AMCAS Personal Statement Criteria & Activities Section | MD VS DO

Differences Between MD (AMCAS) and DO (AACOMAS) Applications


Posted in: Medical School Advice

If you are applying to medical school, you may be applying to both DO and MD schools. If you compare and contrast MD vs. DO, you might think that the applications are relatively similar, but there is actually a stark difference between MD and DO.

Quick Link: Medical School Personal Statement Editing Service

The Main Difference: MD Schools are More Flexible

By comparing MD vs. DO, you’ll realize that the difference between MD and DO is that MD schools accept allopathic applicants who plan to pursue an M.D., D.O., or both degrees, whereas DO schools only offer osteopathic medicine programs.

DO Schools require applicants to pass the National Osteopathic Medical College Admissions Test (COMAT), while MD Schools do not have any required entrance exams for domestic students as long as they meet the minimum GPA requirements and submit scores from either the SAT or ACT exam. Nonetheless, students must pass USMLE Step I before applying for residency. After this point, there are no more additional licensing hurdles that prevent them from practicing independently if their residency is completed successfully and on time.

Overview of Application Similarities & Differences

There are also a few differences in the character counts/limits for the DO application that applicants need to keep in mind while drafting their essays, including the character count TMDSAS limitation. It’s also important to note that the most meaningful activities AMCAS section is not applicable in AACOMAS applications.

The AMCAS activities section is slightly longer than the same section in AACOMAS applications. Thankfully, these are the only details to keep track of, as the AACOMAS and AMCAS personal statement criteria are the same. When writing your personal statement for either of these applications, you’ll need to keep it to 5,300 characters.


Here’s a quick guide that highlights the differences and similarities between these two types of applications:

ApplicationPersonal Statement Character LimitActivities SectionMost Meaningful Activities
MD (AMCAS)5300 characters (including spaces)700 characters (including spaces)3 can be selected as a “most meaningful activity.” You’ll have an additional 1325 characters for these
DO (AACOMAS)5300 characters (including spaces)600 characters (including spaces)Not applicable

Get Into Your MD or DO School of Choice with Help from MedSchoolCoach

As always, if you need med school help through your MD or DO application, MedSchoolCoach is here! Our dual approach means you have a Physician Advisor and Writing Advisor that provide comprehensive help with every aspect of the medical school application process.

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