If you happen to be searching online for “best medical schools near me”, you’re likely to come across Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. For those interested in osteopathic medicine, you’ll be hard-pressed to find more prestigious or well-respected DO schools in South Carolina, with its high national rankings and competitive acceptance rating.
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) opened its doors to students in 2003 to remedy a tremendous shortage of osteopathic doctors (DO) in the rural areas of certain southern states. The first campus opened in Virginia. Campuses were later added in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Auburn, Alabama, and Monroe, Louisiana. The mission from the beginning was clear: to educate osteopathic doctors who would provide quality healthcare to the underserved regions of these states and to become one of the best DO schools in the US.
It was a Virginian doctor, Andrew Taylor Still MD, who founded the practice of osteopathic medicine back in the mid-1800’s. Dr. Still felt there was something lacking in the medical methods being practiced and developed a new method called osteopathy. The focus of this new type of medicine centered around caring for a patient as a whole person, a belief in the human body’s ability and desire to heal itself, and the need for a musculoskeletal system that is aligned and working correctly. VCOM still holds to the philosophies of Dr. Still and has continued to grow and develop with the newest research and healthcare needs.
VCOM has chosen to keep the school of medicine focused on their signature program, which is the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). This degree program takes students through the traditional training an MD would have, in addition to a variety of specialties, and the unique osteopathic philosophy of treating the whole patient. The focus is also on serving underserved populations.
Earning that acceptance letter from a school like Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine is no simple task, but that’s why it’s so important to do your very best to be prepared, follow instructions, and be as genuine as you can throughout the process. Our goal here at International Medical Aid (IMA), is to help bright, passionate future medical professionals get into the school of their preference.
This guide is a fabulous resource for you as you walk the path of researching medical schools in South Carolina, selecting which of the best DO schools in the US you want to apply to, and getting started with your primary application, secondary application, and essay prompts. The guide contains a lot of information about VCOM, tips for applying, advice for the essay prompts, and more.
Be an Informed Applicant
Becoming a doctor takes years of dedication and hard work, but it all begins with getting accepted into a quality medical school. This is the first step towards accomplishing your goal of being a part of the medical community. It is important that you select the right school for you and then do everything within your power to impress the admissions committee.
VCOM is one of the more difficult medical schools to get into, so it is crucial that you follow the instructions carefully and prepare as much as you can. If you really want to be among the applicants to attend Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, take a little time to read through this guide. Follow it, and get as much help as you can along the way. Our medical school guides can be incredibly helpful as you tackle this process.
If you’re interested in other medical schools, we offer these medical school guides for many programs as well. If you’re interested in going to medical school near home, you can try searching “medical schools near me,” and then check to see if we have a guide available for that school.
This guide was built specifically for Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine and should not be considered a guide for any other medical school.
Topics covered in this guide include:
- Why Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM)?
- Medical Programs at VCOM
- Facilities, Student Organizations, and More
- Selection Factors: What VCOM Looks for in an Applicant
- Admissions Requirements for VCOM
- VCOM Acceptance Rate & Admissions Statistics
- VCOM Tuition & Cost of Attendance
- AMCAS Primary Application & VCOM Secondary Application
- VCOM Secondary Application: Essay Prompts, Sample Answers, and Advice
- VCOM Interview Process
- Medical School Admissions Consulting
- Voluntary Healthcare Internships Abroad
One-to-one, personalized assistance through the medical school application program is hands-down the best way to prepare for applying to Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, or any school for that matter. Our medical school admissions consulting program is designed to take the burden off your shoulders. If you feel you need or want assistance, our experts will help you with your applications, provide advice about your essay responses, and prepare you for your interview, including running you through mock interviews. Contact us here if you have any questions.
Why Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM)?
Most people pursue a career in medicine because they want to help people, but Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine was founded with that concept as their number one priority. The medical school was formed because there was a tremendous need for qualified doctors in many of the underserved states of the South. More specifically, there were no DO schools in South Carolina or others.
According to the school’s website, their mission is to “prepare globally minded, community-focused physicians to meet the needs of rural and medically underserved populations and promote research to improve human health.”
The goals of the faculty and administration at VCOM are to recruit, educate, and send out osteopathic doctors who will face the issues of modern medicine head-on. They aim to teach students how to treat patients as whole people, and not just address symptoms. They also push students to dive into research to solve the medical problems their future patients will face. As they take the art of treating patients to a whole new level, incorporating osteopathic manipulation methods, these DOs will be advocating for osteopathic medicine and bringing it to the forefront of their minds.
