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VCOM-Carolinas vs. Vcom-Virginia vs. VCOM-Auburn

Discussion in 'Osteopathic School-Specific Discussions' started by Dylan4081, 09.20.14.

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  1. Dylan4081

    Dylan4081

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    If I am to apply to these schools what are their strengths and weaknesses? What's the difference between them besides location and is it worth it going to a new medical school?
     
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  3. OsteopathicHopeful

    OsteopathicHopeful 2+ Year Member

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    I am applying to all three as well....so...I second OP
     
  4. JPickos9989

    JPickos9989 2+ Year Member

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    If you have a choice, I think it is in your best interest to avoid VCOM-Auburn purely because it is a new school. Just my two cents.

    I don't know enough about the other two to comment.
     
  5. OsteopathicHopeful

    OsteopathicHopeful 2+ Year Member

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    Well, I see what your saying but just because a school is new doesn't mean they don't have their stuff together. Look at Marian...they've been on the ball since day one. They seem to be performing with the best of em!

    They definitely deserve an interview, then make your decision...
     
  6. Dylan4081

    Dylan4081

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    So what's the difference between the other two?
     
  7. JPickos9989

    JPickos9989 2+ Year Member

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    You can't in good conscience say that Marian is performing with the best of the DO schools when they haven't even had a class go through the match yet. Yes they have good class statistics so far, and they have been vouched for having good administration. I don't foresee them having an issue with a decent match, but the proof is in the pudding as they say.

    If you are comfortable being a guinea pig and having nothing to go off of in terms of match statistics for a school, then so be it, that is definitely your choice. I personally would never be able to be in the very first class at a brand new medical school, there is too much unknown.

    VCOM-Auburn has great potential being a state with relatively few medical schools, but I still wouldn't advise being part of the inaugural class if you have the option to go elsewhere with a more established school.
     
  8. OsteopathicHopeful

    OsteopathicHopeful 2+ Year Member

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    like I said, I understand completely with what your saying. You probably have better stats than I do too and feel you're safe. I particularly see it as an exciting challenge and adventure. To be apart of the very first graduating class can play heavily in ones favor (depending on how they look at things). Being the president of clubs and forging the way for other students could show leadership and tenacity to profs and residency spots, provided you did well in school. All in all, this is how I look at it. These are US schools that are being watched fairly closely by governing bodies. It would be major negligence and poor planning for something real bad to happen. (AGAIN, it all depends on ones perspective)
     
  9. Tirian

    Tirian 2+ Year Member

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    Why are people so afraid of a new school?
     
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  10. user3

    user3 SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor 5+ Year Member

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    Last edited: 09.20.14
  11. OsteopathicHopeful

    OsteopathicHopeful 2+ Year Member

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  12. edgerock24

    edgerock24 2+ Year Member

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    Yep. Although, VCOM-Auburn does have that affiliation with Auburn University. This, generally speaking, makes the school a bit attractive when compared to most DO schools, who are simply COM's on their own. At least to the average person (also the prospective building has looked quite nice).
     
  13. Dylan4081

    Dylan4081

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    So what are the pros and cons of the other two schools?
     
  14. iWillOneDay

    iWillOneDay Banned Banned

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    All I know is VC campus is adjacent to Virginia Tech. You will have access to VT's large campus and you use VT email (I believe).
     
  15. kalat

    kalat 2+ Year Member

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    Interesting. I applied there partly because having access to proper university facilities (as opposed to some standalone locations) is fairly attractive, but it is also kind of in the middle of nowhere. Give and take.
     
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  16. footballstar01

    footballstar01

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    I can't really speak for the Carolinas Campus. I had a friend that attended there, and he hated it overall. These are my experiences with VCOM-Virginia campus:

    PROS:
    1) incredibly hiking nearby. Devil's marble yard is by fire the best hike I've ever been on.
    2) Very cheap housing. Just beware this is 100% a college town, so if you select poorly, expect many sleepless nights due to wild partying nearby. Great for college = not so great for professional school.
    3) Amazing OMM training. Dr. Hardin, is very well known nationally, and one of our best teachers.

