Ultimate Guide to ACOMAS Application

August 17

Table of Contents

Your application to medical school has been submitted. Still, your journey to becoming a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) is far from over. 

Despite your desire for a lengthy hiatus, the AACOMAS secondary application is on its way and will arrive sooner than you expect.

Your AACOMAS secondary application is your opportunity to convince the admissions committees of the osteopathic schools of your choice that you and their program are an ideal match.

This guide will provide a step-by-step process for accurately completing your AACOMAS application to maximize your chances of admission to osteopathic medical schools.

If you want to know more, please read on.

What is AACOMAS?

The AACOMAS (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service), as a centralized application, enables applicants to osteopathic medical schools to apply to up to 35 schools through a single website.

Osteopathic medicine differs from allopathic medicine in that graduates receive a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) rather than a Doctor of Medicine (MD). However,  the training and employment opportunities are comparable. 

You might choose to become an osteopathic physician rather than an allopathic physician for several reasons. 

Osteopaths distinguish themselves from medical doctors by treating the whole person, not just the symptoms. Osteopaths emphasize preventive medicine, the interconnectedness of the body's organs and systems, and how they influence or affect one another.

AACOMAS Deadlines and Timeline

The AACOMAS application for the following year's medical school class typically opens in early May. 

Mid-June is when colleges start receiving and processing applications.

Due to rolling admissions, your probability of being accepted to med school decreases the later you submit your application. 

Therefore, you must remain on top of all deadlines. Accordingly, prepare to send your primary and secondary applications before the deadline.

No matter how many secondaries you may receive, you must submit quality responses within 7-14 days. There is so much to do in such a limited time, and you must prepare for your secondaries in advance.

After submitting secondaries, interview invitations could arrive as early as late August or as late as the following spring. 

Since invitations may come at any time during this period, it is essential to begin preparing for interviews well before you start to receive them.

What are the AACOMAS Requirements? 

You know that medical school admission is competitive, but what are AACOMAS admissions committees and interviewers searching for in prospective students?

We will cover all of that in the following few sections.

Previous Academic Education

A few exceptions exist for students enrolled in specialized programs with prior agreements with medical institutions. 

Before registering for osteopathic medical school, some applicants earned a master's degree or doctorate.

The premedical curriculum varies from college to college but generally consists of the following:

  • One year of biology
  • One year of physics
  • One year of compositional English
  • Two years of chemistry

Criminal Records Checks

Criminal background checks are primarily motivated by increasing public confidence in the medical field. 

Additionally, criminal background checks improve the safety and well-being of patients. 

They facilitate the eventual licensure of applicants and enrolled medical students as physicians, reducing the liability of med schools and their affiliated clinical facilities.

The Department of Veterans Affairs requires criminal background investigations for all medical students involved in hospital patient care.

All osteopathic med schools conduct criminal background checks for all students. 

You are responsible for becoming aware of and knowledgeable about the requirements imposed on you during the application process. In addition, numerous colleges and clinical rotation sites require drug testing as a prerequisite for enrollment or at other specified times.

When applying through AACOMAS, the applicant must disclose any prior criminal convictions. 

Failure to disclose such offenses accurately and truthfully on the AACOMAS application may result in the revocation of an admission offer or, if the omission is discovered after enrollment in medical school, in dismissal.

Letters of Recommendation

All medical institutions require evaluation and recommendation letters. You can submit letters electronically through the AACOMAS application or directly to the schools using alternative services specified by each school in the college information section of this book. 

Alternative services may consist of, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Interfolio
  • VirtualEvals
  • U.S. Mail

Many programs have stringent letter submission requirements, which vary from school to school. Check with each osteopathic medical college before submitting recommendation letters.

Please refer to the AACOMAS Help Center for information about submitting letters directly through the AACOMAS website.

How to Apply to Medical Schools with AACOMAS?

Your medical school application should be easy and straightforward if you familiarize yourself with the AACOMAS application process and have the necessary information. 

Here is the step-by-step application process for medical institutions using the AMCAS system.

Aacomas Application Registration

Source: AACOMAS Official Website 

AACOMAS Section 1: Personal Information

In the Personal Information section, you will provide your biographical and contact information and your citizenship status, race/ethnicity, and parental information. 