For more information about the goals of VCOM, visit their website.
Other reasons to apply to VCOM are that they have a very successful match rate, and the students that graduate tend to do very well for themselves. They promote diversity and inclusivity.
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine Ranking
US News and World Report states that VCOM ranked:
- #9 in Most Graduates Practicing in Primary Care Fields
- #38 in Most Graduates Practicing in Medically Underserved Areas
- #40 in Most Graduates Practicing in Rural Areas
- #91 in Most Diverse Medical Schools (tie)
Medical Programs at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
The founders of Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine had a vision for this school of medicine, and this vision led to a program that focuses exclusively on training osteopathic doctors. VCOM does have affiliate residency programs and non-doctoral programs hosted by other institutions as well.
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
VCOM has developed a curriculum that is current and relevant to the medical research of today. The faculty is innovative in the ways they teach, knowing that each student is unique with strengths and weaknesses. Students can expect to learn in a variety of ways, including:
- Online Modules
- Small Group Discussions
- Laboratory and Computer-based Student Learning Clinical Tutorials
- Anatomy and Microbiology Lab Experiences
- Simulated Clinical Lab Experiences
- Physical Diagnosis Lab Experiences
- Osteopathic Manipulative Clinical Lab Experiences
Getting hands-on clinical experience early is part of the vision at VCOM. Students will get to spend one day per week in clinical settings as early as later in their second year. Third- and fourth-year students spend most of their time gaining clinical experience.
The goal of this curriculum, and this school, is to train primary care physicians who will treat patients holistically and with a hands-on approach. While students may choose to follow a different specialty, the thought process is that a foundation in primary medicine sets all physicians up for a solid place to start.
Years One and Two
Students will fall under the teaching of faculty in the Clinical Medicine Course and the Principles of Primary Care Course during the first two years. This curriculum is broken up into blocks, with 9-12 weeks in each block.
The blocks for this phase include:
- Foundations of Medicine
- Musculoskeletal System
- Neurological System and Special Senses
- Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Systems
- Gastrointestinal and Renal Systems
- Reproductive and Endocrine Systems
- Dermatologic, Hemostatic, and Lymphatic Systems
- Comprehensive Review
The osteopathic medicine program at VCOM includes a lot of clinical work, and the clinical experience is peppered throughout the eight blocks so that students can see what they are learning academically in real-life terms right away. In these first two years, the Early Clinical Experiences (ECE) will be varied, teaching the art of teamwork in medicine, and including such important rotations as pharmacology rounds, geriatric assessment, EMS, radiology, a day with an ICU nurse, and more.
Year three for students at VCOM will include core clinical rotations that give these aspiring osteopaths the foundational experiences they need to be able to practice primary care medicine. This clinical curriculum allows students to work with patients under the supervision of faculty. They also practice monthly case presentations with the Director of Student Medical Education or staff and take part in monthly workshops regarding Osteopathic Manual Medicine (OMM) and how to apply it in patient care.
When it comes to core rotations in the third year, VCOM works with local hospitals and medical offices to offer the best clinical experience for students. These partnering teaching hospitals are based in regions in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Louisiana, and Alabama. Some third- and fourth-year students will get the opportunity to take part in a four-week clinical experience in Honduras, El Salvador, or the Dominican Republic. Those students who attend VCOM on a military Health Professions Scholarship Program scholarship can elect to complete some of their clinical rotations in a military hospital.
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine tries to think outside the box and provide students with a variety of opportunities that meet their unique individual needs. Aside from clinical work, third-year students must complete Foundations of Diagnostic Medicine (FDM).
Fourth-year students will continue to pour themselves into clinical experience, ensuring that they develop all the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in treating patients as a doctor. They are given a lot of flexibility during this final year as well, so that they can explore their specialty interests, schedule rotations, and arrange residency placement, all while continuing to learn and practice their skill.
To earn a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, students must meet the following graduation requirements:
- Good moral, professional, and ethical character
- All academic requirements (courses, rotations, exams, etc.)
- Demonstrate all osteopathic medical student competencies
- Passed the COMLEX Level 1 and COMLEX Level 2 CE
- Completed all required exit paperwork
- Completed all conferring graduation requirements
- Completed the exit process
VCOM has very special affiliated residency programs in Primary Care Sports Medicine the both the Virginia and Auburn campuses, and Osteopathic Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine (ONMM) at the Virginia campus. These wonderful residency programs opens the door for students to pursue some of their residency specialty interests.
