Osteopathy may be considered pseudoscience by some people, and you may have heard your share of criticism when you decided to follow this career path. However, many people would swear that osteopath helped them when other doctors failed, and a Doctor of Osteopathy earns in average almost $200,000 annually in the US. So there are definitely some points speaking in the favor of your career choice…

Just like in any other field, you have average and prestigious osteopathic medical schools. To the first one you can easily get by submitting the application and waiting, but to get to the best schools you will have to pass an admission interview. In this article we will have a look at 17 questions you may commonly hear from the members of the admission committee, and I will try to suggest you how to answer some of the questions. Let’s start!


Why Osteopathy? Why not some field of conventional medicine?

You will get this on in almost every interview. And you can afford criticizing conventional medicine–because people interviewing you likely have the same opinion.

Having said that, negativity should not prevail in your answer. Our healthcare system doesn’t work–that’s clear to anyone who looks at the statistics. Regular doctors treat only symptoms, and rarely have a holistic approach to the health and well-being of their patients. What’s more, many of them have sold their soul to the devil–the pharma business. No need to add anything else here…

Such things are clear to everyone in the admission committee. But I still suggest you to opt for a positive answer. Personal positive experience is your best bet. Maybe you had problems with your spine, or muscles, or joints, and osteopathic manipulation helped you where everything else failed. It improved your quality of life significantly, and you decided that you’d also like to help others in the same way.

Or someone else from your family had such an experience, it motivated you to dive into the filed, learn a lot about it, and you eventually decided that this is what you want devote your professional career to.

* May also interest you: Why do you want to be a doctor? 7 sample answers.


Why our school? Why did you not opt for some other place?

Most people sitting in the admission committee are proud of their educational institution, and you should stroke their ego. If they are on the top of some leader board, just say that you want to study at the very best school, under the best professors, because that’s the only way how to become really skilled in the field.

It’s even better if you can pick something specific, for example from the curricula, or praising a particular professor/doctor who’s working at the school, and achieved some remarkable results in their research work or in their osteopathic practice.

If you aren’t sure what to say, or interview at a rather average school, you can always praise the location (perhaps you always wanted to study in that city), or the website of the institution and how they present their study program. It made a strong impression on you, and you decided to apply.

What do you want to do in your free time while at the college?

You have a few options for a really good answer at this point. First one is saying that you’d like to do something for the student community. Maybe you can work as a resident assistant, or organize some events for the fellow students, or volunteer in a school library.¬†Show them that you’d like to be involved in the community, and want to give something back.

Another option is saying that you plan to spend almost all your time studying. You do not want to be just an average student–you want to read a lot of books on osteopathy and other fields of alternative medicine, you plan to attend seminars and conferences, and more or less you really want to dive into the field–which will give you a head start once you earn your degree and start working.

Of course you can also mention some hobbies, especially if they can be considered good for your physical and mental health–running, exercising, hiking, going for walks with friends, etc.


What subjects are you looking forward the most in your studies?

They ask this question mostly to see your real level of motivation. I mean, if you are really interested to study at their school, you for sure did your research, and know what subjects you will have in fall, winter, and summer.

You do not necessarily have to pick something special, but of course it’s better pointing out some courses you’d not have at a med school. Some specialties like “Tobacco Use and Dependence” are definitely a nice choice, but you can also put emphasis on the hands-on experience and research fellowship.

As long as they see that you did your homework, and talk with enthusiasm about the courses that await you at their school, they will be satisfied with your answer.


Many students apply for this program. Why should give the place to you?

It’s true that acceptance rate on many osteopathic medical schools is below 10%. Just one in ten applicants will get in, and believe me, it’s not easy for the admission committee to decide who should get the spot, and who has to try their luck somewhere else. That’s the reason why they will often ask directly: Why you, and not someone else?

This isn’t an easy question to answer. Of course, if you have some successes under your belt already (you did some research work before, you are an excellent athlete and can represent the school, etc), you can refer to it in your answer. More often than not, however, this won’t be the case. But you still have some options.

One is betting on humility, and showing right attitude to fellow applicants. Saying that you know that all students dream of getting to such a fantastic school, and you are sure that each of the applicants have some strengths, you cannot really say why they should prioritize you to the others. You just hope they will make the right and unbiased decision, based on the answers of the applicants, and how well they fared in other parts of the admission process…


Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?

Try to be super specific in your answer. Saying that you imagine having your own practice and helping people is just not good enough.

Tell them about a specific location where you want to work, or a particular community (minority) you’d like to help with your diagnosis and treatment. You can also talk about your desire to work in research, or perhaps in some governing body which regulates osteopathy practice

People who interview you know that osteopathic medicine school is tough. Your goal will help you to get over the difficult periods, when you won’t feel like reading yet another page, or preparing for yet another exam, or repeating this or that course. That’s why it is crucial to show them that you have specific goals, and know exactly why you want to study osteopathy


Other questions you may face in your osteopathic medical school admission interview

  • Many people may criticize you, calling you a charlatan, or calling your field pseudoscience. How do you plan to deal with this in your practice of Osteopathy?
  • This is a difficult study program. How do you ensure you won’t join the ranks of people who drop out of it each year?
  • Tell us about the most challenging situation you’ve faced in your life so far.
  • Do you have any role model in your life? Any doctor you look up to? Someone who inspires you?
  • Are you interested in any other field of alternative medicine?
  • What will you do if you do not get to an osteopathic med school this year? What’s your plan B?
  • Imagine that a patient accuses you of making their back problems much worse than they were before the start of their treatment. How will you react?
  • Tell us one thing about yourself you wouldn’t want us to know.
  • In your opinion, where is osteopathy heading as a field of alternative medicine? What trends do you observe?
  • Do you have any doctors in your family? Did they have any impact on your decision to apply for this study program?
  • Do you have any questions?


Conclusion, next steps

Admission interviews at osteopathic medical school belong to difficult interviews. The acceptance rate is quite low, and it is not easy to stand out, since all applicants have similar background and they typically have no experience. But it doesn’t mean that you cannot try standing out:

  • Try to show some enthusiasm in an interview. They should get an impression that you’ve been waiting for this day, and that their school is your first choice.
  • Try to be specific in your answers (just as I suggest in the hints to individual questions). Do a good research about their school, think about your future plans, and show them the value you want to bring to their place.

If you manage to do these two things, your chances to succeed will be much better. I wish you good luck!


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Matthew Chulaw
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