    CONS:
    1) Rotation coordinator (Sarah M.) is extremely lazy and slow to submit paperwork. Almost all of us have missed a great sub-intern or away rotation opportunity because she submitted weeks past the due dates. (last year's class had a very similar experience). When asked for updates, she usually doesn't respond to emails AT ALL (so i've heard). She has screened my calls multiple times despite being in the office for unknown reasons. Many of us are confused to find her out and about having lunch or "out of the office" during VCOM business hours while we miss deadlines for rotation paperwork.

    2) Teachers are lazy: MANY of the tests are just copies from year to year. This means many students can just get 100% on tests by talking to past classes about where faculty get their questions. Our physiology professor last year (Dr. R) was the most notorious for this. He couldn't even pronounce many of the things he was trying to teach us, and would simple copy the entire test out of board review Q-banks. Other teachers simply pick up their 1000$ for the class, and pass out the answers in the first 5 minutes to their questions. Your quality of education is very poor. A couple of my friends actually failed COMLEX 1 due to not being prepared. Many others in the class have also, but most do not talk about it.

    3) Faculty are extremely difficult to deal with. Crystal in particular, is always nasty to students. She will openly yell at some in front of the class, and has screamed at the class to shut up 5 or 6 times. Nobody knows why she hates everyone, but it makes for a very negative classroom experience.

    4) There is a STRICT attendance policy and dress code. You have to dress up every day, and always need to show up. No studying at your own time or at home. No skipping the under-qualified teacher's lectures. You can miss up to 15% of the classes, but afterwards, you receive an automatic academic failure and have to re-mediate.

    5) Big brother system. There were two students who were casually talking about what they didn't like about the school. They were overheard, and called into the office for disciplinary action. Please note that there were no unprofessional things being said.

    6) Unprepared for boards. The curriculum doesn't really make you feel ready for boards at all. We are given over a month before board to buy expensive prep courses or independently study all of the things we were never taught.

    7) Bias site selection process. I got a good site luckily, but your core rotation site will be selected based on your comments of why you want to go there and how much the faculty likes you. There is no way to earn or influence your placement besides sucking up to the faculty.

    8) Be family medicine or GET OUT. We have required recruitment events where every single booth is family medicine. We only get 4 weeks of internal medicine (most schools have double that), and get 12 weeks of family medicine type training (rural / family / geriatrics etc). Be prepared to get trained on colds, cough, and hypertension for the majority of your clinical training, and to be less competitive than candidates who actually got a diversified training.
    Last edited: 37 minutes ago
     
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  17. baxt1412

    baxt1412 Liftus Maximus 2+ Year Member

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    This doesn't seem to be the norm
     
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  18. asdf123g

    asdf123g

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    Idk about the other stuff but I'd heard about the big brother stuff, albeit the criticism I heard was more controversial and the person was supposedly kicked from school. It's just a rumor though so take it with a grain of salt.
     
    Last edited: 12.13.14
  19. Tirian

    Tirian 2+ Year Member

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    Does each school have its own rotation coordinator?
     
  20. davidng150

    davidng150 5+ Year Member

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    Yes, according to VCOM's third and fourth year clinical schedules.
     
  21. footballstar01

    footballstar01

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    Don't be scared if you are applying to VCOM-CC about site coordination. I've heard that their coordinator is great! Just the VCOM-VC one is really terrible. (even last years alum were constantly complaining of late submissions and missing out on auditions etc.). Its one thing to be behind. Its another thing to ignore emails / phone calls completely (allegedly). She's just unprofessional and needs to be replaced/helped by more faculty.
     
  22. Dylan4081

    Dylan4081

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    How much does the Carolinas Campus push family medicine?
     
  23. breezy124

    breezy124 The Prince of Medicine Banned

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    "choose the cheaper one"
     
  24. Copernicus15

    Copernicus15

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    Last edited: 03.12.15
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  25. user3

    user3 SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor 5+ Year Member

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    Congratulations.