There are also affiliated non-doctoral programs in Master of Arts Biomedical Sciences through Bluefield College and the Master of Science in Applied Healthcare Data Analytics through Averett University. These are both popular programs, and VCOM professors teach these classes collaboratively.
Facilities, Student Organizations, and More
Spartanburg, South Carolina
The Spartanburg, South Carolina campus was the second to open in 2011. This city was selected for the second campus because it was determined there was a great need for more primary care physicians in the area. This was the whole purpose of opening Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine was to train and send out physicians to the underserved areas of the south.
The facilities are top-notch and provide the students with clinical skills labs, a modern anatomy lab, and a center for technology where students can practice simulated medicine. There is also a remodeled research facility that opened its doors in 2016. There is a cancer and stem cell lab located in the Gibbs Cancer Research Center, and nearby there is a biomedical research center.
- American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians (ACOEP)
- American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP)
- American College of Osteopathic Internists (ACOI)
- American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOOG)
- American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians (ACOP)
- American College of Osteopathic Surgeons-Medical Student Section (ACOS-MSS)
- American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine (AOASM)
- Gold Humanism Honors Society (GHHS)
- Medical Outreach and Volunteer Effort (MOVE)
- The American College of Osteopathic Neurologists and Psychiatrists (ACONP)
- Sigma Sigma Phi (SSP)
- Student American Academy of Osteopathy (SAAO)
- Student Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (SAMOPS)
- Student Government Association (SGA)
- Student National Medical Association (SNMA)
- Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA)
- Virginia Rural Health Association (VRHA)
Local Chapters of External Medical Student and Health Professions Organizations
- American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)
- Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA)
- Hispanic Community Medical Outreach (HCMO)
- LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Healthcare
- Medical Muslim Student Association (MMSA)
- Student Advocate Association (SAA)
Selection Factors: What VCOM Looks for in an Applicant
When it comes to approving applications, VCOM’s admissions committee uses a variety of criteria to determine eligibility and whether the student will be a good fit for the school. The admissions committee will be looking for your GPA and MCAT stories, but they are interested in way more than your scores.
Here a few of the aspects of your application the admissions committee will be very interested in:
- Person of Integrity
- Adaptability and Flexibility
- Endurance for Rigorous Coursework
- Degree or 90 Hours Towards Degree
- Required Coursework Completed
- GPA and MCAT Scores
- Letters of Recommendation
Admissions Requirements for VCOM
All qualified candidates for Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine must demonstrate they completed three years of undergraduate study with a baccalaureate degree or 90 hours towards it from an accredited college or university in the United States or Canada.
Minimum GPA and MCAT Requirements for VCOM
The minimum MCAT score acceptable to the VCOM admissions committee is 496 but the average score is between 500-506.
The minimum GPA for acceptance into VCOM is 3.4 in Science and 3.4 cumulative for traditional students.
Volunteer Service and Clinical Experience
VCOM does not have a minimum requirement for volunteer service or clinical experience, but having some experience on your application is definitely preferred and will go a long way. Share as much as you can think of on your application.
The following are some ways in which you might demonstrate your experience to the admission committee:
- Leadership – List any and all leadership roles you’ve held. This could include leadership positions on campus in the student body, in club organizations, and at the workplace. Leadership in a clinical setting is ideal.
- Clinical Experience – Make sure to include any experiences you’ve had, even if they are short ones.
- Research – Temple Medical School is big on research. Share the opportunities you’ve had to engage in research projects and analysis.
- Volunteer and Community Service – Show your commitment to your community and the world.
- Extracurricular Activities – This is a great opportunity to let the admissions committee get to know you better. Be your authentic self.
VCOM Letters of Recommendation
The admissions committee will require you to submit a letter of recommendation from a pre-medical or pre-health committee who is familiar with your coursework and can share about your propensity for science, your performance in school overall, and your general character. VCOM will also accept additional letters from anyone who knows you well academically or professionally. Letters must be sent directly to Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Required & Recommended Coursework at VCOM
It is recommended that candidates have completed the following coursework:
- Chemistry (general and organic)
Does VCOM Require the CASPer Exam?
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine does not require the CASPer evaluation.