There is also a section for influences, in which you will list any physician relatives. 

Additionally, AACOMAS requests your specific interest in osteopathic medicine. You will be presented with several selections to select from. 

The Personal Information section concludes with a subsection titled "Other Information." 

You must disclose your military status, language proficiency, criminal record or academic infractions (if applicable), and income level.

Suppose you have a military dismissal, criminal record, or academic infraction. In that case, you will be required to compose a 500-word essay detailing the circumstances and any consequences you faced. 

The "Other Information" page also contains a section on COVID-19 containing three optional questions. 

While the first two questions are straightforward yes/no questions, the third one allows 2,500 characters to describe how the pandemic affected your path to medical school.

AACOMAS Section 2: Academic History

This section begins with a listing of your high school and college experiences. 

Next is the most time-consuming portion of this section: entering your transcript. It will help if you input all of your college courses. It is as straightforward as copying your transcript into the electronic system, albeit time-consuming.

Have your transcript available, and enter the course name, credit hours, and grade into the system. 

Pay close attention to the specifics, as errors may be difficult to rectify once your application has been submitted and may result in processing delays.

You must include all courses on your official transcript, including withdrawals and ungraded orientation courses. If this seems daunting or you lack time, AACOMAS provides a Transcript Entry Service. Depending on your number of transcripts, someone can enter your coursework for USD 69 to USD 145. 

You may indicate interest in this service on the Transcript Entry page by clicking "Tell me more."

Nevertheless, you must pay for and submit your application before completing the service. After filling up the form, you will be prompted to verify its accuracy.

AACOMAS Section 3: Course Classification

You will input coursework according to the term in which it was taken. All completed, ongoing, and future coursework should be entered similarly. You will choose the course's subject; some systems may not neatly fall into a single subject. 

Referring to how your university classified it may be the simplest solution. However, AACOMAS suggests you should "make your best guess if you are genuinely uncertain." 

Regarding GPA, the subject of each course determines how your GPA will be calculated. For example, AACOMAS computes both a science GPA and an overall GPA. Once all courses have been entered, the course type will be classified as study abroad, advanced placement, honors, or repeated.

AACOMAS Section 4: Standardized Tests

Standardized test self-reporting is the concluding task of the Academic History section. Enter all previous test results, dates, and scores. 

If you have an upcoming exam, you should enter this information along with your test ID but leave out the test score. If this date changes, you must revisit and update your AACOMAS entry to reflect the new date.

You must provide your AAMC ID so that AACOMAS can match your MCAT score to your profile. Then, you will visit the AAMC's website to request that they send your scores to AACOMAS. As scores are typically published in batches, the AAMC website will contain information regarding turnaround time.

AACOMAS Section 5: Transcripts

AACOMAS needs transcripts (official) from each post-secondary institution where you enrolled. This is in addition to the transcript information you entered earlier.

This encompasses any academic institution following high school and college-level coursework completed during high school. 

Official transcripts (paper or electronic) must be sent directly from each institution. Visit the office or website of your registrar for information on how to submit transcripts now. 

Once transcripts have been received and verified, AACOMAS cannot be used to update them. 

However, suppose you have notable grades in a future semester and would like to update individual institutions on your most recent grades. 

In that case, you may send a letter of update after the application deadline. In addition, some secondary school applications include spaces for grade updates at some institutions. 

AACOMAS Section 6: Supporting Information

This section of your AACOMAS application has four parts:


You will submit your recommendation letters. Whether your letters are from a committee, a letter packet, or an individual, you will establish one entry per letter or letter source. You have a maximum of six entries per letter or letter source. 

You can submit any additional letters directly to schools if you have more than six. However, remember a school's letter requirements and do not exceed their maximum number of letters.  

Enter the committee chair as the evaluator for letters from committees. This chair will then answer the standard queries and upload the committee letter via Letters by Liaison (the recommendation service affiliated with AACOMAS).

When requesting a letter of recommendation, be sure to inform the letter writer that an email containing this information will be sent to them. The email could potentially end up in their spam folder.

A dossier service like Interfolio is another standard method for storing and sending correspondence.

Keep in mind that although it may be tempting to reuse letters from previous applications, it is recommended that your letter writers update their letters for each cycle. 


In this section of the AACOMAS application, you must enumerate meaningful and medically relevant premedical experiences. 

