The PremedHQ Guide
The PremedHQ Guide
The Five Steps to Getting Into a BS/MD Program
If you have ever wondered how to get into a BS/MD program, here are the 5 major steps you need to take in high school to become a competitive BS/MD candidate.
1.) Maintain a Strong Academic Record
BS/MD program admissions committees want to know that the student can handle the academic rigors of college and medical school.
Medical school has the most demanding academic expectations out of all the professional and graduate schools. Only those who can demonstrate excellent academic ability will make it though the grueling process of a medical school education.
For this reason, you will need to take a challenging course load in high school (multiple AP, honors, and/or IB courses per year). You have to demonstrate that you can excel in this challenging environment by attaining almost all A’s and staying in the top 5% of your high school class.
2.) Achieve a 98th Percentile Test Score
The difficulty of getting a 4.0 GPA can vary greatly from high school to high school. It may be very easy to obtain at 4.0 GPA at a uncompetitive high school in the middle of nowhere, but extremely difficult to obtain a 4.0 GPA at a hyper-competitive, elite private high school in New York.
For this reason, BS/MD programs will rely on something more standardized to compare one applicant to another. That’s where tests such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (or SAT) and the American College Testing (or ACT) enter the picture. In almost all cases, BS/MD programs’ admissions committees will place more weight on the applicant’s SAT/ACT than they will place on the applicant’s GPA.
3.) Accomplish the Four “Core” Clinical Activities
It is important for BS/MD applicants to be well rounded students. Students can show this well-roundedness by participating in school clubs, being in academic teams, playing an instrument, and competing in sports.
What is more important for BS/MD students however is to participate in four “core” clinical activities that show a very focused interest in the medical field. These specific activities are discussed in our article on the four core activities of a competitive BS/MD candidate.
4.) Obtain Stellar Letters of Recommendation
One thing that students neglect, and often start on once it’s already late, is obtaining their letters of recommendation. Every BS/MD program will require a letter of recommendation from your high school counselor, and two letters from your high school teachers. Some BS/MD programs will allow you to submit additional letters of recommendation from an extracurricular supervisor: a volunteer coordinator or even a doctor you may have shadowed.
Having someone speak on your behalf with conviction will help portray you as someone who makes meaningful contributions the endeavors you pursue. It’s not enough to get teachers and supervises to simply write you a letter. You have to take the appropriate measures to ensure they write exceptional letters that truly advocate you as an outstanding individual.
5.) Apply to BS/MD Programs Tactfully
The final step is arguably the most crucial step to getting into a BS/MD program. There are students that do the first four steps perfectly, but still get rejected to BS/MD programs by not perfecting their application process. These reject applicants have to essentially go through another four years of the challenging “premed” process, but without any guarantees of medical school.
Remember that this is a process that attracts the top high school students from across the nation. But even from this highly competitive pool of students, only 5% of the applicants are accepted to a BS/MD program.
You want to make sure that your incredible efforts from 9th to 12th grade are not wasted. Take the absolute best care to demonstrate your deep insight of the medical field and your maturity on your applications. Interview Deans and students currently attending each BS/MD program to learn what you can’t learn from simply visiting the university’s website. Start your essays early, because some BS/MD programs such as the Brown University PLME program require you to write up to EIGHT essays! Make sure you demonstrate a shining personality on your medical school interviews.
You really must perfect every aspect of the application process, because every little advantage counts.