VCOM Acceptance Rate & Admissions Statistics
The acceptance rate at VCOM is 8%, which makes it a challenging school to earn acceptance. There are 2,278 medical students enrolled at any one time. The percentage of women enrolled is 55.9% and the percentage of men enrolled is 44.1%
*The acceptance rate is based on the percentage of applicants who enroll. There are other factors that affect rates.
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine 2023 Class Profile
The following are some statistics regarding the class of 2023:
- Men: 44.1%
- Women: 55.9%
- Average MCAT – 506
- Average GPA – 3.4
VCOM Tuition & Cost of Attendance
These tuition and fees are based on the VCOM’s 2022-2023 academic year. Fees are subject to change.
- 50,750 Tuition
- $4,439 Books and Supplies
- $29,751 Room and Board, Travel, and Personal Expenses
- $2,524 Federal Student Loan Fee
- $50,750 Tuition
- $2,251 Books and Supplies
- $29,751 Room and Board, Travel, and Personal Expenses
- $2,118 Federal Student Loan Fees
- $50,750 Tuition
- $4,298 Books and Supplies
- $34,210 Room and Board, Travel, and Personal Expenses
- $2,524 Federal Student Loans Fees
- $50,750 Tuition
- $1,463 Books and Supplies
- $37,985 Room and Board, Travel, and Personal Expenses
- $2,564 Federal Student Loan Fees
Being knowledgeable about the financial aspect of medical school can help you navigate this complicated system. For more information on the costs of attending medical schools in the United States, check out our Medical School Database, where we offer detailed guidance and helpful information.
AACOMAS Primary Application & VCOM Secondary Application
There are a few steps to the application process at VCOM. The primary application is completed through a national service called the American Association of College and Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS). This application can be done online, and you’ll send them your transcripts and MCAT scores.
If your primary application is successful, you will be invited to complete a secondary application through VCOM directly. This application will ask for a lot more information about you as an individual, as well as which campus you prefer. You’ll be asked for your standardized test scores and will be presented with your essay question prompts. There is a $50 processing fee for completing this secondary application.
The next step is to submit your letters of recommendation. You can submit one from a pre-health committee or science faculty member and then another from a practicing physician (preferably a DO but not required).
The final step of the application process is your interview, which you’ll be informed about via email or letter.
VCOM Secondary Application: Essay Prompts, Sample Answers, and Advice
Below are Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine’s secondary essay questions for the 2022-2023 application cycle. All prompts have a 2,000-character limit.
Describe a significant challenge you have experienced in your life, share the strategies you employed to overcome the challenge, and share what you learned from the experience.
When it comes to these types of questions, be ready to be genuine and a little vulnerable in your responses. The admissions committee wants to get to know you as an individual with your own story, so it’s in your best interest to share an experience that will help you stand out from the stack of applications on their desks.. Don’t make up a generic answer, and really dig deep. Let them know that you’re a flawed human being, like the rest of us, who has faced challenges you’ve had to persevere through. Specifically, share how these challenges have helped you grow and mature in ways that make you a better med student and, eventually, a better osteopathic doctor.
Professionalism and respect in the community in which you live is of the utmost importance in medical school and as a physician. What three professional qualities do you believe a Student Doctor must demonstrate, and describe how you will demonstrate these qualities as a medical student at VCOM?
This is a question that helps the admissions committee determine if you share similar values and visions for the school. You can talk about qualities such as integrity, equality, dependability, and bedside manner, for example. Put some real thought into this one. Try to think of a creative way to present your answers.
If I’m looking for a new doctor to take care of my medical needs, I’m going to want to find one who is honest, dedicated, and a good listener. I want to know my doctor is giving me an honest outlook on my health, including a clear picture of what I need to do to get healthy. I also want a doctor who is dedicated to getting to the bottom of any health issue I’m having, and who will really listen to my concerns. These are professional qualities that a good physician should possess.
As a student doctor and one day as a Doctor of Osteopathy, I will form the type of relationship with my patients that is founded on honesty and mutual respect. My patients will know that they can trust me because I will never give them a reason to doubt me. I’ll be honest and transparent about any health problems they have, and I’ll share my opinions with honesty and kindness. Patients deserve to know the truth about their health.
I’ll earn my patients’ respect because I’ll be the kind of student doctor who truly listens to my patients. Instead of keeping an eye on the clock and trying to rush them along, I’m going to be present with each patient, listening to their concerns without dismissing them or brushing off any concern – big or small. If I truly listen to my patients, I’ll trust what they’re feeling and experiencing, and I won’t give up on trying to provide the help they need. I’ll be dedicated to each patient individually, and I’ll never give up on a single one of them.
