ATSU SOMA because I would be able to go to NYC for the CHC, I do feel that I need a stable academic environment. I like attending lectures sometimes, if I'm taking a more difficult class. I would also like to watch lectures 2x speed, if the material is easier. I also like how Rocky Vista has already offered me financial aid. I am underrepresented, Latina first gen college grad. I've been in touch for their department of diversity. I am curious to who your wife is lol I also connected with the diversity department at ATSU soma. They have been super helpful and kind.

Also, the military friendly environment is a pro. I did Army ROTC in college and have given HPSP some thought. My partner is in the Navy and my decision to go HPSP depends on if he wants to stay in and for how long. I am likely going to apply for VA assistance and see if I get it. RVU also has a military medicine track and underserved track. Let me know where you go! Thanks for reaching out and for your feedback! You will definitely get accepted into SOMA.

My pleasure. :) You may have interviewed with my wife (https://www.atsu.edu/school-of-oste...a/about-soma/faculty-and-staff/eboni-anderson) or she may have been one of the ones who initially reviewed your application. Whatever the case, congratulations on being accepted to both programs! Like you, I am leaning towards Rocky Vista. I paid the first $250 deposit and will pay the next deposit after my SOMA interview. Teaching for ATSU and having a wife who teaches in the medical school gives me a very good look at the school and I have recently had some concerns about its fit for me and my needs. You mentioned that RVUCOM has already offered you financial aid; I am assuming that you mean one of the URM scholarships. DId they proactively offer that or did you have to ask? I am going to call the financial aid office this week to inquire about scholarship funding. Best of luck to you; we may be future RVUCOM classmates!
 
Nov 23, 2020
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I know a faculty member that is on the admissions' committee, and they asked me during the interview if I had any other schools, which I did. So after the interview, the professor reached out regarding my final decision and I had mentioned being URM, and how SOMA admission's counselor had spoken to me about scholarship opportunities and I'd likely more financial aid there. So she connected me to different resources in the university. It is not a scholarship, I just expressed my interest in another school with potentially more scholarship opps, and they offered me something. I also know that scholarship applications open up in the Spring. So there's that.
 
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