    However, just because students match into competitive fields does not mean there can't be legitimate problems with the school that have frustrated that person.
     
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  26. ket35

    ket35

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    I am excited to comment on this thread because VCOM (both Virginia and Carolinas) is a wonderful school.

    1. The Virginia campus is affiliated with Virginia Tech, which allows students the perks of using Tech's facilities, join clubs, play intramurals, go to sports events, etc. This also gives the option for cheaper housing.

    2. OMM at VCOM is amazing. Dr. Harden is one of the guru's of OMM and his level of expertise is invaluable.

    3. Yes, both Virginia and Carolina's campus have a family medicine focus (as it is in our mission statement) they are well apt in providing you with the training and mentor ship required to go into any specialty of your choice. As the AOA match just occurred 3 days ago, there are already many surgery, EM, derm, etc etc residency placements for this year.

    4. As some faculty do reuse questions from previous exams, however those questions are not released to students. There is no such thing as getting an "easy A" by talking to a previous student. Many professors do use questions from COMLEX prep companies, because they are preparing you for what to expect for boards.

    5. Speaking of boards, VCOM has a 98% first pass rate on the COMLEX Level 1, with their mean well above the national average. Virginia campus uses RC-Med Review (free to students) as an intensive boards review program 2 months prior to boards.

    6. Yes, both campuses have an attendance policy and a dress code. The attendance policy states that you can miss up to 15% of you classes within a block (yes, I know this can be a bummer at times). But, statistics show that attendance correlates with GPA, and GPA significantly correlates with board scores. It's a win-win. The dress code is business casual, throw on some slacks and a polo and you are good to go. Might as well build that wardrobe for residency anyways, right?

    7. As for the clinical rotations, yes the campuses have difference Clinical affairs offices. They both work very hard to ensure that you are placed in the rotation location in which you prefer. This year we had a 95% satisfaction with students placing in one of their top 3 choices. Getting what you need accomplished for audition rotations and Sub-I's is on you to ensure that things are completed in a timely manner.

    8. As for Auburn, they too will be affiliated with a large university, and while ACOM does have a grasp on the Alabama territory, VCOM already has established rotation sites across the East cost of Alabama. All schools are required to prove availability of rotation sites before they are accredited, which Auburn has clearly done, as they have been approved for pre-accreditation status.

    9. One major difference between the Virginia and Carolina's campus that seems to be the "buzz" between students, is that Carolina's has stacked exams and Virginia does not. I guess it just depends on if you are into that sort of thing.

    All in all, VCOM has it's pros and cons, such as any medical school, but VCOM definitely does it's best to provide only the best for its students.
     
  27. user3

    user3 SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor 5+ Year Member

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    This has been discussed ad-nauseum in both pre-osteo and osteo forums. The overwhelming consensus is that it is counterproductive to many, many students' learning. Instead of supporting the policy, you should focus on helping students that don't learn effectively from sitting in lecture find a way to survive such a policy.
     
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  28. asdf123g

    asdf123g

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    damn!!!
     
  29. mapquestdo

    mapquestdo

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    All medical schools around the country have pros and cons. But I would like to share my experience of how VCOM takes care of their students. From day one, a family atmosphere is established between students and faculty.

    As a 3rd year student at VCOM, my classmates and I are doing what we love and at a high academic level. Our well balanced rotation sites have solid curriculums and there are many chances to learn and grow as a future professional in any field.

    Our advisors and coordinators work hard for us. They have dedicated themselves to us. And results like this years match shows that they are doing a good job.

    Our classroom curriculum is based on a block schedule and all three campuses follow the same structure. Students are taught what needs to be taught to do well on our boards and in clinic/hospital. All schools reuse test question (that are not released to students) and I don't want you guys to think it is just here. Now how the students chooses to study is their choice and I don't want to disrespect anyone's experience so I can answer any questions u guys may have.