If there are a few frustrations I’ve personally experienced in my health journey over the years, it’s been in working with doctors who have either not listened to me or not believed me when I told them what I was going through. As medical professionals, we owe our patients the best of our time and dedication. I believe we should listen to each patient and commit ourselves to investigating their medical concerns until we have answers, a treatment, and/or a referral, if needed. That’s the kind of doctor I aim to be.
How do your professional ambitions align with osteopathic medicine?
This question is important because VCOM is passionate about osteopathic medicine, and they want to know that you share that passion. If you’re not planning on pursuing an osteopathic career, you shouldn’t bother applying. This school is singularly focused on osteopathic medicine, including the concept that the human body wants to heal itself. Share with the committee how you plan to shape your future medical career in osteopathic medicine and why that’s important to you.
What influenced your decision to apply to VCOM? (e.g., personal or medical experiences; influences of friends/family/physicians/mentors/ etc.)
This is a personal question. Be honest and real. What led you to VCOM and the values they represent? Do you share the same values and vision as VCOM? Why? This is a great chance for the admissions committee to get to know you. You’ll also want to share if you were influenced by any research you did on VCOM prior to applying. If you were compelled by their vision and missions, the admission committee would love to hear about that.
If you were influenced by your parents, friends, or a medical mentor, share that and explain what it was they said that inspired you to consider VCOM the right choice.
VCOM Interview Process
The admissions committee at VCOM only invites the most qualified students for an interview. They will not intentionally make candidates feel tense or pressured, but they do want to put the heat on a little to see how you handle it. The interview process is a way for the committee to determine whether or not you are a good fit for the school and whether VCOM is the perfect fit for you.
There will be specific characteristics about you that the admissions committee will be looking for during the interview. The following are a few attributes they like to see:
- Superior Interpersonal Skills
- Good Listener
- Socially Aware
- Dedicated and Passionate
Students will participate in three one-on-one interviews on Interview Day with members of the faculty and administration. This is going to be the best possible time throughout this process to let this committee know who you really are and what you’re about, so be real with them. Be yourself and open up a bit. Give them a little of your story and let it help them see how your unique personhood is going to make VCOM a better school.
Preparing for an interview can be stressful. Often, students find it helpful to receive personalized coaching and even a mock interview through our medical school admissions consulting services.
Medical School Admissions Consulting
Our vision here at International Medical Aid was to create a program that would truly help our next generation of medical students matriculate into the top medical schools in the country. Applying and interviewing for medical schools is challenging and requires a lot of work. We want to relieve the burden on your shoulders and offer the support you need to complete your application and interview with success.
Whether you feel confident about your interview skills or not, our experts can help you prepare thoroughly for one of the most important interviews of your life. We will walk you through the process, offer expert advice, and even conduct mock interviews to make sure you are as ready as possible.
Take a moment to schedule a free consultation with one of our experts here.
Voluntary Healthcare Internships Abroad
One of the greatest learning environments an aspiring physician can experience is shadowing skilled physicians in the trenches of the medical community, spending time with real patients, and getting a taste of what it’s like to work in a hospital or clinic, especially in a foreign environment. If shadowing a physician abroad is something you’ve considered, IMA’s voluntary healthcare internships abroad program is a fantastic choice.
Our pre-med shadowing study abroad program was designed specifically for pre-medical and gap year students with the vision of preparing them more than ever before for their future as a humanistic, global citizen physician. There is nothing in the world like participating in one of those pre-medicine internships in Peru or Africa.
Please take a few minutes to explore the benefits of our program on our website and reach out if you have any questions.
Best of Luck!
As you take your first step towards matriculating at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, we wish you the best of luck and hope that this guide has brightened your path for the journey. If you find yourself having any problems there, you can reach out to us for assistance. You can also talk to Michelle Barrett, who is the Director of Student Affairs.
If you’d like to explore our medical school admissions consulting program, please feel free to contact us and we will get you the support you need to feel confident.
Whether you looked for medical schools in a different state or searched for medical schools near me, VCOM is a wonderful choice. We hope our guide helps you achieve your goal of attending this fine institution.
Feel free to contact us if you have questions about the application process, our medical guides, our pre-med shadowing study abroad program, or our Medical School Admissions Consulting services.