Considering attending medical school in Colorado? Read on to learn more about Colorado schools and what you need to apply!
Despite a rapidly rising population, Colorado only has two medical schools. Both offer unique experiences regarding their locations, curriculums, and post-degree employment opportunities.
We’ll explore admissions requirements, mission statements, and tips on how to get accepted into medical schools in Colorado.
There are only two Colorado medical schools: the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Here’s a breakdown of important data you should know:
The University of Colorado School of Medicine (UCSOM) is situated within the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado, one of the nation's newest healthcare campuses. UCSOM’s acceptance rate is 2.8%.
Its mission is to provide “Colorado, the nation and the world with programs of excellence in” education, research, patient care, and community service. This Colorado medical school is ranked by U.S. News World and Report as the country’s sixth-best medical school for primary care.
All applicants to UCSOM must apply through AMCAS. The UCSOM application cycle is as follows:
UCSOM is interested in what you can offer beyond your standardized grades and test scores.
Karina Goodwin, UCSOM’s Senior Admissions Professional, says:
“we really pride ourselves in that we use a very holistic review process when we are looking at applicants. We’re essentially looking for authenticity. We are looking for the entire package, not just the perfect applicant on paper.”
Every candidate must obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school.
The UCSOM admissions committee states they "encourage applicants to explore a diverse, interdisciplinary and balanced undergraduate education, encompassing the necessary foundational knowledge in the biomedical sciences and humanities. Students need to be adequately prepared in the scientific underpinnings of modern medicine and also understand the psychosocial elements that are critical to its practice.”
According to the committee, demonstrable knowledge and competency in the following areas of study are essential for a competitive application:
Additional recommended coursework includes:
The academic requirement for attending UCSOM is rigorous; the median GPA of accepted students is 3.82.
Prospective students must take the MCAT, and the median score of accepted students at UCSOM is 515.
Applicants are required to obtain three to five letters of recommendation. Typically, these are written by current employers, physicians, and supervisors.
Congrats! You’ve progressed to the secondary application stage. The UCSOM secondary application consists of:
The UCSOM secondary essay has a 500-word limit:
“Please do not repeat content from your AMCAS personal statement in these essays. To the extent that there is overlap in the personal statement to what you want to write here, please choose a different approach to discussing the issue(s), such as influence on your values and beliefs, changes you made in your life, reflections that are from a different perspective. The committee utilizes this important information in the selection process. The pillars of our curriculum are Leadership, Curiosity, and Commitment. Tell us about how you have embodied one or more of these attributes in your path to medicine thus far. In which of these areas do you see the most opportunity for personal growth and why?”
Once you reach this stage, you must complete the CASPer test. This is an “online test which assesses non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics” that UCSOM believes “are important for successful students and graduates.”
You can only take the CASPer test once per admissions cycle. For future admission cycles or different program types, you must take a separate CASPer test.
After reviewing secondary applications, the admission committee narrows down the applicant pool and sends interview applications.
According to UCSOM, “applicants are selected for an interview using holistic review, a flexible, individualized way of assessing applicants’ capabilities in which balanced consideration is given to experiences, attributes and academic metrics and, when considered in combination, how the individual might contribute value as a medical student and physician.”
Focusing upon the “assessment of intra- and interpersonal competencies needed for the practice of medicine,” these interviews are in a mixed format that includes a traditional interview, a small group interview, and observation of a group activity.
Located just twenty miles southeast of Denver in Parker, Colorado, Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM) is the first for-profit medical school in the U.S. The Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine’s acceptance rate is 7.9%.
Its mission is “to educate and inspire students to become highly competent osteopathic physicians and lifelong learners prepared to meet the diverse healthcare needs of tomorrow through innovative education, relevant research, and compassionate service.”
All candidates must apply through AACOMAS. RVUCOM’s admissions process is as follows:
To help you understand what you need to get into RVUCOM, let’s look at the admissions requirements.
Before enrollment, you must complete a bachelor's degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university. The courses must take include:
RVUCOM states that “additional upper-division coursework such as Human Anatomy, Physiology, Genetics, and Cellular Biology is highly recommended.”
A minimum science and cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required. On average, however, accepted candidates have GPAs greater than 3.6 (3.54 was the average GPA of accepted applicants in a recent cycle).
The average MCAT score of accepted candidates is 504.
Submitted through AACOMAS, RVUCOM requires you to submit three letters of recommendation which include:
All candidates are required to take the CASPer test.
Though there is no supplemental application, successful applicants are invited for an interview. These often take the form of 35-minute, two-member panel interviews.
These tips from authoritative sources can make getting into a medical school in Colorado easier. Dr. Vaughn Browne, Chairman of the Colorado School of Medicine Admissions Committee, states, “GPA is not the only consideration for admission, it is only one of five different areas in which each student is evaluated.”
Gaining experience in patient care through clinical research, shadowing a physician, or hands-on clinical experience is an excellent idea.
Goodwin states, "we’re looking for people who can apply what they’ve been learning in the classroom to outside experiences, whether that be research, or clinical experience, or diversity and inclusion [experiences], or any way that they can get a patient perspective.”
Phil Bennett, a fourth-year medical student at Rocky Vista, suggests prospective students should “talk to and ask current students what the student body is like.”
“Get a feel for the personality of the school,” Bennett continues, “as you’ll spend hours with these students, and you’ll work together throughout your journey to becoming a physician.”
Still have questions about getting into Colorado med schools? Check out these FAQs!
Though a letter of recommendation from an MD or DO is preferred, RVUCOM accepts letters from any healthcare provider or health professional that has worked with you, supervised or unsupervised.
There are only two med schools in Colorado.
Going only by rankings, the University of Colorado School of Medicine is the best school.
There’s only one DO school: the Rocky Vista University College Of Osteopathic Medicine.
While Rocky Vista is unranked by U.S. News, Rocky Vista is an excellent option for Colorado residents ready to pursue a DO.
Despite there only being two medical schools in Colorado, both provide unique experiences, divergent curriculums, and varying training modalities.
Focus on acquiring hands-on clinical experience, ace your MCAT and CASPer Tests, and approach the interview calmly and confidently. This will help you put yourself in the best position possible to get accepted at Colorado medical schools. Good luck!