Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) is a private medical school in Dothan, Alabama. The first non-profit-hospital operated medical school in the state, it was awarded its full accreditation status by COCA in 2017 and welcomed its first students (a class of 162 students) in 2013. Alongside its osteopathic medical program, ACOM also offers dual degrees.
With ACOM’s mission statement to “provide quality, learner-centered osteopathic education, research and service”, alongside its core values of “passion, service, respect, and integrity”, one question remains; does this med school live up to these principles?
As a med student wondering the question myself, I did some research, and here’s what I found out!
Interested in learning more about specific medical school pros and cons? Check out our Medical School Guides here – we cover all osteopathic (DO) and allopathic (MD) schools.
Is ACOM A Good Medical School?
ACOM is a good osteopathic medical school. Its recent match rate is 100% with the majority of its graduating doctors matching into primary care specialties out-of-state. Other positives include its well-established rotation network, dual program offerings, and rich research opportunities. Potential negatives include its strict remediation and attendance policies.
Now you know the short answer, read on to find out more about ACOM to gain better insight.
ACOM’s match list is strong. Since its first graduating class of 2017, ACOM medics have gone on to match and place in over 20 specialties with most (>60%) matching into primary care.
ACOM’s class of 2021 had 100% residency placement. 91% of graduates matched out-of-state.
Residency programs matched into including the following specialties:
- Obs and Gyn
- Emergency Medicine
- General Surgery
- Orthopedic Surgery
- Surgery (Preliminary)
The actual programs are included in the data linked above.
If you’re interested in what the best programs in the country are, check out our recommendations here; Residency Programs.
On-site housing at ACOM’s Summerfield Square has a 3000-square-foot pool and gym clubhouse (for exclusive use by students). As students point out, this does raise the initial cost of accommodation but savings could also be made on transport and membership to separate facilities.
The commute from the accommodation is also only 3 minutes and there are a variety of options; from studios to one and two-bedroom apartments.
ACOM’s dual programs (mentioned in the intro – Business Administration (MBA via Troy University Dothan Campus) and Public Health (MPH via Samford University), are a huge plus for students looking to diversify and differentiate themselves.
In addition to the two mentioned above, there is also a Master of Science Management (MSM) degree opportunity too.
The MPH (Samford University) is also online and all modules are self-paced, making ACOM’s otherwise strict attendance policies (more on this later) seem less inconvenient.
Research at ACOM is thriving and ever-evolving. Their 4,000-sq-ft Center for Research offers opportunities to look at clinical case studies, medical education, pathologic basis of human diseases, bioinformatics, etc., in greater detail.
You can see a list of current faculty research interests at Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) here.
Besides research, there are more additional extracurriculars, groups and clubs, and societies to join too.
Some of these include:
- Anesthesiology Interest Group (AIG)
- Dermatology Interest Group (DIG)
- Muslim Student Association
- Military Interest Group (MIG)
- Medical Spanish Organization (MSO)
- Jewish Medical Student Association (JMSA)
And a ton more! A full list is available here.
ACOM’s rotation network is mentioned as a huge plus by many of its current and existing medical students. Consisting of clinics, hospitals, and office-based training, all faculty are approved by ACOM based on interest and dedication to teachings.
The Tallahassee and Mobile rotations are well recommended for surgery preceptors but ACOM is also said to be flexible to switching rotation sites if they’re not to a student’s liking.
The school’s mini-career fair-type event is a good place to get the info on sites and ask any specific questions.
ACOM has a mandatory attendance policy going back to its very first inauguration. Back then it was 80% mandatory attendance, now it’s 60%. According to the Student Doctor Forums, only some school events are mandatory, however (including TBLs, integrated sessions, and guest lectures) and courses mix up mandatory and non-mandatory lectures. This means you’re unlikely to have prolonged periods of time NOT being expected to attend.
Still, for the 60% of classes you do have to attend, that’s useful time away from what could be more valuable self-study (something I advocate in my article; How to Study Medicine Effectively (Quick Tips).