    Finally, attendance and dress code policy should not be a surprise as they are well documented and are in place to help students grow into their future careers. And it's not that bad at all.

    I urge you guys to look into VCOM, and I guarantee once you visit any of the campuses you guys will love it.
     
  30. ICUrunning

    ICUrunning On the Iron Path 2+ Year Member

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    Is there a match list I can view? I have many friends/classmates that attend VCOM or are interested in the school
     
  31. user3

    user3 SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor 5+ Year Member

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    these posts sound like VCOM reps, not students...
     
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  32. goldenboy48

    goldenboy48 5+ Year Member

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    +1

    Single post users LOL
     
  33. ChiTownBHawks

    ChiTownBHawks 2+ Year Member

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    Lol.

    Brb, gotta make my 4th handle...
     
  34. MajorUnderDog

    MajorUnderDog 2+ Year Member

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    Does AACOMAS allow us to apply to all 3 campuses or do we have to decide on just one?
     
  35. Clinicall

    Clinicall 2+ Year Member

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    .
     
    Last edited: 02.20.15
  36. MajorUnderDog

    MajorUnderDog 2+ Year Member

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    Awesome. Thanks!
     
  37. ICUrunning

    ICUrunning On the Iron Path 2+ Year Member

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    Yeah, that's what I thought too. Def suspicious.

    Never thought I'd see the day that VCOM acts like a Caribbean school in terms of sending reps to SDN to defend themselves and persuade students to attend.
     
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  38. NeuroSpeed

    NeuroSpeed Big Schwartz 2+ Year Member

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    The truth, of course, is somewhere in between these people's views. And I have different classmates who legitimately hold both sets of views, so I don't for a second believe the posters are VCOM reps. My thoughts:

    footballstar01's points:
    1 - 4th year clinical coordinator - yes she's difficult to work with, and is bad about returning emails. I'm going through 4th year clinical selection/application now, and it's another layer of stress.
    2 - Yes teachers reuse questions. No, not all tests get released. And I have definitely never had a professor "pass out the answers in the first 5 minutes to their questions."
    3 - All of my interactions with faculty on an individual basis were very professional. The faculty member in question that yells - it was fairly obvious to me that it's because people would continue talking while tests were starting. In a classroom that size, yeah you are going to have to speak up to get people to pay attention. If she's yelled at people or treated them badly on an individual basis, it hasn't ever been to me.
    4 - Like the other poster said - this is well documented. Won't go into this further.
    5 - I haven't heard of this, so I can't comment.
    6 - My class was actually provided a board review course, and then we also had time for more of our own studies. Which was much more than any other schools give to students. If someone still can't pass or feels unprepared - I have a hard time believing that much of the blame only lies with themselves.
    7 - It's an awful site selection process, but I'm not sure how they could make it much better. It does breed this rumor of bias my administration, which frankly would be impossible to disprove to many people. Things that officially get you preference are: 1. Having children in school - 2. Having an ill family member for whom you play a large role in their healthcare. Unofficially if you are married you'll get moved up on the list. Other than these things, who can say for sure?
    8 - The rotations are very heavily tilted toward primary care. 12 weeks family-style (Family, Rural-underserved, and geriatrics - although this can be in a nursing home), 8 weeks internal medicine ( 4 weeks inpatient, 4 weeks outpatient/specialty), 4 weeks of: OBGYN, Gen Surgery, Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and 4 weeks of an at-home diagnostic medicine rotation which is largely useless). There are no selective/elective opportunities 3rd year, which is a huge detriment, unless you are going into primary care. This also makes getting a good early 4th year schedule all that much more important.

    ket34's points:
    1 - Yup
    2 - If you like OMM, yes it's probably really good. There are students who are really into it and have all the opportunities to get as proficient as they could possibly want.
    3 - As I said above, the mission statements are about primary care. If you want to go into a specialty, not having the option to do a rotation in it third year is a big negative.
    4 - I agree more with ket than with footballstar on this point.
    5 - I'm not sure I entirely believe the 98% first pass rate on COMLEX I. Off the top of my head I can think of a number of students that failed that probably comes out to be slightly more than 2% of the class.
    6 - This sounds like this person is talking about choosing 3rd year rotations, which is a much different process, and handled by different people than 4th year rotations. Choosing 4th year rotations is much less regulated, and the staff isn't as responsive. Also, much of the paperwork needed for 4th year aways and such MUST be handled by the school, so no, getting those rotations is NOT entirely on the student.
    7 - I don't know anything about Auburn rotations.
    8 - No other information here either.
     