Consider any post-high school experiences that influenced your career path, even if they were not explicitly medically related. 

Contrary to the AMCAS application, AACOMAS permits you to list unlimited examples. 

You will categorize each experience into one of the following groups:

  • Extracurricular activities - An example would be a school club or organization. You should not include paid employment here.
  • Non-healthcare employment - An example would be a retail or restaurant position.
  • Non-healthcare volunteer or community enrichment - This will be volunteer work done outside of the medical field.
  • Healthcare experience - This is for paid or unpaid work related to the medical field. For example, this could be any experience where you worked directly or indirectly with patients.

Then, you will enter information about the organization and the dates of the experience (start and end). You may use a future end date and a contact if you intend to continue this experience throughout the application cycle. 

Many individuals inquire about who should be listed as a contact and whether medical institutions communicate with these individuals. The contact person should preferably hold a managerial position. 

If this person is unavailable or irrelevant, locate someone who can attest to the scope of your responsibilities. If there is a question regarding the extent of your involvement, medical institutions may utilize these contacts.


This section follows the same format as the experience section described previously. In addition, numerous categories of accomplishments are available, including awards, honors, presentations, publications, and scholarships. 

Again, you may submit unlimited entries with a word limit of 600 characters. Formatting can vary depending on the sort of achievement selected. 

The Experience and Achievement sections are formatted similarly to the AMCAS Work and Activities component.

Typically, the style will primarily comprise a detailed description of your participation in the activity, along with a unique lesson or takeaway.

Personal Statement 

In this section, you will enter a personal statement to be sent to all osteopathic institutions to which you apply. 

You have 5,300 characters (including spaces) to describe yourself and why you want to attend medical school in your personal statement. 

AACOMAS requests that you keep the topic general and not specific to a single institution. Also, avoid plagiarizing, and use simple formatting devoid of tabs, italics, etc.

For osteopathic personal statements, it may be beneficial to emphasize experience with an osteopathic physician. You can also choose topics demonstrating your understanding and interest in applying osteopathy principles. 

AACOMAS Section 7: Program Materials

In this section, you will choose the DO programs you wish to enroll in. After adding a school, it will appear on the right side of the screen. You can determine whether a school has additional application requirements by clicking on it.

Additional information may include questions, PDF documents (some DO institutions include their secondary essay questions here), or prerequisites.

Certifying and Submitting Your Application

After submitting your application, you will be prompted to certify some statements. These will serve as your legal signature. You can submit your application before receiving your official transcript and evaluations. 

Check your application for errors and ensure all information is current and accurate. After submitting your application, you can no longer modify certain sections.  

After your application has been approved and assessed, you may pay all application fees via credit card or PayPal

Note that your application will only progress once all payments have been paid in full. In addition, AACOMAS will not refund any fees, as your application will be sent to the listed institutions upon submission. 

You will receive a confirmation email after submitting. Save this file for future reference. 

There are Fee Assistance opportunities for individuals in specific income brackets. The AACOMAS Application Fees and Fee Waivers lets you learn more about application fees and who qualifies for assistance.

Monitoring Your Application

After submitting your AACOMAS application, you can only modify a limited amount of information. For instance, evaluations can be edited and uploaded even after they have been submitted. Additionally, you can contribute new biographical information, coursework, and experiences. 

However, you cannot edit previously submitted achievements or experiences. Notably, you can add additional programs to which you wish to enroll at any time. 

Within the AACOMAS application portal, you can track the progression of your application from "In-Progress" to "Received" to "Complete" based on the materials received before your submission.

Additional FAQs – Guide to AACOMAS Application 

Can I Apply to More Programs After Submitting My Application?

Yes. If the program's application deadline has not yet passed and the application period is still open.

Will AACOMAS Update Me on My Application's Status?

Yes. You can track and monitor the status of your application through the "Check Status" component. 

When official transcripts, official test scores, and evaluations have been received and your application verified, AACOMAS will notify you.

Why Did I Not Get an Option for a Fee Waiver?

AACOMAS can only grant a limited number of fee exemptions per cycle. 

Suppose you do not see the option to register for a fee waiver. In that case, all fee waivers have already been distributed, and none are available.

You're no longer alone on your journey to becoming a physician

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