ACOM’s student handbook provides more info on this, also suggesting that both preclinical and clinical students notify course directors or supervising physicians should they expect an absence.
The South is not for everyone and Dothan is a small city (pop est. 68,000) with not a great deal to do.
For more liberal-minded folk, or those coming from bigger cities, it’s not inconceivable some culture shock could occur.
Several students mention the location being important if you want to match into residency programs in Georgia or Florida however.
Strict Remediation Policy
Another concern highlighted by several students is ACOM’s strict remediation policy where students who fail a course first semester must retake the entire year with the incoming class.
According to Student Doctor Forums, this is even stricter…
I should note that if you fail a systems course, and then fail the remediation exam for that system, that’s also immediate dismissal.– DrZoidbergDO
What is ACOM’s Medical School Ranking?
ACOM is unranked in both Research and Primary Care, according to the U.S. News Best Medical Schools Report.
What is ACOM’s Acceptance Rate?
Based on the Class of 2025 Profile data, ACOM’s acceptance rate is approx 3%. That’s calculated from 5,876 applications and 188 students enrolled.
ACOM’s average MCAT score is 505. Its average GPA is 3.47. Approx 750 students are interviewed for placement each year.
ACOM published its class profiles publically. The data for the Class of 2025 is available here.
Is ACOM A Good Medical School? Reddit’s Opinion…
Reddit users have a lot to say anonymously about ACOM. A large proportion of the feedback is positive…
I never fought for study space, they have an amazing tutoring program. They give you pathoma and Uworld. Never had a professor turn me down for extra office time if more explanation was needed. Anatomy is difficult– u/SeaValour1025 (2022)
I was accepted to ACOM and had a great impression of the school, resources, and facilities. If I don’t get in somewhere closer to home I will definitely be going there.– u/zdah17 (2020)
I’ve had nothing but a fantastic experience with them and turned down other A’s to come here because of the faculty. Honestly though, it’s the students that make this school so great. Somehow they all seem to be really great people! Usually when you get hundreds of people together there are at least a handful of bad apples, but I honestly can say that I haven’t seen that here. At least in the OMS-I class, and in my limited exposure to the OMS-II class.– u/PossibleBrush924 (2022)
Third year here who knows a ton of students here too across all graduating classes (22, 23, 24, 25). and most would echo my sentiment. Is it a perfect school? No. But it is good overall. I am atop my class. I scored really high on board exams. Can do any career I want (aside from plastics of course).– u/BiscottiInevitable85 (2022)
ACOM gives you a laptop and IPad so don’t even need the money for that!– u/sk1651 (2020)
Related: Laptop Or IPad For Medical School? (Don’t Make This Key Mistake)
But there are a few negatives too, especially concerning attendance policies and remediation programs…
I agree that the school is lacking a remediation program…I agree that the attendance policy grade reduction issue is steep. 3% is too much in my opinion. Even so, no one has to lose any points because all they have to do is email the faculty to let them know why they are going to be late for a mandatory event. Then they get excused and all is well.– u/PossibleBrush924 (2022)
If you prefer a larger city or even a college town, Dothan, AL is not for you.– u/attentionboi (2020)
The Reddit user u/DrVincentBane is also quite vocal about the school’s negatives. Based on the comebacks from other students, however, we prefer to reflect more balanced views in this post.
Conclusion: Is ACOM A Good Medical School?
ACOM is a great osteopathic medical school if you’re keen on the South and rotating around neighboring states. Its 96.13% COMLEX-Level 1 First-Time Pass Rate (2020), coupled with its 100% Residency Placement (2021) scores help prove its high standing.
It’s strict on certain policies, but if you’re diligent and read its code of conduct, it’s definitely possible to enjoy studying medicine here.
Check out the video below and take a virtual tour!
Born and raised in the UK, Will went into medicine late (31) after a career in journalism. He’s into football (soccer), learned Spanish after 5 years in Spain, and has had his work published all over the web. Read more.