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  39. asdf123g

    asdf123g

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    So what can you (or anyone else) say about "As the AOA match just occurred 3 days ago, there are already many surgery, EM, derm, etc etc residency placements for this year." said by Ket in relation to the bolded statement? I thought the only thing that really matters is board scores D: but with said bolded statement, what ket said sounds contradictory.
     
  40. MedNation907

    MedNation907 Chasing Awesome-ness

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    @NeuroSpeed awesome feedback. I'm guessing you're a student at the VA campus?

    Regardless, I just had a few random questions anyone could chime in on.

    1) Does your statement about 'no elective rotations 3rd year' apply to the SC campus?
    2) How is 'Foundations of Diagnostic Medicine' a clinical rotation? Initially I thought it was a class taken on campus with simulation.
    3) How exactly does SC's affiliation with Wofford College affect OMS's? Or the 5 other colleges that VCOM claims are in 'collaboration' (Anderson, USC Upstate, Methodist, etc)? Is it just sharing facilities/libraries?
    4) Are there actually recorded lectures? I've been seeing vague/opposing answers.

    Just to clear up the COMLEX 1st time pass rates:
    VCOM-VA (2013) was 92% and national avg was 92%
    VCOM-VA (2014) was 90% and national avg was 91%
    VCOM-VA (2015-currently in progress) is 95% and national avg is 92%
    VCOM-SC (2015-currently in progress) is 93%

    And the mean score of these 1st time results have consistently been above national avg.

    I have my interview at VCOM-CC next week, so any feedback would be great!
     
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  41. ToonLink

    ToonLink

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    I believe all the medical schools in Virginia focus on primary care in their third year as well and do not have elective rotations. So it really should not be that much of a deal breaker..

    Also I have heard the exact same things from the students on campus..I doubt their are representatives from campus on this forum.
     
  42. NeuroSpeed

    NeuroSpeed Big Schwartz 2+ Year Member

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    I meant the negative aspect of it being the fact that you can't be sure you want the specialty until you rotate through it. As it is now, I'm interested in a specialty, but because we don't have electives 3rd year, I am having to scramble to make sure I can get a rotation in that specialty very early 4th year. However, we have to set up our calendar through the end of December, so that means I am having to schedule away rotations in that specialty early as well. What happens if I rotate through it and end up not liking it? I'm basically stuck with at least one more month of it - and at different institutions. The probability of being able to set up new rotations in new specialties at that point is low, so I've effectively just wasted those later months (I won't consider the first rotation as a waste, since you do still get good knowledge out of it).

    Of course, most people that are leaning towards a particular specialty are fairly confident by this point, but there is always the chance that it doesn't turn out to be what you were expecting. Especially if you hadn't done any shadowing in the specialty before.

    I hope that clears up my thoughts about not having an elective 3rd year.


    Yep. I'm at the VA campus. I'll try and answer your questions below. Frst off, here is a link to VCOM's third year curriculum. My answers are in italics.


    1) Does your statement about 'no elective rotations 3rd year' apply to the SC campus? Yep.
    2) How is 'Foundations of Diagnostic Medicine' a clinical rotation? Initially I thought it was a class taken on campus with simulation. In VA, It is a month during the year where you get to stay at home and work through online cases, read about physician communication, review physical exam maneuvers, etc.
    3) How exactly does SC's affiliation with Wofford College affect OMS's? Or the 5 other colleges that VCOM claims are in 'collaboration' (Anderson, USC Upstate, Methodist, etc)? Is it just sharing facilities/libraries? I can't really answer that for the SC campus.
    4) Are there actually recorded lectures? I've been seeing vague/opposing answers. Yep. VCOMTV is available. The staff is usually pretty good about recording the lectures and getting them uploaded each day. That said, every once in a while a technical glitch will occur and the lecture might not get recorded. If that happens, you have access to the videos from both campuses, and from multiple years, so you can usually find something to fill in the gap.

