BS/MD programs or combined undergraduate/medical school tracks are some of the most selective and often the most coveted programs in the country. While the process can seem confusing and daunting, in this post we’ll pull back the curtain on the BS/MD admissions process from the perspective of Kyle Cortley, an AcceptU counselor and former admissions officer at the Rice University/Baylor College of Medicine’s BS/MD program.

1. What can you share about the BS/MD application process that most people will not know?

The review of BS/MD applications often occurs in multiple stages and by different groups of people. Students should keep in mind that their application will likely be reviewed by both doctors at the medical school and undergraduate admissions officers. This is also why students may receive a decision from the undergraduate school first before they receive a decision regarding the BS/MD program.

2. What is the first thing you read in an application?

I always go to the transcript first to review their grades and the rigor of a student’s curriculum – especially in math and science. A BS/MD program is extremely rigorous, so we need to ensure that students are prepared academically to handle a higher volume of coursework. Many successful BS/MD candidates may even double-up on math and science courses for multiple years of high school.

3. What are the key qualities that you wish to see in a BS/MD essay?

I look for students who can clearly demonstrate that they understand what it is like to be a medical professional. That is why it is so important for BS/MD candidates to have extracurricular activities that they can reference in their essays such as shadowing physicians, observing surgeries, or interacting with patients.

4. Can you give an example of a mistake that caused an application to be rejected?

One of the biggest mistakes a student can make on a BS/MD application is focusing their attention only on the medical school and neglecting the undergraduate institution in their application. For example, at Rice, it was imperative that a student show interest in the undergraduate life on campus. Simply stating that the reason they wanted to attend Rice was for the Rice/Baylor program would not make for a strong application.

About the author
Marc Zawel

As author of Untangling the Ivy League, Marc literally wrote the book on gaining admission to highly selective colleges. He earned a BA from Cornell University – where he met AcceptU’s co-founder – and an MBA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Marc chaired the admissions advisory board; he has also conducted alumni interviews for Cornell for more than fifteen years.

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