    Great, those numbers are much more believable to me. Hope I've helped, and good luck on your interview!
     
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  43. 101slipperypete

    101slipperypete

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    @NeuroSpeed hey I was hoping you could answer a couple of questions for me regarding VCOM. If you don't mind, send me a pm
     
  44. asdf123g

    asdf123g

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    so it is true that this past year people go matches, in EM, surgery, and things like derm?

    Can you match to a specialty you haven't done a rotation in? I ask because, to my understanding, if someone is doing the HPSP route, their match is much earlier than civilian. So you wont have had time to do many 4th yr rotations if you are going the HPSP route.
     
  45. SoDakDO

    SoDakDO

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    Look up the biggest selection factors for residencies. There is a 100 page document of the results of residency placements and what the residency directors look for. My recollection is the most important factors are complex 1 and if you did a rotation in that area. I will give a caveat that is important to remember. The more exposure you have to a clinical setting the better you will look to a residency director. That being said it's not a great strategy to do your number 1 elective at your first choice for residency.

    Another important aspect to remember is that "it's not what you know but who you know" so network as much as possible!
     
  46. asdf123g

    asdf123g

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    whys that???
     
  47. SoDakDO

    SoDakDO

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    I would say it's kinda like your first Med interview. There's a learning curve associated with how interview rotations go compared to required rotations. They know why you are there, so therefore the more experience you have the better impression you can make. 10-25% increase in clinical knowledge/exposure could make the difference between a yes or no. Just my two cents could be completely off though
     
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  48. NeuroSpeed

    NeuroSpeed Big Schwartz 2+ Year Member

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    Yes, plenty of people match into specialties from VCOM. I'm not trying to say that you'll never match a specialty because you can't rotate in it third year. What I meant was that if you are leaning towards one but aren't sure, then there's a possibility that you can end up in rotations that aren't going to help you much for what you really do want to go into. If you are dead set on a specialty and love it to death, than this thing isn't an issue.

    As far as your second question - I imagine that there are rare cases of people matching into uncompetitive specialties without having rotated in them. But generally the first thing that you are going to get asked at your interview if you haven't rotated in it is "Why haven't you done a rotation in this specialty?" I don't know how the HPSP match works since I'm not going that route, but it does mean that you just have to be much more aggressive about getting early rotations in specialties you are considering. And by the time you are a 4th year, you should have it narrowed down to 2-3 fields (for residency - fellowships are a different story). If you are that far along and still have no idea, then you haven't been paying enough attention during your first 3 years.
     
  49. asdf123g

    asdf123g

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    but to clarify, there are people matching surgery and derm at VCOM? Like I thought derm was exceedingly RARE at any osteopathic school, let alone VCOM which is a fairly new institution.
     
  50. NeuroSpeed

    NeuroSpeed Big Schwartz 2+ Year Member

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    I haven't seen this year's AOA match list, and the ACGME match hasn't happened yet. In the past, VCOM students have matched into AOA Derm for sure, but I'm not sure about ACGME Derm. Other students have also matched into both AOA and ACGME surgery residencies.
     
  51. MedNation907

    MedNation907 Chasing Awesome-ness

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    How does knowing what specialties students are placed into have any effect what so ever on that institution? It just doesn't make sense to me. I would think the hospital systems they place students matter, not the specialty itself. I feel like most students who wish to enter Osteopathic practice actually share the emphasis in primary care, and is reflected in those placement lists.

    I've noticed that asking if students are matched in x specialty is a trend on SDN, and I don't get why that information is helpful at all..
     

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